Written By
Published Nov. 23, 2021

Thanks to science, we’re more aware of the dangers of putting metals, chemicals, and even natural but harmful substances in or on our bodies. Part of our growing breadth of knowledge includes the fact that the body absorbs substances rubbed into the skin. There’s an ongoing concern (though no direct evidence) that the aluminum used in most antiperspirants could contribute to aluminum buildup in the body, which can have dangerous side effects. Aluminum-free deodorants are one way to cut down on exposure to potentially harmful substances. These deodorants manage body odor with gentle, natural, and/or organic ingredients. Here’s a guide to the best aluminum free deodorants to suit your preferences.

Are antiperspirant deodorants bad for your health?

The best aluminum free deodorants effectively control odors. However, it’s important to remember that there’s a difference between antiperspirants and deodorants, though people often use the terms interchangeably. The reason antiperspirants are made with aluminum is because that it blocks sweat glands from producing sweat. Deodorants, meanwhile, reduce odor and don’t generally contain aluminum unless they’re an antiperspirant deodorant. 

The second thing to consider is how aluminum works when it is present in an antiperspirant. The aluminum salt in antiperspirants melts into the pores, clogging them to reduce overall perspiration. Scientists know that substances can enter the body through the skin, a process called transdermal absorption. And high aluminum levels have been linked to memory issues, cancer, dementia, and renal failure. 

However, the aluminum in cosmetic products and antiperspirant deodorants has not been linked to high aluminum levels. As recently as 2021, a study found that breastfeeding mothers did not have higher aluminum levels in their breast milk, for example. Scientists haven’t conclusively determined that aluminum in antiperspirant contributes to aluminum buildup in the human body, nor have they definitely found that it does not. We just don’t know. 

That being said, sometimes it’s better to be cautious. If you’re limiting the number of potentially harmful substances you put on or in your body, aluminum free deodorant will do just that. 

Best aluminum-free deodorant for women and men 

Aluminum free deodorants don’t typically have different formulas for men and women, though some are marketed to a specific gender. Instead, it’s about finding a formula that works for you and comes with a smell that you like. Thankfully, these products come in a wide array of scents like tea tree, lavender, rose, mint, and sage. Many formulas contain essential oils that don’t add artificial ingredients to the list. 

Many aluminum free deodorants are free of other potentially questionable substances, such as paraben and phthalates. Like aluminum, there’s no conclusive evidence that parabens and phthalates are harmful in the doses used in cosmetics. The FDA has determined that both types of chemicals are safe for regular use. However, cosmetic doses are closely monitored and regularly tested to make sure growing levels in the daily products we use don’t pose a problem.

Best aluminum-free deodorant for men: Native Deodorant

Effective and Chemical-Free

Native deodorant trades chemicals for natural ingredients, with scent choices that work for men. Native

Check Price

Native Deodorant leaves out aluminum and a lot more, like parabens and animal testing. The list of ingredients also includes nourishment for the skin in the form of coconut oil and shea butter. This formula comes in several scents, including lavender rose, coconut vanilla, cucumber mint, and unscented. 

Do you get stains on your clothing from deodorant? 

Deodorants are notorious for leaving white marks on the inside of your clothes and sometimes the outside of your clothes. Then there are the lovely yellow stains we all love. The good news if you’re jumping on the aluminum-free train is that aluminum reacts with perspiration and is the source of many of the yellow stains. That means aluminum-free products are less likely to stain your clothes. 

Whites stains are another matter and usually stem from odor-reducing ingredients. An aluminum free deodorant might prove helpful here because it’s more likely to have natural ingredients, which are typically easier to wash out of your clothes.

Best aluminum-free deodorant for women: Toms’ of Maine Aluminum-Free Natural Deodorant

Naturally Calming

Toms’ of Maine tames perspiration and odor with natural ingredients and feminine scents. Tom’s of Maine

Check Price

Toms’ of Maine Aluminum-Free Natural Deodorant has a fairly short ingredient list. However, the list of ingredients it doesn’t have includes aluminum, silicone, microbeads, mineral oil, parabens, and many other substances that you may be trying to eliminate from your life. It also skips artificial colors, fragrances, and preservatives but still puts a stop to odor.

Do you have sensitive skin?

