But as the entire universe of non-toxic skin-care products has expanded, lots of brands have been introducing better options. All are made with plant-based ingredients like shea butter and essential oils (instead of aluminum, parabens, and fragrance), smell great, and come with pretty packaging. And some of them even (gasp) work!
Before you make the switch, you should know that none of these products include antiperspirant ingredients, so you’ll still sweat (which is healthy!). (Maybe save a conventional stick for big business presentations and your wedding day?) But they do reduce odor.
To help you choose, we took a bag full of new, natural deodorants for a test spin (class), sweating through intense workout sessions and crowded subway rides. Here are nine that passed our sniff test—and others’, too.
Superlative alert: This is the chicest natural deodorant on the market to date. But it’s not just pretty packaging. This simple, doesn’t-crumble stick is a perfect swap for something traditional like Dove—it has a super clean ingredient list (including coconut oil, baking soda, and honey), barely has a scent, and doesn’t leave a ghosty white streak on your skin. It’s hands down (and arms up) the new natural gold standard.
Of all the deodorants I’ve sweat-tested over the years, this one from Vermont-based Ursa Major definitely tops the list. It goes on just like a traditional deodorant (AKA no digging your fingers into a pot resulting in an extra hand-washing step), has little to no residue, and comes with a clean, woodsy (but not too masculine) scent. And while it won’t stop you from sweating and isn’t made for an Ironman or wedding day (no naturals are, sorry), it really works in terms of keeping you fresh on a daily basis—from spin class to dinner date.
Indie Brooklyn brand Meow Meow Tweet luckily came out with a stick version of its cult-fave deodorant cream, and it’s just as good as its famous cream. It works incredibly well, thanks to the power of magnesium (and only a *touch* of baking soda) and feels creamy and nourishing on your skin because of its shea butter and anti-bacterial coconut oil. The best part, besides its effectiveness? The packaging is completely biodegradable (oh, and really cute).
Native Deodorant, $12
This brand is quickly rising to cult status (it’s even backed by P&G) because it’s so good. It’s paraben and aluminum free—though it has baking soda—and packed with nourishing ingredients like probiotics, shea butter, and jojoba and coconut oils. Bonus points for its big variety of scents, from coconut and vanilla to lavender and rose… not to mention its seasonal options, like matcha, rosé, and lychee and goji berry (yum).
Portland-based Schmidt’s makes this artisanal stink-preventer in scents like Lavender+Sage and Cedarwood+Juniper. I loved the Bergamot+Lime, which kind of resembled a refreshing lemon ice in both smell and texture. All scents come in both stick and jar versions—if you opt for the tub, you rub the creamy substance on with your fingers or the tiny stick it comes with. It was beyond effective for me, but it does contain baking soda, so if you’re sensitive, you may get a little bit of irritation (though they have a magnesium-based, baking soda-free option!).
Kai Deodorant, $24
If you want to smell like roses—even when you sweat—this luxe option’s for you. It goes on absolutely clear and is aluminum-free for sensitive skin types, and has nourishing vitamin E plus soothing witch hazel and chamomile to keep things fresh and moisturized. It can even give your perfume a run for its money—honestly, it smells that good.
The brand known for its cult-beloved do-it-all Skin Food has done it again with a gentle (yet hardworking) deodorant that’s aluminum, preservative, and fragrance-free (oh, and there’s no baking soda). It tops off your pits’ protection with a zesty citrus smell via essential oils that also mask that B.O. from burpees, so you’re pretty set with this new classic.
This one’s a creamy, dependable option for those who need a little more coverage. It moisturizes with aloe vera and Fair Trade-certified shea butter, and does its job with corn starch. It’s great for oily or sensitive skin types and the African Black Soap option has a nice, spicy scent to it.
Though it’s charcoal-based (which not only pulls out pit-derived toxins but fights odor-causing bacteria), this rose-scented deodorant—which is a baking soda-free option—goes on totally translucent. It smells divine and really does a good job at masking those smells from your grittiest, dirtiest activities ever—it’s truly one of my faves.
Originally posted January 27, 2015, updated June 13, 2018.
Ready to trade in all of your products for all-natural alternatives? Here are 11 exfoliators that are microbead-free and 12 super-clean face masks to unveil your best skin yet.
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