While the rationale for the Paleo dietary template as well as our community’s focus on activity, sleep habits, stress management and toxin-free environments is just as steeped in contemporary physiology as it is in evolutionary biology, the caveman is undeniably the unofficial mascot of the Paleo movement. But when our real food and functional movement revolution is combined with the exploration of natural body care, we can find ourselves not just eating and moving like caveman, but smelling like one as well! Eek! If you’ve ever struggled between wanting to avoid the toxic chemicals in traditional antiperspirant and deodorant and just plain wanting to smell good, you know this struggle! I’ve been tracking down natural deodorants for several years now, and I’ve rounded up my favorites in this post so you can avoid smelling like Grok!
Zak Detox Deodorant is one of my relatively new finds, but it’s absolutely been a game-changer for me. I have a long history of multiple skin conditions, topical allergies and overall extremely sensitive skin. So, I’ve struggled with pretty severe irritation when using baking soda-based deodorants, which make up the majority of natural deodorants on the market. I think these are great: they’re aluminum-free, non-toxic, and they are generally very effective. But for sensitive skin, they can be tricky. Zak is different because their line of Super Smooth deodorant is aloe-based and really nourishing for my skin!
Zak is an aluminum-free, paraben-free, all-natural deodorant that really, seriously, not-kidding-around-here works! It lasts all day, goes on smooth, nourishes my skin, and smells good! I like using the Super Smooth Unscented, (their Original variety does use baking soda for those of you who love baking soda-based natural deodorants) but Zak comes in plenty of great scents for both men (try the Elevate scent) and women (try the Energize scent). Their Roll-On varieties are baking soda-free too.
2. Dragonfly Traditions Deodorants
I love that Dragonfly Traditions is committed to using all-natural, traditional ingredients that have been used on our bodies for centuries.
One of the biggest problems with traditional deodorants and antiperspirants is that they rely on an aluminum-based compound that temporarily plugs sweat glands to stop you from perspiring. The effects of this practice haven’t been conclusively studied, however aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and sweating is part of our body’s natural detoxification pathways. Healthy sweat glands (meaning they aren’t interfered with by chemical-laden antiperspirants) may help reduce oxidative stress, regulate immune function, and even reduce insulin resistance. So, for the sake of taking it easy on my body and lowering my toxic load, I’ve chosen to avoid traditional deodorants.
Most natural deodorants don’t include an antiperspirant component. Instead, they rely on compounds like essential oils and baking soda to absorb odor. You might actually find that after some time using a natural deodorant with these ingredients, you sweat and stink less! That’s great if you want to smell like a fresh, professional human (instead of a caveman).
The simple but effective deodorant from Dragonfly Traditions is an excellent option for anyone wanting to switch up their deodorant routine. This formula includes Organic Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Beeswax, Organic Arrowroot Powder, aluminum-free baking soda, and essential oils. Many people find that after a brief adjustment period, any irritation from detox goes away. Of all the baking soda-based natural deodorants I’ve tried, I think Dragonfly Traditions has the highest ratio of nourishing oils to baking soda, meaning that this is a great option even for many people with sensitive skin.
Primal Life Organics is one of my go-to companies for all-natural, nourishing skincare. Founder Trina Felber is totally dedicated to creating safe and non-toxic alternatives for everything from sunblock to shampoo to makeup to toothpaste, and her deodorant is no exception! Although it’s baking soda-based, Trina’s broad range of formulas and scents (for both men and women!) include sensitive varieties with aloe. Other basic ingredients include organic coconut oil, baking soda (aluminum free) or organic arrowroot powder, and organic pure filtered beeswax to nourish your armpits and allow sweat to safely leave the body while eliminating odor and keeping you feeling fresh.
These are seriously effective natural deodorants and a great product for anyone who struggles with smelly pits at the best of times. By the way, if you’re switching from traditional deodorant/antiperspirant and already have to work hard to keep the armpit situation under control, consider re-applying your natural deodorant-of-choice a few times during the day when you first switch. Some of my favorite scents include Lavender (which itself is very antimicrobial and cleansing!) Margarita, and several “sensitive” varieties including Aloe and Peppermint.
As with all natural deodorants, it may take a little time to adjust to a new routine. One great way to see which PLO variety works best for you is to select a smaller size, keeping in mind that sensitive skin varieties might be a great fit.
If one deodorant doesn’t work for you, don’t give up! My friend and skincare expert Liz Wolfe recommends you prioritize cleaning up your skincare routine based on the things that spend the most time on your skin, and deodorant is definitely the top of that list! With so many varieties to choose from, it’s totally worth pursuing a more natural option.