If it feels nerve-racking making that switch from aluminum deodorant to natural deodorant, don't sweat it. Exploring clean beauty products like natural deodorants can come with its common concerns like how your body might react — if you'll sweat more, how a natural deodorant will make you smell and whether it's actually better for you.
While there is no scientific evidence linking the use of aluminum deodorants with breast cancer, "some research suggests that aluminum-containing underarm antiperspirants, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and have estrogen-like (hormonal) effects," according to the National Cancer Institute. And because estrogen can promote breast cancer cell growth, some scientists argue that aluminum-based compounds could contribute to the development of breast cancer.
Because of these concerns, it's no surprise that some people are choosing to go natural. But first things first: you may need to speed date a few natural deodorants (stick, spray, gel – you name it!) before you find one that's right for your body chemistry. It's normal for a slight adjustment period of a week or two, when you may feel like you're sweating more than usual, but give your body time to get used to sweating again before writing off the product.
Below are the 15 best natural deodorants test-driven by our Good Housekeeping Institute experts, the GH Beauty Lab, board-certified dermatologists Dr. Joyce Park, MD and Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD and online reviewers to help eliminate some of the guesswork. They won't prevent perspiration, but they will keep you feeling and — most importantly — smelling fresh throughout the day:
Our top picks
- Best Overall Natural Deodorant: Freedom Natural Deodorant Stick
- Best Value Natural Deodorant: Dove 0% Aluminum Deodorant
- Best Gentle Natural Deodorant: MUTHA Deodorant
- Best Unisex Natural Deodorant: Peach Refillable Deodorant Set
- Best Customizable Deodorant: Myro Deodorant
- Best Natural Deodorant for Working Out: Kopari Aluminum-Free Deodorant
- Best Scented Natural Deodorant: Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant Sport Luxe
- Best Long-Lasting Natural Deodorant: Native Deodorant
- Best Natural Deodorant Gel: TAOS AER Deodorant
- Best Smelling Natural Deodrant: Sol de Janeiro Rio Deo
- Best Full-Body Natural Deodorant: Lume Deodorant For Underarms & Private Parts
- Best Natural Deodorant Spray: Schmidt's Natural Deodorant Spray
- Best Natural Deodorant for Sensitive Skin: Ursa Major Hoppin' Fresh Deodorant
- Best AHA Natural Deodorant: KOSAS Chemistry AHA Serum Deodorant
- Best Refillable Natural Deodorant: BeautyCounter The Clean Deo
If Beauty Director April Franzino reaches for a natural deodorant, this is the one she'll use. Since it's made without baking soda, this natural deodorant helps avoid underarm skin irritation, like itchiness, bumpiness and inflammation, she says."I’ve been disappointed by most of the 'natural' deodorants I’ve tried, but this one has a formula that doesn’t feel overly sticky on skin, isn’t irritating, and the softly sweet coconut vanilla scent is amazing," she says. "I especially love the mini travel size and that the brand was founded by a female entrepreneur!"
Those with underarms prone to irritation often opt for Dove deodorants, as they contain moisturizers. Now, the brand also makes an aluminum-free version of their mega-popular deodorant. "This is my favorite deodorant," says one Walmart reviewer. "It keeps my sensitive skin smooth, protected, and it has an amazing long-lasting scent that stays all day and night."
- Moisturizing formula
With a hydrating blend of chia seed oil and squalane, MUTHA's formula aims to nourish your underarms while deodorizing with arrowroot powder. "I like the mild lemony-lavender scent of this twist-up solid deo infused with botanicals, plant oils and butters," says GH Beauty Lab Director Birnur Aral. "Its soft texture coats the underarm with a gentle touch and provides solid odor protection."
This brand was a winner in the GH 2021 Sustainable Innovation Awards, getting high marks for its plant-based fragrances in plastic-free refillable packaging like these recyclable, aluminum tins. Coming in a variety of fresh scents like cedarwood eucalyptus, cucumber sage and coconut sage, this natural deodorant for men and women keeps you feeling fresh, with an eco-friendly conscience.
With a variety of scent and case color options, you can customize your Myro deodorant to fit your style. We haven't personally tried this in our Lab, but Franzino appreciates that it's refillable, making it even more environmentally friendly. Plus, you can change your fragrance depending on the season or your mood. "I love that this comes in nine fragrance options, a much wider variety than most 'natural' deodorants, from fresh botanical scents to floral, sweet, and even spicy," she says.
For a natural deodorant with a slightly tropical scent, go for this coconut oil-based option. Not to mention, it'll endure almost any workout. Take it from one Elle editor, who made it through a marathon without "getting a whiff of foul smell." Plus, it's available in seven different scents in case your goal is to get super B.O. masking, adds Dr. Ciraldo.
This natural solid was formulated specifically for active women, not only breaking down sweat molecules but also creating bursts of freshness through natural oils like lemon peel and rosemary. One satisfied Ulta reviewer says it doesn't leave white streaks, either.
With baking soda and tapioca starch to absorb excess moisture, this paraben- and aluminum-free deodorant helps underarms stay dry. "I never stink, even after a long kickboxing or spin class," says one reviewer. "Plus, it’s easy on my sensitive skin."
