It’s been years since I first read about the dangers of aluminum as an active ingredient in anti-perspirants, but I must admit, it took me a while to switch to using aluminum-free deodorant 100% of the time. Not only did it take my body some time to adapt, but not all so-called “natural” deodorants are created equal. To hopefully save a few others from odor-filled days and scary underarm rashes, here’s my review of seven different natural deodorants.
- Tom’s of Maine
I’m pretty sure this is the OG of aluminum-free deodorant. The problem is, they also sell aluminum-containing deodorant, so you have to read the label carefully to make sure you are buying the right one. I didn’t find it to be especially effective, but when I tried it, my pits were used to strong antiperspirants, and hadn’t adapted to the natural stuff, so that could be part of the problem. Also, while this deodorant comes in a variety of types and scents, the selection available in stores always seems pretty limited. When I first started shopping for aluminum-free deodorant, the only varieties of Tom’s I could find were unscented, powder fresh (which, to me, smells like a diaper–a clean diaper, but still a diaper), and the “teen” version, which has a sickly sweet candy scent. Not impressed. Hence, I turned to other brands like Jason and Schmidt’s.
Note: This is the only deodorant on the list that I don’t have a picture of since it’s been a long time since I’ve tried it.
TL;DR: Affordable, but not the strongest.
This deodorant is fairly inexpensive and widely available. I think I was also drawn in by the “soothing aloe vera” description. The texture of this deodorant is indeed very smooth, and it feels nice and cooling when applied, especially after shaving. However, a couple hours into my day, my armpits where very sweaty and very stinky. Granted, it was pretty hot outside at the time, but that’s the reality of summertime where I live, so I need a deodorant that can stand up to the heat, and this one wasn’t cutting it.
TL;DR: Might work if you’re not a big sweater (as in a person who sweats, not a knitted garment) or you live somewhere cold, but overall, it’s a no from me.
This is a brand that I had never heard of until a few years ago, and then all of a sudden, they were absolutely everywhere. They have a decent variety of scents (even more now than the first time I tried it), and although certainly more expensive that traditional deodorants, they are moderately priced for the non-toxic, aluminum-free market. I tried the Bergamot + Lime scent, which is nice, but I prefer something a little more feminine smelling. After I discovered that my skin reacts badly to baking soda, I also tried the sensitive skin version, in Lavender Tips. The latter worked really well for me; my only complaint is that the formula is a bit messy. It seems too soft for the twist-up stick style of packaging because it has a tendency to overflow and smush over the sides when you put it on. I always had to rub it in with my fingers, and then wash my hands after. The deal-breaker is that it also left marks on my clothes. They came out, but it took some scrubbing, and honestly, who has time for that?
TL;DR: Very effective, but a little messy.
As an aside, why are all of these brands named after dudes?! Tom, Schmidt, Jason. I take issue with this. There should be a deodorant named after a woman. Get on it, personal care industry people!
The positive reviews (both online and via word of mouth) are overwhelming, so even though this deodorant is a bit pricey and could only be ordered online when I first tried it (it’s now available at Target), I decided to go for it. I bought a three-pack because this seemed like the more economical option, and with such positive reviews, I was fairly certain I would like it. These deodorants smell amazing, but unfortunately it was all downhill after that. I applied the deodorant in the morning, and by the end of the day, I was left with an angry red rash all over my armpits. In all the reviews I read online, no one mentioned experiencing anything like this. On the Native website, it says that sometimes it takes a few days for your body to adapt to using a natural deodorant, so I stupidly kept using it for a few days, and the rash only got worse. I even tried the sensitive skin version and experienced a similar reaction. My sister also had a bad reaction to these deodorants, so I know it’s not just me! After some research, I discovered that my skin is probably sensitive to baking soda, and I haven’t had a problem since switching to baking soda-free deodorants. To be fair, this stuff did keep the stink away, so I guess if you’re skin doesn’t mind baking soda, it’s worth giving it a try.
TL;DR: I’d take stinky pits over a painful rash any day.
