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The 8 best aluminum-free deodorants, according to experts

Keep your armpits smelling fresh and your deodorant ingredients healthy with these top aluminum-free options from Megababe, Dove, Native and more.

The 8 best aluminum-free deodorants, according to experts

A lot of uncertainty surrounds the effects that topical ingredients in skin care products, like deodorant, can have on your body and health. As your body's largest organ, the skin does, in fact, absorb many of the ingredients you apply externally, and in some cases, these ingredients can have a positive or negative health impact. That said, not all ingredients are absorbed equally, and the science on this topic is still relatively new — a lot is unknown. If you've heard some of the rumblings about aluminum and its link to serious diseases, you may be on the hunt to find the best aluminum-free deodorants to replace your go-to products.

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But before you make a mad rush to buy the first (and possibly not the best) aluminum-free deodorant you can find, it's important to moderate your fears with science. Dr. Hadley King, board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, explains, “Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer's disease and to breast cancer, but whether or not the aluminum in antiperspirants contributes to these conditions is not yet definitively known and there are no research data showing this.” In fact, the American Cancer Society states that there are no strong epidemiological studies that link breast cancer risk to antiperspirant use.

That said, there's no harm in falling into the "it's better to be safe than sorry" camp. If you'd rather not have the extra worry every time you swipe on deodorant, there are lots of high-quality, aluminum-free options to choose from. To find the best aluminum-free deodorants, we first spoke with board-certified dermatologists to learn about the alternative ingredients commonly used in these products and how they work to keep you smelling fresh and feeling dry. We then took the experts' feedback and researched over 20 aluminum-free deodorant options to find the top products based on key ingredients, brand reputation, quality, longevity and price. Here are our top picks for aluminum-free deodorants.

Cost: $14 | Active ingredient: Saccharomyces ferment filtrate and willow bark extract | Scents available: Rosy Pits | Longevity: Daily as needed

The best overall aluminum-free deodorant is Megababe Daily Deodorant, which is formulated to help eliminate odor and prevent excess moisture. Using enzymes and botanical extracts like willow bark, this deodorant absorbs wetness and leaves your armpits feeling dry and smelling like roses (hence, the "rosy pits" title). Aside from having an effective, residue-free formula, it’s also free from parabens, phthalates and sulfates, so it's unlikely to irritate sensitive skin. One reviewer made the case clear, "IT WORKS WONDERS! It goes on smooth. It doesn't leave white marks on your shirt and SMELLS AMAZING! My new go to deodorant."

  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Hydrates and soothes skin
  • Goes on clear
  • Not for excessive sweaters
  • Pricey
$5 at Ulta Beauty
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$14 at Amazon$14 at Walmart

Cost: $8 | Active ingredient: Coconut oil, shea butter | Scents available: Shea butter, coconut & pink jasmine, cucumber & green tea, pear & aloe vera, vanilla & lavender | Longevity: up to 48 hours

Aluminum-free deodorants can be expensive, but Dove’s 0% Aluminum Deodorant Stick is only $8 and can be found at almost any drugstore. King recommends this deodorant for individuals with sensitive skin as it is both aluminum- and alcohol-free and contains soothing ingredients like shea butter, glycerin and aloe. It’s a suitable option for those looking for a long-term deodorant as it provides up to 48 hours of protection against unwanted odors and sweat. This deodorant has over 11,000 five-star ratings on Amazon with an average of 4.4 stars, so it’s safe to say that people love it. 

One reviewer said, "I was looking for a 0% aluminum deodorant but not too expensive and I think I found the perfect one for me. The scent of this one is discreet but still smells good and lasts all day."

  • Long-lasting protection
  • Easy to apply
  • Quick drying
  • Cap can be hard to put on
$8 at Amazon

Cost: $10 | Active ingredient: Baking soda, beeswax | Scents available: Bergamot & ginger, black spruce, lavender & holy basil, mountain lavender, Moroccan rose, Texas cedarwood & grapefruit, palo santo & frankincense | Longevity: Up to 48 hours

If you like your armpits to have a pleasant fragrance, then Humble Brands has you covered. The brand's aluminum-free deodorant uses essential oils, botanicals and baking soda to absorb moisture and nix odor for fresh-smelling armpits. 

You can also select from a wide array of fragrance options, many of which you won't find in your typical drugstore buy. For instance, you can freshen up your armpits with scents of bergamot and ginger, black spruce, Texas cedarwood and grapefruit, or palo santo and frankincense. 

One reviewer said, “I love the scent of this deodorant. And there is a little more peace of mind knowing I am not adding more toxic chemicals to my body!”

