Natural deodorants that really work: 3 tried and tested picks worthy of your armpits

Natura Deodorants that work
Photography by Andrea Victory-LaCasse
Natura Deodorants that work
Photography by Andrea Victory-LaCasse

Ever wonder why your super strong deodorant gives off a kind of sweat-mixed-with-fragrance smell on stressful or hot days? It’s not your sweat that smells: it’s the bacteria that’s mixing with it. Add to that the strong fragrance of a deodorant—which does little more than attempt to mask the smell—and you may find that by the end of the day your shirt is soaking and you’re keeping your arms as close to your sides as possible to avoid blasting co-workers with your own Eau de Ew.

However, given that there’s a pretty common misconception about how effective natural deodorants are, it’s hard to convince naysayers to give non-chemical options a try. If you think that you could never replace your drugstore antiperspirant or deodorant because you simply sweat too much, you’re in for a surprise.

The best natural deodorants are cream-based, blended with absorbing powders, like baking soda or Kaolin clay, and antiseptic essential oils, such as lavender, tea tree, witch hazel. Together they work to eliminate bacteria and absorb sweat. Additional ingredients include nourishing butters and oils, such as shea butter or coconut oil, which soften and smooth the delicate underarm skin.

And when it comes to going natural with your pit stick, the term ‘ stick’ may not even apply. The green options available tend to be more paste-like, with the application, texture and smell standing out from mainstream products. Soapwalla Deodorant Cream ($16, freshfaced.ca), a cult favourite of natural beauty lovers, is scooped out of a jar and massaged into underarms. Toronto brand Leaves of Trees Deodorant ($15, leavesoftrees.com) comes in a tube and is also massaged in by hand. Still called a cream deodorant, but available in a roll-on, Australian brand Moo Goo’s Fresh Cream Deodorant ($8, moogoousa.com) is more liquid but works to the same effect.

As your body takes time to readjust to dealing with sweat without harsh chemicals, using a natural deodorant will work better the longer you use it; It may take a few weeks of testing it out on your chill days to get used to it, but once you start to feel comfortable in your skin, you’ll find your instincts are that your body knows what it needs – to sweat, but not necessarily to smell.