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! 

Links are affiliate.

Why Rosehip Seed Oil Is My Skincare Superstar (Health Benefits and Uses)

Rosehip Seed Oil -- health benefits and skincare usesSince taking an essential oils workshop a little over a year ago, I’ve turned into this crazy oil lady. Kind of like a crazy cat lady, except instead of cats slinking around all over my apartment, I have little vials of oil overflowing every drawer and bathroom shelf. And I definitely get the same eye rolls from friends when I’m offering them such-and-such oil to cure their such-and-such ailment as I’d probably get if I were introducing them to Nibbles, my eleventh pet cat…

Pfff what do they know, anyway.

There are countless different essential oils out there, all with different health benefits and uses (and some with very similar health benefits and uses), but when it comes to skincare, rosehip seed oil has become a standout favorite of mine. I should point out that if you hear one person telling you coconut oil is the best for skincare, another swearing by grape seed oil, and have me over here brown-nosing rosehip seed oil, don’t feel confused. Many essential oils have similar skincare benefits, and it comes down to personal preference—one isn’t necessarily better than another; the bottom line is that oils, in general, are amazing. Find the ones that work for you!

Rosehip seed oil has become my personal favorite because I love the smell; the consistency works well with my skin type; and it’s particularly amazing for repairing sun damage and discoloration, which is a major concern of mine seeing as I grew up on a beach, lifeguarded throughout college, and still am an admitted sun worshipper.

Rosehip Seed Oil -- health benefits and skincare uses

Rosehip Seed Oil Quick Facts:

  • Comes from the seeds of the rosehip fruit, a wild plant that grows in Chile
  • Extremely high in essential fatty acids (over 70% of the rosehip seed is fatty acid)
  • Rich in vitamins and antioxidants, especially Vitamin C, Vitamin A (retinol), and linoleic and linolenic acids—all superstars for skin and hair health
  • Was used by the Ancient Egyptians, Mayans and Native Americans for its healing properties

Health & Skincare Benefits of Rosehip Seed Oil

  • Corrects UV damage from the sun
  • Reduces appearance of scars, burns and stretch marks
  • Treats fine lines and wrinkles
  • Hydrates dry skin
  • Great for eczema and psoriasis
  • Evens skin tone = awesome if you have hyper-pigmentation, age spots or other minor skin discolorations

I wanted to focus on skin care, but it’s also great for brittle nails and damaged hair (which all go hand in hand).

Rosehip Seed Oil -- health benefits and skincare uses

How I Use Rosehip Seed Oil in My Skincare Routine

I used to really struggle with my oily skin—I had shine marks in all pictures taken with a flash, I’d have to wash my face multiple times a day, and I always seemed to have pimples. It seems counterintuitive that putting oils on my face would help reduce my natural over-production of oil, but it has totally balanced things out. Oils (and especially rosehip oil) are now a permanent part of my skincare routine—I’m obsessed!

As a makeup remover. I put a bit on a cotton pad and rub it over my eyelids to remove my eye makeup before washing my face at night. It works better than any makeup remover I’ve bought in stores.

Rosehip Seed Oil -- health benefits and skincare usesContrary to my facial expression, rosehip seed oil is not deathly boring.

In a toner spray. I love reading interviews with professional models about the skincare products they use (I mean, it’s their job to have amazing skin!), and again and again kept seeing rosehip seed oil come up. One in particular mentioned Rosehip Tonique by Eminence (an organic skincare line) as being great for balancing out oily skin. I’ve been using it for about six months now and love it. I should also add that I swear this toner smells a little bit like beer…which might be why I like it so much…

In a moisturizer and as a moisturizer. Rosehip seed oil is often described as a “dry” oil (one that is easily absorbed into your skin, leaving no oily residue). I don’t find this to be completely the case, however. It definitely absorbs into my skin, but it also leaves my face and neck looking greasy (I have naturally oily skin, so I’m sure this is a partial cause). For this reason, I can’t use pure rosehip seed oil as a daily moisturizer, and only do so at night.

  • Daytime moisturizer: I use Rosehip Whip Moisturizer by Eminence. It’s light enough to apply before putting on makeup, but still leaves my skin feeling hydrated—I love it!
  • Nighttime moisturizer: I’ll apply rosehip seed oil directly to my face and neck with a cotton pad and let it sit there for 10-20 minutes or so as I finish up getting ready for bed. I’ll then take another cotton pad and gently wipe off any excess before going to sleep. In the morning, my skin feels so smooth and amazing!

Rosehip Seed Oil -- health benefits and skincare uses

For cuts. I made the fatal mistake of wearing a new pair of heels out to a club last month (dancing + alcohol + new heels = foot homicide) and the result was not pretty. I had a scab on the back of my ankle that was literally like 4 inches thick. Don’t all line up to date me at once, boys.

Anyway, rosehip oil is said to help prevent the formation of scar tissue. I’ve been rubbing rosehip seed oil on my battle wound at night and the discoloration is almost all gone. No scar for me!

For dry, cracked heels. This winter in Boston has been brutally cold (although it does happen to be nice out today), and as a result my feet have been super sandpaper-y. I’ve been rubbing some rosehip seed oil into them with a cotton pad and then add a thicker moisturizer and it’s helped massively.

