Natural Deodorant: A Continuous Quest

I recently made the switch to natural deodorant.

Sweating is a natural part of life. When you use an antiperspirant, it physically plugs your sweat glands, stopping your body from releasing sweat. Many questions have been raised as to whether these sweat-stopping ingredients can lead to things like breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and kidney disease. While the answers are unclear, I personally would just prefer to go the natural route to ease my mind! The only issue is… I need your help.

Over the past several months, I’ve tried out a few different kinds of natural deodorant, but I haven’t seemed to discover one that totally does it for me just yet.

A few quick notes… When it comes to natural deodorant, we shouldn’t expect it to stop us from sweating – that’s what antiperspirant does, and that’s part of what we’re trying to avoid! The purpose of natural deodorant is to keep us smelling fresh and clean. Also, please know that what hasn’t worked too well for me may be a lifesaver for you – each body is different. Lastly, I’ve been told that a natural deodorant may lose effectiveness after a month or so, so it’s a great idea to have two good options on hand, and to switch back and forth between the two whenever one seems to stop working. With that being said, here are some that I’ve tried and what they’ve done for me!

natural deodorant

Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar. ACV has so many uses & benefits, and substituting it for your regular deodorant is one of them! After showering, I pour a bit onto a cotton ball and dab under my arms. It has a bit of an unpleasant scent at first, but this dissipates quickly. For me, ACV stops some of the sweat smell, but doesn’t leave me feeling incredibly fresh. I also find it stings a bit if I apply it directly after shaving, as my skin is pretty sensitive. If you want to go the ACV route, make sure you use a raw, unfiltered type that contains “the mother” – this is made of living nutrients and bacteria that are beneficial to our health. Bragg is an excellent brand and is widely available!

natural deodorant

Burt’s Bees Deodorant. I love the tin spray bottle this comes in, and the sage scent is to die for. I sometimes even find myself spraying some into the air or on my clothes after I apply it. Like the ACV, this deodorant also seems to sting me, and unfortunately it doesn’t seem to mask the sweat smell so much. Using this in conjunction with ACV does an okay job, but I know I can find something that works better for me!

natural deodorant

Crystal Essence Chamomile & Green Tea Deodorant. This has a faint scent, but it’s quite pleasant. I like that it’s a liquid that rolls on, but find that it takes a little while to absorb into my skin. This, for me, seems to work better than the Burt’s Bees deodorant – and it doesn’t sting! – so lately I’ve been pairing this with ACV as part of my daily routine.

natural deodorant

Volta Deodorant and Lemon + Geranium Dusting Powder. I’m such a sucker for beautiful packaging, and the dusting powder smells incredible. The deodorant base is made of cacao seed butter and coconut oil, and I really like the consistency. The dusting powder is not required, but can be used for added freshness. I just acquired this combo today, so it may be too early to tell, but I certainly feel fresh and do not smell of sweat at all. The only downside I can note as of right now is that the deodorant has a very strong scent that is a bit overwhelming for my sensitive little nose!

natural deodorant

I haven’t yet attempted to make my own natural deodorant. That’s next on the list, but I figured I’d first see if you guys had any expertise to share on the matter! What natural deodorants have you tried? What works for you? Have you made your own? Do tell! :)

Follow Brigette on Instagram, and have a look at her blog, Hummusbird!

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8 years ago

I have really struggled with this dilemma, as well! The chemicals in mainstream deodorant/antiperspirant concern me; but “natural” deodorants always seem to leave me sticky, itchy, or as you said – they sting and irritate my also sensitive skin. And of course, they simply don’t compete on freshness.

One you didn’t mention that I have tried is Jason’s, which looked promising. Gave it a couple months, because it was “ok”, but in the end I tossed it.

I hate salt deodorant crystals; but then I finally tried a salt spray, and it has been the best natural option for me so far.

8 years ago

I make my own and it works great. It takes a little time for your body to adjust though, so don’t give up! I use about 1 tbs baking soda, 1 generous tbs corn starch, 1 scant tbs coconut oil, and then essential oils (I prefer lavender). I love the way smells and feels. And I feel like I sweat less now too!

