For a long time, I assumed that plastic free deodorant involved spritzing your underarms with a bit of lemon juice. As a stress sweater, I never thought I could give up my Dove stick in favor of all natural products. Thankfully, I was wrong!
Nowadays, there are plenty of eco friendly deodorant options. From creams to bars to sticks, you can ditch the plastic rollers and aerosol cans for good. I’ve even included a DIY recipe to make your own zero waste deodorant!
Below are some of the best brands out there, along with my personal favorites.
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Best Plastic Free Deodorant Sticks and Bars
PAPR-All Natural Deodorant
I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I’m a massive sucker for good marketing. And in the case of PAPR’s deodorants, my love of aesthetics paid off.
Not only are these plastic free deodorant sticks gorgeous, they smell great, too. Being 100% biodegradable is the cherry on top of the sundae.
PAPR uses all natural vegan and cruelty free ingredients, and their FSC certified paper is ethically sourced. They’re also a carbon neutral company with certified climate neutral products. Plus, for every new subscription of their deodorant, they will plant a tree in your name.
Ethique Deodorant Bar
Ethique is one of the best eco friendly companies for sustainable toiletries (I adore their zero waste shampoo bars). Although Ethique’s products seem small at first glance, they’re some of the longest lasting I’ve used.
I also love that ALL of their products must meet several standards: cruelty free and vegan, plant based, free from palm oil, sustainably produced and biodegradable, and never harmful to humans OR the environment.
On top of that, Ethique also donate 20% of their profits to charities that support animal welfare, conservation and the environment.
Pack & Leaf Zero Waste Deodorant Stick
Pack & Leaf is a recent discovery, but so far I’ve been really impressed with how long these little sticks last – and how great they smell! Each pack comes with a little mini stick, which is the perfect addition to any zero waste travel kit.
Pack & Leaf is dedicated to saving the planet. They are a 100% plastic free company and all their products are chemical free, all natural, cruelty free, and palm oil free. They also donate a percentage of their annual earnings to multiple wildlife charities, including WWF, Oceanic Society, and the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation.
Attitude Plastic Free Natural Deodorant
I love this 100% biodegradable plastic free deodorant from Attitude. It’s perfect for a day of hiking, or going to the gym.
This Canadian-based company has a straightforward mission: Clean products, less plastic, and more trees. Which is why with Attitude, one product sold means one tree planted.
Every single one of their products is made with all natural, hypoallergenic and EWG VERIFIED™ ingredients. They’re also certified vegan and cruelty free by both PETA and ECOLOGO.
Tierra and Lava Natural Deodorant
Another one of my favorite brands, Tierra and Lava is a woman-owned Guatemalan company dedicated to living a zero waste lifestyle.
All of their products–and nearly all of their production–is 100% zero waste (the tiny bit of plastic they use during production is converted into ecobricks). All of their materials are organic and sourced locally and transparently in Guatemala.
As if that wasn’t enough reason to support this great company, their products are also outstanding. In addition to their plastic free deodorant, their zero waste sunscreen is a staple in my household.
Save me for later!
Best Zero Waste Deodorant Pastes & Creams
Dom’s Natural Deodorant
Dom’s toxin free, vegan deodorant cream is one of those amazing products no one seems to know about – yet!
This 100% plastic free deodorant comes in a reusable (or recyclable) glass jar and a completely biodegradable bamboo lid. These small 60 gram jars last for AT LEAST 3 months, and smell amazing yet subtle. All the ingredients are organic, all natural and free from aluminum, parabens, synthetic fragrances and phthalates.
Fat and the Moon Sensitive Pit Deodorant Cream
One downside to natural deodorants is that many are made with baking soda. If you have really sensitive skin, baking soda is likely to irritate it and cause rashes.
That’s where Fat and Moon’s sensitive pit cream comes in. Like all of Fat and Moon’s products, the user’s comfort is just as important as the planet’s.
This plastic free deodorant is also baking soda free, and will leave your pits feeling silky smooth–and odorless! It also lasts forever because you don’t need very much for it to work its magic.
Although this eco friendly deodorant is cruelty free and made without any parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or toxins, it does use beeswax, so won’t be suitable for vegans.
Meow Meow Tweet Baking Soda Free Zero Waste Deodorant Cream
This is another great option for those with sensitive skin who can’t use baking soda deodorant cream. Instead, this deodorant uses magnesium and arrowroot starch to absorb excess moisture and keep you smelling fresh.
