I Tried 8 Natural Deodorants So You Wouldn’t Have To. This One Was The Clear Winner.
Since the last time I investigated the all-natural section of the deodorant aisle, the options have expanded—a lot. That’s no big surprise, really. Americans have a growing appetite for natural products. In one recent survey, 68% of respondents said they considered ingredients when choosing personal care products. This same group said they trusted a brand less when their products contained ingredients they don’t recognize.
Becky Waddell, owner of Take Care, a Washington DC-based natural beauty and wellness store, says that deodorant is one of her most popular products, often prompting shoppers to spontaneously strike up conversations about favorite brands, body odor, and funny deodorant fails. “I sometimes joke that we should just open up a deodorant store,” Waddell says.
Why go natural?
There are many reasons to opt for an all-natural deodorant over a conventional option. Patients typically switch because of allergic reactions to the additives in regular deodorants, says Bobby Buka MD, a dermatologist in private practice and author of Buka’s Emergencies in Dermatology. “Some ingredients in commercial-grade deodorants, like Propylene glycol and fragrances, can cause high levels of intensive dermatitis,” says Buka. (Dermatitis, or inflamed skin, can result in your skin being red or swollen.) “The other reason patients switch to natural deodorants is the potential increased cancer risk of using aluminum in your skin care products,” he says. Reassuringly, however, the National Cancer Institute notes firmly that “no scientific evidence links the use of [deodorants] to the development of breast cancer.” Even so, some folks simply feel more at ease if they stay away from the conventional stuff.
But for all the reasons to opt for a natural deodorant, there’s one major argument for sticking with a conventional one: effectiveness. The last time I tried out an all-natural deodorant, I smelled awful within hours, so I quickly returned to my trusted drugstore antiperspirant. Years have passed since then, and so, with no small amount of trepidation, I set out to try some new, popular, and easy-to-find offerings, in hopes of finding out that would keep me dry and stink-free.
While I was filling my shopping cart with a variety of offerings, I remembered something: Although some natural deodorants have ingredients that promote dryness, all of them are deodorants—not antiperspirants. Although many folks use the works interchangeably, they’re two different things. An antiperspirant stops the sweat from occurring in the first place, but deodorants don’t stop sweat. Instead, deodorants fight odor by killing or blocking the bacteria on your skin; when bacteria mixes with sweat, stink ensures. As I mentally prepared myself for moist pits, I headed toward the check out counter.
Here’s what worked best for me and which deodorants failed miserably:
Dove 0% Aluminum Deodorant (set of 3)
“Dove’s 0% Aluminum Deodorant is aluminum- and alcohol-free, and is a nice option for sensitive skin because it contains moisturizing, hydrating, and soothing ingredients like shea butter, glycerin, and aloe,” says Dr. King.
Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Deodorant (Wild Lavender)