It’s a challenge for many to transition away from mainstream anti-perspirants into a world of green-washing, uncertainty, and products that just don’t work. Here I’ve written Safer De-Stinkers: Finding Natural Deodorant That Works to help make it easier!
As I mentioned on Instagram, I have not worn “drug store deodorant” since I was around 22 years old. And since I am now in the 40+ crowd, that officially means I have been sans mainstream aluminum-based, artificial-fragrance filled anti-perspirant and deodorants for over 20 years!
What this means is I have been experimenting with almost as many products as I have years passed as well as just straight up going armpit commando and just embracing my inner hippie. I still do that sometimes but I love having a safer alternative that I can count on, especially if I am going to be in close quarters with people who may not be as enthusiastic as I am about embracing my natural state.
I want to start off by saying that I am not sponsored by any of these brands to promote them. All opinions are my own based on my personal experience with each product, which I tried individually in order to establish.
It’s also important to mention that what works for one person, like anything, may not work for others. I know that baking soda is a major irritant for some, while for others it can be a great odor minimizer. Just like some essential oil fragranced products can be irritation triggers for some as well, while perfectly well-suited for others. And finally, some of these products that just did not work great for me, other people rave about, so while I am offering my 2 pennies, please know they are just that – personal opinions.
So let’s get started!
Let’s begin by talking about the difference between anti-perspirant and deodorant and what happens when you discontinue use of the mainstream products, as well as ingredients to look for that could potentially be harmful. Anti-perspirants are designed to do just what they say, halt sweating. In my opinion, this is the opposite of what we want our bodies to do. They were designed to sweat, to excrete toxins and also to help our bodies cool. While we have grown accustomed to feel shame or embarrassment from sweating, it’s something I believe we need to be okay with, at least in terms of “what nature intended.” That said, we have social norms that are different and standards for hygiene that have changed over time. So while I do not mind sweating personally, I do not necessarily feel 100% comfortable with others smelling my pit perfume.
Interestingly, I do not always have odor. It can be influenced by what I eat (hey garlic and onions, you’re the best), or even by hormones. At other times there is no smell at all, or when supplementing certain herbs like fenugreek, my perspiration can smell like maple syrup (always thought that was weird by the way).
My personal feeling is that if I can find a product that helps to absorb or minimize odor but still allows me to perspire naturally, THAT’S the direction I want to head.
Now when you first come off mainstream products, you can expect a detox of sorts. This may mean extra odor, different odor, more sweat, even stains on your clothes you didn’t have before. Oddly, but fortunately, this is all normal. And depending on how long you’ve been using these products, the detox can last a few weeks or a few months. The good news is, your body will transition and adjust to your new normal. You do not necessarily need to DO anything to detox your pits, but if you want to move the process along and remove some of the residue that’s built up over time, you can consider using a product like THIS to help. You can also wash your armpits with THIS soap to help the detox process as well.
As far as ingredients to look out for, I personally steer clear from aluminum, parabens, artificial fragrance of any kind. They’ve all been POTENTIALLY linked to cancer and other health threats and with great options on the market now, why not go clean? And yes, I’ve tried milk of magnesia from the dollar store, baking soda, lavender essential oil, the first Spring’s dew drops, and unicorn saliva. While entertaining, they didn’t do the trick.
Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for (just kidding, it’s not THAT exciting is it?)…
I’m including some brands of deodorants below that I have tried over the years and including pros and cons as well as an overall score, 1 being the lowest and 10 being absolute perfection. Be sure to look them up on EWG’s Skin Deep Database as well as Think Dirty if you are wanting to see how they rank in terms of safety!
This is a brand I have tried more than once, hoping it would do the trick and unfortunately I just didn’t get much out of it. It seems to be one of the more irritating brands based on my experience and what I’ve heard from others, possibly because of the baking soda. That said, I wanted to include it because I know others who have had a great experience with it and who continue to use it. It is affordable for a cleaner brand and ranks very well on EWG.
PROS: Good ranking on EWG, safe ingredients, nice variety of scents
CONS:Less effective against moisture, odor, and can be irritating
CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO LEARN MORE OR GO HERE
I am glad Tom’s helped pave the way for safer brands and I am even more grateful that they helped “natural” become more mainstream. You can find Tom’s in many stores and it is cost effective since they are produced in large quantities. My biggest issue with Tom’s is that it just doesn’t seem to do much for me. At this point I’d rather invest in one deodorant that is slightly more expensive but WORKS than 10 cheap, safe sticks that do a lotta nada. That said, it’s worth including for the cost aspect and the anti-stink capabilities.
