Last updated on August 15th, 2018 by Garrick Dee
There’s something about a good workout that helps us start our day right.
It helps us get in shape (or stay in shape) and working out early in the morning will literally wake our bodies up.
Sweat is a byproduct of this and lots of it unfortunately.
While I’m sure you don’t mind sweating, it’s the stench that’s a problem.
Why do men stink?
Men because of our generic makeup sweat a lot more than women.
Body sweat actually doesn’t have any odor. The bad smell comes from bacteria on our skin. Underarms have apocrine glands that carry secretions of protein and fat from the body.
These secretions will react with the bacteria on the skin and create a distinct smell called axillary body odor.
Other factors also play into consideration.
Odor will vary depending on your ethnicity, environment and diet.
Could be a gene
According to researchers from the University of Bristol, a “special gene” called ABCC11 determines whether individuals will have bad body odor or not.
A separate study in 2013 revealed that only 2% of British mothers out of the 6,495 surveyed had this gene.
30 to 50% of East Asians (e.g. Koreans) have this gene and will not have body odor issues. But unfortunately for the majority who don’t so body odor will be an issue.
Body odor wasn’t a big deal until…
It wasn’t until the 1950s when people considered body odor taboo until large companies said it should be.
It’s no surprise that this coincided with major advertising campaigns and now it is a 70 dollar industry and the trend is going up.
Whether or not this coincidental you decide.
The fact is odor is a big issue and you don’t just want a band aid solution to the problem and attack the source of it which is bacteria that resides on the skin. Antiperspirants merely block sweat glands so sweat does not come it.
Natural deodorant kills the bacteria that causes the odor so it’s more of a long term solution. And it does not contain any of the chemicals that may pose a threat to your health in the long term.
We’ll feature 11 of the best brands that use a variety of natural ingredients from alum, magnesium to baking soda to kill bacteria.
First things first, deodorant and antiperspirant are different products. A deodorant contains ingredients that fight the bacteria that causes body odor.
Antiperspirants work differently. These products contain aluminum compounds that block sweat ducts from sweating. The idea is that if you don’t sweat, there will be no odor.
Sure sweating stinks but it’s our body’s way of releasing toxins. Blocking sweat isn’t the real solution to body odor. It only masks the problem. And blocking the sweat ducts prevents toxins from going out of the body.
Your first option would be buying brands like Old Spice, Gillette or Dove because these are widely available.
But what most men don’t know is that using these products regularly has some serious health risks.
These products contain harsh chemicals that could potentially affect the body negatively in the long term.
Some negative effects of using chemical based deodorants include [source]:
- Killing of beneficial armpit bacteria
- Increase odor producing bacteria in the armpit
- May cause cancer
This is one of the most common ingredients you’ll find in antiperspirants. These include aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum zirconium and aluminum chloride.
Aluminum salts work by blocking the sweat ducts so you’ll not sweat. Aluminum is very effective at what it does and the only compound capable of doing the job.
The theory is if you don’t sweat, you don’t smell which makes sense but it isn’t without risks.
Some studies have linked exposure to aluminum compounds to Alzheimer’s, cancer and kidney problems but the FDA, Web MD, Mayo Clinic and American Cancer Society say there’s no proven link.
Parabens acts like synthetic estrogen when it goes inside the body and research showed it may lead to cancer.
Even if the US FDA says that it’s safe, various international organizations say otherwise. Several countries in the world that includes the European Union and ASEAN have banned parabens from cosmetic products.
It’s easy to spot if the product has parabens. Look at the ingredients list and look for the suffix “paraben” such as ethylparaben, propylparaben, heptylparaben and so on.
A lot of cosmetic products use Propylene Glycol. Other products also have this chemical in it like anti-freeze.
It’s generally safe to use according to the FDA. EWG rates propylene glycol as a “3”in its health concerns scale which is pretty low.
This compound is used by a lot of cosmetic products to bind together certain ingredients. Without it your deodorant would be like goo.
Unfortunately Steareth comes from ethylene glycol – a known carcinogen.
Triclosan is found in non-natural deodorants and known for its germ killing power.
And consider this – it was first registered as a pesticide in 1969 which should be a red flag if you’re concerned with your health.
95% of synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum that includes benzene derivatives, toluene and aldehydes [source].
