Making the transition from conventional deodorants to all-natural and organic deodorants can be a, well, stinky process of trial and error. We all want to avoid using toxic chemicals on our delicate skin, but no one wants to give up smelling fresh and clean in the process. Luckily, you don’t have to! We’ve researched and tried over 80 different natural and organic deodorants before narrowing down to this list of the very best organic deodorants that actually work. These deodorant products are made with natural bacteria and odor fighting ingredients and contain no nasty chemicals. All of the organic deodorants below are free from Parabens, Aluminum, Silica, Triclosan, Talc, Propylene Glycol, Steareths, and TEA/DEA (triethanolamine/diethanolamne). All products have also been double-checked against the Environmental Working Groups database to ensure that they only include the highest quality ingredients.
Choosing the right organic deodorant product for you requires a little understanding of how these natural products work. For starters, natural deodorants are not antiperspirants. Common antiperspirant ingredients (like aluminum chlorohydrate and aluminum zirconium) literally block your sweat glands from producing sweat. While this may sound like a good outcome, these ingredients have been linked to gene instability, Alzheimer’s disease, and even breast cancer cell growth (1). Instead of blocking sweat, natural deodorants work by killing bacteria and neutralizing odor so that your sweat doesn’t smell bad. Additionally, natural powders (such as arrowroot, baking soda, kaolin clay, and corn starch) help to absorb excess wetness from sweating. Check out our guide on The Best Organic Deodorant Ingredients at the bottom of this list for more information on natural deodorant ingredients and how they work.
Additionally, some natural ingredients work better for some people than others. While baking soda is an amazing deodorizer, some people with sensitive skin find it a bit too harsh for their delicate underarm skin and may want a baking-soda free variety. Those who sweat heavily may prefer an organic deodorant that contains more heavy duty sweat-absorbing powders like kaolin clay and/or cornstarch. The bottom line is this: there is a natural deodorant product that will work for you! You may just need to try different formula’s until you find the right blend for your skin.
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What are the best organic deodorant ingredients?
Ever put a box of baking soda in your fridge? This is because baking soda is amazing at neutralizing odor and absorbing moisture. Also known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda can sometimes contain aluminum particles so look for an aluminum free baking soda formula. Very high concentrations of baking soda can disrupt your skin’s pH and cause rashes for sensitive skin types, so be wary of high baking-soda deodorants.
Mined from the mountains of Koa-ling China, kaolin clay is an extremely absorbent and detoxifying powder. It can easily absorb a lot of oil and moisture, which makes it a fantastic natural deodorant ingredient. Kaolin clay also has potent detoxifying properties. It is great at drawing out impurities from the skin and then neutralizing them with its blend of mineral and phyto-nutrients. Very gentle and great for sensitive skin types.
Arrowroot powder is a very absorbent substance that is very similar to corn starch. It servers as both a medium for absorbing sweat and as a thickening agent for deodorant pastes and sticks. It is often found in natural dry shampoos as well because it is great at absorbing excess oil. By itself this powder isn’t great at killing bacteria, so it is usually mixed with potent anti-bacterial essential or vegetable oils like coconut, lavender, or sage.
Essential oils are essentially the anti-bacterial stars of organic deodorants. Some essential oils are better than others for deodorizing because many essential oils are too harsh for topical use. The best essential oils to look for in a natural deodorant are bergamot, cypress, grapefruit, lavender, tea tree, clary sage, and rosemary. It’s no wonder most organic deodorants come in lavender, citrus, and earthy scents.
Because aloe vera gel tends to be very gentle, many people don’t realize that it has potent anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. By using aloe to kill the bacteria which causes odor in our underarms, you may sweat but the moisture won’t breed odor-causing bacteria. In fact, some people use aloe vera as a natural deodorant on its own. As an added benefit, aloe vera is also anti-inflammatory so it can be healing for razor bumps and bruises due to shaving.
Like arrowroot powder, baking soda, and kaolin clay, cornstarch is exceptional at absorbing moisture and sweat. Many natural deodorants use either arrowroot powder or cornstarch to absorb sweat and then combine the powder with a potent anti-bacterial to prevent odor. Even without an antibacterial agent, a good absorbent powder like cornstarch hinders the ability for bacteria to break down sweat and create odor.
Coconut oil and certain other carrier oils are often used in organic deodorant products because of their antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing properties. Lauric acid, a key component of coconut oil, is effective at killing a wide range of skin bacteria (including the bacteria that thrive under our armpits). Additionally, because this oil is packed with anti-inflammatory compounds, coconut oil can also be effective at reducing irritation caused by shaving or skin friction.
Organic ethanol (alcohol) is a very powerful antibacterial agent. Some people can find organic alcohol too harsh for their skin (especially after shaving), but others find that they need the extra antibacterial punch to ensure that no odor builds up throughout the day. Most organic deodorants do not contain alcohol, but a few contain organic ethanol in small quantities so that it is not irritating.
Non-nano zinc oxide is an effective and mild antiperspirant. Unlike aluminum, non-nano zinc oxide is not absorbed by the skin because the particulars are too large (beware of nano zinc partials that can be easily absorbed). Thus, it can effectively block the production of some sweat without posing a health issue. Additionally, Non-nano zinc oxide has some anti-bacterial properties which helps to reduce odor. It is a white powder that can leave streaks on your clothing if not properly rubbed in.
Yes, the same stuff that’s used to make beer also makes for a fantastic natural deodorant ingredient. Organic hops have two main purposes in organic deodorant: as an anti-bacterial and as a natural preservative alternative to parabens. The anti-bacterial properties help to fight odor-causing bacteria on the skin, while the anti-microbial properties work to keep your deodorant product free from bacterial growth.