Banish body odour with our pick of the best natural deodorants to keep you fresh and free from unwanted chemicals
While natural deodorants are nothing new, it’s only recently that mainstream society has begun to see their appeal, but only the best natural deodorants can prevent strong body odor. Seemingly innocuous big brand deodorants and antiperspirants often employ a cocktail of nasty-sounding chemicals, and it’s entirely natural to want to limit your exposure to products which could potentially prove harmful to your body or the environment.
Broadly speaking, natural deodorants are made from clean, organic ingredients and are free from toxic chemicals such as parabens and aluminium. Unlike traditional antiperspirant deodorants which use chemical concoctions to block the pores and stop sweat from leaving the body, natural deodorants allow the wearer to perspire and instead serve to mask the smell of the sweat. In some cases, they absorb the moisture caused by perspiration rather than block it completely, but whichever type you choose, they provide a gentler, more eco-friendly solution to the issue of body odour.
In this article, we’ll explain the differences between the key types of natural deodorant, and suggest five of the best natural deodorants you can buy.
Best natural deodorant: At a glance
How to choose the best natural deodorant for you
Are they expensive to buy?
They can be, yes. The downside of these natural alternatives is they tend to cost significantly more than big brand chemical deodorants. This is partly because the natural ingredients and recipes are more costly, and also in part due to the extra costs incurred by environmentally friendly packaging. The flip side is that they also tend to last longer.
What types of natural deodorant are there?
Just like the big-name deodorant brands which line supermarket shelves, natural deodorants come in a variety of packaging. In the case of natural deodorants, however, the packaging is almost always recyclable or made from sustainable materials.
You can choose from familiar containers such as sprays (albeit not aerosols) and push up sticks, as well as rather less familiar forms of deodorant such as tubes and pots. With the latter two options, it’s necessary to apply the contents with your fingers – an act you’ll either love or loathe. For some, it feels as normal as rubbing in face cream or putting on lip balm, but for others it may not be such an appealing application process.
Quite a few of the natural deodorants in our list are vegan friendly, but not all – so make sure to check the specification list underneath each product if that’s a key requirement.
Do natural deodorants work well for heavy sweat?
If you are someone who can sweat heavily even when standing still in the middle of a winter blizzard – don’t despair. Firstly, many people report that switching from antiperspirants to natural deodorants resulted in them sweating less after a few weeks. Secondly, even if this isn’t the case with you, you can consider the more potent natural deodorants which are designed to cope with heavy sweat from the most strenuous workouts and exercise regimes.
One side benefit of natural deodorants is that they don’t contain aluminium, so you won’t have to worry about stubborn yellow stains on the underarm fabric of your gym T-shirts.
READ NEXT: Our pick of the best women’s deodorants
Do natural deodorants absorb sweat or mask the smell of it?
Some natural deodorants simply try to mask the smell of body odour – meaning the wearer will need to get comfortable with the possibility of sweat patches and not feeling completely dry. However, many natural deodorants help to prevent excess sweat by absorbing perspiration in addition to masking the smell. You’ll find both types included in our reviews below.
Are natural deodorants good for sensitive skin?
The stronger deodorants here aren’t always recommended for constant, everyday use, as certain ingredients such as sodium bicarbonate (often referred to as bicarb) can cause skin irritation.
This is why several brands suggest patch testing their stronger products before applying liberally, and most of the products here also come in gentler, everyday formulas which are perfect for regular use on even the most sensitive of skin – these tend to do away with the bicarbonate of soda.
READ NEXT: Our favourite men’s deodorants
The best natural deodorants you can buy in 2023
1. Wild Deodorant Starter Pack: Best natural deodorant for use on the move
Price when reviewed: £13 | Check price at Boots
Wild’s deodorants are available on a subscription basis. You choose from a variety of options including frequency of refills and your preferred fragrance, and you can also pick your favourite coloured holder, too.
The elegant-looking holders are made from sustainable materials – aluminium and recycled plastics – and you simply add a refill when the deodorant runs out. The refills are crafted from all-natural products and are plastic-free: they’re made from bamboo pulps and Wild estimate that each should last four to six weeks with daily use, which tallied well with our experience.
It couldn’t be simpler to use: you simply twist the bottom of the holder just like a traditional push up stick and the product glides on beautifully without too much pressure. Both of the fragrances we tried – Cotton and Sea Salt, and Coconut – smell heavenly. They keep you feeling fresh, too, as Wild’s deodorants employ tapioca starch to absorb sweat.
Key specs – Type: Replaceable push-up; Vegan friendly: Yes; Container: Reusable metal holder/Bamboo pulp refills; Quantity: 43g per refill
2. Awake Organics Moon Goo: Best natural deodorant for keeping you dry
Price when reviewed: £13 | Check price at Awake Organics
While the name might be brilliantly surreal, the contents of this little tin are akin to magic. It’s a solid balm made from organic ingredients including beeswax, coconut and rosemary. It looks rock-solid in the tin, but the balm loosens easily with the tip of a finger and you only need a pea-sized amount for each armpit.
The smell is subtle and yet slightly tart – and you’ll find it lasts all day long. Best of all, Moon Goo doesn’t just cover any unwanted odour, it actually works to keep you feeling dry. Rather than simply blocking pores like chemical antiperspirants, it employs bicarbonate of soda to help absorb moisture.
Awake Organics recommend patch testing to ensure that your skin isn’t irritated by the bicarb (or essential oils) in the balm. If it’s too potent, you can consider its Space Cat or Star Cloud deodorants instead, or just save the Moon Goo for hotter, busier days.
Key specs – Type: Solid balm; Vegan friendly: No; Container: Recyclable aluminium pot; Quantity: 60g
3. AKT The Deodorant Balm SC.03: Best unisex deodorant
Price when reviewed: £21 | Check price at AKT
Created by West End dancers who couldn’t find a deodorant that could withstand their training regime, AKT battles body odour with a firm commitment to the environment and kindness to skin.
This unusually-named deodorant eschews sweet, fruity or flowery scents. Its fragrance is strong without being overwhelming – think fire, smoke, wood and leather – and endures all day long. However, despite the intense fragrance, the balm itself is light, soft and comprised of natural ingredients such as Shea Butter and Calendula Oil.
Squeeze a little from the small tube, apply it with your fingers and it smooths on easily and is absorbed instantly. You can buy a separate applicator if you don’t like using your fingers, though. In colder seasons we’d advise warming the tube slightly before use or you’ll struggle to squeeze any out.
It’s available for single purchases or you can take advantage of a 15% discount when you sign up for a subscription.
Key specs – Type: Balm; Vegan friendly: Yes; Container: Recyclable aluminium tube; Quantity: 50ml
4. The Natural Deodorant Co Active Balm: Best value natural deodorant
Price when reviewed: £13 | Check price at The Natural Deodorant Co
As a favourite of celebrities, including Fearne Cotton, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this fragrant little pot of orange and bergamot deodorant would cost a small fortune. But actually, this balm is one of the least expensive natural deodorants on the market – and it lasts and lasts and lasts. From our usage, we reckon this pot could last as long as six months.
The company describes the potent formula as being perfect for gym days, holidays and extra busy days – and in our testing, it worked wonders. The smell is sweet and mild and it’s wonderfully easy to apply as its consistency is more like a butter than a cream. The end result is a deodorant that works incredibly well. We detected no unpleasant odours and it also serves to keep dampness at bay effectively.
Key specs – Type: Balm; Vegan friendly: Yes; Container: Recyclable glass pot; Quantity: 55g