The Best Natural Deodorants and How They Work
My switch to natural deodorant was born out of a desire to reduce our plastic waste, in fact, we went entirely plastic free for a month and hope to continue those habits. It wasn’t until doing further research into my options that I found the potential benefits of going natural under my arms. The chemicals in many deodorants are not only bad for the environment but can also be potentially harmful to us. None of this is proven and I’m not one for banishing all non-natural products from my life but I figure if there is a natural option that is waste-free, practical and affordable then why not?!
It’s been almost a year since my search began and it has so far spanned three continents as well as every corner of the earth via the internet. The number of natural or ‘natural’ deodorant options available seem to multiply daily and it takes rigorous checks to find out what they contain, how they’re packaged, where they’re made and ultimately do they work!
For each of the options below there should be a similar product available near you. Since I am currently New Zealand based my recommendations are mostly NZ/Australian brands as I try to buy local. The main information is the ingredients, consistency and effectiveness which you can use to help inform your decision about choosing a natural deodorant.
Also bear in mind that everyone has different body chemistry going on. What works or doesn’t work for me might not necessarily be the same for you. You may need to try a couple of options before you figure out what works for you.
Cost is a huge factor for me. Although I would love to be completely ethical, local and sustainable in my purchases sometimes my budget simply doesn’t allow it. I’ve noticed the price of natural deodorants can be very high compared to a $2 roll-on from the supermarket. I’m ok with paying a bit more but to do this and then be smelly after a couple of hours is not ok with me! For each option, I’ve calculated the rough cost per month as many last a lot longer than normal roll-ons.
Got questions or suggestions? Drop them in the comments below!
Product: Real World Deodorant Butter
Cost: $24.50 NZD
Lasts: 4 months
Cost per month: $6 NZD
Application: Rub some onto your finger and then onto your armpit. You can also use a small spatula for application.
- Aluminium free
- Comes in a metal tin so there is no plastic packaging
- Rubs in easily with no marks or staining on clothing
- New Zealand made
- Contains baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) which can cause irritation/allergies
- More expensive than other options
- Can be difficult to apply if it is cold
Product: Glow Bar by Ethique
Cost: $20 NZD
Lasts: 3 -4 months
Cost per month: $5NZD
Application: Simply take the solid block and wipe it over your armpits.
- It’s made of all natural ingredients and comes in completely plastic-free packaging
Ethiquesglow bar is baking soda-free for those of you (like me) who have an allergy or irritation caused by baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
- It’s compact and solid making it great for travel
- Made locally
- This made my armpits feel sticky and I got small bits of fluff from my clothing built up in my armpits
- Ultimately, it didn’t work for me. I found the fresh smell only lasted a few minutes and I smelt of B.O after a couple of hours.
- It’s expensive, compared to supermarket bought deodorants or even other natural options this is a pricey option
Crystal Rock Deodorant
Product: Crystal Mineral Deodorant Stick
Cost: $9.50 NZD
Lasts: up to 12 months
Cost per month: 80c NZD
Application: Wet the top of the stone and apply to armpits vigorously.
- It’s solid and compact which means it’s perfect for travel and carry-on luggage
- It is completely natural and is essentially just a stone
- Crystal rocks are unscented and leaves no marks or residue
- It works for preventing B.O for a full day of moderate heat/activity
- It lasts forever! Well, a year meaning it’s a simple and lasting purchase
- It’s really affordable
- It’s aluminium and baking soda free
- It comes in a plastic container (recyclable) or on its own but in a plastic dish. Either way isn’t ideal but when you only need to purchase once a year and can recycle the plastic I think it’s still worth considering.
- You need water to put it on which can make it difficult to use on the go.
- It’s unscented so you don’t get a super clean smell, just neutral.
Make Your Own
Ingredients: Baking Soda, Coconut Oil, Corn Starch, Essential Oils (see recipe and step by step explanation here)
Cost: To make 200ml around $6 NZD
Lasts: 6 months
Cost per month: $1 NZD
Application: Depending on the consistency you make it, you can simply scoop some onto your finger and rub into your armpit.
- Completely natural and you control the ingredients that are in it
- Very affordable
- You can buy the ingredients in bulk and don’t have to shop each time you need more deo
- It’s effective at preventing odour throughout the day
- The ingredients are easy to get all over the world which make it a great option when travelling or living abroad in places that may not have eco-stores
- You can store it in a reusable container and buy the ingredients plastic free making it a great zero-waste option
- Because it has coconut oil in it, it can solidify if it gets cold
- Includes baking soda which can cause irritation/allergies
- Involves some effort to make it
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