Deodorant has been a mainstay for most of us since our teenage years. We all know that sweating is a completely natural process, but deodorant helps us to feel fresh and smell clean, which is an important part of self-care for many people.
However, while the products we’ve come to rely on are good for stopping the stink, they’re not so great for our bodies, or even the planet. Traditional antiperspirant deodorants work by blocking pores to prevent sweating with chemicals like aluminium and parabens. These are often linked to health concerns such as breast cancer, and although there’s no conclusive evidence that this is the case, they can lead to dryness and rashes, as well as staining on clothing. And in aerosol form, they’re toxic to the environment.
Then you’ve got the packaging side of things. The deodorant industry produces a whopping 6.8 million kilograms of plastic waste every year, much of which ends up in landfill or marine environments.
But in the past few years, the deodorant industry has seen a significant shift. A raft of eco-conscious brands have launched altogether more sustainable deodorant options, while existing personal care companies have made changes to their formulations or packaging to try to mitigate the impact of their products.
What is a sustainable deodorant?
Simply speaking, a sustainable deodorant is similar to a traditional deodorant in that it’s designed to combat sweat and smelliness, but without the chemical nasties or environmental damage. It will use natural ingredients to allow the body to sweat as normal while absorbing moisture and masking odour (although it’s worth remembering that sweat itself doesn’t actually smell – you only get that musty funkiness once the sweat been exposed to air and gets old).
They come in spray, stick and even balm varieties (but never aerosols) and are far kinder to the environment in terms of their packaging, with refillable formats and easily-recyclable metal containers taking precedent over problematic plastic.
Overall, they’re designed to have a much more positive impact on the planet, and the really sustainable ones will align with ethy's six pillars of sustainability: stable climate, clean planet, animal welfare and biodiversity, resource usage, thriving communities and healthy people.
Always look for evidence and proof such as certification or accreditation of sustainable practices.
Do sustainable deodorants work?
The short answer to this is: yes! Individual reviewers, consumer champions such as Which? and revered beauty bloggers such as Byrdie all agree that sustainable deodorants are effective at keeping their promise to tackle odour.
However, there is a bit of a caveat. After years and years of smothering our sweat glands with synthetic chemicals, our bodies do need something of an adjustment period. The sudden absence of ingredients like aluminium and parabens means that at the outset you might experience a little more sweating or smelliness – this is your body essentially going through a deodorant detox as it purges the toxins and chemicals it’s been harbouring for such a long time.
You might assume that it’s the natural deodorant at fault, but it’s simply the adjustment, so stick with it!
You can help manage the detox process by:
- Taking warm baths and showers or sauna to encourage sweating
- Wearing loose sleeves and breathable fabrics
- Drinking lots of water
- Keeping natural deodorant wipes close by to tackle any sweatiness on the go
What are the best sustainable deodorant brands?
There are lots of options on the market, which is great news for the planet – this means the industry is slowly shifting in a more sustainable direction.
Below are some of our favourite sustainable deodorant brands creating products that help keep you fresh and clean without causing a stink for the planet.
Sustainability is at the forefront of Raw Nature’s product development. Their clean, toxic-free formulations harness the power of 100% natural ingredients for a safe body care experience, designed to leave you smelling great and feeling confident throughout the day.
Raw Nature is taking action for a cleaner planet, responsible resource usage as well as protecting animals through vegan, cruelty-free and waterless formulations that are packaged entirely plastic-free.
They also work to better their community through various charitable initiatives in New Zealand where the brand was born.
Deodorants priced at £12.95 on the UK stockist Big Green Smile.
SANS- is the natural, environmentally-considerate alternative to conventional deodorants, which are often packed with synthetic ingredients. Designed as a source of escape and considered self-care, their refillable deodorants intend to inspire the senses while ensuring maximum efficacy. Choose from a selection of unisex scents which harness only the most necessary and natural ingredients, from shea butter to arrowroot extract, all of which are 100% vegan.
Their refillable capsules, made using aluminium, enable you to cut down on plastic waste within your personal care routine. Their all-natural formulations also prevent harmful chemicals and toxins from entering our waterways.
Deodorants are priced at £15 for two refills. Starter kits come with zero-plastic deodorants and striking reusable Capsule with your colour of choice.
Wild is completely reinventing the idea of sustainable deodorant with its innovative refillable applicator made from durable aluminium in four eye-catching colours. Its compostable, plastic-free refills are made from vegan and cruelty-free ingredients, and are available in six fresh scents.
Starting from £12, with refills on subscription from £5 per refill.
Pit Putty is switching things up with fresh, natural deodorants in balm and stick formats. Completely plastic-free, handmade in the UK and 100% vegan, Pit Putty’s deodorants are available in five gorgeous scents, as well as a completely fragrance-free option. The company also offers and 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back.
Balms priced at £8.99, sticks at £9.99.
THE NATURAL EARTH DEODORANT CO.
On a mission to create the ultimate natural deodorant, The Natural Deodorant Co has created beautiful deodorant creams that are 100% natural and free from preservatives, alcohol, artificial fragrance and palm oil – and they’re registered with the vegan society. Apply once for 24 hours of protection and freshness.
Deodorant creams priced at £12.50 each, or trial them first with a plastic-free mini, from £4.
Made from natural and organic ingredients, and 100% plastic free, deodorants from Earth Conscious come in balm or stick formats in a range of citrus, floral and minty fragrances. Based on the Isle of Wight, Earth Conscious donates a percentage of every sale to the Marine Conservation Society, the UK charity for the protection of seas, shores and wildlife.
Deodorant sticks and balms priced at £7 each.
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