The Best Natural Deodorants to Stay Smelling Fresh All Day
The aluminum-free deodorant options have exploded from a niche market to a mainstream staple in the last few years. And with that popularity comes innovations that now include baking soda-free products, deodorants with skincare built into them, and even products that claim to ease wetness with natural ingredients.
If you're thinking of making the switch to a natural deodorant, it's important to know what's ahead. There's a big difference between a deodorant vs. an antiperspirant, says Rebecca Marcus M.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of Maei MD. "Antiperspirants use aluminum chloride salts to block sweat from leaving pores, and since deodorants don't contain aluminum, they do not reduce sweating," she says. "'Natural' is also an unregulated term, and many brands use this term for marketing purposes."
To pick the best natural deodorants, we evaluated their ingredients and scent, as well as combed through reviews to identify the top performers. Kopari Beauty Coconut Deodorant is our pick for best overall because of its smooth application and odor control.
Not sure what to try first? Here are the best natural deodorants that are aluminum-free.
- Best Overall: Kopari Beauty Natural Coconut Deodorant
- Best Value: Schmidt's Natural Deodorant
- Best Splurge: Evolve Together
- Best Customizable: Helmm Natural Deodorant
- Best Skincare-Infused: Kosas Chemistry AHA Serum Deodorant
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Each & Every Natural Deodorant
- Best Scent: Papr All-Natural Deodorant
- Best Without Baking Soda: Bite Refillable Deodorant
- Best for Workouts: Boscia Prebiotic + Probiotic Freshening All-Over Body Deodorant
- Best Travel Size: Myro Plant-Powered Deodorant
Best Overall: Kopari Beauty Natural Coconut Deodorant
Best Value: Schmidt's Natural Deodorant
Best Splurge: Evolve Together
Best Customizable: Helmm Natural Deodorant
Best Skincare-Infused: Kosas Chemistry AHA Serum Deodorant
Best for Sensitive Skin: Each & Every Natural Deodorant
Best Scent: Papr All-Natural Deodorant
Best Without Baking Soda: Bite Refillable Deodorant
Best for Workouts: Boscia Prebiotic + Probiotic Freshening All-Over Body Deodorant
Best Travel Size: Myro Plant Powered Deodorant
What to Look For
Dr. Marcus is a fan of many of the ingredients mentioned above, like arrowroot and cornstarch, which she says are "very absorbent and help to decrease moisture and therefore odor from sweat." More ingredients to look out for include aloe leaf juice to discourage bacterial growth or glycerin and shea butter that are soothing to the skin, Dr. Marcus says.
"There has also been a recent trend of using glycolic acid to reduce underarm odor," says Dr. Marcus. "This works by lowering the pH on the skin and creating a hostile environment for bacteria." As an added bonus, glycolic acid also exfoliates the skin, which can help treat hyperpigmentation and ingrown hairs. However, as the armpit skin is highly sensitive, be careful not to overdo it. This means you may not be able to reapply your favorite product more than once a day.
Baking soda is commonly found in natural deodorants products, as it does function to absorb sweat as it happens. "However, sweat is still produced, providing fertile ground for bacteria, and therefore odor, so deodorants without antiperspirants tend to be less effective," Dr. Marcus explains. Many natural deodorants also make use of essential oils to mask odor.
As mentioned above, deodorants work to mask odors and not prohibit sweating, whereas antiperspirants actually block sweat from leaving your pores. Therefore, if you're "still sweating but you don't have body odor, then technically the deodorant is doing its job," says Dr. Marcus.
Stick deodorants are still the most common method, especially in the natural category. There are a few brands that sell them cream formulas, in jars and you use your fingers to apply, or squeeze tubes. And others that offer a more gel-like formula. Depending on your preferences, a clear, gel deodorant may help you avoid smudges and white marks on clothing, but take longer to fully dry after application.
Your Questions, Answered
Are natural deodorants safe?
Dr. Marcus notes that for the most part, natural deodorants are safe. "Although they do have a very pleasing smell, essential oils and other botanical ingredients are common culprits behind irritant contact dermatitis," she says. So make sure you're checking for skin irritants when switching over to a natural deodorant, and pay careful attention to the ingredients list if you already know you're irritated by certain additives.
How long does it take to adjust to natural deodorant?
There is no science behind this answer, explains Dr. Marcus, as everybody sweats a different amount and reacts differently to new products. "Anecdotally, some people report that they sweat more and smell worse for three or four weeks after switching from traditional antiperspirant to natural deodorant," says Dr. Marcus. "An adjustment period seems plausible when thinking about how homeostasis works. However, this is not scientific fact." Stick with it for at least a month before deciding if that deodorant (or aluminum-free products in general) are right for you, unless you notice redness or rash or major irritation—then stop immediately. Natural deodorants aren't one formula fits all and adjusting to the wetness that comes from sweating may take some time to get used to.