The 9 Best Natural Deodorants of 2021

A list of aluminum-free deodorant alternatives

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The Rundown
"This roll-on works for a day or longer, rolls on easily and dries fast, and has a clean, unisex scent."
"Native Deodorant combines baking soda and shea butter for odor-free, moisturized skin."
"A simple paper container means this hard-working deodorant’s can be easily recycled and composted."
"Schmidt’s natural deodorants are made without baking soda and other irritants."
"This deodorant is sweat-activated, meaning it kicks in exactly when you need it to."
"Formulated for sensitive skin, this deodorant uses Dead Sea salt instead of baking soda."
"This stick deodorant is half to a quarter of the price of some of the others on this list."
"A line of dreamy scents in the prettiest packaging enclosing a smooth formula that works well up to 12 hours."
"Primally Pure’s formula of essential oils powers through the sweatiest workouts."

Nothing gets an internet debate going like differences in personal hygiene, but something almost everyone will agree on is that keeping body odor to a minimum is important. 

In the past, many people used a combination antiperspirant/deodorant. Antiperspirants block sweat, but that also comes with health concerns. “The active ingredient aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly works by clogging the pores and preventing your body from sweating," says Dr. Annie Gonzalez, a board-certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami. "While this makes them incredibly effective at controlling body odor, aluminum has been linked to cancer and shown to cause worse long-term body odor.”

Due to concerns about the aluminum-based ingredient, many people have turned to natural deodorants, which work to cover or neutralize smell, and don’t clog pores, allowing the body to sweat freely. “They are less likely to irritate the skin than antiperspirants,” says Dr. Gonzalez. 

The first thing to know about natural deodorants is that if you tried them 10 or 15 years ago, there are much more effective formulations available today. That doesn’t mean that every less-toxic formulation works great—there are still crummy deodorants out there. In this list, we've rounded up the most effective choices.

Remember: Give your deodorant the best chance to be effective by always applying it right after a shower.

Best Overall: Weleda Citrus Deodorant 24 Hour Roll-On

Weleda 24H Roll-On Deodorant, Citrus

This is not only effective for 24 hours or more, according to online reviews, it smells clean and natural, like a lemon-and-orange grove in the sunshine. It applies just like a more conventional roll-on product you might be used to, so this one’s great for those new to natural deodorants. It dries quickly after application. 

"This is the deodorant I wear when I’m going to have a long day away from the house, or I’m going for an all-day hike. It keeps smells at bay, doesn’t stain, and works exactly the way you want it too. I don’t love the wasteful plastic packaging though.” - Starre Vartan

Best for Men: Native Natural Deodorant

Native

Baking soda is a key ingredient in Native’s deodorant sticks for men, and they also contain tapioca starch for dryness, cyclodextrin to time-release scent throughout the day, shea butter for moisturizing, and magnesium hydroxide, another odor-killer. Highly rated by customers, Native offers both seasonal and classic scents, and has a new line of plastic-free deodorant sticks that come in a paper package.

What the Experts Want You to Know

Be careful with baking soda, which is a common ingredient in deodorants—it can work just fine for some (especially mixed with other ingredients as most are), but it’s the most common reason for irritation with a natural deodorant. Some use it successfully, but Dr. Gonzalez says it can be too harsh for the armpit area. “Our skin has a pH level of around 4.5 to 5.5, while baking soda has an average pH level of eight,” she says. 

Whether you buy deodorant marketed to men or women is a personal choice, but Dr. Gonzalez says “the formulas are likely to be almost identical.” She explains that the main differences are packaging and fragrance. “Some deodorants made with men in mind contain higher percentages of odor-eliminating ingredients or are formulated to work better for longer armpit hair. Men and women both have armpit hair, so it's up to you to decide which deodorant is better,” she says. 

Best Eco-Friendly Packaging: Meow Meow Tweet Grapefruit Baking Soda Free Deodorant Stick

Meow Meow Tweet Grapefruit Baking Soda Free Deodorant Stick

The all-paper package for this deodorant means it’s easily composted or recycled and is plastic-free. The secret ingredient in all of Meow Meow Tweet’s deodorants is arrowroot powder, which is mixed with coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa seed butter for smoothness of application and then scented with essential oils.

Other scents in the same line include Lavender Bergamot, Rose Geranium and Cedar Spruce. Meow Meow Tweet also sells a deodorant paste packaged in a glass pot.

Best for Sensitive Skin: Schmidt’s Aluminum-Free Natural Deodorant

Schmidt’s natural deodorants are made without baking soda, which can be irritating, and are also free of parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates, and synthetic fragrance. These deodorants get good ratings from those with sensitive skin. If you want an unscented version, that’s available, but if you have sensitive skin and still want a light scent, it’s available in the gender-neutral scents too.

