Many health-centric consumers are turning away from some common deodorants over the fears of potentially cancer-causing ingredients. Thus, it’s only natural that more people are reaching for natural deodorants. These underarm tamers won’t use aluminum, which some studies (though inconclusive) have linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s. So, if you’re looking to go the chemical-free route, StudyFinds is here to help you find the best natural deodorants to keep in your medicine cabinet.
Preventing toxins from leaving your body is what keeps underarm odor at bay. And even the best-smelling armpit sprays and sticks can’t completely prevent body odor from happening. In fact, scientists have pinpointed a key cog in the development of B.O., and the finding could lead to tougher deodorants down the road. “The skin of our underarms provides a unique niche for bacteria. Through the secretions of various glands that open onto the skin or into hair follicles, this environment is nutrient-rich and hosts its own microbial community, the armpit microbiome, of many species of different microbes,” explains Dr. Gavin Thomas, of the University of York.
Other carcinogens like Triclosan, which is classified as a pesticide by the United States Food and Drug Administration, is often used in spray antiperspirants and deodorants. Triclosan was banned by the FDA for use in soaps and body washes in 2016 because there wasn’t enough evidence proving it was safe for long-term daily use.
While chemicals like Triclosan (which is also found in other beauty products linked to changes in hormones) are worrisome, the most concerning chemical found in many spray antiperspirants and deodorants is benzene. Benzene is a known carcinogen, long linked to leukemia. It can cause serious health effects with long-term exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It smells sweet and is highly flammable. It’s often found in crude oil, plastics, resins, nylon and synthetic fibers, as well as some detergents, drugs, dyes, lubricants, pesticides and rubbers. Due to the chemical’s toxicity, the FDA currently lists it as a “Class 1 solvent.”
One shouldn’t have to risk their health just to smell good. Or at the very least, not smell bad… That said, when it comes to personal hygiene, one survey shows that 84 percent of people agree that applying deodorant is a priority. For those of you on the search for the best natural deodorant, StudyFinds is here to help. We visited eight leading expert sites that review products to find out which natural deodorants were most frequently recommended. This way, you can prioritize both your hygiene and health.
The List: Best Natural Deodorant, According to Experts
A favorite of dermatologist at North Dallas Dermatology Associates, Dr. Becca Marcus, Native Deodorant checks all the boxes, according to Cosmopolitan. Its scent is “light and clean, not strong and clearly covering up something,” and reviewers said they don’t need to reapply often.
Ingredients like arrowroot powder keep underarms dry without drying them out. More importantly, without added risk to overall health. Shea butter and coconut oil contribute to the product’s soft feel and are nourishing to oft-times neglected under arm skin.
Of course, it’s aluminum, paraben and sulfate-free. Its simple formula consists of 14 natural ingredients. Baking soda helps neutralize odor and tapioca starch keeps pits dry, according to INSIDER. Since baking soda (one of the main ingredients in the regular formula) can be irritating for some, Native also offers a baking soda-free option for sensitive skin.
Looking for a signature scent? Native has no shortage of options: “In addition to an unscented option, the deodorant is offered in five classic scents and six limited edition scents ranging from Lilac & White Tea to Pumpkin Spice Latte, and the brand says all of its fragrances are made from a proprietary blend of oils,” says NBC News.
Kosas’s Chemistry Deodorant uses Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) — which are typically used in skin care to control hyperpigmentation and even out skin tone — to tackle body odor instead of moisture absorbing ingredients like baking soda. AHAs lower the pH under your arms and make it harder for odor-causing bacteria to live there, according to the clean beauty brand’s website.
NBC News points out that this deodorant is formulated with other natural skin care ingredients, including hyaluronic acid to hydrate and soften the skin and popular AHAs like lactic acid and mandelic acid to help avoid dullness and discoloration.
The thin, nonstick serum deodorant that rolls onto skin was even mentioned in the beauty bible — Vogue. A 2021 article touted the deodorant for its use of acids to prevent ingrown hairs, soothe skin and brighten underarms.
Number three on our list is found at your drug store or local supermarket. Made without aluminum, alcohol and baking soda, this Dove deodorant reduces skin irritation while protecting users for 48 hours. It topped several best of lists, including the New York Post’s. Curated with 25% moisturizer to ensure soft, smooth underarms, it’s what we call accessible quality.
“I like this one because of its efficacy and tolerability,” Houston dermatologist Jennifer Segal, MD told NewBeauty. In addition to underarm care, Dove 0% aluminum deodorant provides effective odor protection. “Dove’s unscented formula is a good choice. This product is ideal for people with sensitive skin,” said Monroe, LA dermatologist Janine Hopkins, MD.
4. Ursa Major
Another natural deodorant deemed best, the Ursa Major brand kept popping up in our research. It’s free of parabens, aluminum, fragrance and animal testing… seeing a pattern here? Various scents are offered, but The Salt Lake Tribune cherry-picked the Ursa Major Hoppin’ Fresh Deodorant Mint & Eucalyptus as its fave. Their review stated: “You’ll smell like a fresh and clean concoction of mint and eucalyptus, which also helps soothe and calm any irritation you may have under your armpits. Formulated with 25 naturally derived ingredients, such as kaolin clay and aloe vera, this deodorant will fight to keep you sweet-smelling and sweat-free all day long.” Sounds delicious!
The brand also makes spray deodorants, which Vogue loves: “Hit refresh with Ursa Major’s innovative herbal-spray formula, which uses a powerful medley of plants, minerals, and enzymes to to fight odor-causing bacteria.”
The Mario Badescu Deodorant is a natural formula (not an antiperspirant) that doesn’t block pores and will not stop you from sweating. It only comes in one scent, so for people who prefer a variety of aromas to choose from, a brand like Lume, which has different (even seasonal) scents might be a better choice. What it lacks in variety of scent, it makes up for in good, clean ingredients. An article in Vogue said it neutralizes odor while nourishing armpits through a botanical blend of cleansing sage, cucumber, and ginger root oils.
You can curate an entire skin care routine around this brand with its range of products. “If you’re a fan of the Mario Badescu brand, then it’s your lucky day. This deodorant is both aluminum and baking soda-free while neutralizing your body odor,” writes The New York Post.
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.