  • Only four ingredients
  • Absorbs moisture
  • Partially recycled packaging
  • Tendency to clump
$10 at Amazon
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$8 at Vitacost

Cost: $13 | Active ingredient: Sunflower seed wax, magnesium hydroxide | Scents available: Scent-free, pink iris & neroli, sea moss & aloe | Longevity: All-day protection

Your armpits may not be an area you think a lot about (unless, of course, your deodorant wears off), but the skin under your arms is surprisingly sensitive and delicate, which means you may need to give it a little extra TLC. This all-natural, aluminum-free deodorant from HiBar contains ingredients like sunflower seed wax, magnesium hydroxide, lime seed butter and arrowroot powder to work together to limit bacterial growth while moisturizing and deodorizing the skin.

The packaging is also completely plastic free and its shipping materials are compostable — you’ll be doing the environment a favor if you make the switch. One reviewer said, “I’m loving the switch to HiBar. It’s clean, unscented, goes on smooth, and works. Hoping there’s enough demand for it because options are limited out there for fragrance free.”

  • Fragrance-free option
  • No plastic
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Difficult to apply
$13 at Amazon

Cost: $13 | Active ingredient: Coconut oil, shea butter | Scents available: Coconut & vanilla, cotton & lily, unscented, cucumber & mint, sandalwood & shea butter, aloe & green tea | Longevity: All-day protection

Native offers an aluminum-free deodorant specifically for individuals with sensitive skin. Instead of using aluminum or talc, Native’s Sensitive Deodorant uses shea butter and coconut oil to provide long-lasting odor protection and moisture reduction. As an avid Native deodorant user myself, I love the nongreasy application and how smooth and buttery the formula feels. Plus, I’ve never experienced irritation using Native products compared to other all-natural deodorants I’ve tried. Additionally, the brand offers scents free from baking soda — handy if you happen to have a baking soda allergy. 

  • Nongreasy application
  • Sensitive formula
  • Lots of scents available
  • Lid is difficult to take on/off
$13 at Native

Cost: $18 | Active ingredient: Hops, aloe, saccharomyces ferment | Scents available: Hoppin’ Fresh, Forest Fix, unscented | Longevity: All day

Athletes need a deodorant that will keep them smelling fresh whether they are at the gym or on the field. Ursa Major Base Layer Deodorant goes on clear and uses hops and probiotic enzymes to neutralize odor-causing bacteria for better-smelling armpits. To absorb excess moisture, Ursa Major uses silica, tapioca starch and diatomaceous earth to get the job done while simultaneously hydrating and nourishing the skin. 

One reviewer said, “The best deodorant I have ever used. My pits are sensitive, and other natural products either do not work, or they cause extreme irritation. This deodorant goes on extremely smooth, leaves no residue, and keeps me smell-free all day long with absolutely no irritation.”

  • Clean ingredients
  • Unscented option available
  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Pricier than other options on this list
$18 at Ursa Major

Cost: $9 | Active ingredient: Natural plant extract, baking soda | Scents available: Unscented | Longevity: 24 hours

If you don't like deodorants with a strong smell or if you have sensitive skin that can't handle added fragrances, it's important to reach for a deodorant that skips the essential oils and perfumes. Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Deodorant is a readily accessible and affordable choice. Formulated with natural plant extracts and baking soda, this deodorant is a no-frills drugstore option that gets the job done. Reviewers note it has a slight scent from the natural citrus deodorizers, but there’s no added fragrance. One reviewer said, “I really like this product, the scent isn't overpowering, it works well, it goes on easily.”

  • Easy to apply
  • Natural deodorizers
  • Budget friendly
  • May need to reapply often
$9 at Amazon

Cost: $10 | Active ingredient: Magnesium hydroxide | Scents available: Rose, cardamom, amber & cedar | Longevity: Long lasting

Teens are always on the go and between raging hormones, mad dashes between classes, sports participation and long days filled with extracurriculars, they need a deodorant to get them through the day without smelling like they spent too much time in a sweaty locker room. Miles Teen Deodorant is formulated specifically for teens with magnesium hydroxide and arrowroot powder to stop odor in its tracks. Its scents are also accessible for guys and gals, with hints of cedar, cardamom, rosewater and amber. Just be aware this deodorant may be too strong for sensitive skin. Our in-house reviewer noted that while it worked wonders in stopping sweat and odor in its tracks, it did leave her skin irritated after about a week of consistent use. 

  • Goes on smoothly
  • No white residue
  • Recyclable packaging
  • May not be suitable for sensitive skin
$10 at Amazon

Most aluminum-free deodorants contain ingredients that absorb moisture and/or slow down bacterial growth. Ingredients like baking soda and arrowroot are helpful for absorbing underarm wetness. Antimicrobial properties, like tea tree oil or coconut oil, slow down bacterial growth, which is responsible for odor.

