In the past few years, there has been an explosion of natural deodorant products on the market. In a group text with my college roommates, where we often try and debate the latest health & wellness products, finding a natural deodorant that actually worked seemed to stump us all for awhile. I decided to carve out some time (several months actually) to research, test, and analyze a few of the natural, organic options that I’ve heard others recommend.
The brands I’m reporting back on are: Be Well, EO, Kopari, and Native.
Before we dive into the specifics and you all get just a little too familiar with my underarms, let’s talk WHY to consider ditching your current antiperspirant for a natural product.
The biggest difference between an antiperspirant and natural deodorant is that antiperspirants are designed to block your pores. That’s why you don’t sweat (or sweat a whole lot less) with an antiperspirant. Avoiding the sweat during a workout, an important meeting, or your daily run-around may seem like the better option in the moment. However, holding sweat and bacteria in your pores actually contributes to an increase in the amount and odor. Natural deodorants, on the other hand, should allow the good bacteria on your skin to work with what’s being released from your body. That process controls the bacteria in your pits and over time helps to reduce or even eliminate the odor.
There are a handful of ingredients in antiperspirants that have recently been called out - and for good reason. The big ones are:
Aluminum: while many have been debunked, some evidence links aluminum to an increased risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease
Phthalates: also found in plastics and other personal care products, these endocrine disruptors can cause hormone imbalance and contribute to infertility
Parabens: another hormone disruptor
Other additives and substances like fragrance and propylene glycol (better known as antifreeze) that give your deodorant stick that “slick” consistency
If you’re ready to make the switch… it’s important to let your armpits go through a “detox” of sorts before you expect to see (and smell) positive changes in your pit game. If you think about it, the antiperspirant you’ve been using for years has effectively clogged your pores. Just like any detox, it’s essential to let the skin open, breath, and release the toxins.
Easier said than done. Releasing the toxins within also means that you will likely feel (and smell) a bit funky for awhile. I threw out my old antiperspirant stick and went deodorant-less in the fall while living in Germany. At the beginning, hot yoga was PAINFUL. Looking back, I probably should have apologized to the sweet Germans on the mats next to me. But in about 2-3 weeks, I noticed a definite decrease in odor and wetness. After 3-4 weeks, I hardly noticed much of anything unless I was really nervous or exerting myself. Like any detox, it’s important to drink a lot of water to speed up the process of release and regeneration.
I received a few Kopari products for Christmas and thus began my experimentation to find the best natural deodorant at a good price. Important to note: all four of the products that follow are free of aluminum, phthalates, parabens, and fragrance. Here’s what I found, in order of trial:
(1) Kopari Coconut Oil Deodorant
Kopari prides themselves on their plant-based skincare. Their deodorant is a combination of coconut water, coconut oil, and sage oil that conditions and soothes ...like skincare for your pits. The silky, buttery feel could be a pro or con for you depending on how you feel about texture! For me, it was a definite pro.
Pros: natural coconut fragrance; baking soda free for sensitive skin; beautiful branding
Cons: longest ingredient list of the brands I tried
(2) Native Coconut & Vanilla Deodorant
This is the one that several of my friends have found success with. I found a travel size at Target for a few bucks. Score. The ingredient list is pretty short with natural ingredients like coconut oil, tapioca starch, milk of magnesia, shea butter, and even probiotics. This deodorant seemed to work the hardest on the sweatiest occasions.
Pros: many natural scent (or unscented) options; solid stick that feels closest to old deodorants; best strong odor protection
Cons: includes baking soda which can irritate some people with sensitive skin
(3) EO (Essential Oils) Organic Lavender Deodorant
This certified organic spray is what we offer our clients at Barre3 Morristown. EO is a company devoted to purely sourced essential oils. I was intrigued by the spray form for ease of application, but wary that it wouldn’t offer full coverage. In reading the ingredients, it’s mostly just essential oil and water.
Pros: simple ingredients; certified organic; divine lavender scent
Cons: more like a refreshing mist than a strong deodorant (if you were really working up a sweat, this may not be enough bacterial protection for you)
(4) Be Well ‘The Best’ Deodorant
Gotta love the confidence of this new brand. It includes live probiotics and mineral salts which help block bacteria. I heard about this one on Instagram (#influenced) and sent for a $3 sample from their website. Like EO, it’s also a spray. It’s also baking soda- free. This one is the priciest, but may also last the longest depending on usage.
Pros: More anti-bacterial than the EO spray; good gender neutral scent; felt somewhat soothing under my arms
Cons: On the pricey end; unsure if the spray is full coverage
After all that, my choice is Kopari. I love the coconut milky feel and the subtle coconut scent. I don’t think I need the strength of Native at this time and the EO and Be Well sprays just aren’t quite enough to make me feel totally confident. I highly encourage testing out some sample sizes of natural deodorants if you’re curious or if you still haven’t found the best one for you. Experiment and don’t worry about the temporary detox funk. You’re taking ownership for your health and well-being, girl!
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