If you’re a clean beauty enthusiast, you probably already know that finding non-toxic and cruelty-free options for some personal care items is harder compared to others. At the top of this list are deodorants. Many manufacturers are now introducing organic deodorants, but the main challenge is identifying the best natural deodorant for women (and you).
When non-synthetic antiperspirants and deodorants first entered the market, they were not exactly known for their efficiency. And while some worked, their effect didn’t last long. Fortunately, as more brands respond to consumer demand today, it has become possible to find a natural deodorant that works and also has a lasting effect.
In this article, we’ll look at the basics of what you need to know about organic deodorant for women and why you should make the switch from conventional brands. To top it off, we will also list some of the best products that we think you may find helpful.
What is Deodorant?
Deodorant is a product used to prevent body odor that is naturally produced when someone sweats. This unpleasant smell usually originates in areas such as the armpits, groin, below the breasts, and feet. Sweating occurs in most parts of the body, including the face, palms, and soles of the feet. However, the odor is only produced in the three aforementioned areas because that’s where apocrine sweat glands are situated.
Apocrine glands produce fatty sweat that is rich in proteins. The bad bacteria on your skin feed on this protein, breaking it down into smelly fatty acids. Deodorants work by eliminating these bad bacteria so that they’re unavailable to digest the proteins when sweat is produced.
Difference Between Deodorant and Antiperspirant
While most people use either deodorant or an antiperspirant, or even both, many are unaware of their differences. Deodorant controls the production of body odor, while antiperspirant stops sweating. This means that you can still expect to sweat when you use deodorant, but your body will not produce a bad smell.
With an antiperspirant, you will not experience any sweating on the areas where you apply it, which also means that you’ll not deal with body odor. Exactly why is antiperspirant bad for you? Antiperspirants usually contain aluminum salts that plug sweat glands to prevent the excretion of sweat. This can lead to toxin build-up in the body.
That said, you can use deodorant and antiperspirant together, especially if you experience excessive sweating. The antiperspirant will stop any sweating, while the deodorant will prevent the unpleasant smell if sweating occurs. If you decide to do that, it’s advisable to apply the antiperspirant first, give it 2-3 hours to activate, then use your deodorant. That is because the aluminum salts in the antiperspirant need time to settle and effectively block the sweat-producing glands.
History of Deodorant
Unlike other beauty and personal care products such as perfume and lipstick, deodorants have been around for a relatively short period of time. The first commercial deodorant, Mum, was released in 1888. Before this period, however, people did make an effort to mask body odor in different ways.
For instance, the ancient Egyptians took scented baths, and the women also placed scented wax on their heads, which would melt throughout the day to mask any unpleasant smells. Romans were a little bit extreme because in addition to bathing in perfumed baths, they also soaked their clothes in perfume and applied it on their horses and household pets.
Another common practice that was used to control body odor was taking several baths throughout the day. People also wore clothes with sweat pads that prevented the perspiration from absorbing into their garments.
In America, talking about perspiration was a social taboo, and this hindered the spread of deodorant use in the years after the first one became commercially available. Following the production of Mum in 1888, an antiperspirant called Everdry was introduced into the market in 1903. But a large portion of the population did not use these products until the creator of another deodorant known as Odorono created a successful marketing campaign.
Odorono magazine advertisements made it clear to women that having body odor was an embarrassing thing that had the power to ruin their social life. This insinuation was not taken kindly by readers; however, it increased the sales of the deodorant. After that, addressing issues concerning perspiration was no longer so taboo, and by the 1930s, most American women were buying deodorants.
It wasn’t until the late 1930s that brands began marketing their products to men, as they quickly realized that a large portion of the population were not buying their deodorants. There was a consensus that smelling sweaty was a masculine trait, but the companies implied that this, too, could affect a man’s professional career. This was during the Great Depression when many men had lost their jobs, and others were in danger of the same. Soon enough, products made specifically for men were made available in the market.
At first, the deodorant and antiperspirant creams were messy, took time to dry, and sometimes had weird smells. Odorono users even complained that the cream was irritating their skin and burning holes into their clothes. This was because of the formulations used then where the aluminum salts had to be suspended in acid to work. As the 20th century progressed, the formulas used became a lot safer, and different delivery methods were introduced.
Presently, you can find deodorants in various forms such as spray, stick, cream, gel, roll-on, or wipes. What’s more, they’re no longer messy and also dry fast. When it comes to social perception, they’re readily accepted by everyone, from women to men. According to one market study, the US Deodorant market is projected to reach $6.21b by 2023. This growth is expected to be partly driven by increased demand for natural and organic deodorants as consumers seek to avoid the health effects that have been associated with synthetic ones.
