For as long as I can remember it was all about the “anti-perspirant“. Stop the sweat at all costs. Block those pores. Dry and fresh for 720 hours straight etc.
Turns out that was bad idea. We’re meant to sweat. We’re mammals. It’s our way of controlling temperature and eliminating toxins. We have to work with our body and not against it.
Take for example the key ingredient in any anti-perspirant, aluminum. It literally plugs the ducts on our skin’s surface (they are really small molecules). This prevents a clammy arm pit which the odour causing bacteria thrive in.
On the one hand this sounds ingenious, just stop the sweat man. On the other, it’s completely unnatural. Which is why aluminum has got some bad press.
Recent studies have shown that once this ingredient is absorbed into the skin it induces estrogen-like effects (think moobs) which may be linked as a possible cause or increasing the risk of breast cancer. The jury is still out on whether or not this is conclusive, however, I’m include to stick with al naturale until further research is done.
But it’s not just aluminum. There are a host of other synthetic, chemical and other noxious compounds (e.g. all the parabens which are known to affect hormone function among other negative effects) found in just about every single off the shelf anti-perspirant / deodorant.
For me, when there are healthier alternatives that are just as effective and less damaging to the environment, this is a no-brainer. With that said, I’ll get off my soap box and get onto the options!
Firstly, have you tried the move from ordinary spray / roll-ons to natural deodorants?
If yes, welcome to the club. If no, well it can be a bit of a lucky dip (and of course a matter of preference) to find one that properly deodorizes. Just remember that these options do not stop you from sweating. They zap (or at the least significantly reduce) the odor causing bacteria.
So how hard do I expect my natural deodorants to work. It’s probably best answered by describing my daily commute. I cycle for about 30 minutes to work everyday. Sweat wise, it’s not enough to warrant a shower but I can smell pretty average if I’m not prepared, especially if it’s a warm or hot day (in which case I should probably shower!)…
And we all know that there’s nothing worse than knowing that your own BO is out of control (thanks to either using an ineffective deo or no deo at all) or getting stuck sitting, standing, working next to someone that is going al naturale…
I’ve been in both positions but, thankfully, with a bit of trial and error, (and to answer the above heading’s question) YES, they do work and in some cases fantastically well. And, as I mentioned before, they’re healthier for you and the environment.
- organic / natural
- palm oil free
- have ethical ingredient sourcing policies and
- use thoughtful, ideally zero-waste packaging (meaning it either has no waste at all, or waste that is compostable or widely reusable).
Note that some of the options below are not always (unfortunately) available in every country. I’ll continue to research and add other natural deodorants to the list though. But do let me know if you know of any others that should be featured!
Black Chicken Remedies Deodorant:
Black Chicken’s Axilla Deodorant paste is quickly gaining traction as one of the best natural deodorants out there. It’s a big call, but I think this might be the most effective natural deodorant I’ve tested and reviewed (even for vigorous exercise).
It has an understated clove like scent, which is a little different to your usual overpowering Lynx or Old Spice but in a good non-synthetic fragrance kind of way. This product also took home the Editor’s Choice in the beauty shortlist Awards 2017.
As with all deodorant pastes, the application (rubbing the product onto your armpits) takes a little getting used to but you get used to it and it actually becomes a surprisingly therapeutic daily ritual.
As for its environmental impact, this product is cruelty-free, vegan, palm oil free and 100% natural. It also comes in a recyclable container.
About Black Chicken Remedies:
Black Chicken Remedies are one of our favorite brands here at Sustainable Jungle. They tick each of our most important sustainability boxes, being 100% organic & natural, cruelty-free, palm oil free and with the exception of one product, vegan.
They also use recyclable aluminium bottles, glass bottles and PET plastic to preserve the integrity of their quality ingredients and prevent the leaching of plastic toxins.
Schmidt’s is now a well established natural deodorant specialist. They manufacture both deodorant pastes and, for those that prefer the conventional, deodorant sticks.
I’ve tested a couple of different Schmidt’s deos (Fragrance Free, Bergamot + Lime and Cedarwood + Juniper) and they’ve all worked well, getting me through 40 minutes of cycling (on a cool to temperate day) and a full day at work.
Their deodorants are all completely natural, cruelty-free, vegan and palm oil free. Their stick deodorant containers are made of 60% recycled materials and are 100% recyclable – a win for us and the environment.
Portland based deodorant specialists, Schmidt’s make an excellent range of natural, effective and affordable products.
All their products are 100% cruelty-free, organic & natural and vegan. Their deodorants are all palm oil free (however their soaps do contain a palm oil derivative).
Schmidt’s has a next level recycling program where you can send back 5 of the re-usable glass jars and they will send you a free jar. Unfortunately, this only works if you’re based in the US. For the rest of us, the jars are 100% recyclable.
Schmidt’s also regularly donate product to local and national organizations.
Booda Organics’s deodorants:
Booda Organics offers a single effective deodorant made with a short list of USDA certified organic butters & oils (pure baking soda, shea butter, organic tapioca flour, virgin coconut oil & cocoa butter). I found this to be the easiest natural deodorant to apply. It’s not the strongest natural option but it works.
Booda specifically mentions that only a pea-sized amount of the product is necessary as the baking soda is quite strong and may irritate sensitive skin. Other reviews suggest this is a very reliable option and it also has a moderate coconut scent.
As for the environment, this product is 100% cruelty-free, vegan and palm oil free. It also comes in a BPA free container that is 100% recyclable.
