I Tested 5 Aluminum-Free Deodorants and These 3 Worked Best

Don’t sweat it — these aluminum-free deodorants have you covered.

6 min read

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I’ve been using aluminum-free deodorant for about a decade now and until recently, I only had one or two options. Today, aluminum-free deodorants have become increasingly popular and occupy more and more shelf space at the drugstore. With dozens of options available, trying to choose the best aluminum-free deodorant can make you break a sweat.

What is Aluminum-Free Deodorant and Why Should I Use It?

Let me start by explaining that antiperspirant deodorants contain aluminum salts, which work by plugging your pores to stop you from sweating. Aluminum-free deodorants don’t contain aluminum, and therefore don’t block perspiration. Instead, they allow your body to sweat freely using its natural process. So, yes, you still may sweat after swiping on aluminum-free deodorant, but you shouldn’t be stinky after doing so. The main function of aluminum-free deodorant is to neutralize odor, not to prevent sweating.

Aluminum salts in standard deodorant are the main cause of those yellow pit stains on your white tees. That’s right: Those stains aren’t from excessive sweating! They’re the result of a chemical reaction that occurs when aluminum combines with underarm sweat. The best way to avoid this pitfall (pun intended) is to switch to an aluminum-free deodorant. 

Aluminum can also cause irritation, so if you have sensitive skin, aluminum-free deo may be the way to go. Plus, many aluminum-free deodorants offer formulas specifically for sensitive skin, most of which are free of other common irritants, such as artificial fragrances and dyes.

It’s worth noting that the myth that aluminum can cause breast cancer is just that — a myth. According to both the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute, there is no definitive link between the use of aluminum-based antiperspirants or deodorants and the development of breast cancer.

Which Aluminum-Free Deodorant Is the Best?

To find out which aluminum-free deodorant is the best, I ordered five different deodorant sticks from DoorDash and tried them out. I tested each deodorant for a minimum of one week, which included everything from Zoom meetings to high-intensity outdoor workouts on hot and humid summer days. 

During the trial period, the two main factors I considered were how long the deodorant lasted and how it smelled. I performed multiple sniff tests throughout the day to check if the deo in question was still keeping things fresh. I also chose the unscented or most neutral scent option each brand offered to make sure the fragrance wasn’t just masking odor and the deodorant was actually doing its job deodorizing me. After months of experimenting, here are the three deodorants I’d recommend:


Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant


Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant claims to offer all-day odor protection using certified natural ingredients like magnesium hydroxide and baking soda to counteract odor, arrowroot powder to absorb moisture, and coconut oil and shea butter to make skin feel smooth and soft. Schmidt’s also uses essential oils instead of artificial fragrances to create more than a dozen different scent options. 

How it worked: Schmidt’s wasn’t a cure-all, but it did have a lot to offer. The formula feels great, glides on easily, and doesn’t leave any residue. Schmidt’s Charcoal & Magnesium stick was effective at neutralizing odor, but not for as long as promised. It provided solid protection on low-key days, but it started to lose its oomph midday and wore off quickly during intense workouts. 


Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant


Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant promises to keep you smelling great for 24 hours without aluminum, parabens, or artificial fragrances. Tom’s long-lasting, aluminum-free deodorant sticks call on the powers of odor-fighting hops (yep, just like those found in beer) for deodorizing and are also formulated with organic aloe for a soothing feel.

How it worked: The Tom’s unscented formula is smooth, clear, and glides on very easily and without leaving any sort of residue. Upon application it does feel a little wet, but is dry to the touch within seconds. Tom’s held up to daily life and moderate exercise, like a brisk summer walk, but wore off after intense activity. Overall, it kept me fresh all day long, unless I was really working up a sweat.


Native Natural Deodorant


Native Natural Deodorant’s deodorizing qualities come from three ingredients — baking soda and magnesium hydroxide work to neutralize odor-causing bacteria, while tapioca starch helps to keep underarms dry. Native uses naturally derived ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter, and never uses aluminum, phthalates, or talc. In addition to an unscented option, Native offers more than a dozen scents, which are made from a proprietary blend of oils.  

How it worked: This deodorant truly keeps odor at bay. It’s lightweight and residue-free upon application; the end-of-day sniff tests revealed excellent results — I still smelled as good as I did first thing in the morning. On top of lasting through my usual day-to-day, it also survived tough workouts. Out of all the deodorants I tried, the Native Charcoal stick came out on top as one of the best aluminum-free deodorants on the market.

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Walgreens