Many years ago when I first got into green living and organic products, I tried just about every natural or organic deodorant on the market. Unfortunately, they weren’t that effective so I often struggled to know what to use.
Thankfully, we’ve made a lot of progress since then and now I would say the majority of natural or eco-friendly deodorants work well.
If this is your first time using a natural deodorant, you’ll need to keep in mind that these are not antiperspirants, they don’t block the pores but they do keep you smelling fresh.
The more important issue these days is finding a sustainable deodorant that is reasonably priced and that uses quality, locally sourced ingredients.
Packaging is also important and I always recommend zero waste or plastic-free packaging to limit waste going into landfills.
When it comes to shopping for a sustainable deodorant, there are plenty of options available from an increasing number of sustainable brands that are cruelty-free, vegan-friendly and environmentally conscious.
Look for products that use sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients, plastic-free packaging and preferably from companies that are carbon neutral or better.
It’s especially important to purchase from companies that use renewable energy to avoid carbon emissions. All these factors can help to reduce the environmental impact of our purchase.
Top PickEthique Solid Deodorant Bar*
Ethique is one of my go-to sustainable brands and their solid deodorant bar is great for everyone. As always with Etihique, the deodorant is zero waste and plastic free with the small amount of packaging being the cardboard box that it comes in.
This bar doesn’t use baking soda, an ingredient that many people are allergic to, and of course, it’s also aluminium free.
As a solid deodorant, it’s long-lasting which enables you to reduce your consumption by buying less.
Ethique is what they call “climate positive” which means they go further than being climate neutral. They do this by using 100% renewable energy in their offices, reducing air freight, stocking their products in local warehouses and by making lightweight, plastic-free products. They then offset 120% of their carbon emissions.
Having researched many deodorants over the years, this is by far the best sustainable deodorant and we recommend it over all the other brands.
Are there alternative brands?
As far as price goes, Ethique is around the middle of the range compared to similar products on a per ounce basis. So I can understand that it might not be for everyone.
I’ve listed some alternative brands below that are either cheaper or with different scents or textures that you might prefer.
Attitude Plastic Free Deodorant*
Attitude is the cheapest brand for plastic free deodorants and the one linked to is unscented and includes baking soda. It is EWG verified with their seal of approval. It is free of aluminium, parabens, triclosan, stearates, phthalates, talcum powder and artificial colors. It’s hypoallergenic and vegan. The reviews suggest it can be difficult to apply but it’s effective and a good budget alternative.
PAPR Natural Deodorant*
PAPR is a certified carbon neutral company that has a range of zero waste deodorants. They are also certified cruelty free and all the deodorants are vegan. The sustainable packaging is 100% biodegradable and can be recycled. Additionally, the paper used for their packaging is sourced from sustainable forests and this is lined with a cornstarch-based membrane. This is a small business that is worth supporting if you’re looking for climate-friendly products.
Each & Every Deodorant*
Each & Every is one of the most popular deodorant brands and they have a huge range of scents that are made without baking soda or alcohol. It’s an effective product and you can’t go wrong with this brand. It’s priced similarly to Ethique on a per ounce basis. About the company, the ingredients are ethically sourced and are rated as safe by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Ingredients include tapioca starch to promote dryness, salts to reduce body odor and essential oils for scents.
Plastic Free Deodorant
Plastic-free deodorants are a great option for those who want to reduce their plastic use or go zero waste. Here are some ways that using plastic-free deodorant can be more sustainable:
- Reduce waste – Refillable and plastic-free deodorants mean less packaging waste. Some alternatives like stick deodorants also last longer which means you don’t have to purchase them as often so again, less waste.
- Recyclable – If you choose deodorant with cardboard packaging, it can easily be recycled. Also, look out for plant-based packaging that is compostable or biodegradable.
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions – Plastic is derived from fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. By reducing the demand for plastic we can stop fossil fuel companies from profiting from plastic.
How to Choose a Deodorant?
If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to steer clear of essential oils and fragrances in your deodorant. They’re not always necessary and can irritate the skin. If you choose one with them anyway, make sure it’s free of alcohol — which can also irritate skin — and check the ingredients list for anything that may cause problems for you personally.
Natural deodorants often contain ingredients like baking soda, arrowroot powder or cornstarch. While these ingredients can be irritating for some people, they’re safe for most and will keep you dry as well as smelling fresh. It’s best to experiment if you’re unsure what works for you.
Some people prefer deodorant without aluminium and in this case, look for plant-based ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, jojoba oil and various salts. These natural ingredients help fight bacteria that cause odor and keep your skin moisturized so it doesn’t dry out.
You can also try making your own homemade version using natural ingredients like coconut oil or baking soda. But from my experience, these are less likely to be effective. They might be ok if you’re not going to be very active that day or if you’re hanging out at home, but you can probably get by without using any deodorant in that case.
This article is part of our series on ethical consumerism and the best sustainable products for the home. Please shop responsibly.