These have been linked allergic reactions, cancer, birth defects and nervous system disorders. Not something you want from your deodorant.
The problem with fragrances is that manufacturers don’t specify what they use. They simply slap on the word “fragrance” on the ingredient list because FDA allows them to.
Fragrance is a blanket term that covers over 3,000 different ingredients.
Why do we still use antiperspirants?
Despite the risks, we still use these products every day because we’ve got no choice. Nobody wants to walk around at their work place or a date with sweaty pits.
It’s an embarrassing issue that can turn off other people.
If chemical deodorants aren’t good for you then what’s a better option?
The good news is that there is an alternative product that does not contain aluminum or any of the harmful parabens. Natural deodorants are slowly gaining popularity because of its composition
Natural deodorants work like conventional deodorants. The difference lies in the ingredients list.
Instead of using chemical ingredients like Triclosan, these products use natural ingredients like plant extracts and essential oils to reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin.
Essential oils also act as fragrance to mask any bad odor.
You’ll find baking soda in some products here because it fights odor. If you have allergies to baking soda then opt for something like a Nasanta that does not have this ingredient.
Vitamin E is also in some products as a preservative.
Another option would be an all-natural crystal deodorant. The mineral salts found in these products help reduce bacteria. Mineral salts in these deodorants come from alum – a natural compound with large molecules that the skin will not absorb.
These products fight bacteria
Unlike antiperspirants that block sweat glands, these products fight bacteria that make you smell. So don’t expect natural deodorants to work like antiperspirants. You’ll still sweat but odor will improve over time.
Right now there no all-natural product in the market that will block perspiration.
What is the best natural deodorant for men?
When we talk about all-natural deodorants Crystal Body should be on top of every man’s list.
Only one ingredient
It only contains one ingredient – potassium alum (a.k.a. mineral salts).
This is the same ingredient in alum blocks and styptic pens that work as an astringent and antiseptic.
Potassium alum works differently from aluminum. While aluminum blocks sweat ducts, alum kills the very bacteria that causes body odor.
In short you’re not putting a band aid on your body odor. You’re addressing the source of the issue.
Just sprinkle a few drops of water before using this and it’ll create a protective barrier against bacteria.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of the Crystal Body Deodorant is its value. A single stick even when used every day will last for a year. A two pack will cost around $13.5 in Amazon and this is a big reason why it’s on top of the list.
Bottom line: Crystal body is the “cleanest” natural deodorants right now with only one ingredient – potassium alum. It’s also great value for money with a single stick lasting for a year.
Nasanta is one of the “cleanest” deodorants in terms of the ingredient list.
This magnesium based deodorant does not contain any form of aluminum.
It’s also free from parabens, baking soda, essential oils, alcohol, talc, propylene glycol and tricosan.
They did not test this on animals so if this is a concern there’s no need to worry.
Less is more
Nasanta only contains 7 ingredients – Water, Magnesium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Aloe Barbadensis, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract and a few preservatives: 0.35% w/w Phenoxyethanol and 0.15% w/w Caprylyl Glycol.
12 hour protection
A few swipes of this roll on stick will last for 12 hours. And it comes unscented which is great if you have high sensitivity to fragrances.
Nasanda also offers a money back guarantee even if you don’t return the product. That’s how much they believe in their product.
Bottom line: Nasanta is one of the “cleanest” deodorants out there. And it’s comes all the way from Australia – a country known to have strict regulation on cosmetic and beauty products.
Unlike antiperspirants that contain aluminum and parabens, Primal Pit Paste contains natural ingredients that neutralize body odor all day long.
Only a little goes a long way
A pea sized amount is enough to cover each armpit so the 2 ounce jar will last more than a month.
Their products contain organic shea butter, non-aluminum baking soda, organic arrowroot powder, organic coconut oil, candelilla wax and non-GMO vitamin E.
Non aluminum baking soda works great at neutralizing odor while coconut oil and shea butter help soothe the skin.
You’ll have around eight different scent options:
- Coconut lime
- Orange creamcycle
- Royal & rogue
Primal Pit is available in different styles. The photo above is a paste. But a stick is also available if you prefer not using your fingers to apply.
Bottom line: Primal Pit takes pride in using all natural products that are friendly to the environment and to your health. A lot of men like this product because it works for a long time but on a hot day you may need to reapply a few times.