8 years ago

I switched from traditional antiperspirant straight to the coconut oil, arrowroot, baking soda, essential oils mixture. I swear it is the most wonderful deodorant I have ever tried! It is so good, even my mom is a convert now. I would just recommend that you put a little less baking soda and some more arrowroot flour, as baking soda can irritate sensitive skin quickly. Good luck!

8 years ago

I definitely love my salt crystal! Actually, I don’t even put deodorant on unless I know I’ll be exerting myself at work or the gym or something. Then I use my NOW brand salt crystal and it works so well! I also keep a tube of Jason’s or Tom’s natural deodorant in my car just in case I need something else during the day.

8 years ago

I recently switched from regular deodorants, like Secret or Dove, to Tom’s deodorant because we happened to have that on hand and it’s more natural. However, Tom’s gave me a rash, isn’t as natural as I’d like, and actually didn’t keep me from smelling all day. So I started using some natural deodorant I made (with the same ingredients you have listed +some bentonite clay and so far it is working wonders! My rash cleared up, and I actually don’t smell bad, even after a hard workout!

8 years ago

i’ve had a lot of luck with Lush’s ‘The Greenwich.’ it’s not as natural as ACV, but it really works wonders and is effective as a solid without the heavy scent!

8 years ago

my bad it’s luch’s ‘greeench’

8 years ago

In Australia you can purchase swisse body products, one is all natural deodorant… I find that it works for me. Although I don’t sweat excessively. It is an option I recommend! :) :)

8 years ago

I have found the only natural deoderabt that works for me, and it works really really well!

I keep a jar of coconut oil in my bathroom. After I towel off (it’s important to do this on clean skin) I rub on some coconut oil under my arms. Then I pat some baking soda on top of that. Don’t rub in the baking soda or it will irritate your skin. Sometimes I just use coconut oil if I know i’m not going to be sweating a lot that day (lazy sundays and such).

I found this technique from Liz at Cave Girl Eats, and it works perfectly for me. I just dont smell. As for scent, you can dab on some essential oil or natural perfume.

Hope this helps!

8 years ago

wooow I’ve been on this quest for upwards of around three years now. I believe you are right in saying that everyone’s bodies react differently. What works for you won’t always for me! But from what I have inquired, most natural deodorants don’t really deodorize for most women to whom I have spoken. I’ve tried Tom’s, only to smell worse. I’ve tried geodeo with 2 weeks of success. I’ve tried crystal deodorants galore.

I did make my own which has had pretty good success! Only thing is you must reapply a few times throughout the day. It contained coconut oil, arrowroot starch, teatree oil, eucalyptus oil, lemon oil, and lavender oil. This works pretty well!

Recently, however, I’ve been applying the deodorant described above, and then powdering my armpits with baking soda! I’ve had pretty good success with this.

best of luck in your search for natural antifunk gunk!

8 years ago

SOAPWALLA DEODORANT CREAM!!!! This amazing woman based out of Brooklyn makes a whole line of natural products for sale through her Etsy shop and website, and ladies, the deodorant is EPIC. Kept me fresh & fragrant through two years under the blazing Middle Eastern desert sun, and let me tell you that’s no small feat. Even my other half loves it! He kept stealing it ’til I bought him his own. You have to get used to the texture – it’s kind of like putting frosting on your armpits – but I’ll never switch again. Plus it smells minty and lovely. Props to all the DIYers though, the coconut oil and baking soda method intrigues…

Check it out here!

8 years ago

I’ve tried the crystal salt deodorants and a couple of health brand names like Toms. I’ve not had much luck with any of these. It gets hot in Phoenix, but I wouldn’t say I sweat heavily. I’m definitely a light sweater for the most part. For now I’ve been back on the Secret Unscented Antip. It’s definitely got more of a chemical smell but I can get away with applying it once every couple of days and then using natural products the rest of the time. I’m not particularly happy with it but haven’t found another good alternative.

8 years ago

Only one natural deodorant I use is my homemade version based on coconut oil, baking soda and potato (or rice/corn) starch. Without cocao butter and beeswax, it’s not nessasary for good application. Even without essential oil. That unsmelling version don’t disturb parfume. Feel pretty dry and my sweat not stinking :) yeaaah simple and cheap way.