Meow Meow Tweet is a 100% vegan, all natural company based in the USA (where all their products are also made). They also support DeepDig, a non-profit that helps ensure all Americans have access to clean water.
If you like the idea of Meow Meow Tweet, but prefer a zero waste deodorant stick, they have a baking soda free version.
Crunchy Betty’s Kokomo Cream
I absolutely love how this deodorant smells.
Crunchy Betty started out as a blogger who wanted to clean up her life and make it as natural and toxin free as possible. She’s made face masks, clean food and even started beekeeping!
In the process she also created some pretty great products, like this amazing plastic free deodorant that I hope you love as much as I do.
Kaiame Naturals’ Natural Deodorant
Kaiame Naturals’ Natural Deodorant isn’t an anti-perspirant, it just allows your body to sweat (the way it’s meant to) without smelling while you do so. However, the activated charcoal will help absorb some of the excess sweat, and it prevents your clothes from staining.
This all natural, toxin free plastic free deodorant comes in a reusable or recyclable glass jar with a metal lid that’s easy to recycle. It’s also a natural antibacterial, so it kills the bacteria that causes unpleasant underarm odors so you can smell fresh all day long.
DIY Recipe for Zero Waste Deodorant
None of the above options working for you? Luckily making your own zero waste deodorant is easy! All you need is a small glass jar (with lid) and some all natural items.
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp shea butter
- ½ tbsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 3 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- Up to a dozen drops of the essential oil(s) of your choice (depending how strong you want it to smell)
Start by melt the coconut oil and shea butter in the microwave or on the stove.
In a separate bowl, mix the baking soda and cornstarch/arrowroot, then pour in the melted butters and mix thoroughly, leaving no lumpy pieces.
Add in the essential oils you’ve picked out (I personally like lemongrass & peppermint or eucalyptus & rosemary).
Finally, pour the mixture into your container, and then let it sit in the fridge for around one hour.
Why switch to eco friendly deodorant
Did you know that plastic deodorant containers can take up to 450 years to biodegrade? That’s over 5 times longer than the average human lifespan, which means we’re leaving our waste for multiple future generations to deal with the consequences of.
Additionally, while most plastic deodorant containers are recyclable, this isn’t always that easy in actual practice. Deodorant containers are made with a thick outer layer and thinner inner layer, but separating plastics for reused isn’t an easy process. This results in many just being thrown into landfills.
Then there are the aerosol cans. They might seem more eco friendly because most metal can be recycled indefinitely, but it’s not that simple. See, to recycle aerosol cans they MUST be 100% empty, dry and clean, and this is nearly impossible to guarantee.
But even if you could guarantee it, that doesn’t fix the impact aerosols have on CO2 emissions. In 2013 Unilever changed all their deodorants to compressed cans, which they found cut their carbon footprint by 25%, AND resulted in 35% less delivery trucks on the road.
Unilever claimed that if just one million people switched from regular aerosol to compressed this would save 124 tons of carbon dioxide and 7 tons of aluminium. To put that into perspective, that is the same carbon dioxide emissions of a car travelling 22 times around the earth and enough aluminium to make almost 3,500 bikes.
But what if we cut out the aerosols all together and just used zero waste deodorant? Imagine how many CO2 emissions we’d be saving, and how many future generations we’d be protecting the environment for.
How long does it take to adjust to natural deodorant?
It can take up to 30 days for your body to adjust to natural deodorant.
Why? Well, the short answer is that many mainstream deodorants are also antiperspirants (i.e. they stop your pits from getting too sweaty). The chemicals in antiperspirants, like aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex Gly, literally change your armpit’s microbiome.
When you stop applying these chemicals to your skin, you end up with an abundance of bacteria that stink when your body breaks them down. As your underarm skin “detoxes”, things get funky until your body adjusts to the absence of the chemicals.
Although switching to an eco friendly deodorant takes some getting used to, the benefits are worth the awkward multi-week adjustment period. And the good news is that once your body adjusts, your untreated armpits will smell less than before, and you can apply less product overall.
That being said, a natural deodorant might not be suitable for your skin. It’s important to listen to your own body and do what’s right for you. Remember–there are other zero waste swaps you can do to reduce your impact!