My hunt for the best natural deodorant for women has been a years-long journey. Truly. I imagine I'm best remembered at my former job for making everyone in my office "pod" test a natural deodorant for five days straight. People were disgruntled—and quite frankly, many of them smelled—but we did find a couple of winners (namely Schmidt’s and White Rock Soap Gallery's Activated Charcoal Deodorant).
That was back in 2019. Since then, more and more brands have entered the race to create the one truly great natural deodorant. Because while there's still no science to suggest that aluminum leads to Alzheimer's or cancer, the idea of a healthy pit microbiome (one with no blocked pores or chemicals) remains alluring.
So I polled my coworkers again (they had their own journeys to share) and forced myself to try a bevy of buzzy natch deodorants for the past few weeks. (I've been moving from one Texas home in the late-spring heat to another, so I'm really putting them to the test.) May the freshness be with you.
Featured image by Riley Reed.
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For weeks, I tested out some of the trendiest natural deodorants of 2023 and put them to work in heated Corepower Yoga classes, moving boxes in the Texas heat, and more laid-back, sitting-at-my-desk-for-hours days. Ahead, I share my experience, starting with my favorite deodorant and working down from there.
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OK… this is the stuff. No irritation; not much stickiness (there’s always going to be some stickiness with natural deodorant); and genuinely good scents. But what makes the newly launched Nez winner is how truly interchangeable it felt with my Dove. I would actually feel comfortable wearing it to yoga class—and a heated yoga class at that!
I ordered the variety pack, which includes two “bright” and “smoky” formulas tailor-made for three different scenarios. “Date ready” is made with charcoal to avoid white streaks. “Board meeting” is crafted with bentonite clay to manage work-related sweat. And the hardest working one of all, “Workout sesh,” is made with zinc and bamboo for maximum sweat absorption.
What’s to Love: Everything, but particularly the scents.
What’s Not to Love: Honestly nothing. This stuff is great.
This was definitely a contender for number one. It dries quickly, has a nice earthy modern scent to it, and comes in beautiful packaging. It also held its ground during an intense workout class. But it did often leave my pits feeling a bit itchy and wet. For that, it falls to number two.
What’s to Love: The natural skincare brand Salt & Stone is known for its intoxicating scents, and the deodorant I tried did not disappoint in that category. I love that it’s packed with probiotics and hyaluronic acid for a balanced armpit microbiome.
What’s Not to Love: My pits didn’t take to it as much as I would have hoped. Still, it’s one of the better natural deodorants I’ve ever tried.
I’m a big fan of By Rosie Jane’s clean fragrances, so I was excited to see the perfumer’s ingredient transparency extended to a natural deodorant. I opted for the invigorating “Wake the F*uck Up” with lemon verbena and eucalyptus (as opposed to the lavender-infused alternative, “Calm the F*ck Down”) which arrived in a gorgeous glass bottle for just $15. (Refills are available on the By Rosie Jane website.)
I don’t like my deodorant to feel wet going on, so all sprays are an immediate uphill battle, but By Rosie Jane’s deodorant dried quickly and left a lovely essential oil smell. You need to continue to spritz your pits throughout the day, which is fine if you’re working at a desk or aren’t doing anything too active. Also, this natural deodorant gets bonus points for actually calming some pit itchiness, likely due to the glycerin and organic aloe vera.
Ultimately, it’s a nice, natural alternative for days you aren’t exerting yourself much.
What’s to Love: The aromatic essential oil blend actually calmed some pit itchiness I had pre-deodorant.
What’s Not to Love: You have to reapply throughout the day to keep the good scent going. This is also not the deodorant you want to rely on for strenuous activities.
This one was just fine. I’ve docked it a few points for how rough it felt swiping on. (There are a lot of concerns people have when making the switch to natural deodorant, but my biggest fear is itchy pits.) Over time, my skin didn’t become quite as irritated as I expected, but I never felt as safe from creating a cloud of stink as I did with my favorites.
What’s to Love: The price. Crystal has a competitive edge in this category. And the lavender scent was beautiful.
What’s Not to Love: It goes on a bit scratchy.
I’d heard great things about Ursa Major and its kaolin clay, but after putting it to the test on a particularly stressful workday, I was disappointed (in more ways than one) to find myself pretty smelly by early afternoon. It was also one of the biggest white-streak perpetrators of the bunch.
What’s to Love: It smells and feels fantastic going on.
What’s Not to Love: It left my pits feeling pretty moist and irritated, the latter of which may have been caused by the baking soda in the formula.
What's to Love: Come for the cute packaging, stay for the light but bright summery scent. And of course, don't forget the all-day efficacy. I've subjected my partner to many natural deodorant trials and tribulations, but this was the first one where (without my prompting), he said: "Wow, Isabelle you actually smell great." Beyond the scent, I love that the formula is plant-based, cruelty-free, and doesn't leave any white streaks. It checks all my boxes.
What's Not to Love: While this is great for everyday use, I need something a little stronger when I'm going for a long walk or bike ride. I haven't found any natural options that hold up to that challenge yet, but for work days and the like, this is the best. — Isabelle, Managing Editor
What's to Love: Everything about this! The scent is lovely (but subtle)—and it actually works. It's my holy grail. They use tallow from grass-fed cows and the lavender essential oil helps calm irritation from potential ingrown hairs. It's soothing and effective.
What's Not to Love: Sometimes in the summer months, I need to reapply before a late-afternoon park adventure with my toddler or a sweaty evening walk. But in the winter, applying once per day is enough! *Granted our climate is dry in Colorado.* — Edie, Wellness Editor
What's to Love: Baking Soda-free deodorant that actually works? Sign me up. I've been using Milk and Honey for the past year and it's my favorite option for long-lasting protection. The scents aren't too overpowering and they just work, even during humid summer days at the lake.
What's Not to Love: I do have to be careful when wearing black as they do leave a white cast behind. Suruchi, Food Editor
What's to Love: Literally everything: texture, smell (I use the blue one), quick dry with no residue, and it actually works.
What's Not to Love: Nothing. — Langa
What's to Love: The fragrance options are nice, it's available at stores like Target and H-E-B (I'm always a last-min deodorant buyer so I rarely have time to order from a DTC), it's affordable, and most importantly—I'm not sweating or smelling. So far... it's been a few months.
What's Not to Love: The packaging is terrible. I ended up throwing away the top half of the tube because it was driving me crazy. Attempting to be more gentle when closing my newest tube but I'm annoyed I even have to try. — Brittany, Content Marketing Director