It’s never a bad time to switch to the best natural deodorant for men. There are many possible advantages to switching, of course, but there’s also an overwhelming amount of information out there over what’s good for your skin, whether regular antiperspirants are somehow bad and just what “natural” even means.
To answer a few questions and tell us some of the natural deodorants she recommends, we reached out to Dr. Michele Green, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist in New York City.
What Does “Natural” Mean in a Deodorant Anyway?
Most natural products, including deodorants, have a few things in common. They aspire to use a natural process and plant-based ingredients to help your skin. In the same way that aloe vera naturally helps treat burns and moisturize skin, natural deodorants seek ingredients that naturally minimize odor-causing bacteria and soak up sweat.
Why Should I Consider a Natural Deodorant?
Natural deodorants can be useful for those with skin allergies or skin sensitivity, Green noted, with many being hypoallergenic, as well as clear upfront what their primary ingredients are and are not. Plus, Green said, “Natural skincare products can be just as effective, or even more potent, than their synthetic counterparts as the ingredients used to formulate them are organic and free of harmful processing.”
But, most of the time, there’s a tradeoff: Though the best natural deodorants will help mask odor and fight odor-causing bacteria, “They are not as effective as antiperspirants on a physical or chemical level at controlling sweat,” Green said.
What’s the Deal with Aluminum in Deodorants?
The reason natural deodorants aren’t as effective at blocking sweat is because they don’t use aluminum compounds. Deodorants that use aluminum are called antiperspirants because aluminum literally blocks sweat glands, stopping your body from perspiring, or producing sweat. At the same time, aluminum’s gotten a bad rap because that’s not a natural process to address body odor. Put another way: Our sweat glands are meant to sweat. It’s also been previously linked to illnesses like breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
But those studies have been discredited and other studies looking at the use of aluminum in antiperspirants have not indicated any risk of harm, Green told SPY.
What Ingredients Should I be on the Lookout For?
- Baking soda: Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, has natural odor-fighting properties thanks to its mix of sodium ions and bicarbonate ions, which “work synergistically to fight odor, acidity and bacteria,” Green said, making it great for deodorants.
- Tapioca starch: Tapioca starch has naturally “absorptive properties,” Green said, which makes it “very effective” in dealing with sweat.
- Magnesium: Magnesium can minimize odor-causing bacteria, making it a growing staple ingredient in a number of natural deodorants.
- Shea butter: Shea butter has a “high concentration of vitamins and fatty acids … making it great for smoothing, soothing and conditioning skin,” Green said.
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera is always welcome for its hydrating properties and usability on sensitive skin. “Aloe vera is anti-inflammatory and contains antioxidants in addition to vitamins A and C. The healing properties of aloe vera are of great benefit to dry and dehydrated skin and a powerful tool for sealing in moisture,” Green said.
A Quick Note on Talc
Though talc absorbs moisture and reduces friction, there are some risks to be aware of when used in deodorant. According to the American Cancer Society, talc in its natural form contains traces of asbestos, a known carcinogen. Despite companies’ best efforts to use asbestos-free talc, even minimal amounts have led to cancer, most notably, with Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder. That’s why Green recommends going for talc-free products and suggests skipping it if possible.
Now, without further ado, check out some of the best natural deodorants below. We gathered them based on our own testing experiences, popularity and a few of Green’s recommendations.
1. Native Deodorant
Everything in the Native Deodorant formula just makes sense for a natural deodorant. This deodorant uses magnesium hydroxide, tapioca starch and a friendly probiotic bacteria, lactobacillus acidophilus, to stop odor-causing bacteria while baking soda helps absorb moisture. While baking soda is known to dry out skin and even cause rashes, Native includes coconut oil and shea butter to help keep things moisturized and balanced. The brand makes natural deodorant for men and women with a variety of fragrances, all of which are available via Amazon Prime.
2. Humble Original Formula Natural Deodorant
If you’ve got sensitive skin, the Humble Original Formula Natural Deodorant is a great place to start. Using beeswax as a base, it’s got a really simple formula that promises to soak up sweat and minimize odor-causing bacteria, including coconut oil, non-GMO corn starch, baking soda as well as essential oils and plant extract. We’ve had a chance to test Humble out on our pits and we liked it a lot. Though the fragrance profiles are more geared toward women, they still smell good — we liked the patchouli and copal the most — and the deodorant itself felt comfortable, not too heavy and kept our pits odor-free for 24 hours, if not completely sweat-free.