Why You Should Switch to Natural Deodorant
Switching to the best natural deodorant for women you can find is your surest way of avoiding the ton of toxic ingredients commonly found in traditional deodorants. Parabens, phthalates, aluminum, and triclosan are some of the chemicals present in artificial deodorants that have been linked to various health issues, including cancer and body organ toxicity.
You should know that what you apply on your skin may have a bigger impact on your body than what you eat. That’s because what’s on the skin doesn’t get a chance to be metabolized in the liver. Most times, substances in personal care products go directly into your bloodstream, then accumulate in various organs of the body.
Non-artificial deodorants replace harmful chemicals with natural ingredients such as charcoal, coconut oil, witch hazel, clay, olive oil, and shea butter. As you can see, these are all familiar substances, compared to the confusing terms found on conventional product labels.
Besides avoiding toxicity, natural ingredients are also mild on clothing. You may have dealt with yellowed shirt underarms after using a deodorant containing aluminum. In other cases, you might have noticed white marks on your black clothing. The substances used in organic deodorants don’t stain clothes.
The Ingredients in Conventional Deodorant
Besides body organ and system toxicity, ingredients in conventional deodorant may also cause skin irritation. So, is deodorant toxic? If it contains any of the following chemicals, then you can label it as such.
Aluminum in deodorants has been shown to increase the activity of estrogen receptors in the body. This increases the risk of developing breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
Another thing to be worried about with this ingredient is that it clogs skin pores, preventing sweating. This is bad for you because sweating is a natural body function that helps to get rid of toxins from internal systems and aids in regulating body temperature. Aluminum has also been associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. However, most of these studies are inconclusive, and there’s a need for further studies to establish a direct relation.
These are a group of preservatives used in personal care products to inhibit microbial growth for longer shelf-life. They have been identified as endocrine system disruptors in that they affect the functioning of estrogen in the body. Parabens mimic estrogenic activity, contributing to the unnatural division of breast cells, which can trigger the development of tumors. This has been linked to cases of breast cancer. If you have sensitive skin, parabens may also cause skin allergies and irritation.
As one of the few chemicals the Food and Drug Administration has regulated, albeit only for its use in surgical soaps, hand sanitizers, mouthwash, and toothpaste, there’s the need to steer clear of triclosan. It’s used as an anti-bacterial agent in deodorants and contributes to the toxicity of the immune, respiratory, and reproductive systems. One of its most significant effects is that it leads to the growth of bacteria that are resistant to body immunity.
In deodorants, propylene glycol is used to make formulations easier to spread on the skin. This chemical is considered generally safe, but in rare cases, it can cause allergic reactions such as contact eczema. Frequent and long-term use can expose you to kidney and central nervous system damage, so it’s advisable to avoid deodorants containing this ingredient.
Phthalates are used as solvents and plasticizers in deodorants and can be harmful to the reproductive system if they get into the bloodstream. While short-term use may not be detrimental, extended utilization promotes infertility and poor fetal development. Several studies have linked phthalates to abnormalities in the male reproductive system, which are accompanied by issues such as reduced sperm count. In women, phthalates can trigger early onset puberty and contribute to the growth of cancerous breast cells.
If you see the word ‘fragrance’ on your deodorant’s ingredient list, you should know that this lone ingredient represents a lot of chemicals, possibly hundreds. This is because manufacturers use many different substances to create a single scent for their products. The FDA doesn’t require them to list all these chemicals, as they’re considered to be trade secrets. This means that as a consumer, you could be using various toxic substances unknowingly.
One such ingredient is formaldehyde, a confirmed carcinogen. Fragrance can also cause dermatitis and allergies in people with sensitive skin. Respiratory tract irritation is another risk factor when using scented deodorants, as they can trigger asthmatic symptoms.
While deodorant can combat odor in the armpits, below the breast, and around the groin area, it’s only advisable to use it on the underarms. This is because the risk of irritation in the groin area is high, while aluminum salts pose a breast cancer risk. However, since natural and organic options provide you with the safest deodorant, it’s much better to use natural deodorants in multiple areas of the body than applying conventional ones.
Does Natural Deodorant Actually Work?
The primary concern surrounding natural deodorants is whether they’re as effective as their synthetic counterparts. If you look through natural deodorant reviews from consumers, you’ll find that some work fine, while others are not as good. It’s up to you to choose the best one that you can find. You should also remember that deodorants are not a one-size-fits-all kind of product. So, you should not expect that you will have the same success if you go for the one that your friend claims is effective for them.
