More and more people are becoming concerned about the environmental impact of plastic waste and are seeking out plastic-free alternatives for everyday products, including deodorants. The good news is that there are now many effective, eco-friendly deodorant options available without plastic packaging.
What to Look for in a Plastic-Free Deodorant
When choosing a plastic-free deodorant, here are some key things to consider:
- Aluminum-free: Aluminum compounds can be absorbed into the body and have been linked to health issues like breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Seek out deodorants without aluminum.
- Natural ingredients: Choose plant-based ingredients like essential oils, starch, baking soda, magnesium hydroxide, and potassium alum crystal. Avoid parabens, synthetic fragrances and propylene glycol.
- Organic ingredients: Opt for deodorants made with organic plant extracts and oils where possible. These are grown without pesticides or chemicals.
- Recyclable: Look for plastic-free deodorant packaging made from recyclable materials like cardboard, paper or glass. This reduces waste.
- Refillable: Select brands that offer refillable deodorant containers to reuse the same container and minimize waste.
- Compostable: Some brands use compostable materials for applicators and packing, which break down without harming the environment.
- Odor protection: An effective plastic-free deodorant should keep underarm odor at bay for 24-48 hours, even during heat, activity and stress. This depends on the strength and combination of active ingredients.
- Gentleness: It should glide on smoothly without irritation. Seek out gentle formulas without harsh chemicals, especially if you have sensitive skin.
- Pleasant fragrance: While everyone has different scent preferences, an ideal eco-friendly deodorant has just enough natural fragrance for freshness without being overpowering.
- Eco-conscious company: Research the brand’s commitment to sustainability. Do they use eco-friendly manufacturing processes and materials? Are they a B-Corp or donate to environmental causes?
- Cruelty-free: Choose brands that do not test any ingredients or products on animals. Look for Leaping Bunny certification.
5 Best Plastic Free Deodorants
Based on the above criteria, here are 5 of the best high-performing, eco-friendly plastic-free deodorants:
1. Schmidt’s Deodorant Sticks
Schmidt’s Deodorant Sticks
- With a gently effective mineral-salt formula powered by baking soda and essential oils, Schmidt’s is a top choice for an easy-to-apply plastic-free deodorant stick.
- Aluminum-free baking soda and arrowroot powder formula
- Vegan, cruelty-free, and formulated without parabens, phthalates or propylene glycol
- Cardboard paper packaging and compostable sugarcane applicators
- 24-48 hour odor protection even during heat and activity
- Light jasmine and green tea scents available among a variety of options
2. Ethique Plastic Free Deodorant Bar
Ethique Plastic Free Deodorant Bar
- With their innovative solid bar deodorants packaged in recyclable paper, Ethique takes an ultra-sustainable approach to sweat and odor protection.
- Solid deodorant bar formulation free of aluminum, parabens, silicones, and synthetic fragrances
- Sustainable paper packaging and compostable applicator made of recycled materials
- Cruelty-free and vegan-certified brand
- Provides 24-hour odor protection and glides on smoothly
- Lightly scented with geranium and orange essential oils
3. Kaia Naturals Takesumi Deodorant
Kaia Naturals Takesumi Deodorant
- Kaia Naturals’ activated charcoal powder deodorant offers a unique refillable plastic-free option that neutralizes underarm odor naturally.
- Powder formula with Takesumi (bamboo charcoal) to absorb odor
- Free from aluminum salts, parabens, phthalates, and baking soda
- Cardboard stick packaging and refillable glass jar options are available
- Provides up to 24 hours of odor protection
- Unscented formula suitable for sensitive skin
4. Ben & Anna Natural Deodorant Stick
Ben & Anna Natural Deodorant Stick
- With their innovative casing made of recycled paper, Ben & Anna’s natural deodorant sticks are a hassle-free plastic-free choice.
- Plastic-free deodorant stick uses recycled paper packaging
- Aluminum salt-free formula based on starch, magnesium hydroxide, and sodium bicarbonate
- Certified cruelty-free and vegan
- 24-48 hours of odor protection with a single application
- Lightly fragranced with essential oils like bergamot and lavender
5. each & every Aluminum-Free Deodorant
each & every Aluminum-Free Deodorant
- As a sustainable brand focused on reducing waste, each & every prioritizes plastic-free packaging using compostable materials.
- The formula uses aluminum-free baking soda along with tapioca starch
- Scent options like lemon and bergamot with essential oils and without synthetic fragrances
- Packaged in compostable sugarcane vials and paper boxes
- Certified cruelty-free and vegan
- Provides 72+ hours of odor protection
Making the Switch to Plastic-Free Deodorants
When transitioning to natural deodorants without plastic packaging, there are a few things to expect as your body adjusts:
- It can take 2-4 weeks for the odor-fighting botanicals to reach full effectiveness as they balance your skin’s microbiome. Stick with it!
- Some people experience increased sweating at first. This is temporary and resolves within a few weeks.
- Natural deodorants are less antiperspirant in nature than traditional deodorants with aluminum compounds. Focus on odor protection over drier-feeling armpits.
- Not all formulas work for every person’s unique body chemistry and scent preferences. Try a few over time to find your match.
The good news is that high-quality eco-friendly deodorants without plastic can provide the same sweat and odor-fighting ability as mainstream brands while aligning with your green beauty values. With some adjustment time, you’ll be able to eliminate plastic from your daily routine for good.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are plastic-free deodorants really effective?
Yes! Many natural deodorants without plastic packaging use powerful absorbent ingredients like baking soda, arrowroot powder, and kaolin clay that soak up moisture. When blended with antimicrobial extracts from plants like tea trees, they effectively combat both sweat and odor-causing bacteria. It can take a few weeks for sweat glands to adjust from aluminum/antiperspirant deodorants, but protection improves over time.
How long does an eco-friendly deodorant stick last?
On average, most plastic-free natural deodorant sticks provide 24-48 hours of sweat and odor protection before needing reapplication, which is on par with conventional deodorant sticks. Look for deodorants containing baking soda, essential oils, or activated charcoal for lasting effectiveness.
Are there refillable options?
Yes, some sustainable brands like Kaia Naturals offer refillable glass or metal deodorant containers so you can reuse the same container. This eliminates waste from rebuying plastic packaging over and over.
Can I compost or recycle natural deodorant packaging?
Many eco-friendly deodorants use compostable or recyclable materials like cardboard, paper or glass for packaging. Some compost facilities accept cardboard applicators and packing. Glass jars can usually be recycled. Check locally what types of materials your municipal compost and recycling accepts.
Which is better, deodorant sticks, sprays, or creams?
Deodorant sticks tend to provide the longest-lasting odor protection in plastic-free options. Powders and creams also work well but require more frequent application. Deodorant sprays are trickier to find without plastic components. Sticks are typically the easiest to apply for on-the-go use.
The Future of Plastic-Free Personal Care
As consumer demand grows for eco-friendly personal care, more and more companies are innovating with sustainable packaging and natural ingredient formulations in deodorants and beyond. Products like shampoo bars, bamboo toothbrushes, and safety razors made from recycled metals are also helping people adopt low-waste lifestyles.
Brands leading the way in sustainability set an example of the change that is possible to reduce single-use plastics. Supporting plastic-free and ocean-friendly businesses also encourages positive change in the personal care industry.
So if transitioning to zero-waste deodorants seems intimidating, rest assured an increasing number of effective plastic-free options are becoming available. You’ll feel good knowing your small swap is making a difference in the health of our planet.