Other common ingredients include alcohol, charcoal and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). Although they can absorb moisture, they can cause skin irritation in some people, so pay attention to the ingredient list before you make your purchase.

There are a variety of scented and unscented options for aluminum-free deodorants. Some brands may utilize essential oils to provide a scent (rose, lavender or coconut oils, for example); however, essential oils may cause irritation in those with particularly dry or sensitive skin.

“I commonly see in my practice rashes and irritation from aluminum-based deodorants as they contain fragrance, dyes and parabens, and clog the sweat glands,” says Dr. Helen M. Torok, medical director of the Trillium Creek Dermatology Center and co-founder of HH Science.

Our dermatologists recommend spot testing a deodorant for a few days before applying it to your underarms.

There are different application types for aluminum-free deodorants — solid, invisible solid, roll on, spray, gel and wipes. Pick an applicator that best suits your preferences and needs. For example, if you like to reapply deodorant while on-the-go, you might opt for a spray compared to a roll on. However, if you’re wearing a tank top or shirt with the underarms exposed, you might want to consider an invisible solid so you can’t see the product when your arms are raised.

The strength of an aluminum-free deodorant varies from person to person. Some people might find that aluminum-free deodorants with baking powder provide more long-lasting effects than those formulated with charcoal, and vice versa.

According to Dr. Teresa Song, board certified dermatologist at Marmur Medical, deodorant generally should last 12 to 24 hours and require only a once-a-day application. That said, if you're particularly active or you tend to sweat excessively, you still may need additional applications. With additional applications, make sure your skin isn’t drying out too much — this can cause irritation.

The cost of aluminum-free deodorants varies based on the brand; however, the standard price usually falls between $5 and $15 per tube. Some higher-end aluminum-free deodorants are brands like BeautyCounter and Native while more budget-friendly brands include Dove and Arm & Hammer.

To find the best aluminum-free deodorant, we browsed over 20 different brands and tried numerous options to see how they held up firsthand to what other reviewers had to say about them. We spoke with dermatologists about deodorants and what ingredients are important to look for in aluminum-free versions. We also kept factors like price, longevity and brand reputation in mind.

Aluminum-free deodorants aren’t necessarily safer than regular deodorants. According to Song, aluminum is an ingredient regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that has been used traditionally to treat hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) affecting any part of the body. In this light, aluminum-containing deodorants are monitored and controlled by the FDA. Aluminum-free deodorants, however, don't require the oversight of the FDA and aren't monitored as closely for safety purposes.

“Because skin care brands have been using aluminum-free labeling to indicate that a deodorant does not contain the active ingredient, it may lead the public to think products without this ingredient are a more holistic and better option,” Song says. “However, aluminum-free and natural deodorants are not necessarily safer for you, especially when natural ingredients are not regulated and can vary among different formulations.”

It's first important to differentiate between antiperspirant and deodorant properties. Antiperspirant ingredients are those that help reduce sweating and moisture. Deodorant ingredients are those that prevent, limit or mask body odor caused by bacteria.

Aluminum-free deodorants do not work as effectively as an anti-perspirant compared to deodorants with aluminum. “Aluminum works by seeping into the sweat channels and blocking sweat production, whereas regular deodorants focus on using scent and powder to deodorize the area,” says Song.

That said, Torok notes that natural deodorants can work really well if they contain the right ingredients. “Forms of deodorant made from potassium alum work by gliding across the skin's surface when damp, forming a porous barrier that prevents the odor-causing underarm bacteria from multiplying. [These deodorants] do not congest your sweat glands and allow you to sweat naturally without getting that 'sweaty' odor.”

How often you should apply deodorant comes down to your personal needs and daily activity level. While most people can get away with a once-a-day application, if you exercise regularly, sweat excessively or spend a lot of time outside, you may benefit from an additional application or two.

King adds that you’ll want to make sure your skin isn’t becoming irritated or dried with further application, so even if you feel like you need to apply often, try not to overdo it.

Dermatologists may recommend aluminum-free deodorants based on specific skin-related concerns, but usually suggest deodorants with aluminum for individuals who sweat a lot.

“For patients with excessive sweating or odor-related concerns, aluminum-containing deodorants are recommended as they are more effective,” says Song. “For those who are concerned about aluminum exposure, they may opt for an aluminum-free deodorant.”

King says if a patient asks for an aluminum-free deodorant, she recommends Dove's 0% Aluminum Deodorant since it's free of both aluminum and alcohol.

Dr. Hadley King, MD, board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Dr. Teresa Song, MD, board certified dermatologist at Marmur Medical

Dr. Helen M. Torok, MD, medical director of the Trillium Creek Dermatology Center and co-founder of HH Science