Best natural deodorants to keep you feeling fresh

We rounded up some of the most popular natural deodorants to see if their hype measured up.

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Back when I first heard the term “natural deodorant” many years ago, images of free-spirited nature-focused hippies (before it became #cleanbeauty and #vanlife cool) would come to my mind. This was a time when there was maybe one health food store in a city of over 4 million and products like natural deodorants were mostly homemade by that one friend’s patchouli-smelling mom.

Natural deodorants of yesteryear are not the same as the products available today. There are now countless options available, quality tested and easily accessible. Celebrities like Emma Watson, Kristen Bell, Kourtney Kadashian and many others use natural deodorants and it’s no wonder – they can be just as effective as conventional deodorants, but without the undesirable ingredients that may impact health such as aluminum in antiperspirants and phthalates in deodorants.

While heavy sweating may be inconvenient for some, it’s not a primary concern for me – sweat itself is odourless and is necessary for temperature regulation. What I was more interested in was managing body odour – which is caused by sweat coming in contact with bacteria on the skin – especially when I’m active on warmer days. Conventional deodorants can help mask smells with fragrances, but I wanted to go au natural with a deodorant that can be just as effective using essential oils and antibacterial ingredients.

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So I rounded up some of the most popular natural deodorants to see if their hype measured up.

Best overall

I had heard many positive reviews about Routine’s natural deodorants. While the brand now offers deodorant sticks, I wanted to give the original jar version a go. It’s surprisingly creamy and lightweight, goes on smooth and is very effective in maintaining a pleasant smell for a full day.

The promise: A gentle baking soda-free formula for sensitive skin that can prevent unsavoury smells for the underarms as well as feet, thighs, nape of neck and underboobs.

The feel: Creamy and lightweight.

Botanical ingredients: Coconut Oil, Eucalyptus, Cocoa

How did it work for me: Routine aims to complement our pheromones with its deodorant – and I think it did just that. I thought applying the deodorant with my fingers might mean the product would feel pasty, but it was lightweight and felt nourishing to the skin. I was surprised at how effective this deodorant was at maintaining a pleasant and consistent smell from morning to night. I loved this deodorant and will be a go-to for me going forward.

Best for oily skin

Tea tree oil is naturally antibacterial so I knew this deodorant would work well in preventing unwanted odours and removing excess oil from skin. Blended with aloe vera, vitamin E and Icelandic moss, and with a gentle tea tree oil scent, I found it left the underarms feeling fresh.
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The promise: A non-pore clogging liquid deodorant for oily skin that can provide long-lasting protection.

The feel: Fresh and comfortable.

Botanical ingredients:  Aloe Vera, Tea Tree Oil, Icelandic Moss

How did it work for me: This quickly became one of my favourite on-the-go natural deodorants, such as before a workout or going on a weekend getaway. I liked how the scent wasn’t overpowering and that I had full confidence it would keep me feeling fresh no matter the activity.

Best antiperspirant

If excess sweating causes discomfort, this natural antiperspirant can help absorb moisture with none of the aluminum. 

The promise: Offers double-action of providing 24-hour protection against odours and wetness.

The feel: Similar to traditional deodorants, but without heavy fragrances.

Botanical ingredients: Coconut Oil, Jasmin, Grapefruit

How did it work for me: Although I’m not a heavy sweater, this antiperspirant worked well in preventing moisture while doing physical activities. Although the floral scent wasn’t to my personal preferences, it was also not overpowering, and I could see it being a favourite for others.

Best for heavier odours

Tom’s of Maine has been a reputable natural personal care brand since the seventies. This natural deodorant reminded me of traditional “men’s deodorant” lines that have more earthy aromas and was effective in helping prevent unwanted smells for those who have stronger odours.
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The promise: A dermatologically tested deodorant that contains moisture-locking ingredients and offers long-lasting odour protection.

The feel: Soft and gel-like.

Active ingredients: Aloe Vera, Plant Oils

How did it work for me: I asked a friend to test this deodorant for me as I wanted to see if it could help with people who produce stronger, heavier odours. The verdict was that it worked great – it smelled good and the odour-protection lasted a good chunk of the day, comparable to traditional deodorants.

Best unscented

I had never tried a deodorant spray before and thought this award-winning certified organic spray would be a good place to start. I like that this mineral salt deodorant spray is unscented, which is great for those who like to wear fragrances and don’t want their deodorant competing with those scents.

The promise: A soothing hypoallergenic deodorant that can keep you feeling clean and feeling fresh from odours clinically proven for 24 hours.

The feel: Cool and refreshing.

Primary ingredients: Water, Mineral Salts, Aloe Vera

How did it work for me: Not used to using sprays, the application was strange at first. I imagine on hot days, the cooling mist under the arms would be very welcome. With very few ingredients in this product, I was impressed at how mineral salts, with their antimicrobial properties, could actually help manage odours well.

Best for transitioning to natural

This could make a good introduction and transition towards using natural deodorants. Its packaging, consistency and moderate scent is similar to traditional deodorants. 
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The promise: A dermatologist-tested non-greasy product that naturally deodorizes and fights odours.

The feel: Smooth and slightly creamy.

Primary ingredients: Shea butter, tea tree oil, arrowroot powder

How did it work for me: The deodorant was nice in application and felt smooth, but left a slight white residue, almost the appearance of dryness, on my medium-toned skin. I think it wouldn’t be noticeable unless a person was really looking for it. The cucumber scent was not for me, but in effectiveness for odour prevention, I felt it did the trick.

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