Moreover, just because one formulation doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t mean that others won’t. This is because our skins have distinct chemistry, and each one of us reacts to ingredients in products differently. Remember, if you have a skin condition or are susceptible to allergic reactions, you should consult your dermatologist for advice on natural deodorant ingredients that may be helpful to you.
Natural deodorants work by using natural or organic substances to either kill bacteria or absorb sweat as it’s produced. This ensures there’s little chance for the bacterial activity that gives rise to body odor. Ingredients in natural deodorants are generally mild on the skin, don’t clog pores, and sometimes give off pleasant natural scents.
What to Look for in Organic Deodorant
It’s clear what to avoid in deodorants, but do you know what you should be looking for in organic deodorant? Here are a few pointers to guide you the next time you go shopping for one:
Aluminum has the potential to compromise your reproductive system and also inhibit a necessary biological function— sweating. Hence, it’s advisable to look for the best aluminum-free deodorant.
Charcoal is a good absorbent, a property that gets better when it becomes activated, increasing its surface area and allowing it to absorb sweat many times its weight. With such absorbency power, charcoal prevents sweat from drenching your clothes and also keeps it from being digested by bad bacteria. Most effective natural deodorants have charcoal in their formulations.
A streak-free deodorant does not leave marks on your garments when you use it. Such a product will glide on easily without leaving lumps behind.
Soothing deodorants keep your armpits cool and fresh and are non-irritating. Common ingredients that you may find include herbs such as rosemary, witch hazel, and sage. These have astringent properties that help shrink pores and prevent inflammation.
It’s common to find natural products that are pricier than traditional ones. This is because obtaining organic ingredients is usually more costly than producing chemicals in bulk in laboratories and industries. However, this is not to mean that there are no affordable natural deodorants for women available. Most of the reliable brands have budget-friendly options that you can opt for without having to break the bank. All you need to do is browse the stores for something pocket-friendly. But, ensure that the deodorant delivers the promised quality.
Types of Natural Deodorant for Women
Natural deodorants can be categorized according to their delivery methods. When shopping, you will have to choose between stick, cream, spray, and roll-on deodorant. Cream deodorants are available in small jars or pots and are applied with the fingers. The basic ingredients used in their formulation include corn starch, coconut oil, and shea butter.
Stick deodorants come in a tube with a bottom that can be twisted to reveal the product. Sprays are available in aerosol cans, while roll-ons have a rolling ball set at the top of the container that applies product when rubbed on the skin.
15 Best Natural Deodorant for Women
1. Most Effective Natural Deodorant
Geranium Deodorant by Primally Pure
Geranium Deodorant is non-toxic, mild on the skin, and contains baking soda that fights odor. Non-nano zinc in the formula soothes skin irritation, while kaolin clay helps with detoxification. Geranium essential oil is used to give a floral aroma that masks any odor.
2. Best Natural Deodorant Without Baking Soda
Kopari Coconut Deodorant
The Kopari Coconut Deodorant is made without baking soda, a popular ingredient in natural deodorant, which can be irritating to sensitive skin. It uses plant-based ingredients such as coconut oil and sage for the anti-bacterial activity that prevents the production of body odor.
3. Best Aluminum-Free Deodorant for Women
Ursa Major Hoppin’ Fresh Deodorant
This deodorant eliminates bad bacteria in your underarms and also soaks up moisture. Rosemary, eucalyptus, and peppermint extracts are some of the ingredients used that provide you with a cool and fresh feeling throughout the day. Aloe vera is also included to soothe sensitive skin.
4. Best Natural Deodorant for Sensitive Skin
Schmidt’s Sensitive Skin Deodorant Stick
Schmidt’s Sensitive Skin Deodorant Stick is made without artificial fragrance, parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, and aluminum. This makes it suitable for sensitive skin as it doesn’t contain irritating substances. Ingredients used include jojoba seed oil, vitamin E derived from sunflower, and shea butter.
5. Best Natural Antiperspirant
HyperDri Aluminum-Free Antiperspirant
HyperDri Aluminum-Free Antiperspirant is the first aluminum-free antiperspirant that can stop sweating. Once you start using it, it may take about two weeks to begin showing results, and a month to become fully efficient. It contains tea tree and lemon essential oils, glycerin, and lactic acid, among other ingredients.
6. Best Extra-Strength Natural Deodorant
Lovefresh Super Strength Deodorant
Suitable for both women and men, this deodorant is formulated with extra baking powder. This means it has enhanced sweat absorption, odor neutralization, and bacteria reduction.
