Aluminum-Free Natural Deodorants That Actually Work for Me

I am on a seemingly never-ending search for the perfect aluminum-free, natural deodorant. And while I haven’t yet found my holy grail of armpit freshener, I have found some pretty damn good options that I want to share with you guys because who knows, one of them could end up being your holy grail. As with all skincare products, there isn’t a single concoction that’s going to work perfectly for everyone. We all have different skin types, hormonal balances and genetics, so you kinda have to treat any product search like you’re a human science experiment.

Skincare, hair care, anything beauty related–not my forte. I stalk follow countless wellness and beauty influencers on social media and am honestly just completely overwhelmed by their seemingly endless supply of all-natural, superfood-charged products. They’ve got under eye cream made from the organic nectar of rare indigenous plants plucked off the peak of Mount Everest by a world renowned Shaman and I’m over here using some clumpy-ass mascara I found on sale at CVS that probably expired in 2013.

Womp. Womp. Wommmmmmmp.

Rather than be overwhelmed by replacing every single product in my bathroom with all-natural versions at once, I like to focus on the stuff I put on my body every single day. Just like eating a Twinkie once in a while isn’t going to give you cancer, wearing red lipstick with artificial dyes in it once a year on New Years isn’t going to kill you. It’s the day-in-day-out stuff that makes a difference. Like deodorant. I wear it every day so I do really care what’s in it.

A few notes about my experience finding a good-for-you deodorant…

  • Embrace sweat. I feel like a bit of an a-hole preaching this because I work from home and at a fitness studio–two places it’s perfectly acceptable to be sweaty. I also have never had an issue with excess perspiration which I know is an extremely frustrating condition for a lot of people. In general though, sweating is a healthy bodily function and very few aluminum-free natural deodorants are also anti-perspirants (I think Tom’s has an anti-perspirant option?).
  • Be patient. When you try a new product, it takes time to truly know how it works with your body. And especially if you’re switching from an aluminum-containing anti-perspirant to an all-natural deodorant–there’s going to be a serious adjustment period. For me, things got worse before they got better. I felt like I sweat more and smelled worse for the first couple weeks after I ditched the “bad” deodorant. And Joe made sure to remind me of it every day (LOL). Eventually everything balanced out and I could accurately gauge if the natural deodorants were working for me.
  • Baking soda isn’t my favorite. Not because baking soda is bad, but because I hate what happens when I sweat. If I’m wearing deodorant with baking soda in it and I start sweating during a workout, I get these crusty white streaks down the sides of my body (so hot right now). Does this happen to anyone else?? Baking soda also causes a lot of people to get rashes. I notice some minor red bumps occasionally but nothing too bad.
  • I avoided pastes. There are a lot of paste deodorants out there but I don’t like the idea of needing to wash my hands after applying deodorant. I’d rather use a stick or spray than have to rub something under my pits each morning with my fingers.

Ok now on to my recommendations!

Aluminum-Free Natural Deodorants That Work for Me

These are the two brands (+one other “homemade” deodorant) I’d currently recommend. They each have one thing I wish I could change (I’ll elaborate on that below), but all things considered, they’re fabulous.

Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant ($7-10)

Schmidt’s is the bomb dot com. Their deodorant is free of aluminum, phthalates, parabens and propylene-glycol, and is certified vegan and cruelty-free. AND IT WORKS. All day. I put it on in the morning, teach three classes, come back home and work a full day and have no issues with body odor. It absorbs fully so that you’re not left with sticky pits and it contains plant-based powders that help absorb wetness. I don’t think you’ll really get a true anti-perspirant without aluminum, but I definitely notice a reduction in sweating with Schmidt’s versus other natural options.

I’ve only tried the Bergamot + Lime, but there are lots of other scents as well:

The one downside: Causes some mild skin irritation for me. I’m not sure if it’s the ingredients or just that it goes on a little rough, but I get red bumps and some minor irritation under my armpits every once in a while when I use Schmidt’s regularly.

Ursa Major Hoppin’ Fresh Deodorant ($18)

I love love loooove Ursa Major. I use their face wipes and face lotion regularly and it was no surprise I’d become a fan of their deodorant as well. First off, it smells amazing. My four-year-old niece always makes me give it to her before I put it on in the morning so that she can sniff it when I visit (haha). It goes on smoothly (way smoother than Schmidt’s) and feels fresh and cooling. It absorbs fully, too, so that you don’t feel sticky. The $18 price tag is high, but the stick is big and lasts me three months.