With over 6,000 reviews in Amazon alone, Green Tidings all natural is one of the most popular deodorants.
Their products don’t have any Parabens, SLS, Aluminum, Propylen-glycol, Fragrance, Petroleum, Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Silicon Oil, Menthol, Salicylic Acid and Pthalate.
Even the packaging is recyclable.
So you know this company is committed to the environment and your health.
Great for the skin as well
This deodorant uses lavender as its main scent. I don’t think it’s feminine as some men think but that’s subjective. Lavender isn’t just there for the scent. But it also has antiseptic properties that can help with acne, inflammation, wrinkles and psoriasis.
Some notable ingredients put in this product are coconut oil and shea butter that make the product softer and easier to apply.
It also contains Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that soothes, softens and moisturizes skin. This also helps absorb moisture, deodorize and remove acne.
Just a note, this also contains baking soda so if you’re allergies to this avoid this product.
Bottom line: Having more than 6,000 reviews is a testament to how popular this product is. All the raw material used for this product is 100% organic and GMO free.
Uncle Jack has taken sustainability to the next level. Instead of using plastic, they use recyclable cardboard.
The product itself consists of natural ingredients that include non aluminum baking soda, organic arrowroot powder, coconut oil, organic bees wax, organic shea butter and essential oils.
“Woodsy” is a word to describe the scent thanks to the musk, sage and sandalwood essential oils inside it.
Despite looking like a stick deodorant, you’ll need to use your fingers to apply a pea sized amount to rub on the pits.
Scent isn’t overpowering and it holds up pretty well even if you use this while working out.
It’s a bit pricey at almost $14 for 1.8 ounces but a little goes a long way.
Bottom line: Cardboard container aside this product is another must try if you want to avoid exposure to aluminum. Remember that this isn’t a stick roll on so you’ll have to use your fingers to apply this. It’ll has a “woodsy” scent that a lot of men like.
Another handmade product in this list, Kaiame Naturals only uses 100% natural ingredients.
It contains activated charcoal that helps absorb sweat and neutralize odor thus protecting your clothes from stains.
Uses magnesium to fight bacteria
Like Nasanta this product also has magnesium that balances the pH and help fight bacteria that causes bad odor. It also contains vodka, a small amount of baking soda, organic lavender essential oil, organic arrowroot powder and colloidal silver.
There is an adjustment period in using natural deodorants when switching from antiperspirants. Give your body a few weeks to adjust to this product.
Despite the adjustment period, a lot of people are happy with the results. And Kaiame Naturals stand by their product with a satisfaction guarantee.
Bottom line: This natural tub style deodorant may be pricey but it works. Not the longest lasting so you’ll need to bring this with you on a hot day for reapplications. But the combination of magnesium and charcoal make this effective at bring down stink levels.
Schmidt’s is another company that prides itself is their all-natural formulations that neutralize odor, absorb sweat and smell great without irritating the skin.
Founded by Jaime Schmidt in 2010, they’ve spread like “wildfire” throughout the Northwest thanks to their commitment and innovation to “change the way people think about deodorant”.
Schmidt only use ingredients derived from plants and minerals. And currently 8 scents are available:
- Lavender Sage
- Cedarwood + Juniper
- Bergamot + Lime
- Charcoat + Magnesium
- Rose + Vanilla
- Ylang-Ylang + Calendula
- Fragrance free
Most of their products come in a stick but jars are also available if you prefer using fingers to apply. There’s also a sensitive skin line for men who have sensitive pits.
Their products contain shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, baking soda, jojoba seed oil and vitamin E.
We’d recommend the cedarwood and ylang-ylang scent if you want something masculine. Or go with the unscented if you’re putting on cologne.
Bottom line: Thousands for satisfied customers mean only one thing – Schmidt’s formulations deserved an award. It’s natural, absorbs moisture and reduces bacteria causing odor.
Tom’s is another option for men looking for long lasting protection. They claim that it’ll last for up to 24 hours. Don’t worry about this staining white fabric because it’s contains only natural ingredients.
They’re pretty transparent when it comes to what they put in their product. A quick look at their product page reveals where they source each raw material (look at the right-most column).