Sensitive skin easily reacts to chemicals, fragrances, and dyes. A reaction may cause itching, redness, or an unsightly rash. For example, a rash down the back of your arm or in the armpit is a pretty good indication that your skin is reacting to your deodorant. And perspiration can further irritate the skin. 

Aluminum free deodorants come in formulas made especially for the most sensitive skin. They are already free of aluminum, but these formulas are often free of other common irritants, such as dyes and artificial fragrances. Instead, they feature natural options or a reduced number of ingredients to keep things simple. 

Best aluminum-free deodorant for sensitive skin: Each & Every Natural Aluminum-Free Deodorant for Sensitive Skin

Planted-Based Packaging

Each and Every is gentle on skin and the earth. Each & Every

Check Price

Each & Every Natural Aluminum-Free Deodorant for Sensitive Skin Is formulated with natural ingredients that are gentle on skin. They list the scientific name for their ingredients next to the common name, so you know what you’re using. The list includes everything from common favorites like coconut oil and dead sea salt to earth wax and fermented castor oil. This particular company is also gentle on the planet with plant-based packaging and recyclable materials.

Is activated charcoal an effective alternative to aluminum? 

The lists on the back of some antiperspirant deodorants can sound like a foreign language. A formula composed of natural ingredients skips chemicals and uses familiar ingredients. Keep in mind that natural ingredients may include naturally-derived ingredients too. That doesn’t mean these ingredients are harmful. It means they’ve gone through some processing before getting added to the deodorant. In many cases, they’re easier on your body (and clothes) than the synthetic substitute used in regular deodorants.

Best all-natural deodorant: Schmidt’s Aluminum-Free Natural Deodorant

Natural, Organic Protection

Schmidt’s uses activated charcoal and other natural ingredients to stop sweat and odors. Schmidt’s

Check Price

Schmidt’s Aluminum-Free Natural Deodorant is formulated with an ingredient that’s showing up in many cosmetic and personal hygiene products—charcoal. Scientific evidence lags behind many of the claims around activated charcoal, but charcoal can neutralize odors. This formula contains a blend of charcoal and magnesium to keep odor under control. It’s natural enough that it’s received the EcoCert Certification, a European organization that certifies organic products. 

How expensive is the best aluminum free deodorant?

Many of the ingredients we use in everyday products are there because they’re effective and inexpensive to produce. Aluminum substitutes cost more. These deodorants can run up to $3 or more per ounce. However, less expensive options are out there. They typically have common, easily accessible ingredients, though the list of ingredients may be small. Some may have a few essential oils to add fragrance. 

Best budget: Humble All-Natural Deodorant

Simple Odor Protection

Humble keeps deodorant simple with only four ingredients. HUMBLE

Check Price

Humble All-Natural Deodorant features four fairly common ingredients—fractionated coconut oil, corn starch, baking soda, and beeswax. That’s it. It’s not fancy. However, for many people, it’s effective. Humble comes in a few different scents, with the scented varieties having essential oils for added fragrance. 

FAQs

Q: Why should you use aluminum free deodorant?

If you’re concerned about aluminum buildup in your body, switch to aluminum-free deodorant. There’s no conclusive evidence that the aluminum salts in antiperspirant buildup to levels that are harmful to the human body. But if you’re being cautious, skip aluminum altogether.

Q: Is it worth switching to a natural deodorant?

It’s worth switching to a natural deodorant if you want to reduce your exposure to artificial/synthetic substances. Many people are looking for ways to reduce the number of chemicals and potentially harmful substances in their homes and on their bodies. Natural deodorants stick to simple ingredients and those derived from natural materials.

Q: What is the most effective deodorant?

The most effective aluminum-free deodorants are the ones on our list. Native Deodorant and Toms’ of Maine Aluminum-Free Natural Deodorant do particularly well. They’re also both highly trusted brands. 

Final thoughts on shopping for the best aluminum free deodorant

Applying antiperspirant or deodorant is likely a daily practice. It’s important to balance personal hygiene with safety. The best aluminum-free deodorants reduce exposure to chemicals and potentially harmful substances while managing odors. Reduce exposure, simplify your life, and get a deodorant that leaves you smelling fresh and clean.

MORE TO READ