The one downside: It doesn’t last all day. I find I have to reapply this multiple times throughout the day and end up carrying it around in my bag. On super active days when I teach multiple classes and then do my own workout I can understand that, but even on rest days I typically reapply 2-3 times to stay fresh.

Limes

No seriously. My mom has been using limes as her deodorant for years (like straight up just rubs lime wedges on her armpits), and while I thought it was just another thing to add to the Weird Things Mom Does list, I gave it a try and it really does work! You cut off a wedge (1/4 lime covers both pits for me), give it a little squeeze to get it juicy, and then rub it on gently. Sometimes little pieces of pulp rub off and you have to pick them off, but other than that you just let it dry and are good to go. It doesn’t feel sticky or anything and it’s really effective at preventing body odor–I was shocked!

The one downside: The logistics. You need to have your kitchen stocked with limes at all times which isn’t so bad but what about bringing your “deodorant” with you to the gym? What about when you travel? It was just getting to be a hassle bringing around my little lime wedges with me in baggies. I was testing out this method while traveling to Palm Springs for my friend’s bachelorette party and I’m pretty sure TSA thought I was insane when they looked in my carryon.

Also, a little tip if you’re going to give limes a try: Don’t apply them immediately after shaving–it stings!

This deodorant works SO WELL but…

Weleda Deodorant ($14)

Weleda products are made in Switzerland and are all free of synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrances and synthetic chemicals. The deodorants come in a glass spray bottle and I find 3 pumps per pit is enough to do the job. I like the spray application and it absorbs and dries quickly and then really does last ALL day. I used Weleda for a couple months, but its main ingredient didn’t sit well with me: alcohol.

The smell of the citrus reminded me of flavored vodka (aka bad flashbacks to high school) and the smell of the wild rose reminded me of perfume. Scent issues aside, I had heard products containing alcohol aren’t good for your skin. I didn’t know much more beyond that, so I decided to do a little research on the topic.

Fatty alcohols (common examples are cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl alcohol) are A-OK. They’re non-irritating to the skin and serve to keep ingredients stable in products. Simple alcohols (common examples are methanol, ethanol/ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol and denatured alcohol), which give products an anti-bacterial property, can dry out the skin and therefore weaken its role as our protective barrier. Weleda uses organic grain alcohol which is ethyl alcohol. Bummer.

From what I’ve read, I don’t think it’s the worst thing you could put on your skin, but also definitely not the most nourishing. This article and this article were helpful in explaining the different alcohols for anyone interested.

Other Natural Deodorants I’ve Tried That Didn’t Work

During this deodorant mission, I’ve also tried out a few that didn’t work well at all (for me anyway). They’re worth mentioning because who knows–maybe they’ll be your perfect fit!

  • Tom’s of Maine – I smell worse when I wear Tom’s than I do when I wear no deodorant at all. How is that possible?! I want to like this product because I think Tom’s is an amazing company but it just does not work at all for me.
  • Agent Nateur – I kept seeing this marketed as the “it” deodorant in LA (probably code for: Gwyneth wore it once lollollol) but while I love the scent, it doesn’t absorb well. I’d put it on and then feel like I had a sticky paste under my armpits the rest of the day. No thanks. And at a whopping $19 … Awww HELL to the muthafukkin no thanks.
  • Nourish Organic – I love the smell of their Lavender Mint stick and the formula definitely works for me but OUCH. It is so rough going on! The texture is like an exfoliating scrub and I just couldn’t get over that which is a bummer because the smell is uh-mazing.

Ok your turn! Have you tried any of these brands? Which work and don’t? Any suggestions for other brands I should try? Let’s talk deodorant! 

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Comments

  1. Try the sensitive skin version of Schmidt’s! I think their regular version actually has baking soda in it?? But the sensitive skin version is awesome. I was using meow meow tweet then native, and once I went to Schmidt’s sensitive skin, all of the red bumps were gone! I find that it works about 3/4 of the day, and I need to reapply. But it’s my favorite one so far.

    • It does–I meant to clarify that (oops). It must be in a smaller amount because I don’t have the same issues I’ve had with other baking soda deodorants. I’m trying the sensitive skin version next–that sounds right up my alley! 🙂

      • I was coming here to say the same thing! I’ve been using Schmidts for a while with basically the same issues- the inconvenience of the tub & skin irritation with the stick. I recently started using the sensitive skin stick formula and I am OBSESSED. No irritation & it works so well! The Jasmine Tea & Waves scents are my faves!

