Most modern deodorants are in fact antiperspirants. They contain aluminium compounds which reduce sweating by blocking sweat glands, while deodorants merely reduce the odor of sweat, usually by killing bacteria that cause the odor.
Unfortunately antiperspirants can cause skin irritation and aluminium has been associated with possible neurotoxicity. This reviewer has had to discontinue all aluminium-based deodorants as for her the irritation quickly develops into painful lymph node infections. Some aluminium salts used in antiperspirants also react with sweat and cause yellow staining of clothes.
There are many natural deodorants which do not contain aluminium and are usually also free of alcohol and parabens, but their efficacy often leaves a lot to desire. Here, six different aluminium-free (and paraben-free) deodorants were put to test. All but Speick and Mild Wave were also free of alcohol.
All of these deos contain herbal ingredients, which may cause allergic reactions or skin irritation. However, aluminium is by far the most common irritant in deodorants.
Sante Naturkosmetik Deo Roll-On Mild Wave
Mild Wave has a fairly generic deodorant scent with a hint of citrus. Besides many chemical-sounding names (but no parabens) it contains lactic acid derivatives, yellow sweet clover and sheep’s sorrel as the active ingredients.
The herbal constituents are purported to have astringent and lymph drainage promoting effects, but in practice they did not perform so well. Sante’s deodorant was by far the least effective product in the test. It wasn’t much better than using no deodorant at all.
Avalon Organics Lemon Deodorant
If you like the smell of fresh-pressed lemon juice, you will love the scent of this deodorant. The scent is not noticeable in use, but one may be tempted to sniff it upon application. Considering the all-natural ingredients it probably won’t do any harm.
Avalon’s deodorant didn’t offer protection as well as some of the other products, probably because it isn’t a stick. It also resulted in mild skin irritation when used for several days in a row.
* * 1/2 stars
Jason Tea Tree Deodorant Stick
This starchy deodorant smells of tea-tree oil, its main active ingredient. The scent is not very pleasant, but luckily not all that strong. A version containing lavender instead of tea-tree is also available. This deodorant may not be considered as “natural” as the others, because propylene glycol is the first ingredient listed.
Efficacy-wise Jason Tea Tree Deodorant Stick it was fairly good, but for this tester it caused skin irritation (skin flaking off in the armpits) if used for several days in the row.
* * * stars
Speick Extra Mild Deo-Stick
The round stick is dark green in color and has a unisex fragrance one might associate with insect repellent, but not actually unpleasant and not really noticeable in use. Speick Deo-Stick contains sage (purported to reduce sweating), common lavender and Valeriana celtica as well as several chemicals which may contribute to its efficacy.
The deodorant offered the second best protection in the test and lasted longer than Tom’s of Maine’s Honeysuckle Rose. You can also add more deodorant without washing up, unlike with most deodorants.
* * * stars
Tom’s of Maine Nature’s Original Deodorant Stick (Honeysuckle Rose)
The fragrance of this deodorant stick is very pleasant, though barely noticeable in use. Other fragrances are also available. It combines the herbs lemongrass, hops, witch hazel (hamamelis), aloe vera and chamomile. In an earlier formula coriander and lichen were used in place of the lemongrass and hops.
Tom’s of Maine’s deodorant turned out to be one of the most effective one in the test. Save for overwhelming heat or vigorous physical activity, the deodorant offers very good protection. For maximum efficacy it is important to apply it on completely dry skin.
* * * * stars
Primitive Outpost Sensitive Skin Deodorant Stick (Various Scents)
Primitive Outpost have a wide variety of scents and they all smell very nice. My favorite is Chai Latte. This product is all natural and doesn’t even use the baking soda (although they have a line with that in it if you prefer) instead opting for Kaolin Clay, Arrowroot powder, and Magnesium.
Great consistency, and great scent put this at the top of the list but the thing that really sold me is the effectiveness. Excellent protection that often lasts me the whole day. My go to natural deodorants for sure.