7. Best Cruelty-free Deodorant
Native Women’s Deodorant
Native is a brand committed to manufacturing cruelty-free products, and, therefore, never tests their deodorant on animals. Instead, they seek human volunteers for that. Native Women’s Deodorant is without toxic ingredients such as sulfates, parabens, and aluminum. The ingredients used are vegan.
8. Best Vegan Deodorant
Clean Queen Vegan Deodorant by Tarte
This deodorant is free of animal products and gluten, making it an excellent vegan choice. The formulation is dermatologically tested and proven to be hypoallergenic. Other ingredients that it omits are alcohol, aluminum, and soy. Natural plant starches are used to absorb excess sweat.
9. Best Magnesium-Based Natural Deodorant
Magnesium Stick Deodorant by Brothers Artisan Oil
Brothers Artisan Oil has a stick deodorant with three main ingredients that ensure you go through the day odor and sweat-free. The ingredients include organic arrowroot powder that absorbs dampness, magnesium that reduces body odor, and kaolin clay that purifies the skin.
10. Best Charcoal Deodorant
PiperWai Natural Deodorant Cream
PiperWai Natural Deodorant Cream is available in a paste-like consistency that melts when you rub it between your hands. On application, it blends into the skin with a clear finish. The key ingredients used in its formula are activated charcoal, coconut oil, and essential oil blend. Charcoal absorbs both sweat and odor, while the essential oils provide a fresh scent.
11. Best Deodorant for Sweat
Soapwalla Deodorant Cream – Original
Soapwalla’s Original Deodorant Cream contains essential oils, vegetable powders, and clays that are designed to absorb as much moisture as possible. This is further enhanced by its frost-like consistency that quickens absorption. The ingredients, which include lavender and tea tree oils, also discourage the growth and survival of bacteria for long-lasting effects.
12. Best Longlasting Deodorant
Jasön Dry Spray Deodorant
The Dry Spray Deodorant by Jasön is clinically tested and proven to provide 24-hour protection from body odor. It dries quickly and leaves no particles on clothing and skin. The orange peel oil in the deodorant helps to brighten and clarify underarm skin.
13. Best Cream Deodorant
Superstar by Routine
Superstar by Routine includes a lot of natural ingredients such as coconut oil, magnesium hydroxide, shea butter, patchouli oil, and rose geranium oil for long-lasting freshness. While baking soda is used to combat odor, it’s added in moderation to keep it from irritating sensitive skin.
14. Best Roll-On Deodorant
Real Purity Roll-On Deodorant
Roll-On Deodorant by Real Purity is a quick-drying formula containing essential oils that work to keep your skin dry and with a clean scent. For better application, shake well before use.
15. Best Fragrance-Free Deodorant
Weleda Citrus 24H Deodorant
If you are keen on avoiding toxic synthetic fragrances, try the Weleda Citrus 24H Deodorant. This spray deodorant has an uplifting citrus aroma that will not only leave you smelling nice but also boost your mood, a fact that has been scientifically proven.
How to Apply Natural Deodorant
How you apply your natural deodorant has a huge impact on whether it will work or not. Here are some application tips you should remember the next time you use your deodorant for the best results:
Do not apply after shaving
When you shave, your skin becomes irritated and sensitive. If you apply deodorant at this time, it may sting, or you may even develop a rash if there are tiny cuts.
For your natural deodorant to work well, you have to first remove all dead skin cells and any chemical residue left behind by synthetic antiperspirants. Do this by exfoliating your underarms with a gentle cleanser and a washcloth or loofah.
Warm up the deodorant if necessary
Stick deodorants may need to be warmed a little to make them soft for smoother application. You can do this by pressing the end of the stick to your skin for an average of 20 seconds before applying.
Give your body time to adjust to natural deodorant
When you stop using chemical antiperspirants, you allow your body to release toxins that had been blocked in the sweat glands. As such, you should expect heavy sweating during the first few days once you make the switch to natural deodorant. After that, sweating will decrease, and you’ll be able to control the odor with the help of your natural deodorant.
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to shop for the best all-natural deodorant that will leave you smelling fresh for the better part of the day. Making the switch to natural products comes with a host of benefits. First, your body isn’t exposed to toxic substances. And, you’ll also be able to explore products that improve your skin’s health.
To make your search for the best organic deodorant easier, identify brands that are dedicated to eliminating harmful chemicals from their products. Most importantly, ensure you check the product labels before buying anything to verify that the listed ingredients are truly natural.