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Bad body odor? Don’t choose between smelling good and your health. Ditch your aluminum deodorant and go for a safe, all-natural alternative that works!
Maybe you’ve changed your shampoo, makeup, and toothpaste for more Paleo-friendly options. What about your deodorant?
It smells nice, but if you buy it from the store it’s probably causing a lot more problems than you know. You don’t have to stop using it and stink things up…
But it’s time to ditch the aluminum deodorant for something better. Keep reading for seven reasons why you should never use that stuff again… and what to do instead.
1. Aluminum Compounds
The first reason to stay away from aluminum deodorants? The aluminum itself!
Aluminum compounds (like “Aluminum chlorohydrate” and “Aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly”) are extremely common in conventional deodorants and antiperspirants. These compounds plug the sweat ducts and stop (or seriously limit) the release of sweat.
Unfortunately, aluminum can be absorbed deep into your skin… with serious consequences.
This could explain why clinical studies found a disproportionately high incidence of breast cancer in the “upper outer quadrant” of the breast (the part closest to the underarm) – strong evidence for a connection between a diagnosis and a locally-applied aluminum deodorant (1).Many aluminum-containing deodorants are labeled as “antiperspirants” or “antiperspirant deodorants,” but there are no hard guidelines. So the deodorant you buy could contain aluminum even if it isn’t marketed as an antiperspirant.
Parabens, which have been used since the 1920s, are a group of artificial preservatives designed to prevent bacteria growth.
Companies use them to increase the shelf lives of thousands of different cosmetic and body care products – everything ranging from shampoos and moisturizers, to sunscreens and even your deodorant.
All of these repeated daily exposures really add up…
Parabens have linked to annoyances like skin irritation and allergic reactions, to much more serious issues like hormone function disruption (2). Just like aluminum, parabens are estrogenic. Mimicking the estrogen hormone throws the system out of whack (3).
While the FDA limits the parabens allowed in foods and drinks, it does not regulate them in cosmetics or body care products (4)!
On deodorant labels, look out for methyl, ethyl, propyl, benzyl, and butyl. Those are dead giveaways for parabens.
3. Propylene Glycol
Propylene glycol is used to soften deodorants and make them easier to apply to the skin. This ingredient, which is petroleum-based, can be extremely dangerous – especially when it’s combined with other chemical additives.
Propylene glycol can cause skin irritations ranging from mild redness to full-on allergic reactions. Even extremely small concentrations (two percent or less) can irritate sensitive skin. Some companies make their deodorants with as much as 50 percent proplyene glycol!
It’s even worse in larger quantities. Numerous studies linked propylene glycol to damage of the heart, liver, and central nervous system (5, 6).
Even many “natural” deodorant alternatives use propylene glycol, so check your labels closely!
Did you know that many of the deodorants available at the store contain a pesticide?
Its true. In 1969, that’s how triclosan was first registered with the EPA (7).
So what in the world is a pesticide doing in our deodorants? Companies mostly use triclosan to kill bacteria and extend shelf lives of their products.
Not surprisingly, this creates a range of potential health issues…
Human studies have linked triclosan exposure to a compromised immune system. A 2010 study found that triclosan lowered antibody levels and increased the incidence of allergies and hay fever (8).
There are also more serious issues to think about, like the endocrine system. Studies found that even exposure to very low amounts of triclosan disrupted “thyroid hormone-associated gene expression” (9).
5. Artificial Coloring
Conventional deodorants also use artificial colors and bleaches in their manufacturing process.
A big part of the trouble is just not knowing exactly what you’re getting. There are tons of additives to choose from, some much worse than others… and the ingredients listed tend to be vague.
Some artificial colors are even made from coal tar, which raises serious concerns about allergic skin reactions and even possibly carcinogenic effects (10, 11).
On deodorant labels, look out for “FD&C colors.” These synthetic colors have been approved by the FDA for food, drugs, and cosmetics… but that’s in no way a guarantee they’re safe in your deodorant.
6. Yellow Sweat Stains
Ever wonder how some people can keep white colors in good condition for years while yours end up gross?
If you’re tired of the yellow sweat stains and throwing money away on dress shirts and workout clothes, it’s time to change your deodorant.
I used to think I just sweat a lot, and that was why my white shirts ended up stained. But it wasn’t until I changed my deodorant when I discovered the truth:
The aluminum in your deodorant or antiperspirant is the one to blame (12).
When you sweat, your perspiration chemically reacts with the aluminum deodorant. You end up with nasty, yellow stains – even on clothes that are still pretty new.
