Finding the perfect deodorant can seem like a lifelong quest. The process requires a lot of trial and error, there are tons of different types of deodorants to choose from (sticks? sprays? creams?), and often, a lot of mainstream brands use questionable ingredients in their formulas. Naturally, that means shopping for the best cruelty-free deodorants isn't going to be an easy task, which is where this handy guide comes in. Ahead, find six ethically-conscious deodorant and antiperspirant formulas — but before you get to shopping, you might want to brush up on a few facts.
First, it's important to keep in mind the distinction between deodorant and antiperspirant. Deodorant helps get rid of odors, but it doesn't prevent you from sweating, while antiperspirants, on the other hand, essentially plug your sweat ducts. Antiperspirants can still be cruelty-free, but the various types of aluminum that serve as the active ingredient have been called into question. If you're new to the aluminum debate, recent reports have suggested that aluminum is linked to an increase in the risk of breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease. While it's important to note that no study has confirmed this theory, and that there are 18 aluminum ingredients approved by the FDA for use in antiperspirants, it has been enough to convince some people to make the switch.
If you go the antiperspirant route, not much will change when deciding to opt for a cruelty-free formula. But if you've been searching for a deodorant that doesn't test on animals, you'll probably have noticed that a lot of these cruelty-free options fall under the "natural" umbrella. While there's no regulated definition as to what constitutes a "natural" personal care product, when it comes to deodorant, natural usually refers to anything that's made largely of plant-based ingredients, and is aluminum-free. If you plan on going all-in with a natural deodorant, there are a few things you'll want to be aware of: mainly, that you will sweat. Deodorants won't stop you from perspiring, and as your body detoxes from the former chemical deodorants it's used to, you may sweat (and by extension, smell) more than usual. But after your body adjusts to the natural deodorant, you should start to notice things getting back to normal.
To help keep you smelling fresh, here are six of the best cruelty-free deodorants on the market.
1. Best Clinical Strength Deodorant
For anyone who describes themselves as sweaty, choosing a completely "natural" deodorant is probably out of the question. The Certain Dri Extra Strength Clinical Antiperspirant is certified cruelty-free by PETA, but it still works effectively to keep your underarms dry, thanks to its antiperspirant and deodorant formula. Aluminum sesquichlorohydrate is the active ingredient in this antiperspirant, and it provides up to 72 hours of protection against sweat.
"You wear it to bed at night and no deodorant during the day," explained one reviewer. "I wasn't too sure about it, but it works well. Big plus for no animal testing." Another customer commented, "I've tried every type of deodorant and antiperspirant — even clinical ones. Until this, nothing had worked."
2. Best Natural Stick Deodorant
For a cruelty-free deodorant that's made with completely natural ingredients, Freedom Natural Deodorant is the rare option that actually works. The formula consists of just a handful of ingredients: organic coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax, baking soda, kaolin clay, and tapioca starch. To help you smell fresh for up to 24 hours, Freedom created several luxe scents (as well as an unscented option for especially sensitive skin types) using essential oils: Bergamot Mint, Frankincense Peach, and Lavender Citrus (pictured).
One Amazon reviewer commented, "This far exceeded my expectations, and now I'm hooked. It smells fabulous and gives all-day protection, even in the heat and humidity of Florida."
Another user wrote, "I am on my third Freedom deodorant, and I am in love. My husband even jumped on board this time, and this deodorant even stands up to his long work days. No white marks, no clumping, all-natural, and safe, wonderful-smelling deodorant."
3. Best Natural Deodorant Cream
A cream deodorant may seem like a strange choice, but the whipped texture makes it easy to apply with your fingers and it absorbs into your skin quickly. Soapwalla Deodorant Cream gets high marks on Amazon for its aluminum-free, vegan, and cruelty-free formula, which uses vegetable powders, clays, and essential oils to absorb moisture and fend off bacteria. The gentle deodorant is popular among sensitive skin types, who report no irritation using this all-natural cream.
"I sweat a lot. I've tried many natural deodorants and none of them worked [...] But this stuff WORKS. I mean, it really works. I apply it in the morning and it stops BO all day. It also doesn't stain or leave deodorant marks on my clothes. I was worried about the fragrance, but it's surprisingly subtle and pleasant," reported one fan.
4. Best Deodorant Spray
As the demand for more cruelty-free options increases, bigger brands are making it a priority to meet customers' needs. Dove is one of those major beauty brands that's PETA-approved for not testing on animals, which means if you've already been using one of their stick formulas, you don't even need to make a switch. But you may still want to try the Dry Spray Antiperspirant if you haven't already. The spray-on delivery makes it an easy and mess-free way to apply antiperspirant, whether you're getting ready at home or running from the gym to dinner with friends. Even though it's cruelty-free, the antiperspirant still uses FDA-approved aluminum chlorohydrate as its active ingredient to keep you sweat-free.
Like all of Dove's products, this spray antiperspirant contains moisturizing ingredients to help keep your underarms smooth, and it's available in a number of fresh scents (as well as an unscented option), like this cucumber and green tea combo.
5. Best Deodorant Wipes
If you need a quick pick-me-up, Pacifica Beauty Underarm Deodorant Wipes are easy to throw in your gym bag or store in your carry-on for after a long flight. Even though the biodegradable wipes are infused with a natural deodorant formula, because you wipe them on your underarms, they allow you to remove sweat while also neutralizing odors. Pacifica Beauty has created several clean scents, including coconut milk and essential oils, coconut milk and pineapple, rose, and sugared flowers.
"Bought them for a camping trip and they were perfect. I felt clean and smelled amazing! I was worried it would be too sweet, but I'd describe the scent as more bright and refreshing," one reviewer wrote.
Another fan of the wipes commented, "Transitioning to natural deodorant a few years ago left me with the need to keep these in my purse — especially during the first few months of changing over. They were LIFE savers! I always keep an extra pack in my purse."
6. Best Men’s Deodorant
If you swear by men's deodorant, the Jack Black Pit Boss Antiperspirant & Deodorant is a cruelty-free formula that's as strong as they come. The antiperspirant and deodorant stick uses FDA-approved aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly to prevent sweat and keep your underarms dry. Vitamin E and aloe leaf juice are also included in the formula to leave your underarms smooth and hydrated. The roll-up stick is also free from parabens, sulfates, and artificial dyes, making it a safe choice for more sensitive skin types.
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