Natural Deodorants – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Chances are if you’ve started to clean up your diet and are making progress, you have begun to think about what else you can clean up. Maybe you have purchased non-toxic cleaning products and laundry detergents. Maybe you’ve tried out some natural deodorants and been pretty bummed. Does this sound familiar? If so, keep reading. This is a longer one, but worth it if you have started down this road or have an interest in venturing. 

Shortly after changing the way I ate and cleaning up that aspect of my life, I started to notice a lot of improvements in the way I felt. The migraines I would often get suddenly stopped occurring, and I was sleeping better with more stable energy throughout the day. So many things were looking up, I wondered what else I could change to make things even better. Fueled by my positive results with my diet, I sought natural deodorants. I was hesitant to try because I work out a lot and get sweaty. I was also hesitant because I had once tried a deodorant (non-antiperspirant) that wasn’t even totally clean, and it was a total fail. That said, I was determined to give it a go because in addition to wanting to feel my best, I also have a prevalent family history of cancer, both thyroid and breast cancer. It seemed like getting rid of the toxic aluminum (breast cancer causing) ingredient was for the best.

Shopping for Natural Deodorant

And so I did, I hopped online at Thrive Market, which has lots of healthy stuff for reasonable prices compared to other retailers, and picked out a brand with decent reviews. I even got Justin one, too. Our little package arrived in the mail, and we started out the next day with our natural deodorants. If you have done some research you know that they all say you have to stick it out for a few weeks for your body to adapt, and then things will start looking up. Well, for more than three weeks I stuck it out, rolling on the slimy and sticky stuff. It wasn’t too pleasant. I just didn’t like the way it felt and the way it never really seemed to dry up. I also was not too fond of the scent. Anyway, after about a month I went back to my old ways and pulled the Degree out of a drawer. Disappointing, I know.

And then another try

Fast forward to a few weeks later…I figured I just needed to try another brand, so I did. And I started digging my finger into a pot every day and applied the next brand with my finger. Ok, that was a little weird, but it worked. I could work out, get ready for work, and then head to the office and not be stinky. Score. However, after a few weeks, I noticed my armpits were breaking out and seeming to have an adverse reaction to the deodorant. Wait…what?! How could the natural stuff be causing a reaction. I thought it was better for you? Confused, I did a little research and learned the baking soda in some natural deodorants can irritate your skin. Yep, that is what happened. Ugh…and again I resorted to my old ways. Degree to the rescue, luring me back.

And another round

Still convinced I could find the right fit, once my pits healed I was back at it with another brand, and then a couple more. Yes, I tried many brands and wasted a lot of money on natural deodorants. They are not cheap compared to their toxic counterparts. For your benefit, I will fast forward over the months it took to find a few brands worth trying, and tell you what I think works best. Now, you will likely have to do a little trial and error of your own, but my hope is that these three options will help to cut out a lot of angry pits and money down the drain. First off, my tip is to try options with and without the baking soda. It is effective, so that is good, but too much can irritate your underarms and some people are more sensitive than others. Second, go for the unscented options. I have found that the scented kinds just end up smelling not so stellar by the end of the day and often times made my clothes smell even worse. No bueno. Third, rotate your deodorants. I have found three that I like, and I rotate between them. Two of the three do not have baking soda which gives my pits a break so they don’t get angry. I feel like rotating between brands keeps them effective and working hard for you.

Fast forward to what works for me

Alright. Drumroll please….My top three recommendations for natural deodorants are explained below. Please note this is my personal experience and opinion and not sponsored by any of the products featured below.

Natural deodorants

Schmidt’s

Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant – I start with this one because it is readily available in most health food stores, like Whole Foods and New Seasons, and it is also a local Portland company, which makes me feel good. It costs $10-$12 depending where you buy it. You can get it in a pot or in a stick format. I bought the sensitive skin, unscented stick. The main con for this one is that it is pretty hard and can be a little abrasive on your pits, so you have to let your body warm it up a little, and then dab it on more than roll it on. Seriously, don’t go right in for the roll. It will feel like sandpaper. Hold the deodorant against your body for a few moments. Then, dab it on versus using a traditional rolling on. Not sure if this is a deal breaker, but it definitely takes a little getting used to.

