We’ve written extensively about the toxic ingredients found in deodorants – it’s pretty scary when the the Environmental Working Group (EWG) consistently rates Axe, Old Spice, and other commercial body sprays and deodorants as moderate-to-high health hazards. Far from transforming men into virile beasts as the ads for these products suggest, the sprays may impede men’s chances of reproducing, as a recent analysis of popular men’s body sprays confirmed that many contain chemicals that can disrupt male hormones and damage sperm.
The EWG found that teenage boys and girls are particularly susceptible to hormone-disrupting chemicals like phthalates because of the ways the chemicals influence their rapidly developing reproductive systems. But it’s not only teens whose health can suffer from commercial deodorants: animal studies have found that male rats exposed to phthalates during puberty had more testicular problems, and a report from the Journal for Applied Toxicology has suggested that there may be a link between spraying the hormone-disrupting chemicals contained in deodorants and breast cancer, especially those tumours found in the outer quarter of the breast.
We here at Eluxe have concluded that we’d rather not get nerve damage, Alzheimer’s, skin irritation, or even cancer from some of the heavy metals and harmful chemicals that most commercial brands pack into their products. But luckily, there are plenty of natural alternatives out there that really do work.
Whether you’re after a roll on, spray or cream, here’s our pick of the best natural deodorants on the market today.
This little guy gets top ratings from all who use it. The aluminium-free, botanically based formulation containing Zinc Ricinoleate to prevent bacterial build up and a highly considered blend of essential oils – including Rosemary, Sage, and Eucalyptus – to help mask disagreeable body odours.
If you don’t sweat buckets normally but want a little pick-me-up during the day, this organic product ensures you’ll smell sweet. Free of all nasties, Lavera Body Spa Organic Honey Moments Deodorant Spray has a warm, fragrant organic honeycomb scent with just a touch of fresh organic orange.
4. PitROK Spray
Not all spray deodorants are nasty! This one by PitRok is an effective fragrance free spray deodorant which is kind to your skin and provides day-long protection. It works by preventing bacterial growth – the cause of body odour–and contains skin-conditioning Aloe Vera too.
5. Dr Hauschka
Dr Hauschka makes several different kinds of natural deodorant, but if you ask us, the Floral variety smells particularly great for women and the Fresh works well on men. The ingredients are as pure as can be, and it’s amazingly effective compared to other so-called natural sticks and roll-ons (thanks to, they say, odor-reducing zinc ricinoleate). Even the packaging is green — it comes in easily recyclable glass, not plastic.
Prefer a stick option? No problem. Madara Herbal Deodorant has a soothing formula with Northern Sage and natural minerals to reduce odour and provide freshness all day long. The refreshing, ‘green’ product absorbs quickly, and leaves no stains on clothing.
Totally free of all harmful ingredients, this glass-bottled deodorant sprays come in three scents: rose, citrus and sage, for good reason. For example, rose is said to be a natural antibacterial and in a consumer trial, it seemed to be the most effective of the three Weleda offerings for those hot and sweaty summer days. Citrus is refreshing and the scent has been proven to have a positive effect on mood. Sage is a bit more herby smelling, making it a great choice for guys.
Manly, yes! But we like it too! Packed with 8 essential oils and aloe vera, this deodorant not only smells great, it will care for your skin and provide all day protection against underarm odour.
Bulldog is free from parabens, artificial colours, synthetic fragrances, or ingredients from animal sources, making it a perfectly safe vegan option.
Miessence comes in three scents: manly Ancient Spice; the more womanly Tahitian Breeze or one that’s completely aroma-free. All have zero of the dangerous chemicals you want to avoid by buying a natural deodorant, of course!
The company has signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, gets a very low hazard rating on the EWG’s Skin Deep database, and is PETA’s approved cosmetics list. Apparently this one is a fave with eco-supermodel Summer Rayne Oakes, who says it’s a very long-lasting product.
This all-natural yet powerful deodorant cream is based on superfine vegetable powders, clays, and lavender, peppermint and tea tree essential oils to absorb moisture, inhibit bacteria, and ensure a long-lasting and highly effective experience. The frosting-like consistency ensures effortless manual application and quick absorption.
Soapwalla’s Deodorant Cream is free from harmful chemicals, petroleum, or aluminium compounds found in commercial antiperspirants (linked to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer), is vegan, and is never ever tested on animals.
This is the original natural deodorant! Made from volcanic alum, this is a totally organic product that never stains clothes and is fully unscented. It’s super-effective, even on the heaviest sweaters, and is very gentle on the skin. Although it’s easy to use – just moisten and rub under your armpit – some aren’t too keen on the lack of packaging and DIY ethos. But it doesn’t get more natural than this–this is literally just a mineral rock, nothing more. And these crystals have had loyal devotees for decades who would never use anything but–try one and find out why!
12. Freedom Stick
After her friend was diagnosed with cancer, Ira, the founder of this brand was inspired when her friend’s oncologist advised she stop using chemical-filled anti-perspirants to avoid overloading her lymph system. She decided to create a natural deodorant based on pure plant oils and baking soda, and Freedom Stick was born. “Link or no link to breast cancer, I didn’t care. It just made sense,” says Ira. “Cindy and I searched and tested natural alternatives, but none of the deodorants we tried lasted all day, or they didn’t work at all.” Luckily, the two friends created a natural deodorant that does it all.
Main image: “Mike” Michael L. Baird via Wikimedia Commons