Kids, tweens, and teens may start wearing deodorant for a variety of reasons: they heard about it in health class, their friends are wearing it, they want to feel grown up, they play a lot of sports or, the most pressing, their body is doing hormonal backflips and needs an assist between showers.
So, why deodorant and not antiperspirant? The key difference between the two is that deodorant works to neutralize (read: cover up) the smell, not prevent it. On the flip side, antiperspirants stop sweat using aluminum salts and many contain alcohol (for cool application and quick drying effect). A quick Google search of the pros and cons of both brings up a myriad of controversial headlines around the safety of using aluminum on underarms, which has led to an explosion of clean (read: aluminum-free) options.
What we do know for sure is that many families are aiming to keep their personal health products as natural as possible; here are 13 aluminum-free deodorant options that literally pass the smell test.
This popular brand has a consistently high customer rating on Amazon for its scent options, like coconut and vanilla or cucumber and mint. The ingredients list includes shea butter (goes on smooth) and coconut oil and it is certified aluminum-, cruelty- and paraben-free.
Have a teen in your life who wants to smell like a boozy tree? This manly-scented stick promises to go easy on sensitive skin and not stain clothes. Other cocktail-inspired scent options include Ginger Beer and Juniper Tonic.
Every Man Jack’s Activated Charcoal deodorant has a very dude-y look (if that’s a priority) that still checks all of the natural boxes: phthalate-free, paraben-free, dye-free and cruelty-free. What it does have is an arrowroot base, tea tree oil, and sweat-absorbing charcoal ingredients.
From the company that turned yoga pants into a wardrobe staple is a newish line of self-care products, including this cheeky deodorant. It has prebiotics (to fight that stink-making bacteria) and zinc (a natural salt) to keep underarms dry. It is a spray on – a rarity in clean deodorant options.
Tom’s is a longstanding name in the natural beauty category; these products aren’t a wellness trend, but rather part of a lifestyle. For a bare bones natural option, this one is unscented and of course formulated without aluminium or animal testing.
Saje’s best-selling spray-on deodorant dries quickly and smells natural (thanks to the pachouli) but gets rave reviews for odour-busting properties (thanks to liquid mineral salt). Customers give it the highest praise in that many note that they purchase it over and over.
Schmidt’s is a fairly young brand (it was founded in Portland, Oregon in 2015) but is already pretty popular thanks to its smart branding and formulation that trades baking soda for activated charcoal, the buzziest ingredient in wellness. For the Belieber in the bunch, this collaboration with Justin Bieber is “mellow and woodsy” and suitable for sensible skin.
The Green Beaver Company has a long list of natural personal care options, from mineral sunscreen to toothpaste to bubble bath. The aluminum-free deodorants are biodegradable and come in punchy scents (like citrus) that don’t fade after a few hours.
Some natural deodorant users react negatively to baking soda, a common ingredient in many formulas. Meow Meow Tweet doesn’t contain baking soda and goes on like a cream, with ingredients that work to combat (rather than just mask) smells. It’s packaged in a glass jar, a nice option for those trying to eliminate plastics.
Jason’s Purifying Tea Tree Deodorant Stick touts clinically tested results and a specific formula of zinc, corn starch, and baking soda, which work alongside tea tree oil (a natural wonder that fights everything from dandruff to zits) to inhibit bacteria and neutralize smelly underarm sweat.
Crystal deodorant may sound a little woo-woo, but the crystals in this case refer to mineral salts, not magical stones. This hypoallergenic formulation goes on like a stick, but promises no sticky residue or chalky white flakes. Maybe that is magic.
Have a not-so-fresh kid? Enter Fresh Kidz, a tween-and-teen specific deodorant free of aluminum, parabens, and alcohol. It’s unscented, ideal for first-time deodorant users who haven’t yet discovered their signature scent quite yet. (Price listed for pack of 3.)
This 100% plant based deodorant eschews the “nasties” (aluminum and parabens) for activated charcoal, which purportedly draws out bacteria and combats odor. The coconut oil and water base gives this roll-on a silky feel and beach-y scent. It won a coveted Allure Best of Beauty Award in 2018 and sells out quickly online.
For more kids gadgets and must haves, check out our kids product guides.