Natural Deodorants Schmidts

Primally Pure

Primally Pure – I am a little obsessed with this company. I love their story, their mission, and use a number of their products. I have recently become a brand ambassador of theirs because I simply live their products so much and really believe in what they are doing! Love. I get their sticks in charcoal, geranium and lavender, and I rotate between the three of them. It costs $14-16 for a full sized stick. You do have to pay for shipping (unless your order is $100+ then it’s free shipping and if you need suggestions on some of my other favorite Primally Pure products just let me know – email me at beauty@realsimplegood.com). The shipping is the only con I can think of. I don’t really have anything negative to say about this one. It rolls on much more naturally than the one above, so if that is a big deal for you, this may be a better fit. Their formula contains just the right amount of baking soda, which keeps my pits very happy and makes the deodorant effective. You may need to try the various scents and unscented to see what works best for your body. It’s different for everyone, but I’m confident at least one of them will work well for you! If you are interested in shopping Primally Pure, I’d love your support of my ambassadorship, which you can show by shopping with my link => Erica’s Primally Pure Shop.

Natural Deodorants Primally Pure

Primal Pit Paste

Primal Pit Paste – This stuff just works. It’s good stuff. It comes in a stick and rolls on naturally. I purchased the regular unscented stick. It does have baking soda, so I used it for a while with minor irritation, but don’t currently use it. They do have an option called happy pits, but it only comes in a scented version. This one costs $10.95, plus shipping. You can get this one on Thrive Market though if you are a member, and if you spend $49 or more you get free shipping, so that is nice if you have other stuff to order.

Natural Deodorants Primal Pit Paste

FATCO

Another option, one that I don’t currently use but have in the past with some irritation is from FATCO, formally known as Fat Face. It is called Stank Stop, and it comes in a little pot. You rub it on with your finger and sometimes you need your body heat to heat it up a little if you store it in a cool place. This one worked well for me, but ended up irritating my skin with prolonged use. However, my grandmother has had a great experience with it and prefers this over some of my other favorites. It just goes to show that you will have to do a little trial and error and find what suits you and your body best, but it is worth the effort to find a safer product.

In the end

This is my rundown of natural deodorants. I think we all know that it is safer and better for our bodies to use them. However, finding the right one can be a challenge. I hope these options give you a solid starting point and help to cut out the run around and money wasting I experienced. Let us know what you think about this post and our recommendations. I’m so curious to learn if these three are as effective and well-liked by you. Leave a comment below, and let us know what you think.

33 thoughts on “Natural Deodorants – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

  • Another great post and topic! Kendra and I have definitely tried our fair share of natural deodorants that didn’t work well either. We’ve both been using Earth Science tea tree & lavender deodorant – seems to work pretty well, but like you said every body is different. I’ll have to keep your list on hand and maybe try some of these out – thanks!

    • I’ve seen that one, and I love lavender. I like tea tree too and actually find it works ok for me in deodorants, but something about the scented ones just ends up smelling a little ripe by the end of the day if I sweat at all. Let me know if you find any others you like!

  • Have you every tried Native? It has baking soda in it but says it’s aluminum free and paraben free. Just wondering if you had any thoughts or experience with it before I try it.

    • No, I have not tried that brand, but I just looked at it, and it does look pretty clean! I like that it is fragrance free, too. If you try it out, you’ll have to report back because now I’m curious! Also, I love that they have free shipping. That’s always nice!

      • I’ve been using Native for about a week now. Today I noticed irritation, which is why found this page. I was searching for why I might be experiencing irritations with a natural deodorant. Well, I see you’re saying that baking soda can irritate some, so this might be my issue. I have the coconut and vanilla scent which smells nice, but again like u said, after a while it’s not such a nice smell anymore, lol. I’ll try some of these you have mentioned with less baking soda and unscented. I originally bought the native to try on my son because he has eczema. Thought this might be better for him. We will see.

        • Ugh..it’s so hard finding the options that work well. Everyone’s body is unique and we all react a little differently to the various essential oils used and also the baking soda. I feel like Primally Pure works well for just about everyone I recommend it to, especially the sensitive version with less baking soda for those of us who are particularly sensitive. Good luck and report back to let us know what ends up working well for you! 🙂

          • I’ve used native for a couple years and they do have sensitive versions that don’t have baking soda. I also had a rash from Schmidt brand. I also love how smooth native goes on. The scents are nice and they also have an unscented one. They have travel packs that are trial sizes of several scents to try before paying for full size. Hope this helps.

