You’ve probably seen natural deodorants lining the aisles of your local store or heard people recommending it over traditional deodorant.
There are good reasons for this increasing popularity. Natural deodorant is better for your skin, your general health, the environment and does not hurt any animal. Sounds pretty typical for a vegan alternative, doesn’t it?
Even if you’re already aware of the benefits, if you’re like us, you may initially have some worries about going “natural.” You may have even tried one of these products in the past and found it didn’t quite hold up.
If that’s the case, we’ve got you covered. Read on to see our top four picks for quality, effective natural deodorant.
What to Look For (and Avoid)
When browsing your deodorant options, we recommend looking for natural, aluminum-free, and baking soda-free products. Other terms to look for include vegan, cruelty-free, non-toxic, and sustainable.
Why a Natural Deodorant?
As conscious as we are about what we put in our bodies, we sometimes neglect our largest organ, our skin. Far from being a bulletproof barrier, our skin absorbs what we consistently spread on it. When the sensitive skin of our armpits is repeatedly exposed to chemicals, it dramatically alters both the type and quantity of bacteria found there.
Modern antiperspirant can contribute to an increase of odor-producing bacteria. That’s right–the product advertising a fresh scent may actually make us smellier! Over time, this means we have to use increasingly powerful products to fight body odor.
Traditional deodorants opt for aluminum because it clogs sweat glands. Since our bodies are designed to sweat out toxins and balance body heat, blocking that function is a risky idea.
You may have heard about aluminum causing cancer or Alzheimer’s. While the current science on this is inconclusive, aluminum is still undeniably toxic in high doses. On top of that, applying deodorant after you’ve shaved can lead to higher aluminum absorption. Yikes!
Why Baking Soda Free?
Baking soda is one of the most versatile ingredients to have in your cupboard. Even though we appreciate the value of baking soda, we have to advise against using it on sensitive skin. It’s abrasive in nature and a leading cause of armpit irritation.
Surviving Deodorant Detox
If you’ve ever tried to switch from an antiperspirant to a natural deodorant and immediately noticed a smell, you’re not alone. The good news is that a temporary increase in “odorous bacteria” is to be expected and will fade over 2-4 weeks. Once you’ve powered through the detox, your body will rebalance, and you’ll be feeling fresh once again.
Here are our tips for making the transition as painless as possible:
- Exfoliate: Whether with a loofah, homemade exfoliant, or dry brush, removing the dead skin is key.
- Monitor Your Diet: Highly processed foods can negatively alter the way you smell. A hydrating diet with fruits and veggies will help with the sweat odor.
- Try a Mask: Use a 1:1 ratio of bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar and add water until there is an easily spreadable consistency. You can leave this on for 10-20 minutes before your shower to help draw out toxins faster. Don’t be alarmed if the apple cider vinegar creates some redness, but if it stings, rinse it off.
- Wear Loose Clothes: Avoid tight shirts and stick to natural, breathable fabrics during the detox period. A loose, cotton shirt will feel (and likely smell!) much better than a snug polyester top.
- Sweat it Out: Sweating will help get your glands working and flush out toxins. If you’re not feeling a workout, try spending some time in a sauna.
As tedious as the detox period can be, remember that you’re doing yourself a favor in the long run. To make the process less stressful, pick a time where you don’t have any important social or work obligations in your calendar.
Our Favorite Deodorants
Schmidt’s Naturals Deodorant Sensitive Stick Formula
For those who love a floral, rosy scent, take a look at the non-greasy Geranium Flower Sensitive Skin Deodorant Stick. It uses essential oils and zero artificial fragrances. For an extra smooth application, Schmidt recommends holding the stick under your arm momentarily to soften it with body heat.
Make sure to look for the “Sensitive Skin” option. Schmidt makes other natural deodorants, but only this particular line is baking soda-free.
Soapwalla Deodorant Cream
If you’re looking for a cream with easy application, check out Soapwalla’s Deodorant Cream. It has a frosting-like consistency for quick absorption. Lavender, peppermint, and tea tree oils combine to form this deodorant’s appealing scent.
Zabana Essentials Rose Water Deodorant Stick
Considering the calming effect rose water has on sensitive skin, it’s no surprise it makes a solid addition to deodorant. The Zabana Essentials Rose Water Deodorant Stick uses a therapeutic blend of rose petal extracts and essential oils to create an effective defense against body odor. We love that it comes in an easily portable, biodegradable and recyclable tube.
Zabana Essentials also offers the Deodorant Detox Bar, which detoxifies, exfoliates, and freshens armpits. While this is useful anytime, it’s especially handy when you’re going through a deodorant detox.
Ethique Solid Deodorant
Did you know that bamboo can absorb 200% of its weight in sweat and oil? Ethique’s Solid Deodorant Bars have made use of that quality. You can try the unscented bar or one of their two aromatic options.
We’re big fans of Ethique’s #giveupthebottle initiative. By opting for this bar instead of traditional deodorant, you’ll save 0.3 litres of water and prevent two plastic bottles from being made.
Meow Meow Tweet Baking Soda Free Deodorant Stick
The charmingly named Meow Meow Tweet has an equally cute design for their Baking Soda Free Deodorant Stick. Aside from aesthetics, this deodorant also comes in biodegradable packaging. You can try it out in grapefruit, rose geranium, or cedar spruce scents. Meow Meow Tweet offers a bulk return program where you can send back your empties to be recycled.
Give one of these deodorants a try and let us know what you think!