About Booda Organics:
Booda Organics is a family run business, specializing in handmade skincare made with only the highest quality, food-grade, organic, non-GMO, sustainable, vegan ingredients. All their products are 100% cruelty-free, organic / natural, vegan and palm oil free. In fact, they only contain 5 ingredients or less!
They source all of their ingredients ethically including their cocoa butter, shea butter which are from fairtrade suppliers. All their packaging is 100% recyclable and they support over 30 charities every year. These guys are ethical champions.
Availability: Booda Organics
Natural Deodorant Co Deodorant:
I’ve now tested 2 Clean Deodorant Balms, both of which effectively deodorized the smells even on warm days with moderate exercise. Note this is different to an antiperspirant which is supposed to prevent sweating by blocking your pores with synthetic aluminium.
Out of all the deodorant balms I’ve tried this is the easiest to apply (next to Booda) thanks to it’s creamy texture. From a scent perspective, I would say the Grapefruit + Mint edges out the Lemon + Geranium by a hair.
Natural Co’s deodorant balms are also cruelty-free, natural / organic, vegan and palm oil free. The tubs are made of glass and can either be reused or recycled. Unfortunately for those of us in the USA, this product has not made the leap across the Atlantic, yet…
About The Natural Deodorant Co:
The Natural Deodorant Co is a neat little deodorant specialist based in the UK. It’s run by Laurie who started the business when she realized how limited the options were for natural, organic deodorants.
Low production runs and high quality ingredients mean these tubs are a little more than your typical deodorants. Having said that, I found they lasted a fair bit longer as you don’t need much product to do the job.
RazoRock – The Best Deodorant on Earth!
When it comes to product formulation, RazoRock are purists. With only 3 base ingredients (natural soda, non-GMO corn starch and organic vegetable glycerin), there’s no doubting this product is as natural as it gets.
But that does not mean this product is ineffective, in fact it’s quite the opposite. The general consensus based on a number of reviews is that this stuff is a workhorse and may just live up to it’s namesake.
When it comes to the scent, there’s two varieties, citrus and tea tree. RazorRock’s deodorant balms are also cruelty-free and vegan friendly. The tubs can either be reused or recycled.
Based in Ontario Canada, what started out as just a hobby for founders, Michael and Joseph, is now a thriving boutique male grooming and body care brand.
Focusing on the lost art of traditional wet shaving, RazoRock has garnered much support not only from their loyal customer base but also from those of us looking for premium and natural alternatives.
RazoRock has confirmed with us that all of their products are cruelty-free and vegan friendly (except for some of their shaving soaps which contain tallow and lanolin). They’re also just about an entirely palm oil free brand too, with only one of their shaving soaps containing ethically sourced palm oil.
As for their packaging, all of it is recyclable and some of it is made from post-consumer use materials. When it comes to waste management, RazoRock also run a near-paperless office in an effort to reduce their footprint.
They also heavily promote their steel safety razors which are not only completely recyclable but would help eliminate and replace the 2 billion + disposable razors and cartridges that make their way to the landfills every year (this effect cannot be understated)!
Primal Pit Paste Deodorant:
Primal Pit Paste is a unique brand.
They have four different levels of deodorant: Sensitive – without baking soda and for those who are just making the switch to natural deodorant. Level 1, also for sensitive skin, but for low to moderate exercise and cool weather. Level 2 for regular or intense activity and warm weather. And level 3 for extra stink and intense levels of activity and hot weather, apparently effective even in Florida!
You can get each of the four levels in most of the varieties on offer, from the pastes to the sticks to the minis and some detox ones too. The most popular overall seems to be the conventional sticks.
As for scents, there’s coconut lime, spice and orange creamsicle to name a few. There’s only a handful of ingredients found in each of these products and all of which are natural / organic.
These deodorants are also cruelty-free and vegan friendly. They also use BPA free recyclable packaging.
About Primal Pit Paste:
First and foremost, Primal Pit Paste is a deodorant specialist but they also have a select range of oral and body care products.
The inspiration for the brand came out of Amy Perez’s (the founder) quest to create natural, safe and effective personal care products that her family could use. And that’s exactly what she achieved.
But thankfully we get to use those products too and each is formulated with natural and / or organic ingredients and is also cruelty-free.
On the other side of the spectrum to Primal Pit Paste is Jungleman.
They have a super select range of hypoallergenic deodorants. There’s one type with 4 different scents: Jungleman (non-scented), Junglemint, Junglejuice (citrus) and Junglewomen (lime).
Each of these contain 4 completely natural ingredients, so there’s absolutely no risk of being exposed to any synthetic or chemical based fillers. And, of course, this product wouldn’t be on this list if it wasn’t effective, other reviewers agreed that it works really well, however, watch out for hot temperatures as the consistency can turn the product a little mushy.
About Jungleman Naturals:
As mentioned, Jungleman Naturals are a “mono-product” manufacturer (they stick to what they know – deodorants)…they’re not trying to be a jack of all trades.
Jungleman only ever test their products on human-animals so we can be sure they’re cruelty-free and they’re also completely vegan friendly. They do contain palm oil, however, it is RSPO certified and sourced from non-peat lands.
While this isn’t ideal (you can read more about our stance on palm oil here and here), we did check the specifics with Jungleman. They assured us that the vendor only uses small production machine press (as opposed to the large scale bio-fuel and food filler vendors) who are responsible for the excessive large scale land deforestation.
All of Jungleman’s products are made from recyclable materials and can also be recycled.