If you don’t like the idea of something physically stopping you from sweating, then you need an aluminum-free deodorant for men. Even though natural deodorants and aluminum-free deodorants aren’t as effective at stopping sweat as antiperspirants (which rely on aluminum compounds), thanks to innovative formulas in recent years, they’re a lot better than they used to be and just as good at covering up body odor.
How does aluminum-free deodorant work?
Aluminum-free deodorant can work many different ways, depending on the active ingredients. First, most of them do have fragrances to help cover up the smell of body odor. Beyond that, aluminum-free deodorants rely on other bacteria-fighting and sweat-absorbing ingredients to keep your armpits feeling fresh. Here are some of the most common:
- Baking soda: Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is well-known for its odor-fighting and moisture-absorbing abilities, which makes it a natural fit for deodorant.
- Arrowroot powder: Arrowroot is one of a variety of plants that, when powderized, helps to absorb moisture.
- Tapioca starch: Like arrowroot powder, tapioca starch is plant-based and works to absorb moisture.
- Clay: Clays, like bentonite and kaolin, help purify skin and absorb moisture.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is a safe metallic element that minimizes odor-causing bacteria.
- Prebiotics and probiotics: Prebiotics and probiotics aren’t exactly the same, but their effect is similar. They help create healthy bacterial environments, which can help with body odor in your armpits.
- Acids: Though the idea of acids on your armpits seems scary, in the right formula, acids like lactic acid or other alpha hydroxy acids can help eliminate and keep down bacteria, minimizing the ensuing body odor.
And then many of these deodorants incorporate skin-soothing ingredients, such as aloe vera, coconut oil, shea butter, and more, to ensure your pits don’t get dried out and irritated from the ongoing moisture absorption.
Why does aluminum-free deodorant take so long to be effective?
We’ve talked to dermatologists about this in the past, and we’ve seen it firsthand when long-testing deodorants and switching between antiperspirants and plain deodorant.
This is a very real phenomenon, but the answer is pretty simple: Your body needs time to get used to the new deodorant. OK, but what does that mean?
First, if you’re switching from an antiperspirant, your body needs time to clear out the aluminum from your pores. (Aluminum literally blocks and clogs sweat glands.) That process takes time and may result in body odor and sweat, even if you have the deodorant on top, as well as irritation.
Second, many health and skin care products require a few days for efficacy, as much as we want them to be as fast-acting as duct tape. When it comes to aluminum-free deodorant for men, you should try each product for at least two weeks before writing it off and/or ease into it every other day while your pits naturally purify out any remaining aluminum. If you suffer any profound rashes or redness, definitely give it a rest before trying again or move on to something else entirely, as you may have found a specific ingredient that doesn’t agree with your pits.
Is aluminum dangerous? Should I avoid using it?
The short answer here is no. Though skin products featuring aluminum have been connected to scary conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer, the overwhelming scientific consensus is that aluminum in deodorant is safe. It has long been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for safety and efficacy and is the only such ingredient certified in the U.S. for actual sweat prevention. Plus, every dermatologist we’ve ever asked says there’s no hard proof of any long-term or undue harm.
Think of the question this way: If aluminum was so unsafe or bad for you, don’t you think we’d have some hard evidence by now, given how long (and by how many) it’s been used?
Of course, you don’t need aluminum if you don’t want it and the aluminum-free deodorants for men below definitely help, but if safety is your concern, it’s the one thing you don’t need to worry about.
Now with the basics on aluminum-free deodorant for men out of the way, let’s check out some of the best options below. For the most part, we’ll be focused on roll-on, aka stick deodorants, but we’ve included a favorite spray deodorant too.
1. Humble Deodorant
We reviewed Humble Deodorant in 2022, and it totally delivered on our expectations for an aluminum-free deodorant. It relies on a beeswax base, which goes on surprisingly smoothly, baking soda for moisture absorption, coconut oil for comfort, and natural oils and extracts for fragrance. At the time of our review, Humble mostly featured more stereotypically feminine fragrances. Still, they’ve come a long way recently to feature more masculine fare, like the Texas Cedarwood & Grapefruit fragrance.
Whatever your underarm concern with aluminum is, as long as a super masculine fragrance isn’t your priority, Humble offers the best aluminum-free deodorant for men.
2. Dove Men+Care 0% Aluminum Deodorant
We’ve tried a lot of Dove deodorants over the years, and they’ve never let us down. For an all-around great aluminum-free deodorant for men, go for the Dove Men+Care 0% Aluminum Deodorant. As its name suggests, it contains absolutely no aluminum. That aside, this is just a smooth, irritation-free, light-smelling, all-around great deodorant. No deodorants here will keep you absolutely sweat-free, but the Dove does more than good enough at keeping the sweat and body odor at bay until you can shower or reapply.
