Natural deodorant - our tried and-tested favourites will help you make the eco switch

9 August 2022

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Natural deodorant reviews

You may have been reluctant to try a natural deodorant for fear of being left sweaty and smelly, but formulas have come a long way, combining effective odour neutralising and sweat absorption with high eco credentials on both ingredients, packaging and refill options too.

Unlike conventional deodorants and antiperspirants, a natural deodorant doesn't contain ingredients that for some people cause concern (not always justifiably), be they parabens preservatives or even aluminium salts which block the sweat glands from producing sweat. Because natural deodorants are aluminium-free, they don't block the sweat glands and so are not an antiperspirant. Where they score is their ability to zap whiff-causing bacteria with natural ingredients, rather than simply masking them with artificial scents that clash with your perfume. Ingredients such as bamboo and rice powder to absorb the sweat to keep you drier.

If you're looking to go plastic-free, natural deodorants often tick this box and they come in a variety of formulas from cream and gel to liquid sprays. Here are the ones we've put through their paces and can honestly say actually work.

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Akt Deodorant Balm, £19

In trendy, gender-neutral minimalist 'toothpaste tube' packaging, Akt was created and put through rigorous testing by two (sweaty) West End stage actors and is a favourite of one of our teen testers, and her 50-something mothers. It comes in three scents Orange Grove (citrus), After Thunder (cedar and eucalyptus) and The Onsen, which has notes of vetiver root, lavender and patchouli. It's a cream that is applied with the fingers and feels like dabbing on a fine fragrance than a deodorant. It was also tested on theatre dancers (no animal testing) for its functionality and if it can withstand hours of exertion. The packaging is plastic-free, stored in aluminium tubes, which are infinitely recyclable.

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Sol de Janeiro Rio Deo Aluminum-Free Deodorant, £14

From the makers of the cult Brazilian Bum Bum Cream  comes this aluminium-free stick deo with a warm and buttery smell of pistachio, jasmine, almond and salted caramel. This is how you want your pits to smell when you're dancing all night at the Copa Cobana with your arms in the air. Tapioca starch is the hero sweat absorber here. For happy vibes and dry armpits that smell good enough to eat all day, dive in.

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The Natural Deodorant Co Clean Grapefruit + Mint Deodorant Balm, £12.50

Fearne Cotton sang the praises of this deodorant on her Instagram Stories, saying “I love this stuff”. The 100 per cent natural formula is vegan and is in zero-waste packaging. Palm oil, mineral oils and artificial fragrances are banished too; instead it’s made with antibacterial magnesium, sodium bicarbonate, white clay, shea butter and coconut oil to keep odour at bay. You apply this with your fingertips and it dried instantly - perfect for when you’re in a rush.

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Kopari Natural Aluminium-free Deodorant, £13

Our sibling teen testers have been duelling over this deodorant and say categorically that this the ‘only one that works’. They have tried many over the years – but none had met with such rapturous praise as this one by US coconut-oil skincare brand Kopari. It’s a clear gel with odour-absorbing charcoal (it’s baking soda-free, which can irritate some people and leave white flakes) and is very mildly scented with natural fragrances and sage. There’s a Beach scented version , £13 that we also like and  Performance Plus version , £15.

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Mitchum Natural Power, £4.50

Mitchum is a deodorant name we know we can trust - and the fact that all three versions of their natural deodorant sold out in launch Boots is testament to how good this is (back in stock now, luckily). It promises to neutralise odour with botanical extracts and absorb wetness with bamboo powder and we were impressed from our first try and it even passed the smelly teen test. It's invisible, doesn't leave marks on your clothes and comes in coconut, cedarwood and eucalyptus scents, all without aluminium and glides under our armpits with no trouble at all. It's easy to find in Supermarkets too.

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Wild Natural Deodorant, £25 for one case and three refills

If you're looking for plastic-free beauty Wild needs to be on your radar. They sell chic aluminium cases for your deodorant (aqua, coral or silver) and you choose the fragrance of natural deodorant to go inside. They're packaged in paper so there's no plastic at any stage of this product and the refill itself will fully compost within six months and biodegrade within 12. Our editorial director Victoria likes the Orange Zest scent but other options include Mint Fresh, Rose Blush, Bergamot Rituals and Coconut Dreams. Sodium bicarbonate controls odour and citric acid helps stop the growth of odour causing bacteria while tapioca starch absorbs moisture to keep armpits dry. There's also a plethora of moisturising ingredients in the mix to keep armpits soft such as sunflower seed wax and shea butter.

