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What is the best all natural deodorant?

Deodorant is probably the number one product people ask me about – both men & women use it every day and everyone wants something that WORKS, there is no room for compromise on this one!

People are often a little sceptical about all natural deodorant. Many have had bad experiences where it leaves them sweaty, stinky and their clothes stained.

My aim in this post is to make your transition to all natural deodorant an easier, less stinky process…I will outline the main ingredients to avoid and then which natural ingredients are most effective for different issues – soak up sweat, mask odour, kill bacteria etc.

I have tried and researched many, many different products & here are my favourites. My husband & I have both used them all – we live in Hong Kong – it is pretty sweaty here most of the year…100% humidity right now and as with many men my husband sweats a lot more than me! So it is pretty safe to say if these work on us they should work for anyone!

So what is the best all natural deodorant – read on & find out!

Contents

  1. Deodorant vs. antiperspirant
  2. Key ingredients to avoid in your products & why
  3. Key ingredients to look for in your products & why
  4. My tried & tested favourite deodorants

Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant

Let’s clear up one thing before we go on – natural deodorant is not anti perspirant. This means that it will not stop you sweating which is what anti perspirants do – they use certain chemicals to clog the pores and actually stop you sweating altogether which while effective is pretty unhealthy.

Deodorant on the other hand, uses elements to kill bacteria and neutralize odor so that your sweat doesn’t smell bad. Additionally, natural powders (such as baking soda, kaolin clay, arrowroot, and corn starch) help to absorb excess wetness from sweating – avoiding those awkward wet patches.

Key Ingredients to avoid

Aluminium is the ingredient in antiperspirants which, as mentioned above, clogs your pores and prevents sweating. Aluminium exposure has been linked with the development of Alzheimer’s disease and interferes with your estrogen levels. When your body can’t process estrogen properly, there is a higher risk of breast and prostrate cancer.

Parabens are preservatives used in some deodorants and antiperspirants. In some cases they have been shown to mimic the activity of estrogen in the body’s cells – endocrine disruptors!

Triclosan has been classified as a pesticide, but is still found in many brand name deodorants. It’s used to kill bacteria.

Propylene glycol watch out for this one in “natural” deodorants, it can cause damage to your central nervous system, heart and liver. It is also shown to irritate skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. It can be found in deodorants in worryingly high concentrations.

I also have a full post on which chemicals to avoid in cosmetics in general.

Key Ingredients to look for

If you are buying an all natural deodorant here is a list of which ingredients to specifically look for to make sure your needs are being met.

These ingredients either absorb moisture or have anti bacterial properties to kill the bacteria and neutralise the odour.

Baking soda (aluminium free) – baking soda is amazing at neutralising odour and absorbing moisture. It can irritate very sensitive skin so I have some recommendations without it.

Arrowroot powder – is a very absorbent substance like corn starch and helps to absorb sweat. By itself it isn’t great at killing bacteria, so it is usually mixed with potent anti-bacterial or vegetable oils like lavender, or sage.

Kaolin Clay – Mined from the mountains of Koa-ling China, kaolin clay is very absorbent and has strong detoxifying qualities. It can easily absorb a lot of oil and moisture. Very gentle and great for sensitive skin types.

Cornstarch – Like arrowroot powder, baking soda, and kaolin clay, cornstarch is exceptional at absorbing moisture and sweat.

Aloe vera – aloe vera gel tends to be very gentle but it has potent anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. By using aloe to kill the bacteria which causes odour in our underarms, you may sweat but you won’t smell. If you ever find yourself without deodorant you can use aloe vera on its own!

Coconut oil – Coconut oil and certain other carrier oils are often used in natural deodorant because of their moisturizing properties. Lauric acid, a key component of coconut oil, is effective at killing a wide range of skin bacteria as well.

Essential oils – Essential oils have great anti-bacterial properties. Some essential oils are better than others for deodorising (some are too harsh for use in such a sensitive area). The best essential oils to look for in a natural deodorant are bergamot, cypress, grapefruit, lavender, tea tree, clary sage, and rosemary.

My tried and tested favourites

What is the best all natural deodorant that I have tried….well their are a few here that I have no hesitation recommending. Hard to pick a favourite!

Zero Yet 100

zeroyet100-natural-stick-deodorant

Background: This is a local Hong Kong company set up by two lovely ladies – Anita Patel and Sheetal Avlani. They talked of hours spent analysising product labels in shops but still not finding something effective without the nasty additives. So they decided to make their own & from there Zero yet 100 was born. I also love that they set out to make something that was safe enough for infants to eat – breastfeeding mums often get little hands exploring their armpits and they found that many mums struggled with this.

Key beneficial ingredients

  • To absorb the sweat: Arrowroot Powder, Aluminium free baking soda
  • Kill the bacteria and therefore any odor: Aloe Vera, Lavender essential oil
  • To moisturise: Cacao seed butter, shea butter, almond & apricot oils
  • They also have some other interesting ingredients: activated charcoal, multi strain probiotics and witch hazel

Packaging: Zero Yet 100 have several products. They are committed to sustainable packaging. Their star product is the natural deodorant pot which is sold in recyclable aluminum packaging with a wooden spatula for application. Or they have a paper tube which is made from 100% recycled paper and can be disposed of in the waste-paper collection!

