Natural deodorant has become an increasingly popular product in the last few years, as more and more people are pursuing nontoxic lifestyles. So, should you use natural deodorant? Is it worth the hype? I put your best natural deodorant recommendations to the test and this is what I found.
Natural deodorant is a natural, nontoxic approach to preventing body odor. It is made without aluminum and other “toxic” ingredients. Aluminum in deodorant or antiperspirant is used to prevent sweating. Instead, the natural alternatives use natural ingredients, such as arrowroot powder for moisture absorption and essential oils for added pleasant fragrance. Sometimes, natural deodorants also contain baking soda, but it can be irritating to sensitive skin. It’s worth noting that natural deodorant is not antiperspirant– but more on that in a minute.
The most common reason to opt for natural deodorant is to avoid toxic ingredients, like endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors, such as fragrance, phthalates, parabens, and aluminum, mimic the body’s hormones and can contribute to hormonal imbalances.
While exposure to endocrine disruptors can worsen hormonal imbalances, is aluminum in deodorant enough to be concerned about? The biggest concern surrounding aluminum is it’s link to an increased risk of breast cancer. However, while there is a link between aluminum and breast cancer, almost no aluminum from deodorant actually gets absorbed into our body (between 0.01% and 0.06%). This is because the aluminum actually forms a gel with our sweat, preventing absorption. Hence, it’s ability to act as an antiperspirant. The truth is studies haven’t been able to prove a link between aluminum deodorant and cancer. More research still needs to be done.
As a functional practitioner, my biggest concern with conventional deodorant is not the absorption and effects of aluminum, but how aluminum blocks our body’s ability to sweat. Sweating is a normal and integral part of the body’s detoxification process. It helps remove waste and toxins from the body. When we inhibit our body’s natural ability to sweat, we limit it’s ability to detox properly. This can contribute to a host of chronic health imbalances, including but not limited to, hormonal imbalances. For peace of mind, opting for aluminum-free, natural deodorant may be a good option– especially, for those who are dedicated to balancing their hormones.
Based on your recommendations for the best natural deodorant, I put a few to the test. Here are my honest reviews of each:
Pros- I love the scents Palo Santo and Frankincense. They are both more of an earthy, woody scent. This is my personal preference over more floral-like fragrances. It contains natural fragrance (that actually works) and is free from artificial fragrance, phthalates, parabens, and aluminum. It provided great odor protection for daily use. It also comes in a recyclable non-plastic container.
Cons- It didn’t seem to hold up to a sweaty workout as well as others. And, the consistency can make a bit of a mess when pushing it out of the container.
Pros- You can find Native deodorant at most drug stores, making it easily accessible. It also comes in a variety of different scents. The odor protection was moderate, giving it a 7/10 score.
Cons- I don’t love their lack of ingredient transparency. The website says their products do not contain phthalates, but they also do not disclose what the “fragrances” are.
Pros- By far, Lume outperformed all other deodorants, in terms of odor protection. It’s active ingredient, mandelic acid, is often found in skincare products and works to kill the B.O. causing bacteria. Whenever deodorant claims “72 hour odor protection,” I always roll my eyes. But, with Lume, I truly didn’t need to reapply for 2 days in a row. Also, the consistency doesn’t crumble or mush after application.
Cons- The scent comes from artificial fragrances. I actually didn’t realize this when I first purchased it. But, I would love to see them reformulate this with more natural fragrances.
Pros- The consistency was most similar to that of a conventional deodorant. Odor protection was moderate.
Cons- The fragrance, Blue Tansy, reminded me of an old lady in church and eventually gave me a headache. It held up well to daily wear and even exercise, but it was not very long lasting. I needed to reapply more often than the others. It is also the most expensive natural deodorant, costing $16 for the smallest size.
So, do I think antiperspirants with aluminum should never be used? No, not necessarily. I don’t love the idea of rocking sweat stains at important events or special occasions. But, I do think it’s worth opting for natural deodorant that majority of the time to support the body’s natural detoxification process and allow our body to sweat. After all, healthy detoxification helps support happy, balanced hormones!