Natural deodorants are one of those beauty products that seem great in theory but usually wind up unable to stick the landing. Sure, getting rid of potentially harmful chemicals in our deodorant is something we're all on board with, but most of the natural options usually leave us disappointed and sporting some very wet, very smelly armpits.
But, thanks to a new crop of botanical formulas and green chemistry advances, today's alternative sweat stoppers actually live up to the hype better than the goopy pastes and woo-woo salt crystals of days past. That's right — you can go natural without worrying your going to have a midday smelly meltdown. Keep reading to learn which new natural deodorants actually get the job done, plus why you should make the switch and what to expect when you do.
Deodorant or Antiperspirant?
While you might think of deodorants as all the same, there are actually two main types — deodorant and antiperspirant. Deodorants work by killing the bacteria that causes odor, while antiperspirants actually plug up your sweat glands to make you stop sweating entirely. Most conventional antiperspirants feature aluminum, an ingredient that has raised a few concerns from some health experts. It's not been proven to be definitively harmful to your healthy but it also hasn't exactly been endorsed as healthy for you. Additionally, they also contain parabens, some of which have been shown to be endocrine disrupters.
What Makes Natural Deodorants Different?
Natural deodorants use a mix of ingredients that range from clays to fruit acids to minerals like silica and zinc. They also are less likely to cause reactions or allergies because they typically do not contain baking soda, synthetic fragrances, or other irritants. Many of them also have sweat-minimizing capabilities to help absorb sweat before it becomes an issue.
Shen-Approved Natural Deodorants
We had enough crappy experiences with natural deodorants to have a healthy skepticism around the whole category. The good news is that Jess did all the hard work for you to weed out the sub-par from the superstars. Here are the four natural deos that are enthusiastically Shen-approved.
Kosas Chemistry AHA Serum Deodorant
You probably best know Kosas for its amazing clean cosmetics, but founder (and friend of Shen) Sheena Yaitanes decided to dive into the bath and body category with the launch of this genius serum deodorant. It uses a blend of plant-based alpha-hydroxy acids (mandelic, lactic, and shikimic) that work to create a slightly more acidic pH, which is an inhospitable environment for the bacteria that causes B.O. It has a delightful serum texture that feels refreshing and it comes in a fragrance-free version and a lightly scented option.
Ursa Major Sublime Sage Spray Deodorant
Spray deodorants are common in Europe and Asia, but haven't quite caught on with the same popularity in the U.S. Which is a shame because spray deodorants are actually amazing for fighting odor. Case in point: Ursa Major's Sublime Sage Spray Deodorant. It uses plants, minerals, and enzymes to provide lightweight protection that keeps you feeling and smelling fresh all day. That herbaceous green scent is a pure delight to your senses.
Corpus Naturals Deodorant
We've waxed poetic about Corpus before and for good reason — the texture glides on to skin to hydrate and soothe while the sophisticated fragrances are some of the most gorgeous scents ever put in front of our noses. Like, keep sniffing your armpits because the fragrances are so delicious. It uses the latest in green chemistry to create natural substitutes for all those conventional chemicals — replacing baking soda with tapioca starch, plus enzymes and minerals to neutralize odor-causing bacteria and deodorize.
Nécessaire The Deodorant
It was love at first swipe when we encountered Nécessaire's chic take on deo. It relies on kaolin clay, silica, and zinc to keep you dry, while lactic and mandelic acids work to neutralize odor. The creamy, silky texture feels fantastic on delicate underarm skin and it comes in three variations: Fragrance-Free, Sandalwood, and new Eucalyptus.
Making The Switch
One things that a lot of people don't realize it that there is actually an adjustment period when you make the switch from chemical antiperspirants and deodorants to natural ones. You may find that you sweat more profusely for the first few days after you've gone natural. This doesn't mean the deodorant isn't working, rather that your underarms are re-adjusting to that whole sweating thing. Think of it this way: You've spent years using antiperspirants to essentially block your body from sweating, so there's a readjustment period where it's shedding those plugs and trying to self-regulate back to its natural patterns. Be patient and stick with it — we promise once that initial sweat fest is over, you'll be so in love with your new natural deo that you will wonder why you ever bothered with chemical ones in the first place.
So, if you've tried natural before and been disappointed, take one of these alternative options to see just how far formulas have come. We promise you (and your armpits) will be pleasantly surprised.