You probably have at least one friend who talks about how they only use natural deodorant. But what is natural deodorant, exactly, and how is it different from regular deodorant?
There's no exact definition, but all of these products avoid using one key ingredient:
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"A natural deodorant is one which lacks aluminum, an ingredient used to block sweat production," says Donna Hart, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Austin, Texas.
Instead of blocking the actual production of sweat — the way a regular antiperspirant does — a natural deodorant aims to block the odor caused when sweat mixes with the natural bacteria on your skin.
"Some consumers may not want to alter their natural sweat production, but instead focus on controlling unwanted odor associated with sweating," Dr. Hart says. "Natural deodorants focus on using ingredients that have natural antibiotic properties to fight odor-producing bacteria that thrive in these sweaty environments."
Purvisha Patel, MD, a dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Associates in Memphis, Tennessee, believes that the best natural deodorants "decrease microbe growth as well as smell great."
Here are their recommendations when it comes to the best natural deodorants.
The Best Natural Deodorants
- Best Overall: Native Deodorant ($11.67, Amazon.com)
- Best on a Budget: Tom's of Maine ($14.52, Amazon.com)
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Vanicream Aluminum-Free Deodorant ($12.15, Amazon.com)
- Best Spray: Visha Skincare Cheek 2 Feet ($25, Amazon.com)
- Best Roll-On: Duke Cannon Supply Co. Natural Charcoal Deodorant ($15.09, Amazon.com)
- Best Solid: Schmidt's ($13.60, Amazon.com)
- Best Cream: PiperWai Natural Activated Charcoal Deodorant ($13, Amazon.com)
- Best Unscented: Lume Natural Deodorant ($17.49, Amazon.com)
How We Choose
We asked Dr. Hart and Dr. Patel for their top picks based on criteria including:
- Odor-fighting ingredients
- No aluminum or chemicals
- Good customer reviews
1. Best Overall: Native Deodorant
Made with coconut oil, shea butter and probiotics, this deodorant sounds good enough to eat!
Dr. Hart recommends this deodorant because it feels light, isn't sticky, has a wide range of scents and is paraben-free. It's also cruelty-free, having never been tested on animals.
One Amazon user who has tried many deodorants raves that this brand is the best because "it smells good, it doesn't leave oil stains on my clothes, and it glides on without feeling like it's ripping my underarm skin." What else could you ask for?
Buy it: Amazon.com ($11.67); Nativecos.com ($13)
2. Best on a Budget: Toms of Maine
You've probably seen this deodorant before, because it's pretty much everywhere, which is why Dr. Patel recommends it. At less than $15 for a pack of three, it's also extremely budget-friendly.
This deodorant is aluminum-free and cruelty-free, with no artificial colors, fragrances or preservatives. It's also unscented, which some people prefer. You can't beat a classic!
Buy it: Amazon.com ($14.52 for a 3-pack); Walmart ($5.97)
3. Best for Sensitive Skin: Vanicream Aluminum-Free Deodorant
Dr. Hart says this one is "great for super-sensitive skin types, as it is free of dyes, fragrance, masking fragrance, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasers."
It's also baking soda-free, alcohol-free, talc-free and gluten-free, and it contains no botanical extracts, all of which is good for people who's skin is on the sensitive side.
One Amazon user calls the deodorant "life-changing," saying it cured a lifetime of contact dermatitis.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: ($12.15)
4. Best Spray: Visha Skincare Cheek 2 Feet
Dr. Patel recommends this deodorant because "it contains zinc, tea tree oil and witch hazel to naturally deodorize, but can be used on the scalp and body as well."
Indeed, this 4-in-1 gentle and nourishing spray can be used on your entire body to help decrease pore blockage that comes from sweat and friction.
One Amazon user says it has really helped with her daughter's acne and "worked right away."
Buy it: Amazon.com ($25); Vishaskincare.com ($25)
5. Best Roll-On: Duke Cannon Supply Co. Natural Charcoal Deodorant
This deodorant was inspired by soldiers and made for "hard-working men," so you know they're serious about keeping down perspiration.
This product is aluminum-free and made with activated charcoal, which is believed to have detoxing benefits.
Dr. Patel recommends this one because it comes in alluring scents like Sandalwood & Amber, Fresh Water & Neroli and Bergamot & Black Pepper. Sounds like it could easily take the place of cologne.
Buy it: Amazon.com ($11.99); Dukecannon.com ($12)
6. Best Solid: Schmidt's
This all-natural deodorant is third-party tested by Ecocert, so you know it's the real deal. It's vegan and contains no aluminum salts, artificial fragrance, filler ingredients, propylene glycol, phthalates or parabens.
The scent is a sweet bouquet of roses with hints of vanilla, and it contains coconut oil to help nourish your skin and magnesium hydroxide to keep you smelling fresh.
Dr. Patel recommends this one in part because it's also available just about everywhere.
Buy it: Amazon.com ($13.60); Target.com ($9.99)
7. Best Cream: PiperWai Natural Activated Charcoal Deodorant
This creamy deodorant is made with activated charcoal, coconut oil and shea butter, creating a soothing moisturizer that's heaven to your skin.
It's vegan and cruelty-free, and the packaging is produced from recycled ocean waste plastic and post-consumer recycled material, so you know it's eco-friendly.
Dr. Patel recommends this one because it's "good for the hard-to-reach areas, like in between your toes!"
Buy it: Amazon.com ($13); Piperwai.com ($13)
8. Best Unscented: Lume Natural Deodorant
Lume has been clinically proven to block odor and promises as much as 72 hours of odor-free protection.
It's phthalate-free, sulfate-free, baking soda-free, aluminum-free and paraben-free. Dr. Patel recommends this one because it's specifically designed for sensitive areas, such as your armpits and private parts.
Amazon users say the deodorant glides on very well and keeps them dry all day.
Buy it: Amazon.com ($17.49); Lumedeodorant.com ($14.99)
What to Look for in a Natural Deodorant
Keep in mind that there's no official definition when it comes to natural deodorant, and there's no research to show that a product with "natural" on the label is better or healthier than traditional deodorant or antiperspirant.
1. No Aluminum
Natural deodorants contain no aluminum. You may have heard that the aluminum in antiperspirant is bad for you, but claims that it's linked to breast cancer or Alzheimer's have been debunked.
With that said, there's nothing wrong with going for a natural deodorant, as long as you have the right expectations.
2. Odor-Blocking and Sweat-Absorbing Ingredients
"Technically, the only FDA-approved antiperspirant (or sweat-blocking) ingredients are aluminum salts," Dr. Hart says. "So, aluminum-free products focus on absorbing sweat with ingredients such as baking soda, arrowroot powder and charcoal."
These can be effective, but Dr. Hart cautions that they might be no match for heavy sweating.
3. A Smell You Like
This one is a personal choice, but keep in mind that something you'll be wearing all day should have a smell you enjoy or can at least tolerate for that long.
Pro tip: If you have sensitive skin, consider opting for an unscented stick to avoid possible irritation.
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