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Aesop Deodorant, £23

Aesop’s fine, quick-drying natural deodorant spray will appeal to spritzing fans, with its fresh, zesty and subtly herby scent. This alcohol and essential oil-based formula kept us smelling sophisticated during day-to-day wear. But at the gym, clearly the toughest test for any deodorant, it didn’t take the edge off extreme spinning sweats. For the daily use, it is a luxe and safe alternative to conventional deodorants with a luxe price tag to match; £23 for deodorant is seriously steep for a basic personal care item, but then again there's might be something to be said for having a special date-night deo that smells as sophisticated as Aesop's fine fragrances. Pits, you've pulled!

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ProCoal Activate Charcoal Natural Deodorant, £6.79

This is a high-functioning bacteria blitzing natural deodorant that combines coconut oil to neutralise smell-causing bacteria, antibacterial tea tree and charcoal to remove pore-clogging bugs. We applied a pea-sized amount on our underarms and it worked like a charm. No embarrassing moments, no sweat marks, no sticky feeling when you get off the tube, in fact, the only thing we did notice was how un-intrusive it was, which quite frankly is exactly what you want from a deodorant. If you want your actual perfume to do the talking this is the perfect deo that won't steal its thunder.

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Salt of the Earth Spray Effective Natural Deodorant (Unscented), £4.99

We really put this salt spray through its paces, wearing it in personal training sessions, in a double back-to-back run/HIIT session, on a 90m minute bike ride and to some very hardcore spin sessions and you know what? Absolutely no smelly armpits. Amazing! How it works we're not quite sure (it's a concoction of natural ingredients including natural mineral salts, organic aloe vera and baking soda) but it is fragrance-free, it doesn't leave marks on your tops, is suitable for vegans and has won many awards. You can even spray it on your feet as it feels like you are just spraying on water. The only 'pitfall' (pardon the pun) is that we got through whole thing in a month because you need quite a few spritzes to cover your whole armpit.

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Indeora Healthy Magnesium Deodorant, £16.99

With a pleasing coconut and vanilla scent, this natural deodorant keeps you odour free using magnesium, which safely neutralises odours for up to 24 hours. It caused a stampede on when it launched in 2020. It also allows magnesium to be absorbed transdermally (through the skin) for your daily dose of the anti-inflammatory, blood-pressure-lowering mineral. It's a watery formula rather than a powdery cream, so if you need absorbency try one of the solid options above.

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Malin+Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant, £19

This unisex gel stick formula by this sensitive skin-friendly brand is a classic, and up there among the best. It has a subtle, fresh smell from eucalyptus extract – known for its antiseptic and antibacterial qualities and odour-neutralizing citronellyl. We also loved the newer Bergamot Deodorant  version, £19

It feels smooth, moisturizing and not at all sticky to apply. We trialled it over several hours on a crowded tube commute and a school run under an armpit-hugging T-shirt. We perspired a bit, but there was no eau-de-bacteria, just a pleasant and barely-detectable piney smell. It says not to use on broken skin, but we used it an hour or so after shaving without a sting. The brands advises: ‘If transitioning from a pore-clogging antiperspirant, please allow two weeks as your body adjusts.' They say tou can actually expect to sweat a bit more until your body gets used ot it, but that's not something we experineced. Pricey yes, but you won't be diappointed.

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Weleda Citrus 24hr Roll-On Deodorant, £8.25

If you like a strongly scented deodorant for extra reassurance, the botanical scent of this roll-on will be right up your street. It's formulated with natural liquorice root extract, known for its soothing, antimicrobial properties, and natural astringent witch hazel distillate, which helps to calm the skin/ If you're not a citrus fan, there's a pomegranate fragrance and a sea buckthorn scent too.

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Horace Natural Deodorant Roll-On, £10

A natural deodorant for men but with a big unisex following, this refreshing and chic-looking number is scented with rosemary, eucalyptus and sage, neutralising bacteria (and thus odours) with diatomaceous earth (a sedimentary rock often used in beauty products). Tea tree essential oils reduce odours with clary sage controls sebum levels and eucalyptus sanitises the skin. All the odour neutralising powers make this a great choice for the gym, but if you do choose to wear it under your best clothes rest assured that the gel formula doesn't come off onto your clothes and keeps yellow marks at bay. Swipe four times (more than you would a conventional deo) under each pit.

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Aurelia Probiotic Cream Deodorant, £18

Created using superfine, powdered botanicals such as arrowroot and pure kaolin, this cream deodorant that you rub on like a face cream works by sitting invisibly on the skin, ready to absorb your natural perspiration throughout the day. Not only does it keep your armpits dry, but tea tree, eucalyptus and peppermint also inhibit bacteria. Along with other natural fragrances such as lavender and bergamot, it promises to keep you super fresh and limit unwanted stinkiness. We tested it on plenty of sweaty workouts and were still odour free at the end of the day - a pot lasts about six months.

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