Verdict: I really love this product. It absolutely works – no question that it is very effective. The only thing I would say is that when I started using it I found the smell quite strong – it is a nice, spa type smell though. I am now totally used to it and find it nice as I don’t wear perfume anymore. So having something that smells good is an added bonus. I love the fact that it is a local success story too.

Where to buy – Hong Kong only for the moment: Eartheries, Now No waste, Zero yet 100

Real Purity

real-purity-natural-roll-on-deodorant

Background: This company has been around for a long time, it started with the current CEO’s mother – Virginia Easterling. She had a biochemistry background, a love for natural ingredients and a desire to replace toxic products with all-natural equivalents set up her own company. Today Real Purity has a wide range of products across skincare, makeup and personal care.

Product: Real Purity roll on deodorant

Key beneficial ingredients

  • Kill the bacteria and therefore any odour: Aloe Vera, Lavender essential oil
  • To moisturise: Apricot oil
  • They also have: Tocopherol which is Vitamin E and helps to soothe the skin

Packaging: Unfortunately this is plastic packaging but it is technically recyclable, number 2 on the recycling scale.

Verdict: This is the easiest product to use – it rolls on clear, in a thin liquid therefore is the most akin to traditional roll on deodorants that you may be used to. I find the smell very mild and pleasant. However, it does contain potassium sorbate which is rated 3 on EWG skindeep database. Potassium sorbate is a potassium salt of sorbic acid, a naturally occurring antimicrobial compound & also used as a preservative.

Where to buy – Hong Kong you can get it on Iherb, USA widely available.

Black Chicken Remedies

black-chicken-remedies-natural-deodorant

Background: Chey Birch founded Black Chicken remedies in the early 2000s in Sydney, Australia. She had been suffering from undiagnosed skin irritations and sinus issues and could not get to the bottom of it. She worked with a naturopath and cleaned up all her personal care products – and through this started to make her own products. It has grown from there.

Product: Black Chicken Axilla deodorant paste

Key beneficial ingredients

  • To absorb the sweat: Aluminium free baking soda, arrowroot, Kaolin Clay
  • Kill the bacteria and therefore any odour: Lavender essential oil
  • To moisturise: Shea butter, coconut oil
  • They also have some other interesting ingredients: Clove essential oil as a powerful anti-septic and anti-inflammatory. Organic Camellia Tea oil to help soothe skin irritations.

Packaging: Recyclable PETA plastic

Verdict: This is packed full of great ingredients and is rated as one of the best all natural deodorants on the market. The only thing for me is it is only in paste form – they do not have any stick or roll on products but this is purely personal preference.

Where to buy – Hong Kong you can get it on Iherb, Australian brand so widely available there – for example nourished life, in UK Atura online, USA online at all natural collection

Thinksport

thinksport-natural-deodorant

Background: Thinksport (and thinkbaby) are a great company. I use their sunscreen and love it! The founder used to work in a biological testing lab and could see that there were chemicals that had the potential to cause endocrine disruption, cancer and reproductive harm. So he set about creating his own brand. Starting with reusable water bottles but now does a wide range of products. I love that they have the EWG rating for all their ingredients on the back of their products! Fantastic!

Product: Natural deodorant – Currant & grapefruit

Key beneficial ingredients

  • To absorb the sweat: Cornstarch, arrowroot powder, Baking soda
  • To kill the bacteria and the odour: Citrus Paradi (grapefruit)
  • To moisturise: Shea butter, coconut oil

Packaging: This is a stick deodorant in plastic packaging with the recycling number of 5 which means it can be recycled into fibers.

Verdict: For me this feels more like a manly product….but that is really just the packaging. The scent is sweet and very pleasant, not strong at all and it works very well!

Where to buy – Hong Kong you can get it on Iherb, USA widely available. UK at vitamin grocer

Crystal Essence

Product: Chamomile & green tea mineral roll on deodorant

Verdict: I used to use this one. It works well and the smell is clean and simple. However, I stopped using it because they reformulated and have several ingredients that are rated as 3 on EWG. I am including this as it is quite widely available and it is definitely better than a lot of commercial deodorants out there. Just not an ideal choice.

Where to buy – Hong Kong you can get it on iherb, USA widely available.

Conclusion

This has turned into a bit of an epic post… I have tried a lot of deodorants…! Honestly all these deodorants work which is the baseline, they are all clean although there are a few ingredients rated 3 on EWG in a couple of them – you can avoid these if you are being particularly careful because of a specific health issue or fertility related for example.

So what is the best all natural deodorant….it is really difficult but I think if I had to pick I would go for Zero Yet 100 – mainly because I like the smell, it is strong and you can definitely smell it on yourself which will not be for everyone but I have really grown to like it. Also, I prefer a stick or a roll on to a paste because I am still stuck in my ways…! Finally, with their new packaging being made out of 100% recycled paper it is great for the environment too. However, if you are not in Hong Kong or prefer something more traditional then Real Purity or Thinksport might be more suited to you.

 

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