Thrive Tries It: We Test 3 Natural Deodorants

Last Update: September 29, 2022

Truth time: I mastered the art of the subtle armpit waft long ago. Interviews, first dates, even crowded elevators leave me sniffing (and possibly fanning) at my underarms, desperately willing my body not to perspire.

Yes, I am a perpetually sweaty human.

Sorry if that’s gross, but it’s a fact of life, my friends. I also happen to be a health coach, so what I put in (and on) my body is really important to me. I know firsthand how toxic some of the chemicals that are in our everyday beauty routines can be, and I do my best to steer clear of slathering anything on my skin that contains chemicals I can’t pronounce. I’ve tossed all my old beauty products that I know contain unsafe chemicals, but the one chemical-laden product I haven’t been able to part with yet? My drugstore brand deodorant.

Aluminum, the active ingredient in deodorant that keeps you from getting stinky when it gets hot out there, has been linked to breast cancer and hormonal balances when applied to underarms. The aluminum in antiperspirant is also the reason that your white t-shirts all have yellow pit stains—as if you needed another reason to switch to the organic stuff! All natural deodorants boast a formula that’s aluminum free, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

But probably like you, I’ve been wary about ditching my prescription-level deodorant. What’s more embarrassing than being the stinky girl in yoga class? I pushed my vanity aside in the pursuit of knowledge and tested out three different types of natural deodorants. And well, the results were surprising, to say the least.

The crystal. I’ve carefully regarded it so many times, considering the purchase, only to let fear of sweating through my clothes make me shelve this magic anti-odor crystal. It looks like a big stick of salt, which is basically what it is. The directions are simple: Wet crystal with water. Rub on your underarms. That’s it.

Unlike regular deodorant that clumps up (umm, ew) the crystal doesn’t leave any residue, so you can reapply as often as you want and not worry about white stains on your LBD. I put the crystal to the test on my usual morning run. The result? After seven miles, I didn’t feel any more sweaty than I do with my normal deodorant, and I definitely didn’t smell. One point for the magic crystal!

Next on the docket: an essential oil based deodorant spray. I love this one already because it comes in a pink bottle and smells like roses. SOLD! This recipe contains some alcohol in addition to the oils, which keeps your underarms from feeling slimy and leaves you dry. On my run, this concoction actually fared really well. I kept getting whiffs of roses and florals as I traversed the grimy streets of L.A. During my normal work hours all the way through to happy hour, the essential oils left my skin soft, and the alcohol kept me dry. Conclusion? This spray surprised me, in a good way, and it smells so good I would feel comfortable wearing this and going sans perfume when out with friends.

Finally, I tried a more traditional stick-like deodorant. Coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter are the super emollient main ingredients, and each is organic—love! This one felt like lotion, and the cocoa butter makes this smell good enough to eat. Seriously, for a second you might even consider licking your armpit. (But don’t do that, that would be weird.) While it smelled lovely all day long at work, once the time came to lace up my sneakers and hit the pavement, this deodorant didn’t fare as well as the other natural competitors. That being said, I really liked this product, so I’ll definitely use it again… just probably not on a run in the middle of summer.

Overall? I’m a natural deodorant convert, for sure. I immediately noticed a change in the texture of my skin, and my underarms were far less sensitive than they typically are. Plus, I don’t feel bad about reapplying this stuff if I need to, and feeling self conscious of white armpits is not an issue. No chemicals, no hormone-disrupters, no stink? I’m in!

Photo credit: Paul Delmont 

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Michelle Pellizzon

Certified health coach and endorphin enthusiast, Michelle is an expert in healthy living and eating. When she's not writing you can find her running trails, reading about nutrition, and eating lots of guacamole.

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