The Natural Deos You Can Count On, According To A Self-Proclaimed Sweaty Girl

I’ve found the formulas that actually work.

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Making our beauty routines “cleaner” has become a real priority in recent years. Whether that’s avoiding certain toxic ingredients or focusing on plastic-free packaging, many of us have made a commitment to going natural. This may include opting for a natural deodorant, of which there are now many that truly do work. As a self-proclaimed sweaty girl, I put the best natural deodorants to the test to discover which are worth their weight in gold.

Before we get into which formulas to opt for, let’s cover what natural deodorants actually are. Put simply, traditional deodorants are antiperspirants, which contain aluminium. They usually work by using this aluminium to stop your body from producing sweat, targeting the source of any bad smells directly. On the other hand, natural formulas are aluminium-free, and work instead by neutralising the smell of sweat. In short, you still sweat, but it won’t (or shouldn’t, anyway) smell bad.

“From a functional point of view, a natural deodorant lets your body do its natural thing (that is sweat), whilst neutralising any odour casting bacteria,” confirms Matt Kennedy, Co-Founder of new natural deodorant brand Fussy. “Sweat is a perfectly natural thing and important for your body to function as it was designed,” he continues, before adding: “The problem historically has been that natural deodorants don’t stop the smell. Fortunately things have moved on.”

As well as boasting cleaner, more natural ingredients lists, these aluminium-free offerings often tend to come in more eco-friendly packaging, too. Brands such as Fussy and Wild sell their deodorants in starter packs, which come with a keep-forever case, and refill packs which drastically reduce the amount of plastic and waste you produce.

And if you’re wondering how much of a difference going plastic-free with your deo can really make, Kennedy has some sobering facts for you: “When you consider we we throw away over 3.2 billion deodorants ever year, that’s whole lot of single-use plastic.”

“Almost every deodorant you’ve ever used is still in existence,” he explains. “Even if you think you are recycling the deodorant you throw away, often they can’t be recycled and many end up in landfill or even worse, the ocean.”

However, one of the main reasons many of us are hesitant to go natural with our deos is the fear that they won’t actually work and we will noticeably smell. Usually however, it just takes a short period of adjustment, and you’ll then likely never look back. “If you are switching from an antiperspirant to a natural deodorant, you are in effect reopening those sweat ducts that you’ve been blocking, so you might find yourself sweating more than usual or even smelling different,” Kennedy begins. “But this is a perfectly natural process, and it usually takes 3-4 weeks to settle down. So stick with it!”

Wondering which natural deos actually work? I did the ground work and here are my results.

I first tried Frank’s new clean deo after shaving my armpits, which was a bit of a mistake — it can get stingy. Apart from that one factor however, this is a great starter deodorant for those wishing to go aluminium-free. It smells lovely (light and refreshing) and dries down quickly, meaning armpits aren’t sticky or wet (at least, not for long). It does take a few goes to get used to, but once your underarm skin is ready, it really does work at preventing bad odours.

What I like most about Rituals’ deo is the texture — unlike many of the others in this roundup, it’s more creamy than liquid. The smell is also pretty divine, subtly rosy but not overwhelming. In terms of its effectiveness at preventing smells or sweating, this works well on a shorter-term basis, but I’m not sure it would fully cut it for hardcore working out or days where you’re likely to be extra sweaty.

The original natural deodorant I tried, and still my favourite of the bunch. Wild’s deodorants are not only natural, but their packaging is super sustainable; you buy one case (in your choice of colour), and change the compostable refills rather than buying more and more plastic. The choice of fragrances is amazing (my fave is the Fresh Cotton & Sea Salt, which is like a much more affordable version of Jo Malone’s Wood, Sage & Sea Salt), and the product itself actually keeps me drier and more odour-free than my old antiperspirant. Such a game changer.

Right now it’s actually easier than ever to pick up a Wild deo and have a sniff before ordering as the brand has just launched in Sainsbury’s. You can find it at 280 Sainsbury’s stores, and search for your nearest using Wild’s search locator tool.

If Wild deodorant is my OG star buy, Fussy is the one I’m most excited about blowing up next. It’s a completely new brand, launching May 2021, and has a similar premise to Wild; one case and changeable cartridges. The deodorant itself is aluminium-free and vegan, while also being probiotic (a new, previously untapped benefit of natural deos until now). While for me, the scent options aren’t as enjoyable as Wild’s, this is a slightly more affordable refillable deodorant, and it works just as well in keeping bad smells at bay. I also love the matte, pebble-inspired packaging, which is super chic.

Dr Hauschka’s deodorant comes in two lovely scents: this uplifting Sage & Mint offering, and their rose option for more sensitive skin. I love the smells and the rollerball applicator, which will make you feel more comfortable if you’re used to traditional antiperspirants. However, despite initially smelling lovely, the product wasn’t my favourite as it didn’t keep my armpits fresh for longer than a couple of hours sadly. This would likely be sufficient for someone who doesn’t need much protection, but for those who sweat a lot, it may not cover you long term.

At first I was super apprehensive about trying a spray deodorant like this one, but I was actually very pleasantly surprised after giving it a go. I enjoyed the powerful herbal smell, and the spray applicator is very handy for top-ups on the go. The plant-based formula is made with 11 essential oils, including witch hazel, which actually closes the pores and tightens the underarm skin to keep sweat at bay. I used this right before a spin class and while it didn’t keep my pits totally dry, it did keep away any bad odours thanks to its strong scent. I’d pick this up for top ups and on-the-go use most.

I’d heard a lot about Necessaire’s deodorant, so had to give it a go. I got my hands on it after asking a friend from the U.S. to bring one over for me when she visited family, but you can order via Necessaire’s website and select international shipping to get one yourself.

The brand is known for its commitment to treating skin on the body just as well as skin on the face, meaning their deodorant is super gentle and nourishing. It also contains lactic acid and mandelic acid; two exfoliants known to aid the complexion. The product comes out as a cream, which dries quickly and keeps armpits impressively dry and scent-free. It comes in three fragrances options: fragrance-free, sandalwood, and eucalyptus. I’d rate this, but not sure it’s worth paying the shipping fee for. Grab one next time you’re stateside, or order a few more Necessaire bits (their body lotion and shower gel are both so good) to make it worthwhile.

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