This formula applies like a gel and transforms into a silky powder as it glides across skin. These deodorants use tapioca, cornstarch, baking soda and essential oils to help fight odor and absorb moisture. The scent stays on all day and armpits stay dry — even in the dead of summer. Our associate product and reviews editor finds it super refreshing post-gym shower.
Not only does this deodorant have papaya enzymes to gently exfoliate skin and prevent ingrown hairs, but it's also one of the best smelling natural deodorants on the market. This deodorant blends pistachios and salted caramel so you smell like an ice cream sundae in the best way possible. In road-testing, our Good Housekeeping beauty team also found that it lasted all day — a feat for any natural deodorant. "Best aluminum-free deodorant I’ve tried," says one Sephora reviewer. "There is no 'two-week' period where it takes my body a while to get used to it."
If you've ever wanted to swipe deodorant all over your body, this innovative pick from Lumé is a perfect choice. In a GH Beauty Lab study, our chemists found the formula spread easily on skin while 81% of our testers thought it offered great long-lasting odor protection. “It seemed very effective, and the tube allowed me to apply liberally and to use it all over my body," says one consumer tester. "It did not stain my clothing."
For on-the-go odor fighting, this natural deodorant spray newly released by Schmidt's goes on nicely and dries in a snap. Our Associate Product & Reviews Editor Jacqueline Saguin wore it on her morning walk and found it didn't transfer onto her clothes. She also loved its long-lasting sweet, but subtle scent. "As someone who has sensitive skin, usually I can never get anything with fragrance, but this doesn't irritate at all," says Saguin. We also love this brand's stick formula, which helps absorb wetness.
Not only does this deodorant go on smoothly and feel luxurious — but it also works. Formulated with ingredients like aloe and eucalyptus to soothe skin, plus clay and baking soda to absorb moisture and stop odor, this deodorant will keep you feeling fresh all day. It has no added fragrances — a plus for anyone on the more sensitive side. "The size is great to keep in your purse in case a reapply is needed on a particularly hot day," says one Dermstore reviewer. "I like that the cap screws on/off rather than the traditional cap style "
When Freelance Beauty Editor Dori Price got pregnant, she decided to make the switch to this natural deodorant. "I have tried many natural deodorants and unfortunately had no luck," she says. "This one is soothing (read: no irritation) and keeps me fresh and clean. I occasionally reapply during the day but only if it’s a super sweaty day!" According to Senior Chemist Sabina Wizemann, this formula balances chemical exfoliants (alpha-hydroxy acids) with soothing aloe vera and hydrating hyaluronic acid to keep odor and skin irritations at bay.
BeautyCounter's Clean Deo is the brand's first foray into reusable packaging — the sleek, chic containers can be easily refilled. The formula contains cornstarch and baking soda to stop sweat in its tracks, but it also has nourishing ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter to leave your underarms moisturized and smooth. We love its sustainability efforts so much, it became a 2021 GH Sustainability Awards winner.
Our Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab experts and chemists regularly test skincare of all kinds, from sunscreens and razors to nail polish and more. We consider the ingredients and formula to get a sense of whether the product will hold up over time. We also try them in real life to make sure they apply easily and wear well. The natural deodorants in this list are either personal favorites of our product experts, road tested by our GH consumer testers or popular options with rave consumer reviews and ratings.
✔️Find compatible ingredients. Green tea, coconut oil and calming herbal extracts are all good soothing ingredients to shop for. You can also look for serum deodorants with AHAs or glycolic acid, which can exfoliate and help remove some of the bacteria and oils that add to B.O., according to Dr. Ciraldo. "I advise those with sensitive skin or a tendency to hyperpigmentation in armpits to avoid AHAs unless less aggressive products don't work for them."
✔️Choose scents wisely. Many people are allergic to essential oils or fragrances, and those ingredients in natural deodorant might trigger a rash, warns Dr. Park. Tea tree oil has some antibacterial properties, so it can be a helpful scent in natural deodorant, she says.
✔️Consistency is key in both formula and application. For sensitive skin types, Dr. Ciraldo recommends milky roll-on formulas that can feel gentler on skin. Plus, natural deodorants may not give the 24-hour longevity that an aluminum-based antiperspirant can, so stay open to the idea of reapplication throughout the day.
It depends on what you're looking for in a deodorant. If you want an aluminum-free option, the natural deodorants we rounded up are the best ones out there to help ease your mind and mask your B.O. Really, sweat itself doesn't have an unpleasant odor: it's bacteria reacting with sweat that creates body odor, according to Dr. Ciraldo. The more effective natural deodorants help minimize bacterial overgrowth while providing a pleasant scent to subdue potential body odor. But, it's aluminum, the active ingredient in antiperspirants, that lessens sweating. By comparison, aluminum products are typically more effective than natural deodorants in preventing sweat, she says.
This list was put together with help from our Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab experts including Sabina Wizemann, Senior Chemist; Birnur Aral, Executive Director of the Health, Beauty & Sustainability Lab and April Franzino, GH Beauty Director. Each expert has spent at least a decade at the GH Institute, working closely together to research, test and evaluate thousands of beauty products.
We also consulted board-certified dermatologists Dr. Joyce Park, MD and Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD for their expertise on all things natural deodorants like criteria on what to look for in natural deodorant and how it compares to traditional deodorants.