If you’re looking to simplify what’s in your deodorant, Humble will be one of the best natural deodorants for you.
3. Hume Supernatural Deodorant
For an alternative kind of natural deodorant, Hume Supernatural Deodorant takes a unique but effective approach to fight odor-causing bacteria. The formula keeps it simple to hydrate skin and absorb moisture, with aloe vera, desert plant-based ingredients and diatomaceous earth. But even more than Native, it relies on probiotics, the good bacteria, to effectively neutralize the smelly bacteria. The end result is a sensitive skin-friendly deodorant that actually works to address body odor.
We had the chance to test this deodorant out and we found all of that holds up. It didn’t irritate our skin, the Desert Bloom smell was a bit more gender-neutral and we were odor-free all day, if not entirely sweat-free.
4. Kosas Chemistry Deodorant
BEST FOR A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO B.O.
Green put the Kosas Chemistry Deodorant on our radar and even though it’s mostly marketed to women, there’s every reason to believe it’ll work well on any armpit. That’s because this deodorant uses a combo of alpha-hydroxy acids to kill bacteria, minimize sweat, reduce ingrown hairs and keep body odor at bay. At the same time, it pairs the acids doing the dirty work with aloe vera, hyaluronic acid and a peptide to hydrate, moisturize, soothe underarm skin.
5. Patricks ND1 Natural Deodorant
The Patricks ND1 Natural Deodorant is everything you want in a natural deodorant; we know firsthand. First, the fragrance is subtle and masculine, with notes of bergamot, neroli, jasmine and musk, like a premium cologne that plays off your natural musk. Second, it goes on nicely for a wax-based deodorant. Finally, it features multiple ingredients to help with sweat, odor and underarm comfort, including Amazonian brown clay, coconut oil, Niodor, zinc and tapioca starch, with no aluminum to be found.
Though the Patricks stick is expensive for deodorant, one nice plus for sustainability is that the deodorant comes in a vegan case made from 100% recyclable materials.
6. Thai Crystal Deodorant Stone
BEST ONE-INGREDIENT DEODORANT
For probably the most natural option on this list, you can check out Thai Crystal Deodorant Stone. It’s literally just a deodorant-shaped block of potassium alum, which is the closest thing to a natural antiperspirant you can find. It’s also naturally antibacterial, which will help keep the odor away.
The Thai Crystal Deodorant Stone is definitely the best natural deodorant for men looking for the simplest natural deodorant possible.
7. MagSol Sandalwood Magnesium Deodorant
BEST WITH MAGNESIUM
Magnesium is one of the better up-and-coming natural ingredients in deodorants and few brands do magnesium deodorant better than MagSol. MagSol uses a natural, sensitive-skin friendly formula that doesn’t leave you with rashes while still helping to fight odor and wetness.
Remarkably, MagSol achieves this with probably the most basic formula we’ve seen in our research: sweet almond oil, beeswax, magnesium oxide to fight odor-causing bacteria and essential oils for fragrance.
Though MagSol is definitely on the pricier side, especially for just one stick, it’s all-natural, works well and won’t irritate your armpits.
8. Ursa Major Natural Deodorant
BEST FOR SWEAT ABSORPTION
It may have the longest list of ingredients among natural stick deodorants included in this list, but Ursa Major Natural Deodorant is still a great natural deodorant for men to consider. Though 25 sounds like a lot for something calling itself “natural,” just about every ingredient is actually natural. You’ve got aloe and shea butter for hydration, hops for fighting odor and kaolin clay, baking soda and tapioca starch for moisture absorption. This deodorant is really a greatest hits of natural deodorizing and moisture-absorbing ingredients and users praised every aspect of it except for its longevity.
We should note that Ursa Major recommends testing for a full three weeks before drawing any conclusions, which dovetails with similar recommendations from other natural deodorant producers. (This amount of time gives your pits a chance to purify out any remaining aluminum in your sweat glands and gives your body a chance to adjust to the new deodorant.)
The scent we like for this deodorant also smells great, though we think the name of the scent, Forest Fix, is misleading for something that smells like sandalwood and fir.