          • Thanks! Both Justin and I actually tried Navtive and even the sensitive one caused a rash. Bummer! Glad it works well for you though! It can be so hard to find the one that best suits you, so good job for working through that process!

      • Thanks for sharing!! Justin and I tried Native recently and both of us ended up getting rashes in our pits. So bummed because I know it works well for a lot of people. Glad it works for you and that Schmidt’s might work even better! You’ll have to give Primally Pure a try sometime too!

    • Native also has one scent that is sensitive (contains no baking soda). The scent is Cotton and Lily. It was described as a fresh linen smell. I just ordered it for me and one for my son. I absolutely loved Schmidt’s bergomet and lime. It was totally awesome protection and great scent, but after two months of using it, the baking soda broke out my non dominant under arm. They suggested I was being more rough with my dominant hand than my non dominant hand. I tried it again after my under arm healed, but still broke out. I call it break out, but it was more like a red irritation that became raw. I tried Schmidt’s sensitive line too and it has worked out just fine. We just thought we would give this a try too. It cost a bit more than Schmidt’s.

      • You’ll have to report back, and let us all know how it goes! We tried the sensitive and vanilla varieties from Native and both broke out, but I didn’t try the Cotton and Lily scent, so I’m curious to hear how you like it! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

    • I do use Native and have really enjoyed the Lemon scented as well as the rose sandalwood scented BUT I do perspire when I wear it. I honestly was reading this article for greater insight on what works better. I’m not used to sweating but also not used to all natural deodorant either.

      • You will sweat with natural deodorants! It means your body is detoxing itself, which it is supposed to do! When you use an antiperspirant (which many traditional deodorants are) it blocks your body from sweating and detoxing, which means your body cannot expel toxins. So, longer story short – sweating is a good thing! You just want to find the natural deodorant that keeps you feeling/smelling fresh! Hope that helps!

  • I was laughing at myself as I was reading this post. I went through almost the same run-around with natural deodorants, and I wish I would’ve seen this post beforehand to save me some time and hardships! Finding a natural deodorant wasn’t easy but I was determined to stick it out and make this switch. I, too, tried Schmidt’s (in the jar) because it is local to Portland. It was weird using my fingers to apply, but I told myself to stick it out because it was going to be healthier. But no, I had a terrible, painful, reaction to it. Low and behold, it was the baking soda. I then switched to Primally Pure Sensitive Skin deodorant and LOVE it! No reaction, doesn’t make me feel sticky and I enjoy the scent I chose (Lemongrass). Like you, I love the company’s mission and I want to try more of their products!

    • Hahahaha! It’s so true, right?! I’m glad you found it comical, but also happy you found Primally Pure! They are the best I think! I ended up getting their sample pack with the different scents (in the sensitive version), and I actually love the lemongrass and lavender now! I use those two most frequently and throw in the unscented from time to time. I still rotate them because I think it works best for my body to not use the same one day in and day out. Justin likes the tea tree scent and has been using it. So, it’s great for both women and men! 🙂 You should definitely try some other Primally Pure products. I use many of them!! I’ll have to do a post about my favorite PP products!

    • Hi there! Yes, they just recently updated their offerings and the mini pack is no longer available unfortunately. I will be updating this page soon to reflect the new options. From their new options though, I highly recommend the charcoal deodorant! Both my husband and I have been using it and really like how effective it is! Their new formula has also been great for my pits. I was worried since I used their sensitive deodorant before, but it’s been a seamless transition and I can happily report I’ve experienced no irritation! Hope that helps!

  • i have bought so many different natural deodorants. i have made so many different recipes of diy natural deodorants. nothing seems to work for me, and they all give me a rash. i have recently found one that DID work for me, though! Lume https://lumedeodorant.com/ it really worked! NO stink and NO rash! i tried it and i didn’t smell after 24 hours even after a hard workout and a long sweaty shift at work. nothing else has worked for me. i wish i could do the diy ones. it would be easier and cheaper, but i can’t. i am so glad i found it. it has no aluminum and no baking soda

    • It’s so hard finding the right fit sometimes. Glad you found something that works for you! I haven’t tried that kind yet, but I just looked it up and researched the ingredients. It’s not as squeaky clean as some natural deodorants, but definitely not as bad as the traditional stuff! Thanks for sharing!

      • it IS hard to find the one sometimes! i am really glad i found this one as it has stopped my problem. i love the smell of the schmidt’s lime scented one! i was hoping so hard for that one to work LOL oh well…i will take not stinking bad finally! i am very happy for those that can use it though!