        Also, just a shout out- I lovelovelove your blog. I’m trying to get back into a groove of working out & primarily plant based healthy eating & I am constantly checking out your posts!

  2. Great post, I’m always on the look out for other natural deodorants but the price tag on some brands makes me stick with what I know. I use LaVanila and really like it. I think it’s $14-16, I get it online or at Sephora. There’s a variety of scents but they’re subtle and one application typically lasts all day! Interesting you mentioned some of these going on rough, that is something I never experienced before with the LaVanila but my current stick is rough. I figured I’d tough it out and hope it smooths with use, because it’s usually a smooth application. I think I’ll give Ursa Major and Schmidt’s a try sometime!

  3. Love this post! I used to use LaVanila, it works great and smells really good, goes on smooth but I started to get bummed about the price when I knew I could make my own for a fraction of the cost. So I tried a bunch of different ‘recipes’ and landed on this — http://bodyunburdened.com/diy-all-natural-detoxifying-deodorant/

    I think the bentonite clay was the game changer. You do have to put it on with your hands but I just wipe my hands on my skin when I’m done. There are recipes online for ones you can put in a stick but I’m lazy and it seemed like too much work.

  4. Chantelle says:

    I’ve been using primal pit paste for about a month and have fallen in love. Aluminum based deodorants were starting to put holes in all of my cotton t-shirts, and I was always sweating (deodorant supposed to stop sweating right ??). Then I switched to some adidas, ‘cotton friendly’, deodorant, and it made me smell like a sweaty greek man 24/7 and was convinced that everyone else could smell me.

    Since switching, I don’t smell at all, and haven’t had issues with rubbing it on or having weird stains (as you noted you’ve had with baking soda based ones), or feeling the need to wash my hands after, a little goes a long way ! Plus they have a stick version. I guess summer will be the true test for me. The ingredient list looks very similar to schmidt’s.

  5. Love this. The only natural deodorant that has worked for me is Primally Pure – especially the sensitive version. It has some baking soda but it’s a very small amount so it doesn’t clump up like many other brands. The others that I’ve tried either didn’t work or gave me a rash (not cute). I’m interested to try out the lime trick!

  6. Cool post! I was also bummed when Tom’s didn’t work for me but my husband likes their men’s deodorant. Here in Wisconsin I like LuSa Organics. I used their belly balm when I was pregnant and love their soaps. I was psyched when they came out with deodorant. I’ve been using it a few months now and it’s working for me.

  7. Primal Pit Paste is my holy grail. I’ve been using it for about a year, so I’ve tested it through all four seasons. It’s aluminum free, all natural, organic and cruelty free/vegan. It lasts all day for me and comes in a ton of lovely scents. It comes in a jar so you have to scoop it out and rub it on with your fingers, which is a little weird, but easy to get used to. It’s not too pricey either.

  8. I can only use ONE deodorant: Alvera’s Aloe and Almond. It never irritates my skin (other deodorants make me itch like crazy after a few days of use), and keeps me fresh! I love the light scent and the roll-on applicator. I found it by happenstance at the co-op in Brattleboro, VT on a trip once years ago, and have bought it online ever since. Also, it’s very reasonably priced. I can usually find it for $3-4 each, sometimes less! It’s perfection.

  9. https://www.amazon.com/Organic-Fields-Of-Heather/b/ref=bl_dp_s_web_10118780011?ie=UTF8&node=10118780011&field-lbr_brands_browse-bin=Organic+Fields+Of+Heather

    i have been on a quest as well and found this one and so far so good. i have been using it for a month. AND it’s made in New Hampshire!

  10. Priscilia says:

    WARNING: be careful with limes. Can not be used immediately you get ou of your house. Sun and citrics are a bad combination.

  11. First of all, thank you for this post! I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and my doctor told me no more aluminum-based deodorants. I am a major sweater (so cute!) and I live in SC, so it was a long,stinky few month until I found Green Tidings. (I tried pretty much every brand available at our Whole Foods without success.) I order it from Amazon and it’s like $14 for a stick that lasts several months, and there’s a smaller travel size if you just want to test it out. I find the lavender scent helps keep me fresher than the unscented version. It doesn’t stop me from sweating completely, but it does help and I don’t smell. Maybe I need to try reapplying it mid-day. I think I’m going to order the Schmidt’s to try as well.

  12. Great post! I also smell worse with Tom’s regular stuff but I’ve worn their deodorant for men and it worked for me (and smells neutral to me).

