Remember that the primary goal of the Zero Waste movement is to avoid sending waste to incinerators or landfills, and consequently, polluting our oceans.
To do so, we mainly rely on ‘R’ choices, such as reduce, repair, and recycle. And we opt for products that are biodegradable, compostable, or can easily be reused for other purposes.
Sustainable skin care and beauty products are just as relevant to strive for a low waste lifestyle. The world of natural and eco-friendly deodorant brands is growing, and we will give you our thoughts on each of these.
Choosing a Zero Waste and high-quality deodorant is, without a doubt, an essential Zero Waste Swap.
However, if you are transitioning from a conventional to an all-natural, Zero Waste deodorant, we highly recommend a detox phase that will be detailed below.
5 Zero-Waste Natural Deodorant Options
By experience (and a bit of luck), we concluded that a Zero Waste deodorant is beneficial for our underarms, but it is also effortless to make at home!
With a bit of shea butter, arrowroot powder, baking soda, and coconut oil, you can create a DIY deodorant(more on this below). However, we understand that you would instead treat yourself with a trustworthy brand offering a better, non-toxic alternative.
Let’s take a look.
Well Earth Goods
Their Zero Waste Pit Stop deodorant comes in 5 different scents. And, they offer two options that are free of baking soda. We like this sustainable deodorant as it is organic and is free of the typical oil stains.
Just like everything sold at this Oregon based family-owned company, these compostable deodorant tubes are shipped with no waste and no plastic materials.
For vegans, bear in mind that they use Certified Organic Beeswax for this Zero Waste product.
The presence of non-GMO Vitamin E Oil makes it a great product. On top of being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E oil helps to extend the shelf life.
All of Schmidt’s deodorants are vegan and are designed to absorb quickly.
They offer palm oil-free, certified vegan products, enriched with sunflower-derived Vitamin-E.
We are big fans of their recycling program (only if you live in the US): you can send up to 5 of their reusable glass jars, and they will send you a free one back.
With their non-greasy non sticky feel, you should definitely give them a try. As well as having excellent customer support should you have any questions.
Meow Meow Tweet
Meow Meow Tweet is extremely popular due to their ethics, quality of their ingredients, and hence, how efficient (with no baking soda!) their Zero Waste deodorants are.
As a matter of fact, they swapped the baking soda for other ingredients equally effective and less irritating: magnesium and arrowroot powder, combined with the smells of refreshing essential oils.
Many of their ingredients are USDA certified organic and fair trade.
MMT’s palm oil free deodorants are available in small glass jars or cardboard.
Because cardboard sticks are biodegradable, we prefer this option over any reusable glass. Lastly, their mini-sticks are perfect for traveling!
We love their brand and style in general! Particularly, their biodegradable deodorant sticks.
Even though they’re not labeled as vegan, they are cruelty-free guaranteed. As is often the case for natural deodorants, they use organic beeswax as a hardening agent for the consistency of the stick.
EcoRoots is as Zero Waste as possible for all their products.
The other reason why we are highly appreciative of their work is their ethics; they encourage a circular economy.
Thus, with every Zero Waste purchase customers make, they will donate a part of our sales to Ocean Conservancy to preserve and protect our blue planet.
Have a look at our cost-effective and easy to prepare DIY Zero Waste deodorant.
It took us a few trials, so no worries if you need to adjust the recipe to your liking. Everyone is different and might need a slightly modified version.
Sensitive skins: this DIY deodorant might not be suitable for you as it contains baking soda.
Baking soda has many beneficial properties and is a non-toxic ingredient. Additionally, it will act as an odor neutralizer. However, bear in mind that it can cause irritation.
In case of doubts, please seek medical advice.
Bear in mind that essential oils are optional in the recipe. Moreover, feel free to replace shea butter with cocoa butter and coconut oil with jojoba oil.
- Baking soda: 2 tablespoons
- Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter: 2 tablespoons
- Virgin Coconut Oil: 2 tablespoons
- Arrowroot Powder: 1/4 cup
- Essential oil of your liking (such as tea tree, rose or lemongrass): 5 drops of tea tree in our case
- Double boiler
- Glass container (for the double boiler)
- Clean (small) mason jar with lid with a large opening
- Mix all ingredients except the essential oils, and let melt the texture in a double boiler.
- Gently stir until the texture becomes liquid.
- Take off the boiler and let cool down a bit before adding one of the essential oils of your liking.
- Pour in the mason jar and put in the fridge for an hour before use.
- How to use it? Take a drop of the texture and gently rub it between your thumb and index: your skin’s warmth will allow the texture to be easily applied on your armpits.
- Enjoy your DIY deodorant!
Going Into Detox First: How To Make The Transition
By experience, you must go through a transition phase if you want to increase your chances of success with a natural deodorant.
After years of using pore-clogging antiperspirants containing aluminum, making the switch to a natural deodorant could be a hard adjustment for your body.
Typically, once you stop using it, it is likely that you will start sweating more (and, often, smell worse for a while).
