Health & Wellness

Natural Deodorants: What Works

If you’re thinking of switching to a natural deodorant, rest assured that you’ll find quite a few to choose among


By Katrina Caruso


You’ve probably heard that regular commercial deodorants and antiperspirants are full of chemicals. Moreover, antiperspirants interfere with the body’s cooling system—it’s normal for us to sweat, and we shouldn’t be trying to block the sweat glands.

That said, nobody wants to smell bad. So, here’s our list of natural alternatives to try, based on online reviews and what’s available for purchase in Canada. Natural deodorants don’t do the job quite as well as commercial deodorants, but they do work. Keep in mind that it might take time for your body to adjust to the change, so your results may improve with time, and since everybody is different, it might take some trial and error to find the ideal ingredients for your needs.

Best results

Milk of Magnesia
It might seem odd that an antacid/laxative can serve as a great deodorant, but many people swear by it. You can buy a bottle from any pharmacy and either apply the product from the bottle or put it into a roll-on or spray bottle; if you want, you can add a few drops of your preferred essential oil for a nice scent. Be sure to buy an unflavoured type, and one that is made with magnesium hydroxide. Avoid anything that lists sodium hypochlorite in the ingredients—it’s a bleach.

Medium to good results

Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant
This brand of all-natural vegan deodorant offers a range of scents from floral to woodsy to fragrance-free. It’s a little harder to find in Canadian pharmacies, but many natural health stores carry the line, and it can be bought online. The product comes in the traditional stick format and also in jars.

Tom’s of Maine
Tom’s of Maine initially became very popular for the company’s natural toothpastes; today the line extends to lotions, shampoos, and deodorants. The products can be found in most Canadian pharmacies now and online, but many still contain aluminum salts, so it depends on how natural you want to go. Some people find that this brand needs to be re-applied on some days (especially gym days!) for best results.

Medium to low results

Jason’s Purifying Tea Tree Deodorant Stick
While some people swear by Jason, the deodorant hasn’t received great ratings on Amazon or other websites, and some suggest that it should be avoided if you have sensitive skin, as it may cause a rash. On the other hand, the product is both aluminum-free and paraben-free and fairly affordable, so it can be a good one to try without spending too much.

Crystal Deodorant
Introduced in the 1980s, Crystal is a trademarked deodorant that looked like a palm-sized chunk of quartz. In fact, it consists (you can still buy the original form online) of potassium alum, an aluminum salt, so while it’s more natural than regular commercial brands, it’s not the best choice if you want to avoid aluminum. Today, you can get Crystal in roll-on or spray form, and many other companies produce their own version.

Photo: iStock/Bogdan Kurylo.