Not to toot my own horn or anything, but my current beauty routine is the eco-friendliest it’s ever been. About a year ago, I decided it was time to start paying attention to what I put on my body. I switched to a plant-centric regimen, and—despite NUMEROUS fears and reservations—saw improvements in both my skin and hair. Fast-forward to today, and I’ve incorporated natural products into almost every facet of my routine. Every area except one—deodorant.
Don’t get me wrong, I want to love natural deodorant. I know that traditional antiperspirants contain some pretty controversial ingredients—aluminum, parabens, and triclosan, to name a few—but I’ve never found a natural alternative that got the job done. Every formula I’ve ever tried—be it salt crystals, baking soda, or literal ROCK-looking things you rub on your underarms—has left me smelly, sweaty and disappointed. I always went crawling back to my extra-strength drugstore antiperspirant.
But as more and more natural deodorants popped up on my radar, I began to wonder if I’d misjudged them. The latest aluminum-free alternatives certainly looked chicer—a far cry from their weird crystal/rock counterparts. Had they stepped up their formulations, too? I decided it was time to suck it up, face my fears, and give the latest crop a go. (And yes, I am just crazy enough to start testing new deodorants as the weather warms up.) Read on to see how it went:
The rundown: Most drugstore antiperspirants have an ingredient list that requires an advanced chemistry degree to understand. Not so with this spray-on deodorant from Erbaviva. In fact, it’s as pure and simple as it gets, crafted from just herbs, essential oils and organic grain alcohol. Simply spritz on your underarms for a refreshing and safe burst of bacterial and odor protection.
The results: The blend of essential oils and alcohol smelled deliciously zesty, and really did keep my armpits stink-free, soft and citrusy-smelling for about five hours. I really loved that I could spritz this one on, too. (No touching my armpits! Yay!) Since this formula is a deodorant only, it won’t keep you dry, but it will effectively neutralize your body odor. Plus, the sleek amber glass jar looks beautiful in your bathroom.
Notes: If you’ve just shaved, wait a few minutes before spraying this on. The alcohol may sting a little.
The rundown: This men’s deodorant is highly effective, blocks odor for 24 hours, and features Jack Black’s signature, citrusy scent. And while some natural deodorants are difficult to spread, the petroleum-free formula has a conventional deodorant delivery with a comfortable glide.
The results: Gents (and ladies!), if you want to give your underarms the best protection possible, I highly recommend Jack Black’s Cool CTRL Natural Deodorant. The all-natural formula uses potent, time-released odor blockers that—along anti-bacterial and anti-fungal action—stop even the strongest, manliest of smells in their tracks. While it didn’t have much moisture control, it kept me cool and smelling fresh all day, which most natural deodorants can’t manage. (I’m a surprisingly sweaty lady.) Out of all the formulas I tried, Jack Black’s had the best application, too. It spread easily and dried without tackiness, stickiness, or irritation. And even though I’m not a man, I really dug the signature scent—it was subtly pleasing without being overwhelming, and totally unisex if you ask me.
Notes: Even though it’s tough on smells, this potent formula is suitable for super-sensitive skin.
The rundown: This gel-to-powder deodorant has the strength and creamy spreadability of a traditional deodorant. The essential-oil infused formula comes in three delicious scents— Ginger Grapefruit, Lavender Myrrh, and Palo Santo Blood Orange—and is formulated without aluminum, talc, or other toxic ingredients. Oh, and it will leave you fresh for up to 24 hours—no lies.
The results: Right off the bat, this deodorant got points for smelling amazing. (My favorite scent is the Lavender Myrrh, with Ginger Grapefruit coming in a close second.) The gel formula goes on creamy and smooth, just like “normal” deodorant, and has some seriously chic packaging. The best part? This stuff WORKS. Like really, really works. In terms of moisture control, it’s the best natural deodorant I’ve ever tried, hands down. The absorbent baking soda, plant, and mineral complex keeps me fresh all day long without reapplication, through afternoon workouts and anxiety-inducing workdays. One note: all three formulas smell strongly of essential oils, though not overpoweringly so. However, if you’re super sensitive to fragrance, this might not be the best choice for you.
Notes: A little goes a LONG way with this deodorant, so use sparingly!
The rundown: This decadent deo is blended with oakmoss, bergamot and andiroba tree oil, reducing underarm wetness and odor to keep the most active gentleman dry. It features a subtle scent of black pepper, coriander and vetiver.
The results: Odds are, “Black pepper” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of sexy, delicious scents, but I’m telling you—this pepper-scented deodorant is to die for. It smells expensive and decadent, like the super-rich boyfriend I never had. Technically, this is a men’s deodorant, but hey—I’m all for disposing of gendered beauty rules. A delicious scent is a delicious scent, and who wouldn’t want to smell like this deodorant? Beyond the to-die-for fragrance, I loved the formula’s use of non-irritating ingredients like oakmoss, bergamot and andiroba tree oil to reduce wetness and odor. A lot of non-traditional deodorants can’t keep sweaty ole me dry throughout the day, but this one did the trick.
Notes: Personally, I LOVE the way this deodorant smells, and don’t mind that it errs on the masculine side. However, if you’re into more feminine fragrances, this one probably isn’t for you.
The rundown: Both alcohol and aluminum free, this award-winning deodorant uses refreshing, cooling eucalyptus extract and citronellyl to eliminate odors for up to 24 hours.
The results: Of all the deodorants I tried, the Malin + Goetz one felt the coolest, temperature wise. The cooling action comes curtesy of the eucalyptus-infused formula which—in addition to smelling great—offers antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and refreshing properties. I loved the spreadability and the light, spa-like scent. Plus, this deodorant is seriously effective. While it wasn’t the most effective at controlling wetness, it worked exactly as a deodorant should: it kept me stink-free all day.
Notes: This deodorant is perfect for people with sensitive and eczema prone skin.
Final thoughts: Overall, I’m thrilled with my new deodorant discoveries, and I don’t see myself switching back anytime soon. When trying out natural formulas, I do think it’s important to have realistic expectations, however. They’re not going to keep you 100% bone-dry through marathons, and they won’t last for 48 hours like drugstore antiperspirants claim to. But, when you really think about it…who needs 48 hours of protection, anyway!?