It wasn’t that long ago that natural grooming products were considered a load of hippy nonsense. Especially when it came to deodorants. Faced with the onslaught of a sweltering commuter train, only a very brave man would give up the 72-hour mega protection of an aerosol-based sweat deflector for a wimpy plant-based potion in a jar. Natural deodorants either didn’t work, didn’t smell of anything or didn’t have the sexy ad campaigns that promised to boost pulling performance.
Then, while we were all happily blasting our pits with a noxious cloud of super value body spray, two things happened. First, we learned that as our biggest organ, the skin, absorbs everything we apply to it, chemicals included (yuck). The second? Natural deodorants got good.
What Is Natural Deodorant?
Antiperspirants contain aluminium salts that reduce sweating by temporarily blocking the sweat glands. Deodorants, on the other hand, allow you to sweat but mask the smell of the bacteria it produces.
Natural deodorants do not contain aluminium or other synthetic nasties, rely on a shorter ingredients list for efficacy, and the delivery method is often a roll-on or natural spray (not a compressed aerosol).
Though it can take the body about a week to adjust to using a natural deodorant, so expect to sweat a bit more initially, there are several benefits to making the switch.
Why Use It?
Aside from the fact that sweat is good — it’s our natural temperature control mechanism that also removes toxins from the body — and that aluminium is responsible for those yellow stains on your Oxford shirt, the main benefit, according to Dr Simon Jackson, founder of natural grooming brand Modern Botany, “is that you are not contaminating your body with synthetic compounds.”
Sound a bit dramatic? Maybe not. There’s some suspicion around aluminium, but little proof, and its link to breast cancer (even those without man boobs). On top of that, there is evidence that some common chemicals (BHT, phthalates and parabens) found in cheap personal care products are potential endocrine disruptors that can interfere with hormones, fertility and the health of those swimmers.
To make matters harder, you won’t see phthalates listed on the back of the can. This unpronounceable component occurs in fragrances, which are classed as ‘trade secrets’, so companies aren’t required to disclose the ingredients in them.
Okay, so the quantities we’re talking about are pretty insignificant to cause any immediate harm, but over a lifetime, who knows? If that doesn’t put you off your antiperspirant, consider that natural deodorants are typically made by more ethically-minded companies who don’t test on animals and have less impact on the environment. They also tend to be gently-scented, which means they won’t interfere with your favourite cologne, and you won’t be breathing in a chemical fog either. That’s a relief.
The Best Natural Deodorant Brands For Men
Aesop Herbal Deodorant
Call us shallow to care, but Aesop’s aluminium-free deodorant is easily the most handsome natural deodorant you could have on your bathroom shelf. Its antiperspirant property comes from zinc ricinoleate which absorbs and locks in bad odours to keep you fresh with a cooling, botanical scent that lasts all day, but doesn’t follow you down the street.
Green People for Men No.8 Thyme & Prebiotics Deodorant
An award-winning roll-on deodorant from British organic brand Green People that is vegan and non-staining. The No.8 formula contains prebiotics that work in harmony with the skin’s natural microbiome; killing ‘bad’ bacteria that creates body odour and supporting ‘good’ beneficial bacteria that keeps skin balanced. As a result, it’s ideal for sensitive skin types, and has a pleasant, refreshing scent of thyme and rosemary.
Lush Solid Deodorant
Anyone trying to live plastic-free should investigate the line of solid hand-made deodorants from Lush. Our pick is Aromaco, a block of bicarbonate and anti-bacterial ingredients like witch hazel and chamomile vinegar, with a very subtle, earthy patchouli aroma (found in fragrances like Givenchy Gentleman) that comes in nothing more than a paper wrapper. Be warned: it looks like soap, so don’t leave it by the sink.
Sukin Natural Deodorant
Founded in 2007 and now one of Australia’s biggest natural skin care brands, Sukin puts aloe vera, burdock and nettle extracts into its vegan, aluminium- and paraben-free deodorant. It’s pretty gentle, so might not suit very sweaty types, or those adverse to an undershirt, but that also makes it good for skins that react easily to products.
Dr Hauschka Sage Mint Deodorant
For those who like to know what they’re putting on their skin and where it came from, Dr Hauschka sources most of its ingredients from its own herb garden. For its natural dedorant, the award-winning brand uses a combination of sage and witch hazel, which has astringent and antimicrobial properties, but it won’t irritate the skin.
Modern Botany Deodorant
Developed by pharmacognosist Dr Simon Jackson, Irish brand Modern Botany is an effective natural deodorant that lasts up to 10 hours. Design fans will appreciate its simple aesthetics, and all the packaging is fully recyclable. Its anti-bacterial formula contains a blend of sandalwood, lemon, tea tree oil, lavender, vetiver, chamomile, cedarwood, eucalyptus and clove oil, which also gives it a clean, fresh scent.
Malin+Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant
For a natural deodorant with as much staying power as its chemically counterparts, Malin+Goetz’s stylish stick claims to protect pits for up to 24 hours. The New York grooming brand specialises in no-nonsense products, and its deodorant glides on, leaves no residue and has a fresh eucalyptus scent.
Neal’s Yard Lemon & Coriander Deodorant
The original organic brand, Neal’s Yard has been committed to natural ingredients since it began life down a small alley in London’s Covent Garden in 1981. Now a worldwide company, its Lemon & Coriander Deodorant has a fresh scent and is stuffed with essential oils. Even those who perspire heavily should be well protected.
Susanne Kaufmann Deo Stick for Men
For the uninitiated, Susanne Kaufmann creates top-notch natural products like serums and body washes inspired by her Alpine roots. There is a deodorant stick and a natural spray in her line and both are free from aluminium, parabens and artificial preservatives. You can bank on a mix of active minerals to banish odour all day – and so you should, at the price.