PROS: Inexpensive, easily accessible, nice (natural) fragrance options
CONS: Doesn’t seem to ever dry, not great for preventing moisture, some varieties actually contain aluminum so read closely!
CLICK THE IMAGE FOR MORE INFO OR GO HERE
Crystal is both a brand name and a type of deodorant, basing it’s anti-perspirant properties off of crystal mineral salt solids. Some of them like the Thai Crystal Deodorant need to be wet first before applying, which also means it takes time for them to dry (not my fave and it didn’t seem effective overall). This one I tried glides on easily without wetting first but also does not seem to fully dry. It does contain baking soda which can be irritating but didn’t bother me. Odor wise I thought it was nice (and essential oil based for safety) but moisture wise it did not do a fantastic job. I gave it a slightly higher rating because the price is great and it is easy to find in mainstream stores.
PROS: Safe, inexpensive, easy to source, nice (natural) fragrance options, aluminum-free
CONS: Does not seem to protect against wetness, stays a bit damp on me, and does contain baking soda which can be an irritant. The straight crystal may be your best bet for avoiding the baking soda if you want to try a crystal variety.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO LEARN MORE OR GO HERE
I love that this small brand is really showing innovation with its ingredients and using magnesium as both a supplemental ingredient as well as one to help with pit protection. The roll on is easy to apply and the natural fragrance is nice and light. I found that it would not always fully dry on me and then did some balling action which is not super cute, but I think they’re onto something! It is nonirriating too despite the small amount of baking soda used.
PROS: Goes on easy, not overpriced, uses two forms of magnesium, non irritating despite baking soda, nice natural fragrance, aluminum-free
CONS: Does not protect as well against moisture, can ball up
CLICK ON THE IMAGE FOR MORE INFO OR GO HERE
Like a few others, Primal Pit Paste has a great list of ingredients and is very clean. I love their dedication to providing a safe option for our stinky parts. It falls in a similar category with other baking soda based deodorants, which if you can tolerate, are great, and if not, can sometimes be problematic. I have heard from some people who got rashy after using this product, I myself did not but it’s worth knowing that a product can work miracles for some but also be an irritant to others.
PROS: A veteran in the paleo marketplace, they’ve been around for awhile and do really well for some. Clean natural fragrance options, protects well against odor, ranks well on EWG
CONS: Baking soda which can be an irritant, does not help as well with moisture like some do
CLICK ON IMAGE TO LEARN MORE OR CLICK HERE
By leaps and bounds, this brand has done a great job taking safer deodorants mainstream. With lots of natural scent options, and a great marketing team, it’s become a household name quickly! I actually like Native quite a bit and it was my favorite for a few months. I actually really enjoy the Men’s Eucalyptus and Mint. My biggest issue with Native, which is not the end of the world, is that it tends to ball up under my arms when I do begin to sweat. It’s noticeable when I raise my arms and I’m not talking about after a hard core workout, I’m saying when I sweat at all I’m growing deodorant snowballs in my pits. It’s not the cutest.
PROS: Great natural fragrance variety, protects well against odor, “Sensitive” option is free of baking soda
CONS: Baking soda which can be an irritant (in the nonsensitive versions), balls up with moisture, does not protect as well against moisture, cost
CLICK ON IMAGE TO LEARN MORE OR CLICK HERE
I love Fatco as a brand and love their contribution to the industry. Simple honest ingredients with a lot of heart behind them and their formulations.
PROS: Great ingredients, works well on odor
CONS: Has baking soda which can be an irritant to those sensitive, no application “stick”
CLICK ON IMAGE BELOW FOR MORE INFO OR CLICK HERE
Jason has a pretty big array of products, some “cleaner” than others. I make sure to read labels and see how they rank though as some of the sticks have aluminum which is a big nope for me. The dry spray however has been pretty effective and ranks a 3 on EWG which is great. This product is also FREE OF BAKING SODA making it a great alternative for those sensitive AND has a men’s (natural) fragrance option which is really nice too!
Pros: Goes on pretty dry and the fragrance is essential oil based and helps with odor, NO BAKING SODA, helps protect some against excessive moisture
Cons: Not as long lasting as it could be, could protect against moisture a little more
CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO LEARN MORE OR CLICK HERE
I am in the process of trying out a few other brands as well. This can take a bit of time but when I have gathered enough data (and opinion) to share, I’ll be including these following brands: Lume, Earth Mama, Real Purity, Purely Great, Lather, and Bare Pits.