If you’re part of the natural beauty club—and prefer to use products that are organic or otherwise non-processed—finding a deodorant can be a challenge. The reason many turn to natural products is because they’re free from aluminum—which is usually found in antiperspirants—but even the most green beauty-conscious of us don’t want to go around smelling rank either.
We asked beauty pros about this common natural deodorant concern to get their insight on how to choose one that will actually do the job.
1. First, realize that sweat isn’t the problem.
A lot of people don’t know that sweat isn’t the cause of underarm odor, bacteria says, says beauty expert David Pirrotta, founder of David Pirrotta Brand Management. “It’s good for your body to sweat, and traditional deodorants actually inhibit this healthy function by clogging pores with unhealthy ingredients like aluminum chlorohydrate,” he explains. “Natural deodorants allow the body to rid itself of potentially harmful toxins.”
2. Check the ingredients
“The myth about natural deodorants is that they don’t work in terms of keeping odor away, but this isn’t true, when you know what to look for,” Pirrotta says.
When choosing a natural product, look for three things, says Dr. Sarah Villafranco, founder of Osmia Organics. The first is absorptive power, like baking soda, corn starch, or tapioca powder, which can help minimize moisture and adjust the pH in the area. (Some people are sensitive to baking soda, especially in high concentrations, she says, so test first!)
Then, you need antibacterial ingredients, like essential oils of lavender, tea tree, lemongrass, or thyme, which can suppress the bacteria that cause odor. And, finally, you need a conditioning agent, like shea butter, because “your armpit skin needs love too,” Villafranco says.
3. Reapply as needed.
Because natural deodorants aren’t created the same way as traditional deodorants, they shouldn’t necessarily be applied in the same way, Pirrotta says. “While natural deodorants come in a variety of formulations, they may require an additional application through out the day to ensure you stay sweet-smelling,” he explains.”It may feel like a hassle, but the health benefits of eliminating the chemicals in your traditional deodorants are definitely worth the extra effort.”
4. Shop around.
Everyone has different pheromones, activity levels, and unique, well, smells, so making the leap over to natural deodorant isn’t as easy as just buying one product. “You’ll probably have to try a few to find the one that works best for you, but have faith—it’s out there, and it’s a lot healthier than the traditional ones,” Villafranco says.