8 years ago

Tom’s aluminum-free natural deodorant is great. I buy the lavender scented but there are a couple others and an unscented I believe. It claims 24 hour protection but I would say really halfway through the day and you good! And I never have to switch to a different kind because it stops working.

8 years ago

I use a natural crystal deodorant made from Allum crystal, it’s AMAZING and I don’t sweat a bit!!!! You wet it slightly first so that the crystals transfer to your skin. It’s magic.

8 years ago

I am so thankful to you, Brigette, for writing this piece! I am glad to hear I am not the only lady struggling with this problem. I too have tried Jason and Toms only to smell worse, just my body’s chemistry I guess. One apricot deodorant actually smelled to me like cat pee when I started to sweat.
I am a server and work in close quarters with our customers so body odor is unacceptable. Sweating is just going to happen though since I work in a restaurant with a wood fired oven. I am loving the DIY ideas; thanks for sharing! I am going to give some of those a try. Any notes on those recipes about how they affect your clothes, do they leave white marks et cetera? Thanks for the info.
Loving what you do at Free People!!-R

8 years ago

I really recommend just not wearing deodorant. Some people may end up feeling uncomfortable or not liking the smell, but I think that for many people if they shower frequently and wear clean clothes there is little to no “armpit smell”. I realize that this is not an option for certain types of jobs, but if you have the luxury of giving it a try you may be pleasantly surprised. Think of the whole “no shampoo” thing- your body adjusts to using certain types of products and can adjust back to not using them.

8 years ago

sukin! sukin make the best natural deo ever. i’ve tried a bunch. it’s available everywhere in Australia or online. It’s a tangerine, lavender, and vanilla sent that just smells so clean and it keeps me fresh all day. If i’m going to be doing something heavy duty i dab on a bit of lush’s dry shampoo which is essentially just cornstarch and grapefruit. that soaks up any extra.

8 years ago

I have tried every kind of natural DEODERANT…and I finally have found one that works and I highly recommend it. SCHMIDTS! It comes in a couple different scents, I prefer lavender and sage. Give it a try!!

8 years ago

I use lavender castille soap (it’s a homemade one with lots of essential oil, but I bet Bronner’s would work). Afterwards, I apply a homemade lotion of lavender, olive oil, coconut oil, and beeswax, and brush arrowroot powder over it. What I’ve found is that you just may have to wash a re-apply at some point during the day. Baking soda or any deodorants with alcohol in them give me a rash, so they’re all out. While I’ve never tried it, I’ve heard time and time again that the best all-natural deodorant is by Soapwalla.

Just discovered the blog, and love it. I spent last night scrolling the archives with a glass of wine.

8 years ago

You can test “Pierre d’Alun” !

8 years ago

Hi! I’ve used for a while alum stone, it’s really good since it doesn’t clog the pores, it just helps with the smell. It doesn’t have an odor, but it neutralizes sweat so it doesn’t smell either. You have to soak the stone with water and rub it on your armpit. It kind of looks like a quartz, and I know you like things to look pretty and as decor as well. This might just do the trick for both purposes ;)

8 years ago

Hi! I’ve been using natural deodorant for years now and the only one I’ve found that really worked for me is the Kiss My Face Liquid Rock. I use the indented version but it comes in different scents. I started using it when I lived in super humid Savannah, Ga and have been using it ever since. Good luck!

8 years ago

I have tried many different kinds of natural deodorant, Weleda, Dessert Essence, Lafes, Tom’s, etc. And none of them really worked for me until I came across MEOW MEOW TWEET. It’s a deodorant cream consisting of ingredients you’d fine in a homemade deodorant recipe, coconut oil, baking soda and essential oils. It keeps me fresh throughout the day without having to re-apply (despite my everyday hour long workout). So for me it’s definitely a keeper.

8 years ago

Toms didn’t work well for me, so I recently tried Herbal Clear 24 hour Natural Sport deodorant made with tea tree and Swiss Alps Lichen. I love the fresh smell of it, but I do have to reapply throughout the day to prevent odor. I’ve also heard from two sources that Lavanila Laboratories makes effective natural deodorant. Their products are sold on Sephora, and they have some really nice scents like lavender coconut!