Rarely do you see cosmetic manufacturers this open. And to show you how serious they are about customer satisfaction, there’s a money back guarantee.
To give you a quick rundown of what they put in this contain vegetable derived propylene glycol, water, glycerin, sodium stearate from coconut, sunflower seed oil, sodium stearate and Aloe barbadensis leaf juice.
Even the scent comes from natural plant oil
Bottom line: Tom’s of Maine say that this deodorant will last for 24 hours. Whether or not it’ll last that long will depend on several factors like skin type, how much you sweat, etc. you’re your mileage may vary.
Luke & Lisa started Herban Cowboy in their cabin. Being broke didn’t stop them from reaching their goal of making natural grooming products made from plants.
Consumers have been raving about their deodorants because it’ll last the day without reapplication.
Currently they have 7 scents:
- Maximum Protection
- Super Fruit
Most of the ingredients used come from plant sources and contains no alcohol, aluminum and triclosan. One potential red flag would be the presence of synthetic “fragrance”.
Bottom line: This product would have ranked higher if it did not have any “fragrance” in it. But it’ll do its job of keeping your armpits smelling for hours on end.
This product contains arrowroot powder and baking soda that absorb moisture to minimize sweat.
Lime and Clary sage essential oils provide a “clean and fresh” scent that some say is strong.
It also contains Neem and Tea Trea Oil that fight bacteria that causes body odor.
If you have sensitive skin this product will not dry out the skin because it contains coconut oil, Shea butter and vitamin E.
Bottom line: This all natural deodorant works great during hot summer days without leaving a slimy feeling. The scent though may be subjective. If you like citrus scents then this is a good option. Be careful though as this product can stain your white shirts yellow.
One of the newest brands in the market, Ever Man Jack is slowly gaining popularity in the grooming industry.
Another thing to like is the wide range of scents:
- Fresh scent
- Signature mint
If you don’t like a scented deodorant, you can buy one without any scent.
It does not contain any synthetic fragrances as their scents come from plant extracts and juices. There’s also a travel pack that’ll fit nicely in your luggage.
Bottom line: Every Man Jack offers a wide range of scents that come from plant sources. This is a great option if you are allergic to synthetic fragrances. You could even opt for the unscented variety if you don’t like any of the scents.
Natural deodorants will not block perspiration like antiperspirants. But it’ll help fight bacteria that’s the very source of body odor. You’ll still perspire but since there’s less bacteria it will not smell as bad.
Remember that each of us have different sweat and body chemistry so what works for me may not work for you. As I always like to say “Your Mileage May Vary”.
Who stands out
Out of the 11 brands featured here, we like the Crystal Body Deodorant because it’s hypoallergenic and it’ll kill bacteria. One stick will last for about a year so it’s the best value for money product I can find. Since it only contains alum it is perhaps the “cleanest” natural deodorant available right now.
Nasanta Magnesium is another product that does not use lots of ingredients with only 7 in total. They claim that a few swipes of this deodorant will last for around 12 hours.
Applying Primal Pit can be a bit messy
If you don’t mind using your fingers to apply deodorant then give Primal Pit a go. In terms of value it isn’t as good as Crystal Body since a tub of this will last only a month.
Green Tiding is one of the most popular natural deodorants in Amazon with over 6,000 reviews and counting. While Lavender isn’t the most “manly” of scents we think that it deserves your attention because this stuff works.
For a more manly scent try the Uncle Jack’s original scent that smells “woodsy” thanks to the sandalwood content.
The rest of the options here will depend on your preference of scent and ingredients. Schmidt’s natural deodorant has a total of 8 scents with a special “sensitive” formulation that’ll suite men with sensitive skin.
Mountaineer brand is can also be used by men with sensitive pits because it has coconut oil, shea butter and vitamin E.
Kaiame is another product that contains charcoal but their these are pricey.
Tom’s of Maine claim their deodorant will last for 24 hours but that would depend on how much you sweat. What I like about their products is that the scent comes from natural sources.
Every Man Jack is another product that uses plant sources for their scents.
If this article has helped you I appreciate if you share this with your friends, family or co-workers and spread the word. And if you have any questions, comments or suggestions please leave them below.
Garrick spends his days researching and writing about grooming. When he’s not in front of his computer, you can find him hanging around with his wife and son.