Why? Your sweat glands will overcompensate. The main reason why you need to detox is that you need to let your body clean the aluminum out. Then, you can give it a try with a natural deodorant.
Here are a few tips:
- In case you have been using conventional products for many years, we recommend the Detox Bar from Well Earth Goods. This bar soap will gently exfoliate and help you transition quickly and naturally.
- Detox can take up to 30 days, so try to find the right moment (ideally in the winter, and when you have less social interactions). We recommend three weeks as a minimum. But it is worth it afterward! So don’t give up right away.
- Wear fabrics with natural fibers, to decrease the risk of foul smells. Natural fibers are essential in your wardrobe, and you can read about it here.
Natural Deodorant VS Antiperspirant
There are several concerns regarding the below ingredients found in conventional antiperspirants.
Before we have a look at each, you should bear in mind the main difference between an antiperspirant and a deodorant.
Antiperspirant impedes sweating (perspiration), while a natural deodorant will help prevent odors but, as such, will not block the sweating process.
Moreover, sweating is healthy! If you’re unsure, have a look at the section on the benefits below.
Opt for natural deodorants listing their ingredients and avoid aluminum, parabens, phthalates, triclosan, and fragrances.
Even though there isn’t a clear consensus on the damage aluminum can have on your body, recent research has shown can it can be linked to both Alzheimer’s and cancer.
After extensive reading on the topic, we are convinced that the issue, as such, is not about its presence in conventional antiperspirants.
Even though for people with sensitive skin, this might trigger irritation, there is no conclusive evidence to link this ingredient in deodorant to breast cancer, for example.
The main reason why we want to avoid aluminum is that it plugs up sweat glands.
Because it does not let our skin sweat naturally, we switched to natural deodorants that are free of this controversial ingredient. If they contain any, they should then be called antiperspirant!
Whether you want to make the switch for health concerns or as a zero waste-conscious action, we encourage you to have a look at the Zero-Waste, eco-friendly options below.
As explained in this very interesting Time article, parabens can interfere with the way your body produces and regulates estrogen (and other hormones).
Even though there is little evidence of parabens provoking cancer, scientists agree that low and regular doses of environmental chemicals in deodorants —including parabens, could cause cancers.
Animal studies have shown that this component can alter hormone activity, as it impairs thyroid function.
Conventional cosmetics brands use it in their products as a bacteria killer on the skin surface.
Moreover, recent research has linked triclosan exposure to be the trigger of allergic diseases.
Lastly, as one of the purposes of natural deodorants is to let the skin sweat and regulate its bacteria, it can be agreed that its use in underarm products has limited value.
Phthalates are commonly used in cosmetics to make the product stick to your skin. However, they can affect the way your body produces and uses testosterone.
This could have harmful impacts for both men and women: for men, with regards to reproductive ability, for women, with regards to fetal development in pregnancy.
The main issue with fragrances is that it is rarely clear what the exact product is behind this generic word.
It could be a substance that you are allergic to, or worse, a combination of the ingredients listed above.
Whether for deodorant, shampoo, or other personal care products, scrutinize the list of ingredients before purchase.
Benefits of Natural Deodorant
At Puratium, what we mean by natural products, and in this case, deodorant, boils down to two fundamental requirements:
- Sustainable and harmless packaging, i.e., plastic-free deodorant: we recommend biodegradable cardboard tubes or only your packaging (you can easily do so in your local organic or bulk shop).
- High-quality ingredients, ideally with a minimum of 50% of organic origins and with a concentration of active ingredients, rather than 80/90% of water (as it’s the case in most conventional personal care products).
In the case of deodorant, we highly recommend, also, to opt for a Zero Waste type, to choose a natural deodorant that will let skin (reasonably) sweat. As explained above, conventional antiperspirants are clogging up your pores, which impede the need for your armpits to sweat (as they should!)
Even though most of us are not too comfortable with (regular) sweating, there are many health benefits:
- It helps to regulate your body temperature.
- Often, sweating means you’re doing some sort of physical exertion.
- It contributes to the detoxing of heavy metals.
- It will help in the elimination of chemicals.
- Same for bacterial cleansing!
If, after the detox (see below explanations), you have doubts about whether you might be sweating too much or not enough, please seek medical advice.
Natural deodorant lets your armpits sweat. And sweat has many health benefits in addition to temperature regulation. No worries if you choose a Zero Waste deodorant: it helps neutralize odors!
A Zero Waste deodorant that is natural and made of finest, non-toxic ingredients is doable.
As long as you give your body the adequate time to adjust to the change then you should have no problem.
Often times, when it comes to Zero Waste and skin care(make sure you take a look at our guide on skin care), people are reluctant to make the switch because they do not comprehend the time it takes for the body to adjust from years of using cosmetics that impact the skin and body.
We hope you found our review and ratings useful. Do not hesitate to share more of your preferences and recipes when it comes to your underarms. And, of course let us know if you have any questions.
A bit funny, a bit whacky. Lots of curiosity, lots of creativity. All for organic, minimalism and local. More of zero waste, more for our future 🌿