Which Healthy Deodorant Is Better?

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When I first started looking for aluminum-free options, I had just one question “which healthy deodorant is the best”? After checking lots of blogs and websites, I was still unable to find the answer, so I set on a quest to discover it on my own using trial and error method. In this post I am comparing healthy deodorants that I personally tested, complete with pros and cons of each.

Why should I care about healthy deodorants? Lately there’s been is a lot of buzz in the media blaming antiperspirants for contributing to Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, and even breast cancer. While neither side can show the results of extensive studies that prove or disprove the theory, it brought awareness to consumers everywhere. Also, some people are plain allergic to aluminum, so healthy deodorants are really the only option.

While aluminum-containing antiperspirants will keep you dry and odor-free for a long time [some formulas promise to last up to a week], natural deodorants act more like bacteria-fighting body spray. They won’t block your skin’s natural function and still allow you to sweat it out, but a good deodorant will make sure your sweat is odorless by neutralizing bacteria that contribute to bad BO. I won’t lie, I still use antiperspirants on very rare occasions, but they are so few and far between, that I only have a travel-sized stick of Secret that’s pretty much still full, and it’s like 2 years old now.

Alright, that was a pretty long-winded prelude, let’s get down to business. In no particular order, I rounded up seven deodorants that personally tried and tested over the past 3 years. Read on to find out what I liked and disliked, and which one is currently my favorite.

Weleda Citrus Deodorant comes in a glass spray bottle that reminds me of anything but deodorant. Body spray, maybe? The bottle is quite weighty and can be hard to hold, especially if you are trying to use it straight out of the shower when the hands are still a bit slippery. I am a medium sweater, and my skin got all wet and stinky about an hour and a half after the initial application, as if I didn’t use anything at all. Also, because it’s basically alcohol, my armpits would always get irritated every time, especially after shaving. I normally really like Weleda products, but this one unfortunately was a dud for me.

Pleasant unisex fragrance of bitter lemon
100% natural

Heavy slippery bottle
Irritates the skin
Doesn’t seem to help with odor that much
Some product is wasted during the application
Price – I usually don’t comment on price, but for what it is, this product is a total rip off.

Ingredients: Alcohol, Water (Aqua), Fragrance (Parfum)*, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Limonene*, Linalool*, Geraniol*, Citral*, Farnesol*.
* from natural essential oils

Where to buy: $14 USD at Weleda, Drugstore.com, Dermstore.

Burt’s Bees Herbal Deodorant – Like the previous deodorant, this one is also basically a mix of essential oils in an alcohol base. It has a strong natural herbal fragrance, one that people will either love or hate. I kinda like it, because I like to cook, and buttery sage sauce is one of my favorite things, but I don’t know if I want to smell like that on daily basis. The spray comes in lightweight aluminum bottle that protects essential oils inside from sunlight and air. As far as the effectiveness goes, it kept me smelling fresh and feeling dry for maybe 3 hours. All in all, I had to apply this deodorant 4 times throughout the day to make sure I’m not offending anyone with my BO, and that’s a lot of spritzing/skin irritation. While it worked better than Weleda, in the end I’m still not a fan.

Reusable/recyclable aluminum packaging that protects the essential oils inside
100% natural
Pleasant herbal unisex fragrance [if you’re into that sort of thing]
Availability – you can buy this at most drugstores that carry the brand

Irritates the skin
Needs to be constantly reapplied
Some product is wasted during the application

Ingredients: SD alcohol 40-B, water, salvia officinalis (sage) oil, lavandin oil, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil.

Where to buy: $8 USD at Burt’s Bees, local drugstores.

L’Occitane Aromachologie Refreshing Aromatic Deodorant – I’m a huge fan of L’Occitane and their products rarely disappoint, maybe that’s why I’ve been a customer for over 15 years now. Usually I buy their creams and lotions, but this is my first time trying one of their deodorants. I purchased this one last year when it first came out [or reformulated? either way, I remember the website labeled it as “new”], and knowing how much I love the rest of Aromachologie line, I figured it would be a hit, too. It comes in a weighty glass bottle with a roll-on applicator, which makes it pretty easy to apply, unlike the sprays where you end up wasting some of the product. The deodorant has a muted herbal scent to it, which is subtle enough so it doesn’t overlap with perfume or cause migraines. This formula works a lot better than many other natural deodorants, but again, the alcohol content is high enough to potentially cause irritation – I couldn’t use it at all on the days when I shaved my armpits, but next day I was just fine. It goes on sticky at first, but dries to a clear, slightly powdery finish. On me, the effect lasts about 6 hours before I have to reapply, usually in the afternoon.

Six hours of protection from BO [long time for natural deodorants]
Good packaging with easy to use applicator
Very subtle herbal scent that doesn’t clash with perfume
Random perk: some of the oils in this deodorant act as a natural insect repellent

Irritates the skin

Ingredients: Aqua/Water, Alcohol, Propanediol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Phenethyl Alcohol, Tapioca Starch, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil, Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Abies Sibirica Oil, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Parfum/Fragrance, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Geraniol, Citronellol.

Where to buy: $18 USD at L’Occitane, Nordstrom, Sephora.

Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Deodorant – I bought two versions: one for men and one for women, and honestly, both of them can be used by everyone. Ladies’ deodorant has a very faint scent of lavender with herbs that doesn’t really scream “girly” to me, and guys’ version smells like fruit loops, so it’s not overly manly either. The formulas are very similar: each one is a stick of solid oils that melts into a clear lotiony liquid when it comes in contact with body warmth. They’re very easy to apply, and actually feel great on the skin – kind of like a body lotion. I had no problems with irritation even if I applied them to freshly shaved armpits. The longevity is so-so though, and on me both lasted about 4 hours, before I needed to reapply. One thing I noticed, that even if I don’t sweat much, these oils turn pungent on their own, so it’s not my BO that stinks, but rather the deodorant’s formula reacting to sweat.

Very gentle non-irritating formula
Easy to use
Pleasant neutral fragrances
Leave the skin feeling nourished
Availability – I bet your drugstore has them in stock

Both turn stinky in 4-5 hours regardless if I sweat or not
Needs to be constantly reapplied

Ingredients: Propylene Glycol , Water , Sodium Stearate , Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice , Zinc Ricinoleate , Glyceryl Laurate , Natural Fragrance , Humulus Lupulus Extract (Hops) , Organic Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Sunflower) , Ascorbic Acid , Organic Cymbopogon Rexuosus Oil

Where to buy: $5-8 at Tom’s of Maine, Walgreens, Drugstore.com, local drugstores.

Alvera All Natural Roll On Deodorant – This deodorant is actually not aluminum-free, but it’s currently my favorite. I think I’m on my 20th bottle already, because my husband and I both love it, so I buy them all the time. It’s the closest thing I’ve found that resembles an antiperspirant in terms of effectiveness, and it’s also the cheapest. On me it not only lasts a full 10-12 hours, but it also reduces the perspiration. The mystery ingredient that makes this happen is called Alcloxa, which is a heterocyclic organic compound that contains traces of aluminum salts; it works as an astringent and has antimicrobial properties. The concentration is so small, that it can’t be called an antiperspirant. I’ve seen some people complaining that Alvera is misleading everyone by “making it seem like it’s an aluminum-free deodorant”, but honestly, they don’t say anywhere that their products are aluminum-free, neither on the packaging, nor on the product page, so I have no idea what all the fuss is about. It’s like buying a frozen pizza and assuming that the cheese is real. If it’s real, the companies will definitely put an extra label on it to attract more customers; same with this deodorant, if it was aluminum-free, you bet Alvera would have stamped that all over their packaging. This deodorant comes in a roll-on bottle, that makes it easy to apply, and sets with a slightly powdery finish. The formula is gentle and moisturizing, it feels like I just applied lotion to my armpits. So far I didn’t experience any irritation even when using right after I just shaved.

By the way, those solid crystal deodorants that look like rocks, also contain aluminum, that’s why they work so well.

100% natural
10-12 hours of odor protection
Reduces perspiration
Moisturizes and conditions the skin
Really cheap!

Contains small amounts of aluminum
Availability – hard to find

Ingredients: 75% aloe vera gel, herb water (containing arnica, calendula, gentian root and coriander), alcloxa (contains plant-derived allantoin), glyceryl stearate, gum arabic, whole oat protein, witch hazel, grapefruit seed extract, comfrey, tea, natural fragrance.

Where to buy: $2.50 USD at Vitacost, Amazon.

LAVANILLA The Healthy Deodorant is probably the most buzzed about department store deodorant these days, and you know what, it totally lived up to the hype. It comes in an array of sophisticated fragrances, and works really well to keep my underarms odor-free for 7 hours, which is a great track record for an aluminum-free formula. I’d probably use it more often if not for the price, but it’s a great option for anybody who can afford to buy it regularly. The twist-up stick is easy to use, but can drag a little on the skin because it’s a bit hard. Maybe it would be different if I lived in a warmer climate. The stick also shrinks over time as the water in the formula slowly evaporates, so it’s recommended that you keep using it daily.

100% natural
Easy to use
Provides excellent long-lasting odor protection
Comes in many sophisticated scents

Formula dries out, which shrinks the stick over time
Can drag on the skin

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera), Water (Aqua), Propanediol (Corn derived Glycol), Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Sodium Stearate, Silica, Carrageenan (Red Seaweed), Stearyl Behenate, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Inulin, Saccharomyces Ferment, Alpha Glucan Oligosaccharide, Yeast Beta Glucan, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Valerian (Valeriana Officinalis) Root Extract, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal) Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Extract, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, Botanical Fragrance.

Where to buy: $14 USD at Lavanilla, Sephora, Beauty.com

Now that you learned a little bit about my experience with these, I thought I should probably mention that all aluminum-free deodorants have to be applied to clean and dry skin, otherwise they won’t work. I don’t know why it’s like that, but that’s just how it is.

Now, if any of you are thinking about making the switch, I recommend doing it during a long weekend. If you read other blogs and websites about healthy deodorants, you’ll probably hear the same thing everywhere: during the first aluminum-free week you will actually sweat more than ever. It’s your body recovering from all the aluminum in the pores, trying to push out the particles. Once that “cleanse” phase is over, the perspiration should normalize.

Do you have a favorite antiperspirant alternative?

Disclosure: This post features products purchased by Glamorable! and may contain affiliate or referral links. For more details about my product review policy, copyright, and information about affiliate links, please refer to Disclosures & Content Use page. To find out how I rate products check out Product Rating page.