Poll: Do Natural Deodorants Work?

putting on deodorant

A few years ago, I let my co-worker borrow my deodorant at the office one day (we had that kind of relationship), and the next day she was covered in hives. The deodorant I’d lent her was some natural variety, and she said this had happened the last time she used a natural deodorant, too. I don’t know what was in it, and I’m sure this had to have been more about a reaction to some specific ingredient in these products than an allergy to natural deodorant as a whole. But ever since then, natural deodorants have seemed fairly sinister to me.

Besides which—they don’t work. Not the majority of them, not on me, anyway; I’ve tried. The one that I like is Aubrey Organics E Plus High C natural roll-on deodorant, which actually seems to work as well as any non-natural deodorant.. The rest that I’ve tried not only don’t seem to help, ahem, deodorize, but actually cause me to perspire more (although most conventional women’s deodorants are much better, really—who wants to smell liked lavender baby powder breeze all the time?).

In Organic Lifestyle Magazine, Michael Edwards rejects most natural deodorants as either not actually natural or not actually deodorizing (though he does recommend three: one from Ely Organics, the Herbal Magic Roll-On Deodorant and Terressentials Super Protection Deodorant). Edith Zimmerman at The Hairpin was a bit more direct when she posted last year about her ‘quiet, mostly disgusting adventures with natural deodorant’ (which you should really read all the way through). “They are all horrible,” she writes. “I smelled bad 100% of the time.” And even Edith finds one she (kinda, sorta) likes.

So is all natural deodorant a sham, or are they just mostly bad with a few good ones out there? Or could it have something to do with us all reacting differently to natural deodorants in a way we don’t when our sweat glands are just totally overpowered by the aluminum in conventional deodorants—meaning there are lots of good natural deodorants, but only a few good ones for each of us. Aluminum in deodorant, by the way, has been shown to have very little chance of increasing cancer risk—though there are still other ingredients in conventional deodorants, like parabens and phthalates, to worry about.

What do you think about natural deodorant? Take the poll—or share your good or bad natural deodorant stories in the comments.

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    • Alyssa

      Right now I’m using Desert Essence’s Dry by Nature deodorant as recommended by Daily Candy. I like it, but it’s not long lasting. For a couple of months, I was using Earth Science’s Liken Plant Herbal deodorant and that worked great, but the product melts when it’s too hot and then comes off the swivel which is annoying!

    • Peppercorn

      I’ve used Tom’s of Maine and Jason brand natural deodorants, as well as Desert Essence’s tea tree oil deodorant. Those were all pretty decent; the Tom’s especially left me smelling good all day, but I found that all of those tended to get a little sticky and slimy after a couple of hours in my pits. My favorite find by far has been Earth Science’s Tea tree/lavender deodorant. Doesn’t get sticky or slimy, smells lovely, and keeps ME smelling pretty lovely too, as long as I remember to reapply after maybe 5 or 6 hours, depending on the heat.