  13. techymargaret says:

    I’ve tried Primal Pit Paste and found I was irritated by the stick (probably the same rough feeling you got from the Schmidt’s stick). The paste in a jar works awesomely for me!

    The first I tried, when I switched from traditional antiperspirant was Doterra. I’m wondering now if it was a detox period rather than a not-working period. 🙂

    Thanks for the review!

  14. Samantha Katherine says:

    I actually use the Pacifica deodorant wipes. I haven’t actually looked into how healthy it is, but it works well!

  15. Native is a good one too!

  16. What can I say. You are so funny, girl! My husband kept asking what I was laughing at when I was reading this post:)

  17. Jenny Nelligan says:

    Primal pit paste is ammmmmaaaaazing! I tried Schmits but got reactions/irritated from the baking soda and still got stinky/needed to reapply. I am still breastfeeding my youngest (so extra hormones/stinky) and primal is one of the best deodorants I’ve ever used. And I don’t react to the baking soda in it for some reason either, though there is a sensitive kind too. It is a paste but it isn’t thick and don’t necessarily have to wash hands after. Even after I run I am not terribly stinky! Amazon has it and so far i love it!

  18. I love this post! I am also on the search for a good natural deodorant. I work at Whole Foods and actually got a tub of Schmidts to try for free but bc of the application, I have been lazy and haven’t been using it. I have a stick of toms I use for the day time but right before I work out I rub on a little “regular” deodorant bc I don’t want to the be the person that smells!! Haha. I need to get rid of that regular stick one though!!
    Also, have you heard of Think Dirty? It’s an app that has a search or a barcode scanner for all things body care/makeup related and tells you on a scale of 1-10 how bad the product is. I’m sure there’s other similar apps out there as well. It’s very eye opening!!

  19. Jillian Greaves says:

    Toms was a complete bust for me too! I’ve never tried any of the other brands you mentioned but I’m totally intrigued. I usually find that natural deodorants don’t work and I need to reapply (or be smelly) or when they do work they’re irritating. I kind of accidentally found one that I love and realized one day that I had been using it for a while – smell free and irritation free! It’s the tea tree oil one by Dessert Essence. Also super reasonably priced.

  20. I laughed at least 10 times reading this because I’ve had similar experiences. Tom’s makes me smell sooooo bad. Schmidt’s paste works great but I never liked putting it on & ive just stuck with the stick. I’d like to try Primally Pure once I run out.

  21. Great post! I’m always on the lookout for a natural deodorant that actually works. Primal Pit Paste worked for a few months for me but unfortunately it stopped working as well. Now I’m loving the Coconut and Papaya deodorant made by Nubian Heritage. It smells amazing, goes on smooth, and lasts from morning till evening without having to reapply.

    I agree about Tom’s. I wanted to love it, but somehow I smelled much worse than without any deodorant. Yuck!

  22. A few tips, if using lime, cut it on the round like a loaf of bread, more juice that way. When I travel, every airport and hotel has a bar fully stocked with lime and they’re happy to spare a wedge or 2!

  23. The Schmidt’s stuff DESTROYED my arm pits, it was awful and so incredibly painful – definitely use with caution.

    I use Alvera aloe deodorant. You can find it on Amazon, as well as at health stores. It’s a roll on and it works so well!

  24. Tiffany S. says:

    I’ve recently been using all natural deodorant from Holly’s Keeping It Real and it’s AMAZING. I use the lavender scent and it smells divine, lasts all day and goes on smoothly. Check it out! https://www.etsy.com/shop/hollyskeepingitreal

  25. Schmidt’s deodorant is the only one in the market that works for me, and trust me, I have tried almost everything out there, but is true that some essences they have are little harsh.
    Ylang Ylang is the best for my sensitive armpits, love it!

  26. As much as I love the idea of natural deodorant, none of them actually make a difference for me. Especially during the summer months, my sweat is out of control. I’ve always had issues with over-sweating my entire life. A few months ago I read an article about different deodorants and junglejuice was listed on there. I was hesitant to stray away from the norm but I knew I needed a deodorant with an extra kick to it. I’ll tell you this stuff is amazing. It stays on even after my outdoor workouts in the summer heat! Now I can work all day and then run to happy hour with the girls without feeling self-conscious the entire time. It’s worth a look into for sure: https://www.junglemannaturals.com

  27. I use & love Schmidt’s. Tip: turn your blow dryer on hot/high and warm the deodorant slightly. It will get a glossy wet look & then apply. It’s not rough when you do this.

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