Traditional vs. Natural Deodorant: An Introduction


When it comes to deodorant, we generally have these options:

Traditional or Natural.

Powder or Patchouli.

Aluminum or Au Natural.

I, personally, am solidly in the natural camp – as is evidenced by my ridiculous stockpile of natural deodorants.

Yep. All mine.

If the zombie apocalypse ever hits, I’ve got natural deo on lock-down.

But — a potential zombie apocalypse notwithstanding, it seems fair to ask, “Why so many?”

The answer is an all too common one for natural deodorant wearers: It used to be really hard to find a good one.

Believe me, I’ve always wanted to love natural deodorant – with every bone in my crunchy little body. But in the past, I’ve had far more disappointing experiences than positive ones. So – what’s up with that?

First of all, natural deodorant begins at somewhat of a disadvantage since it does not actually attempt to prevent sweating.

It’s interesting to note that sweat itself does not have an odor – unpleasant or otherwise. We only experience body odor when our sweat comes into contact with naturally occurring bacteria on our skin.

Natural deodorant utilizes components like baking soda and mineral salt to neutralize odor, as well as natural fragrances (often from essential oils) to mask it.

That’s why you’ll never see a truly natural deodorant which claims to be an antiperspirant as well as a deodorant.

Conversely, traditional deodorant/antiperspirant combinations are able to block sweat glands via the use of aluminum. Therefore, very little perspiration actually makes it to the surface of the skin – and what little sweat does come into contact with the odor-causing bacteria is pretty well smothered by artificial fragrances.

There are conflicting opinions within the scientific community about whether or not, or to what extent, artificial fragrances and aluminum may be harmful to human beings. Until there is a definitive consensus that traditional deodorants pose no threat to my well-being, I’ll stick with my stockpile.

But about that.

It is true that my stockpile is an unfortunate representation of wasted dollars and days spent with questionable smelling armpits.

I have two explanations.

First,  it’s important to remember that each fragrance, natural or otherwise, interacts with your body chemistry in a unique way. What smells great on your BFF may smell terrible on you. A quick spritz of perfume at the beauty counter can usually help you decide whether or not you’ll like the scent long-term. But deodorant is a little more complicated. It’s almost impossible to tell how a scent will translate once it’s been on your armpits for six hours. Thus the stockpile.

Second — natural deodorant isn’t what it used to be, and several pieces in my, errrr, collection, are rather outdated.

Natural health and beauty products are no longer second-rate consolation prizes for mindful mamas. The recent surge in popularity of natural beauty products has had a pleasant effect on deodorant – namely in that it now smells, well, pleasant. Not only does the deodorant smell great, but it also performs well, too.

Access to that performance is now more accessible than ever. Even Walmart carries an impressive lineup of natural deodorants, including brands like Tom’s, Schmidt’s, and Crystal. These also all  happen to be among my favorites. In addition, Target sells popular natural brands such as Native, and Every Man Jack. And if you don’t mind ordering online, the options are practically endless. Primal Pit Paste, Kiss My Face, and Jason all have excellently rated options at reasonable price points.

There’s even a new natural deodorant on the market called Lume, which claims to be, “deodorant for underarms and private parts.” Hmm…

So the question is, what’s stopping you from trying natural deodorant? Or do you already have a tried-and-true favorite? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

And by we, I mostly mean me. I’m always on the lookout for another good deodorant 😉


  1. Strangely enough, what worked for me in one city did not work for me in another! Las Vegas heat was an unexpectedly tough proving ground! I ended up with a men’s natural deodorant ? that works even when it’s 120 outside – Every Man Jack.

  2. Ohhh I always end up back with my natural deodorant. But the one I have found is from a lady at our local farmers market. Which, then of course means that I could make my own. But “ain’t nobody got time for that!” 🙂

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