Tested & Reviewed: Baking-Soda Free Natural Deodorants that Actually Work

Tested & Reviewed: Baking-Soda Free Natural Deodorants that Actually Work

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Arlyn Hernandez
Jun 6, 2017

Last summer, due in part to a story I did on non-aluminum deodorants, I began my "natural" deodorant journey. After having tested a handful myself for that piece, I came to realize that I, in fact, liked these non-aluminum varieties as much (if not more) than the antiperspirants I'd been wearing since I hit puberty. One of my favorites in particular was Soapwalla's Deodorant Cream in original scent. It was surprisingly effective, keeping the pit stink to a total minimum even on the muggiest of South Florida summer days.

But then, something started happening. My armpits got really irritated. And I mean really, irritated to the point that it became so painful, I could no longer use the natural deo I had come to love. After a little research (and a few other similar deodorants tested with the same results), I learned that baking soda was the culprit of my discomfort. I was just too sensitive to it, and thus began my new journey: to find a baking soda-free non-aluminum deodorant that kept me as fresh as what I had come to expect.

I dug around the blogosphere to see what people were recommending. What was working for others that could also work for me? I hung around the aisles at Whole Foods listening in and watching to see what people were buying, occasionally throwing in a "Do you like that product?" if the person looked friendly enough.

After weeks of testing 10 recommended baking soda-free deodorants, I can now safely report back that many of them were in fact total stinkers (literally). But, alas—and thankfully—a handful delivered mostly acceptable results (depending on what I was wearing). Without further ado, here is a detailed account of all the deos tested, my thoughts, and which ones came out on top.

The Ones That Were Pretty Good

(Image credit: Schmidt's)

Schmidt's Sensitive Skin Formula Coconut Pineapple Deodorant

  • Price: $10.99
  • Application: The stick applicator and the formula were very familiar; similar to the antiperspirants I'd used in the past. It smells vaguely of sunscreen (which I kind of liked, actually) and dries quickly. Swipe and go!
  • Overall thoughts: This, like all the other deodorants tested, were put through the wringer at the gym. I am not afraid to say that I am a sweat machine, and this mostly held up (with the exception of a day here and there were I was less than satisfied with the post-activity stench level). Overall, this one is a keeper for me.
  • Final Grade: B+
(Image credit: Amazon)

Crystal Body Deodorant Stick – Unscented

  • Price: $7
  • Application: This one took a little practice . The instructions note to wet the crystal (yes, it's like…a solid piece of rock in there), then swipe it across your armpits. The first time I did this, I was a soaking wet mess. I couldn't put on a shirt for at least 15 minutes. But then, I finally figured out the right amount of water to use (just run it under the tap for a second, give it a shake or two, then apply.) Overall, it feels like exactly what it is: applying a wet, smooth rock to your underarms.
  • Overall thoughts: Okay, so before I continue, I have to preface this by saying that my grandmother (who's a total hippie when it comes to all things natural) has been using this for years. I always snickered in my head about it, assuming it didn't work and she just wasn't a stinky person like I am, but ladies and gentleman, I have to tell you…this actually (mostly) works. The caveat, however, is that you should only apply when your armpit is clean (i.e. post shower or after a sink wash….::cough : something I never did, of course). If you use this when your pits are funky, the rock will absorb all that same funk and transfer it to you the next time you use it (this is something explained in detail in the online reviews). So overall, I was incredibly pleased, and will likely continue to use this on days I'm not super active.
  • Final Grade: B
(Image credit: Lucky Vitamin)

Zion Health Adama ClayDry Deodorant, White Pine, Bold

  • Price: $5.79
  • Application: Business as usual here. At first, it feels a little wet, but it