5 Deodorant Alternatives (That Actually Work!)

Let’s talk about B.O. for a minute.

I’m pretty sure no one out there enjoys smelling less than pleasant. I definitely don’t want to be that person you sit next to in lecture that makes you question the last time they took a shower. Personally I’ve been pretty loyal to my Secret deodorant that along with making me smell #fresh, eliminates any embarrassing pit stains.

The thing with most regular store-bought deodorants is that they’re actually antiperspirants. Antiperspirants contain aluminum, which stops your body from producing sweat at all. Like all other semi-embarrassing body functions, sweating is natural and good for you. We sweat in order to release toxins from our body and to cool us down. There have also been posts floating around the internet that aluminum causes breast cancer, but at this point no correlation has been found. Regardless, aluminum can be really harsh on the skin, and there isn’t a ton of research about the effect of applying aluminum-based products directly to the skin.

I decided to test out five alternatives to deodorants/antiperspirants that were both good for me, and easy to make or buy. I also made several members of my family smell me to ensure each one actually worked. Anything in the name of journalism. All of these alternatives help eliminate the smell of bacteria breaking down sweat, instead of blocking sweat like antiperspirants.Whether you’re looking for something less harsh than regular deodorant, are concerned about potential health risks, or are looking for something new to try, here are five Lala-tested alternatives to deodorant.

1. Lush Aromaco bar 

Probably the best-smelling alternative. Lush actually sells four different alternatives to deodorant, ranging from dusting powders to patchouli bars. My favorite is the Aromaco bar, which has witch hazel and baking soda to eliminate smell and keep you dry. Their site describes the featured ingredient Chamomile vinegar as “a triple-threat, which tightens the pores, acts as an antibacterial agent, and soothes the skin.” The added patchouli oil smells amazing (and not too hippie-ish). I liked keeping this bar in my drawers to give my clothes scent too.

2. Baking soda and water

Super basic, easy and cheap (AKA every college girl on budget’s dream). Just mix about an 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking soda with a little bit of water. Don’t add so much water that the baking soda dissolves, but just enough to make it into a paste. The paste will dry into a chalk-like texture, so I wouldn’t recommend wearing black with this alternative. However, the baking soda mixture did a good job of preventing any odor throughout the day. Apparently adding cornstarch to the mix helps combat wetness too, but I felt fine without it.

3. Coconut oil and arrow root powder

The only downside to this alternative was that coconut oil and arrow root powder are not the most common household items. After finding this recipe online, I headed out to my local grocery store to find the ingredients. Once I gathered the 1/4 c. of baking soda, 1/4 c. of arrowroot powder and 5 Tbsp. of coconut oil, mixing the ingredients took five seconds. I also added a couple of drops of lavender oil to make it smell nice. The result is a paste that goes on clear and lasts all day.

4. Witch Hazel

Out of all the homemade remedies this one was my favorite. Just dab a little witch hazel onto a cotton ball and rub onto your skin. This one had no messy application and didn’t leave any noticeable residue on my skin, which is very important during tank top season aka summer time. I also didn’t feel any problems with wetness or pit stains, which was a plus. 

5. Milk of Magnesia 

Not going to lie, this one is pretty weird, but my mom SWEARS by it (and moms tend to be right about these kind of things). Milk of Magnesia is commonly used as a laxative, but my mom’s friend who is a nurse recommended it as a deodorant after my mom complained about regular deodorants giving her breakouts in her armpits (Sorry to put you on blast mom). Despite the name, Milk of Magnesia is not actually dairy but magnesium hydroxide suspended in water. I’m not sure why this works as a deodorant, but it does. You’ll still sweat, but it completely eliminates any odor. The only downside is that it’s pretty messy to apply. Wait for it to fully dry before putting on clothes, or else you’ll end up with weird chalk-y white drip marks around your armpits.

Throw on your tanks, lift your arms in the air, and say buh-bye to B.O.

deodorant alternatives

Adriana Millar

Editorial Contributor, San Diego State University Major: Communications and International Studies Her heart belongs to: San Francisco, jasmine tea, fresh flowers, anything with stripes and my Colombian dog Gina Her guilty pleasures: Taco Tuesday, lazy mornings, Justin Bieber and boba drinks

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