Although the health benefits of natural deodorants have been talked about for years, it seems that many of us have been unwilling to give it a go. The misconception is that natural products are either weak or ineffective.
We’ll be honest, we’ve been part of the many. Reluctant to put our trust in natural deodorants we’ve even gone as far as to try super strong pore blocking antiperspirants to avoid releasing sweat and have ended up with arid, sore pits ravaged by the harshest chemicals.
It’s important to mention that while most “regular” deodorants contain chemicals such as aluminium and parabens, which are often linked to causing breast cancer, but there is no conclusive evidence that this is the case.
Read more: 10 best refillable beauty products
That said, aluminium found in antiperspirants blocks the pores and prevents the body from sweating. This sort of suppression isn’t natural – if something needs to be out, let it out! Antiperspirants can cause dryness and rashes, while aerosols are toxic for the environment.
Now we figure, it’s time to give natural deodorants a proper chance. We’re defining “natural” as those made without those toxic chemicals, including aluminium, meaning they won’t cause irritation, nor will they stain the underarm area of your clothes or bras.
They allow the body to sweat as normal while still working to effectively mask any smell. (Which, for the record, isn’t caused by sweat itself, it’s when the sweat mixes with air and gets old that the odour takes hold) and they absorb moisture too.
We’ve been told anecdotally that when people stopped using antiperspirant and tried natural deodorants they began to sweat less and we are delighted to confirm that in our case this is true.
Like “regular” deodorants, they come as sprays (but never as aerosols), sticks and roll-ons – but also as balms that you apply with your fingers. This latter application technique seems to divide opinion. Some people love the strangely visceral action while others would argue that it’s annoying to have to wash your hands after application.
We have included a large selection in this round-up and we’ve catered to most tastes in terms of fragrance. Many deodorants are unisex and almost all of the products in this selection can be recycled, meaning that you are not contributing to landfill.
You’ll find that natural deodorants cost more than you might be used to with standard antiperspirants. But we think they last a lot longer and with all the benefits above, it seems well worth it.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Awake Organics moon goo, 60g
First off, we think this packaging – a little tin that fits in your palm – is completely awesome and unlike anything else on the market: bright, cosmic and fun with a distinct air of mystery. Inside, the balm, which has a crisp subtle scent – kind of softly lemony – is thick and dense, made from a blend of antibacterial essential oils including coconut and rosemary as well as beeswax and bicarb. These all work together to banish unwanted whiffs and soak up sweat. We can confirm Moon Goo lasts all day and you can still smell the lovely scent it in the afternoon. We absolutely love this hardworking goo and couldn’t recommend it more.
Buy now £12.00, Awakeorganics.co.uk
Wild refillable natural deodorant, 43g
We think this is probably the chicest and glossiest product in the selection; the concept and design are both beautiful and clever and we love that you pick from five different colour packages all of which are made using sustainable materials. We also loved that Wild is available on a subscription basis (which brings the price down to just £12).
There’s five different scents to choose from but our favourite was the cotton and sea salt fragrance. It is genuinely one of the loveliest we have ever smelt (please make a perfume) and we aren’t ashamed to admit to smelling our own pits with something approaching satisfaction. Aside from the smell, moisture is kept at bay thanks to Wild’s deodorants containing tapioca starch which works super hard to absorb sweat.
Buy now £25.00, Wearewild.com
AKT, the onsen deodorant balm, 50ml
We loved how modern and cool this packaging is – a tube is novel for a deodorant and we’re here for it. Small and discreet this fits nicely into a make-up bag, the only thing is that we found you needed to squeeze very hard to get the paste out before applying with fingers. The Onsen smells woody, smokey and strong – perfect for anyone averse to floral or sweet smells – and the fragrance lasts and lasts and lasts. In fact, this fragrance had the most impressive longevity of any in the round-up.
Buy now £18.00, Aktlondon.com
Pure deodorant, 70ml
This is a solid push up stick, packaged in a biodegradable cardboard tube. It has a cloudy, crystal finish and we found it glides on easily. It is composed of vegetable enzymes which neutralises any smell but allows sweat to move freely. With a light chamomile fragrance, this one is really inexpensive given its sustainable credentials and ease of use.