Where to Buy Rosehip Seed Oil

I buy my rosehip seed oil from Mountain Rose Herbs, but countless skincare companies have it as well. I personally liked Mountain Rose Herbs right from the get-go because just by the website you can tell the company is run by a bunch of tree-hugging hippies. When it comes to natural, organic products…I trust hippies. 🙂

I also like that MRH’s rosehip seed oil is cold-pressed. It can also be extracted through a heating process (not that I totally understand either to be perfectly honest), but I’ve read that this slow-cooking can alter and damage some of the nutrients. Cold-pressed is the way to go. It’s recommended that you keep the rosehip oil refrigerated, which I actually just found out about (whoops), but even if you don’t, it’s said to have a two-year shelf-life.

Do you use rosehip seed oil? What are some of your other favorite oils for skincare?

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Cultivating Herbal Friendships
For the sake of keeping things real, I just wanted to add that the links to Mountain Rose Herbs are affiliate links (if you go to their site and buy something, I get a teeny tiny percentage of the sale). However, I had been buying and loving Mountain Rose Herbs products for almost a year before I found out about their affiliate program and applied, so I assure you none of my opinions are influenced by the four cents commission I might make off your potential rosehip seed oil purchase. 🙂

Peppermint Essential Oil

peppermint-essential-oil-1Back in September, I went to an essential oils workshop, and have since been incorporating them into my health and beauty routine daily. I used to use Young Living Essential Oils (pictures), but have recently switched to Mountain Rose Herbs for all my essential oil and health food/product needs–much more affordable! You can find these from several other online retailers, at health food stores, and there is even a limited selection right at Whole Foods. As I continue experimenting with them and finding favorites, I want to highlight particular oils on the blog from time to time.

I’ll start with peppermint oil because I use it daily, love it and it’s super versatile. The health benefits of peppermint oil include:

  • Anti-parasitic
  • Anti-tumor
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Digestive aid
  • Reduce fever and headaches
  • Alleviates nausea
  • Curbs appetite
  • Eases arthritis pain
  • Helps combat depression

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

Uses for Peppermint Essential Oil

Here’s how I use peppermint essential oil in my everyday life:

Muscle Aches & Headaches

If I’m sore from an intense workout or just feeling achy (read: hungover), I love rubbing a few drops of peppermint oil over the affected muscles before bed. Really massage it in there. It’s like Mother Nature’s version of Icy Hot.

If you have a headache, rub a couple drops on your temples.

Bloating/Upset Stomach

Put a drop in a glass of water and drink it down to help relieve bloating and upset stomachs. One thing to take note of: don’t put essential oils in plastic cups. Make sure you’re drinking out of glass or metal (or paper). I’ve found that drinking peppermint oil has been great for digestion and preventing bloating.

peppermint-essential-oil-2

Cold Symptom Relief

If you’re stuffed up from a cold, peppermint oil is your new best friend. Rub a drop under your nostrils and it’ll have the same effect as inhaling hot sauce—those sinuses will be clear in no time! I do this before bed when I have a cold so I can breathe comfortably without resorting to the dreaded mouth breath. The one downside is that, while it clears your sinuses, it also makes you feel very alert. If you have difficulty falling asleep, rubbing peppermint oil under your nose probably won’t help the situation.

Curb Appetite

Supposedly, putting a drop of peppermint oil in your water will help curb your appetite. I’m sure it works for some people, but I find that the only thing that really curbs my appetite is…food. Still, I love putting a drop in my water bottle each morning (don’t use more than a drop or two—this stuff is poignant!) If nothing else, drinking something with flavor helps me avoid boredom-induced snacking.

Rodent Repellant

If you have a diffuser, diffuse peppermint oil in your home to keep mice away. I happen to have a little f@*ker in my apartment this winter, but I just can’t bring myself to set traps or kill him, so I’ve been using peppermint oil. Haven’t seen Mickey in weeks!

Increase Focus and Alertness

Diffuse peppermint oil in your home office to increase focus and alertness. I find it really does keep me feeling sharp and mentally clear.

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Pre-Workout Pump-Up

Peppermint oil really wakes you up. Get in the zone for a workout by inhaling some or by diffusing it in the room.

Instead of the Snooze Button

I’m a morning person (4:30 or 5AM wake-ups are no problem for me), but sometimes everyone needs a little help getting out of bed in the morning. I keep a jar of peppermint oil by my bed, and will just smell it or rub a drop under my nose in the morning if I’m feeling sluggish. HELLO. You’ll be wide awake—it’s like shoving Vick’s Vapor Rub up your nostrils (but in a good way).

Cramps

During ladytimes, I rub a few drops into my abdomen to relieve cramps. Heavenly.

In the Kitchen

Add it into your baking to make peppermint brownies and fudge. Add it to tea for peppermint tea. Swirl it into vanilla ice cream and top with chocolate syrup. I admittedly haven’t experimented much with cooking with essential oils, but it’s on the to-do list!

Cocktail Mixer

And now is the part of the blog post where I totally defeat the entire purpose of using essential oils for their amazing health benefits by admitting that I mix peppermint oil with vodka, water and a lemon wedge for a low-calorie cocktail. DON’T JUDGE ME. Actually you can definitely judge me.

If you’re looking to buy your own bottle of peppermint essential oil, you can do so here ($13 for a 1-oz bottle).

Have you tried peppermint oil before? I’d love to hear about your favorite ways to use it!

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