Best Cream: Type: A Deodorant - The Visionary

Sweat-activated, this deodorant is formulated to kick in when you heat up. It also offers long-lasting stink protection with a time-release effect and won't stain clothes. This formula does contain baking soda, so those sensitive to it should avoid it, but reviewers report a smooth application, not grainy (sometimes an issue with personal-care products containing baking soda).

Type: A is certified carbon neutral, which means that any carbon emissions resulting from manufacturing their products will be offset by investments that store the equivalent amount of carbon. It's one approach companies are taking to slow climate change.

Best Baking Soda-Free: Each & Every Natural Aluminum-Free Deodorant for Sensitive Skin

This deodorant used to be made in a different formulation which smelled the same, but didn’t keep stink off as long as this newer 24-hour version. This one really does work for 24 hours, according to reviewers, and is highly rated. The wild rose scent is one of two scent options in the spray formula (citrus being the other). 

“I love that this comes in an attractive (and easily recyclable) glass bottle. While some might not find the wild rose scent unisex, my hairy-guy partner enjoys this since the smell is so natural it doesn’t come off as “pefume-y”—and also, guys can enjoy a floral scent too sometimes! I also like a spray application, as it’s easy to also use on feet, or to use as a general body spray. I like to spray it on my back as that’s where I sweat the most. I wouldn’t want to use a roll-on for non-underarm applications. The wild rose scent is still enjoyable, even after years of use.” - Starre Vartan

Best Budget: Tom's of Maine Natural Deodorant Stick

Tom's of Maine Natural Deodorant Stick

This inexpensive option promises 24-hour protection and many reviewers back that up—though there are some that say it hasn’t worked for them. The packaging here is the same as conventional stick deodorant, so there’s no learning curve for application, and you can find Tom's deodorants in many drugstores across the U.S.

Tom’s of Maine deodorant is preservative-free, as well as phthalate-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free artificial-color-free, and cruelty free. Those with sensitive skin might find this formula irritating, according to reviews.

Best Scent: Corpus The Botanist Natural Deodorant

Corpus The Botanist Natural Deodorant

The baking-soda-free brand includes which makes for a particularly smooth application. The sophisticated pale-green packaging does come with a higher price-point, but that pretty exterior also disguises that this is deodorant, and it could be left on the bathroom counter without embarrassment.

Users rave about the 6 gender-neutral scents. For example, The Botanist scent includes petitgrain, vetiver root, geranium leaf and citrus rind essential oils resulting in a bright, fresh fragrance that’s likely appealing to most people, but ultimately preference depends on personal taste. 

"The delicious scent possibilities of this line make choosing a favorite tough. If you love rose, as I do, Corpus’ Third Rose Natural Deodorant is a must-try. The No Green option smells like an exotic perfume, not deodorant, and Santalum is like a romp in a sandalwood forest." - Starre Vartan

Best for Workouts: Primally Pure Deodorant

Primally Pure Deodorant

"After two months of regular use, I can confidently say it is among the absolute best," writes Treehugger writer Katherine Martinko. "It smells great and keeps me fresh all day long, even throughout sweaty CrossFit workouts."

Primally Pure’s deodorants are scented only with organic essential oils and use no artificial fragrances. They do contain baking soda, but are free of parabens and talc. It’s effective with a light application, which helps cut down on residue on your clothing. If your local facilities accept Level 5 plastics, then you can recycle the tube.

Final Verdict

Our top pick for natural deodorant is Weleda’s 24H Roll-On, which has no baking soda and lasts all day. If it’s plastic-free packaging that you’re after, go with Meow Meow Tweet’s Deodorant Stick

What to Look for in a Natural Deodorant: 

Ingredients: Look for natural ingredients that have been proven to eliminate and neutralize odors such as hops, kaolin clay, eucalyptus, and saccharomyces ferment. “If the one you're considering does not have at least one of these ingredients, it's probably not going to be very effective,” says Dr. Gonzalez. 

Ensure active ingredients are beneficial and do more than block odor. “All-natural deodorants should also work to nourish, soothe, and heal your skin. Look for ingredients like aloe and vitamin E to moisturize and regenerate the skin to keep underarms soft, smooth, and irritation-free,” says Dr. Gonzalez.  

Scent: Deodorant may be the most fragrant thing you wear, so it can be worth it to try out several different scents to find the one that’s right for you. Look for essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, mint, rose, citruses, etc. “Avoid deodorants that list fragrance as an ingredient, as this is a known skin irritant,” says Dr. Gonzalez.  

Good to Remember

Your skin may need some time adjusting to natural deodorants, says Dr. Gonzalez: “Because you've removed what's been blocking your pores, you begin to release more waste, sweating some of the aluminum and other chemicals out, and stinking up a storm. That doesn't mean your natural deodorant isn't working; it's that your body is trying to detoxify. 

Sweating is a natural process and something the body needs to do to remove waste. To speed up the transition, you can opt for a gentle exfoliator made up of ingredients like clay or charcoal, which help draw out odor-causing impurities, including bacteria, dirt, and oil. It takes anywhere from three days to two weeks for your body to adjust to the change.”