Buy now £6.00, Beautynaturals.com
Malin + Goetz bergamot deodorant, 73g
This does look very fancy, even in a minimalist bathroom. It’s a chunky stick which is super easy to apply and it’s colourless which means there’s no chance of smudging onto dark clothing. The bergamot smells super fresh and clean, and it contains corn starch which absorbs moisture, explaining why we not only smelt fresh but felt dry.
Buy now £19.00, Malinandgoetz.co.uk
The Natural Deodorant Co. active deodorant balm orange and bergamot, 55g
This is said to be Fearne Cotton’s favourite deodorant and we can see why. Firstly it smells super sweet and kind of like an orange cake icing. The fragrance maintains all day, though as a light touch rather than a punch. Although this is designed as a strong deodorant, we didn’t find it particularly powerful. It’s perfect for every day and we think it’s brilliant value.
Buy now £12.50, Naturaldeoco.com
Dr. Hauschka rose deodorant, 50ml
This is packaged as a traditional roll on but in a glass bottle. The deodorant itself is of course liquid which takes a little while to dry. We thought that this smells completely amazing like pure rose elixir – and while the fragrance only faded slightly, we think this is best for lighter sweaters.
Buy now £13.00, Drhauschka.co.uk
Arbonne shea butter deodorant, 40g
Made with sustainably sourced shea butter and soothing aloe, this smells lovely: like clean laundry. Easy to apply, we found this felt dry and “not there” almost immediately. We didn’t feel we sweated at all when we used this over the course of a week, which is thanks to the arrowroot powder absorbing it all. We were impressed that we felt so clean and dry even after a long, uphill walk.
Buy now £15.00, Arbonne.com
Aurelia botanical cream deodorant, 50g
This is beautifully packaged in a solid, weighty jar. The balm smells extremely herbal, almost like toothpaste thanks to the peppermint included in its ingredients. It is densely packed into the pot and you really do only need a tiny little pinch for each pit so we anticipate this lasting a year. It feels very solid – there is very little moisture which explains why not only did we not smell but we felt dry too. By the end of a day which involved a brisk walk and 45 minutes of Zoom yoga the smell hadn’t altered at all.
Buy now £18.00, Aureliaskincare.com
Weleda wild rose deodorant, 100ml
This is a really richly floral smell thanks to being made up of damask rose and ylang-ylang essential oils. The accompanying spray pump distributes generously but takes a little while to dry, however unlike balms, creams or milks, you are completely unaware of it being there. You will sweat – we sweated freely all day so if you can’t cope with sweat patches this isn’t the one for you but any smell was perfectly masked by the fragrance. A bonus? We found this spray acted as a light perfume, too.
Buy now £14.75, Weleda.co.uk
Haoma comfort organic deodorant, 100ml
Given that this is a spray, it feels very fresh and we think it will be especially welcome in the summer months. We thought the bottle was lovely too as it’s understated and pretty. However, what we thought was really interesting about this one is that it is specially formulated for women going through menopause.
The formula is plant-based and smells accordingly: botanical, fragrant and fresh – we thought the grapefruit and sage elements were particularly prevalent. Though you will sweat when wearing this, you won’t smell.
Buy now £20.00, Haoma.co.uk
Aesop deodorant, 50ml
As with all Aesop stuff, this will be a welcome addition to your dressing table or handbag with its cult branding. We like the diminutiveness of this spray; you can carry it around all day and top up as necessary. It contains vetiver root and coriander seed so the fragrance is a union of fresh greenery and earth.
We found this to be really light and refreshing but we did reapply during the day as was the case for all of the spray deodorants in this round up. We did an intense Zoom yoga class while wearing this and found it the fragrance was super hardworking and more than enough to mask any unpleasant odours that might be unleashed by the final sun salutations.
Buy now £23.00, Aesop.com
The verdict: Natural deodorants
The Moon Goo gets our vote not only for being hardworking but also for its awesome sustainable credentials. We love that it’s from a small supply chain with heart and imagination. We also fell in love with Wild because of its subscription set up – and the fragrances which were completely divine.
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