When I first learned about this type of deodorant, I thought it was weird, and to be honest, I still don’t totally understand how it’s supposed to work. It’s basically a rock that you wet under the sink and then rub on your pits. It’s very affordable, lasts a long time, and it can be zero waste if you can find a package-free version. Unfortunately, it did absolutely nothing for me. It was as if I didn’t use anything at all.
TL;DR: Cheap, but didn’t work for me at all.
I picked this up on a whim without looking up reviews ahead of time (very unlike me), and it’s actually a decent deodorant. It smells nice, does not contain baking soda, and works decently well. I would not trust this stuff on a hot day, when I’m exercising, for a job interview, or any other occasion that might cause me to sweat more than usual, but for a typical day, it’s not bad.
TL;DR: Good, but not recommended for heavy sweating.
- Meow Meow Tweet
Oh my goodness, where has this been all my life?! I wanted to try this deodorant for ages before I finally buckled down and bought it. At $14 a pop, it’s not cheap, but I have to say, it’s actually pretty amazing. It’s not only extremely effective, but it smells great, and it’s zero waste. The little glass jar can be reused, and ultimately recycled. I think I would prefer the version that comes in a compostable, twist-up stick, so that I don’t have to stick my fingers in deodorant every time I apply it, but the baking soda free version wasn’t available in a stick when I bought mine. I still can’t believe I spent this much money on deodorant, but it’s honestly the best of the bunch. I’ll continue to use it untless I find something cheaper that’s just as good. This deodorant works for me and for the planet, and at the end of the day, that’s what I’m really looking for.
TL;DR: Expensive, but amazing.
Do you have a favorite (or least favorite) natural deodorant? Are there any others out there I should try? Let me know in the comments!
11 thoughts on “The Best (and Worst) Aluminum-Free Deodorants”
Thanks for this great review! My husband and I both use the Schmidt’s bergamot and lime that you tried and we both love it. It is a great gender neutral scent which works for both of us, plus we can get it for a better price at Costco. I loved reading about what worked and didn’t for you though and getting ideas for the future
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That’s great that it works for you! I would probably still use Schmidt’s if it weren’t for my sensitivity to baking soda, but sadly their baking soda free version costs more and made a bit of a mess of my dark clothing. I’ve definitely found that what works for one person can be sooo different than what works for someone else!
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I’ve tried Jason & Schmidts deodorants & had all of the same problems. I haven’t tried Tom’s yet but I’ve heard good reviews about the that & the Native one. I’ll probably stray away from both now!
That Crystal one sounds super interesting, too bad it did nothing. Meow Meow Tweet is now on my must buy list, I’d love to try a cream.
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That’s good to know since not everyone has the same experience! You may have a sensitivity to baking soda too. I can’t recommend Meow Meow Tweet highly enough though–it’s awesome! Thanks for reading!
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I had the same issue with native and then switched to AOS aluminum free (they make both) it’s only 8.95 on Amazon. I love it so far… it’s light and seems to last all day or more!
Oh wow, that sounds pretty good. Thanks for the scoop—I’ll have to check it out!
The only one I’ve tried was the Native brand. I bought the three pack, because of the economic value. They all smell great, but was sweating an hour after I put it on. Did not work for me , but excited to try some of the other ones. I’ll be searching for the meow meow tweet next.
I took a little break from blogging so this is a very delayed reply, but thanks for your comment! I unfortunately got a three pack of Native too, so it’s a bummer it didn’t work out! I still highly recommend Meow Meow Tweet though–I have since repurchased several times!
I’ve tried Love, Beauty and Planet (didn’t work for me at all) and Alba (not perfect, but good). I’m using Tom’s Long Lasting 24 Hour one now, and it’s decent. Still looking for just the right one, so maybe I’ll try your fav one. Nipa
Good to know, thanks! I don’t know a lot about Love, Beauty and Planet, but it strikes me as a “greenwashed” brand, so I’m a little wary. I’m glad that Tom’s Long Lasting one has worked for you–I don’t think I’ve tried that particular version! It’s crazy how much the natural deodorant market has exploded–there are so many more options now!