3. OffCourt Aluminum-Free Prebiotic Deodorant Body Spray
The OffCourt Aluminum-Free Prebiotic Deodorant Body Spray has quickly become one of SPY’s favorites in our testing. With prebiotics and lactic acid, each of these three deodorants works to fight odor-causing bacteria and cover up any lingering smells with its signature, surprisingly complex fragrance. Plus, with its ingredient profile, the OffCourt deodorant is gentle on sensitive skin, so it’s a great option if you want to change from an aluminum-based antiperspirant.
4. Patricks ND1 Natural Deodorant
If you want an aluminum-free deodorant for men unlike any other, you want the Patricks ND1 Natural Deodorant. Patricks boasts it’s “the best-smelling deodorant in the world,” Honestly, they just might be right. The brand sent us a stick for testing recently, and we were totally blown away by the subtle, indescribable fragrance. In a few words, it smells refined, sophisticated, and subtle, everything you want out of a fragrance. Beyond the great fragrance, this deodorant uses Amazonian brown clay, tapioca starch, zinc, and coconut oil to absorb moisture and keep your pits feeling clean and smooth.
5. Old Spice High Endurance Sport Deodorant
FOR OLD SPICE LOVERS
This wouldn’t be a proper list of aluminum-free deodorant for men without some offerings from Old Spice. The Old Spice High Endurance Sport Deodorant goes on clear and delivers the all-day pop of masculine Old Spice fragrance you’re looking for.
6. Oars and Alps Unscented Aluminum-Free Deodorant for Sensitive Skin
Oars and Alps makes a whole line of natural and plant-based products, including the Oars and Alps Unscented Aluminum-Free Deodorant for Sensitive Skin. It features so many helpful ingredients for absorption, fighting bacteria, and moisturization, such as diatomaceous earth, arrowroot powder, yeast prebiotics, aloe vera, witch hazel leaf extract, and the brand’s signature alpine caribou moss.
7. Thai Crystal Deodorant Stone
For some of you with really sensitive armpits, the Thai Crystal Deodorant Stone just might be the last aluminum-free deodorant for men you’ll ever need.
The entire stick is simply potassium alum, a mineral chemical compound with natural drying and antibacterial capabilities. Thankfully, that’s all you need for healthier, drier, uncomplicated underarms.
8. Native Deodorant
BEST WITH GOOD BACTERIA
With just a handful of active ingredients, Native Deodorant quickly became one of the best aluminum-free deodorants for men. Baking soda and tapioca starch soak up sweat, probiotics help regulate the bacteria, and coconut oil and shea butter keep your skin on a comfortable and even keel.
9. Kosas Chemistry Deodorant
Though it’s a bit more geared toward the feminine-leaning, the Kosas Chemistry Deodorant has a lot to offer for guys too. This deodorant takes the nuclear option for body odor by basically killing the bacteria with acids. The acids also have the added benefit of soothing and brightening underarm skin over time. At the same time, aloe vera juice, hyaluronic acid, and peptides keep skin soft, moisturized, and in good condition. So this aluminum-free deodorant won’t do much to stop sweating, but it’s practically guaranteed to beat your body odor at the source. We like the unscented version, but you can always choose from one of two fragrances if you want the extra oomph.
10. MagSol Aluminum-Free Deodorant for Men
BEST WITH MAGNESIUM
The MagSol Aluminum-Free Deodorant for Men is the leading magnesium-based deodorant, with a simple unlikely to irritate formula too. There’s magnesium oxide to remove the bacteria behind body odor and simply sweet almond oil, beeswax, and essential oils for fragrance.
Sure, the MagSol does cost quite a bit for a single stick, and nothing in it promises to do anything about sweat. Still, it’s about as basic and natural as a deodorant stick gets and an all-around great aluminum-free deodorant for men.
11. Hume Supernatural Deodorant
The Hume Supernatural Deodorant offers something worthwhile for the right pits. Though we found it to feel a little wet and uncomfortable to apply in our testing, and it’s definitely pricey, this deodorant checked all the other boxes we wanted. It features multiple sweat absorbers, such as diatomaceous earth, tapioca starch, and kaolin clay, as well as prebiotics and probiotics to help maintain a healthy underarm biome. Add in moisturizing ingredients like prickly pear, cactus flower, and aloe vera. You can see how it’s a great aluminum-free deodorant for men, even if the fragrances do lean a little stereotypically feminine.
12. Marlowe No. 024 Aluminum-Free Deodorant for Men
We love Marlowe’s skin care products, including the Marlowe No. 024 Aluminum-Free Deodorant for Men. With a beeswax base, this deodorant counts on arrowroot powder and baking soda to help with sweat, lactobacillus acidophilus, a probiotic, to promote good bacteria, and coconut oil, shea butter, vitamin E and castor oil for moisture and comfort. Plus, it has a nice light fragrance and is 100% recyclable, thanks to its new packaging made from 100% post-consumer recycled materials.