7. You’re Supposed to Sweat!
So many deodorant companies use aluminum in their products for a simple reason: it works.
It doesn’t work in terms of your health, but the aluminum does block your sweat glands from releasing too much sweat.
Here’s the issue with that. Sweating is a completely natural process – one that our bodies use to regulate our temperature and even excrete toxins (13).
A better path is to use deodorants without aluminum. These allow you to sweat like you’re supposed to, but cover up any bad odors in the process.
What Should I Do Instead?
You like smelling fresh, but how are you supposed to do that when most conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain toxic chemicals?
Start by checking out the deodorant you’re using on Skin Deep, an extensive cosmetics database from the Environmental Working Group, to find your deodorant’s safety rating.
Not happy with what you find?
There are plenty of natural, organic deodorants available. Thanks to health movements like Paleo, the demand and market is growing rapidly.
But here’s the rub…
Where Many Natural Deodorants Fall Short
If you’ve ever bought one of these natural deodorants (or made one yourself from a recipe online), you know firsthand just how tough it is to find something that works.
A lot of natural deodorants smell great. They’re safe because they’re free from aluminum, parabens, and the other dangerous ingredients we mentioned above.
You get excited, buy one, and try it out…
But you still smell. Especially if you sweat a lot.
The Best Natural Deodorants Don’t Make You Choose Between Safety and Smelling Fresh
What’s the point of buying (or making) organic, all-natural deodorant if everyone in the gym is avoiding you and your coworkers are giving you the evil eye?
This defeats the whole purpose because it forces you to choose between smelling fresh and your health.
Luckily, you don’t have to compromise your safety. A handful of companies are creating natural, organic ingredients like:
- Aluminum-free baking soda
- Arrowroot powder
- Essential oils
- Organic Coconut oil
- Organic Shea butter
No crazy scientific names you can’t pronounce. No bizarre chemical additives, pesticides, or petroleum products. None of that’s needed to keep you healthy… and smelling great.
Unfortunately, if you have any experience with natural deodorants, you’ve probably noticed how messy and inconvenient they can be. It’s hard to take a big jar of deodorant with you to the gym or pack it in your luggage for a cross-country flight.
This is one of the reasons we recommend Primal Pit Paste. These guys offer deodorants in both paste and stick deodorant form, so you can choose which version is most convenient for you. Just like many conventional deodorants, there are different strength levels to match how much you sweat and they come in several scents like jacked-up jasmine, lavender, and coconut lime. We recommend starting with “Regular Scent” and going from there.
10 Aluminum-Free Natural Deodorants That Actually Work
Deodorant Without Aluminum (Or Toxins!) To Please Your Pits
While the aluminum in antiperspirants can work powerfully to reduce odor by blocking sweat ducts, this can lead to potential irritation, infection, and sensitive underarms. By making the switch to an alternative and effective natural deodorant, your body can naturally shed toxins, maintain a stable temperature, and stay cool and clean for up to 24 hours, even when active.
We’ve rounded up the best aluminum-free deodorants that are sure to keep you feeling fresh, dry, and confident during the summer heat!
Natural | Non-toxic, aluminum-free, naturally-derived & safe synthetic ingredients
What We Love | The Visionary – Clean Crisp Citron
Scents Available | Citron, Unscented
Price | $10
type:A is on a mission to bring clean beauty to mainstream consumers by crafting high-performance deodorant from safe, non-toxic ingredients. A list of the natural and tested-safe synthetic ingredients are on the brand’s website, so you know exactly what you’re putting on your skin. Plus, type:A’s deodorant is sweat-activated, making it a great choice for the super active person.
Natural | All-natural, aluminum-free, cruelty-free, organic
What We Love | Mountain Lavender Deodorant
Scents Available | Cedarwood, Lavender, Unscented
Price | $10.99
Priding itself as the simplest deodorant with the fewest ingredients, Humble is a pioneer in the natural deodorant industry. With just four to five organic and all-natural ingredients that you can pronounce, this deodorant is sure to keep you dry and smelling fresh. Our favorite scent is Mountain Lavender. It keeps us relaxed, confident, and ready to take on the day.
Natural | All-natural, aluminum-free, vegan, cruelty-free
What We Love | Bergamot + Lime Natural Deodorant
Scents Available | Wide variety of scents
Price | $8.99
Born out of Jamie Schmidt’s Portland home back in 2010, Schmidt’s is an award-winning company bringing self-care and home goods to the masses. The brand’s vision is to change the way you think about natural products with its effective and innovative deodorant sticks and creams. The all-natural deodorants come in a slew of amazing scents and are sure to keep you odor-free without feeling sticky or greasy.