      • J + E, I’ve been trying to do some more research on Lume to see just how natural it is, but I’m not finding any specific info. I’m about to resort to individually researching each ingredient. But before I do, I’m wondering if you can share what you found, or a few ingredients that you noticed weren’t as “squeaky clean”? Aside from health aspects I’m also looking for palm-oil free ingredients. TIA!

        • Hey there – I looked up each of the individual ingredients on the EWG Skin Deep database, and it had 3-4 ingredients that scored a 3 or above. I try to stick with 2 or below, especially on my pits since they are so absorbent. Hopefully that helps for understanding my reasoning. I think you just have to weigh the pros and cons for your personal preferences. Finding a good deodorant without coconut oil is tricky and Lume fits the bill on that one. It’s not the worst in my opinion, but just not the cleanest either. I’ve heard folks who really love it though, so maybe it’s worth a try for you. The ingredients that scored 3-4 on the Skin Deep database were mid-way to the end of the ingredient list, so at least they aren’t the first couple ingredients. They are PEG-100 Stearate, Sodium Lactate, Polysorbate 60, Lecithin (ranked 2-3 depending on usage) and Phenoxyethanol. Hope that helps! You’ll have to let us know what you end up trying and how it works for you!

          • I am interested to hear if anyone else had a similar experience to mine with Lume. I started using it because it could be used on private’s as well as armpits. After using it for a few months, it still works pretty well on private areas, but my armpits smell terrible! As though I am wearing nothing at all. Such a shame. I am off to try Primally Pure. Thanks for the post!!

          • Since we haven’t tried Lume, we can’t say but I can say that I’ve had other deodorants that seemed to just stop working after a while. Since finding Primally Pure and having it work for me, I’ve tried to rotate scents. I usually have 2-3 different scents on hand all the time so that I can use one for a few days and then another. My body seems to stay most reactive when I rotate products on my skin in general. You might give that strategy a try, and you’ll have to report back on how Primally Pure works for you! Can’t wait to hear!

  • Hi Justin, hi Erica,

    I’ve been getting a little desperate here.

    Since puberty, I’ve been using the Degree Men “Dry Protection” body heat activated in the Clean scent. I’m super picky about the smells of cologne and deodorant, and that’s just about the only stuff I’ve found that I both like the smell of and that actually works as a deodorant and antiperspirant for me. I’ve been using it so long that it’s just what I smell like now.

    So… they discontinued it at the beginning of the year. I’m crushed – I can’t find anything that works for me – the newer Degree deodorants in the ‘clean’ scent are completely different and offensive to my nose, unscented deodorants are rare and don’t apply well, and any other thing I’ve tried, well… stinks.

    So, my questions are twofold. First of all, I saw your blog about natural deodorants, and saw that you used Degree – I was hoping that you happened to use the same model that I did, and that you could tell me what the predominant smells in it are so I could be looking for things with the same sort of scent.

    Second… holy cow are natural deodorants expensive! I’m a broke college student, I can’t really afford to buy a lot of different products and see what works for me. What would be your top suggestion to try for a young man who needs an antiperspirant + deodorant, that goes on cleanly and doesn’t have a sharp or acrid scent? (Though if I’m asking for a pipe dream, I’d like it to smell like my old deodorant.)

    Thanks so much, guys!

  • I too have tried so many natural deodorants…. even made my own! Schmits irritated me too… am using Lume now and LOVE it!! Am especially pleased that you can use it in private areas…only need a little…if you were using this and felt like it stayed gooey, you were probably using too much…as stated, everyone’s body is different…this really works for me!!!

  • I’ve been looking to try out a new deodorant stick. I’ve been using the same one for years and it’s not cutting it anymore. Perhaps I’ll try something out on the natural side as I never have before.

  • If you have not tried THAI Stone system then you have not had real protection. You can purchase on amazon or other. Try it, you don’t need anything else. Its just a stone, but works wonders. My grandson was the worst and went from bathing 3 times a day to once with NO ODOR!

    • There is some debate about that deodorant, and I opted to stick on the side of caution. One main reason to switch to a natural deodorant is to decrease exposure to aluminum and the crystal/stone deodorants are made of Potassium Alum, which is an aluminum. This post talks about some thoughts on whether or not it may be toxic if you want to read more.

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