The Best Natural Deodorants That Actually Work


This is one thing I’m sure of; clean beauty isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s only going to take over our bathroom cabinets in ways we never imagined. What started out as shampoos free from parabens has lead to stripped-back beauty routines and an eco-approach to skincare. And the next question on everyone’s mind - what are the best natural deodorants that actually work?

That’s right. Most of us here in the Food Matters office have trialed a natural deodorant at some point, and there’s definitely no shortage of them, but the hard part is actually finding one that does what it says on the bottle. With hot tropical summers on our doorsteps nearly every day of the year, we need a natural deodorant that keeps us smelling fresh and sweat-free all day long.

So what should you be looking for? What are the ingredients you should avoid no matter what? And at the end of the day, what are the deodorants that we know and love? Let me break it down for you.

What To Look For In A Deodorant?

There are a few select ingredients you’ll often find in a natural deodorant that make a case for fuss-free pits. These are some staples that we love to find:

  • Charcoal: neutralizes odor, absorbs wetness, gentle enough for sensitive skin, detoxifying, and despite a strong color, doesn’t actually stain.

  • Magnesium: does not absorb into the skin, counteracts any odor-causing bacteria, neutralizes odor, gentle enough for sensitive skin, and removes the need for any detrimental toxins.

  • Baking soda: another natural moisture-absorbing ingredient, that’s featured in many of our favorite brands.

  • Essential oils: these aren’t vital, but are a wonderful natural alternative to synthetic (and harmful) fragrances. Tea tree, in particular, has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, and lavender can be soothing for freshly shaved skin.

What Should You Avoid In A Deodorant?

If we were to list out every ingredient you should be concerned about in storebought deodorants, and why, we would be here all day - which is telling in itself. A great rule of thumb we like to apply to anything is to avoid those words that you can’t pronounce, or at least do a quick google of them first. The Chemical Maze iPhone application is an incredible pocket resource for quick shops. But to give you a guide, here are some of the biggest no-goes.

  • Aluminum: a common ingredient in antiperspirants, which prevents the body from sweating and undergoing normal processes. Because of our mass exposure to aluminum, many people are living with undetected aluminum toxicity. Avoid unnecessary exposure where possible. Aluminum is also a known neurotoxin that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Parabens: these are methyl, ethyl, propyl, benzyl, and butyl, which have been strongly linked to breast cancer.

  • Synthetic fragrance: this has been linked to skin irritation, allergies, and organ system toxicity, and is harmful to the environment

  • Silica: not only is this a known carcinogen, but it has been linked to allergies and immunotoxicity.

So let’s take the guesswork out of the equation. What natural deodorants do we know and swear by?

  • No-Pong: This Australian-made alternative is both sustainably produced and good for the body. It only uses natural, harmless ingredients, and offers vegan, low-fragrance, and bicarb-free blends. If you’re here in the Southern hemisphere, it’s a no-brainer.

  • Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant - Magnesium & Charcoal: A natural deodorant that highlights two of our must-have ingredients? Sold. Featuring all of the good stuff, none of the bad, and readily available online, you can’t pass by Schmidt’s next time you need a new stick.

  • DIY Deodorant: Don’t have access to a natural deodorant nearby? Luckily it’s easy enough to make yourself. We love and swear by this recipe, but if you really want to level up, try including our favorite magnesium and charcoals to create the ultimate paste.


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