Natural | All-natural, aluminum-free
What We Love | Frankincense Peach
Scents Available | Lavender Citrus, Frankincense Peach, Amber, Bergamot Mint, Sensitive Unscented
Price | $17.50
Freedom Deodorant’s founder Ira grew up using natural remedies. And when she found a lump in her breast and a doctor recommended staying away from antiperspirants, she knew she needed natural deodorant for a healthier lifestyle. All of Freedom Deodorant’s products are aluminum-free and come in a variety of scents, from lavender citrus to amber. Our favorite? The Frankincense Peach. It’s the perfect blend of lemon, apricot, and peach, complete with kaolin clay, coconut oil, and arrowroot.
5. Pretty Frank
Natural | All-natural, cruelty-free, aluminum-free, vegan, biodegradable packaging
What We Love | Jasmine Baking Soda Deodorant
Scents Available | Lavender, Coconut Lime, Patchouli, Lemongrass, Orange Creamsicle, Jasmine, Spice, Royal & Rogue, Unscented
Price | $10
Handcrafted in Austin, Texas, Pretty Frank offers deodorants in jars, sticks, and mini-sized options with different levels of strength, including for sensitive skin. Whether you’re traveling, heading to the gym, or enjoying a day off, these natural deodorants are sure to meet your needs. All of Pretty Frank’s products include arrowroot powder, organic coconut oil, and shea butter to keep your skin soft. We’ve been eyeing the Jasmine Jar with its sweet summertime scent.
Natural | All-natural, organic, aluminum-free, gluten-free
What We Love | Natural Unscented Deodorant
Scents Available | Natural unscented
Price | $15.99
Thousands of people have tested and loved Underarmed’s natural deodorant over its two years of development, and it’s safe to say that it’s a winner. This unscented deodorant is perfect for those who are sensitive to fragrances, and its all-natural ingredients help you detox your pits. Plus, if you don’t love it, Underarmed offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so that you can try something new with confidence!
7. Real Purity
Natural | All-natural, organic
What We Love | Roll-On Natural Deodorant
Scents Available | Organic essential oil blends including lavender, Douglas fir, orange, & pepper
Price | $11.99
We love Real Purity’s natural deodorant and the quick-drying formula that lasts even in the hottest months of the year. Founded by Virginia Easterling in 1986, the growing company remains a family business and continues to promote all-natural skin-care from its headquarters in Indiana. This deodorant is made with pure essential oils and organic aloe, making it perfect for dry skin. It comes packaged in a tube, and the liquid formula is a delightful variation from the traditional stick.
Natural | All-natural, aluminum-free
What We Love | Tobacco Activated Charcoal Deodorant
Scents Available | Tobacco, Citrus Thyme
Price | $16.99
Ujjayi is a yoga lifestyle brand that offers skin, body, and personal care products, all of which are handcrafted in Los Angeles, California. This activated charcoal deodorant offers odor neutralization and detoxification and is designed with the active person in mind. We love the tobacco-scented Ujjayi—it’s a warm, subtle fragrance that stays on even after a rigorous workout.
Natural | All-natural, organic, aluminum- & chemical-free, sustainably sourced
What We Love | Lemon Sage Organic Deodorant
Scents Available | Jasmine Grapefruit, Lemon Sage
Price | $14
Erbaviva is a proud B Corp fusing European artisan quality and Californian culture for organic skincare products. For more than 20 years, the brand’s products have been USDA Certified organic and consciously crafted without any chemicals or aluminum. The Lemon Sage Organic Deodorant is gender-neutral and not just for your body—it is safe for use on yoga mats, clothing, carpets, and more! The tea tree and lemon mix offers a warm and woodsy smell and fights underarm bacteria (naturally, of course).
10. Meow Meow Tweet
Natural | All-natural, aluminum-free, organic, vegan, cruelty-free
What We Love | Lavender Deodorant Cream
Scents Available | Grapefruit, Lavender, Lavender Bergamot, Eucalyptus Lemon
Price | $14
Meow Meow Tweet is a small-batch skincare company creating vegan and cruelty-free products out of New York, including a range of deodorants, soaps, and body and baby care products. Ideal for those with sensitive skin, the baking soda-free deodorant cream is made lovingly with essential oils and soothing ingredients that are sure to last you on the longest day.