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From committing to a plant-based diet to selecting environmentally friendly, cruelty-free products for your home and body, being vegan can involve a lot of research.
In order to truly understand the products we find on the shelves prior to making a purchase, we need to read through countless ingredients and understand exactly what they are and where they come from. Cruelty-free deodorant is no different.
Thankfully, as veganism is rapidly growing in popularity in mainstream culture, a vast array of natural, vegan-friendly beauty products have made their way onto the market – many of which are clearly marked as vegan-friendly. However, as a consumer faced with so many options, it can still be overwhelming to make an informed selection.
Therefore, selecting an essential item which most people use every day can leave any thoughtful vegan consumer feeling unsure. Many non-mainstream beauty products, especially natural deodorants, are often stigmatized as being ineffective, but this stereotype is completely inaccurate.
Believe me, lots of the latest vegan and cruelty-free deodorant products on the market now contain highly effective organic ingredients which work just as well as the more toxic products you’ll find online and in store. But where do you start?
Antiperspirant vs deodorant?
Before exploring some of the vegan products available today, first I’m going to lay out the key differences between antiperspirants and deodorants.
As the name implies, deodorants deodorize. These products prevent bacterial growth in sweat (which thrives in the comfy, warm, moist enclaves of our underarms) and they mask the smell caused by said bacteria, usually with perfumes.
Antiperspirants, on the other hand, use various chemicals to block sweat ducts from releasing sweat altogether, which is considered to be an unhealthy approach to reducing body odor. Conventional antiperspirants commonly use ingredients such as aluminium and parabens, which are far from welcome and completely unnatural for our bodies.
Parabens in these products have been linked to cancer, and there are plenty of claims that the topical application of aluminum can be harmful to our overall health as well.
The potential negative side effects of long-term aluminum exposure makes switching over to natural, vegan products a sensible step towards adopting a healthy lifestyle – even if you’re not 100% vegan in other areas of your life. (1)
Blocking sweat can also interfere with the way the body cools itself, therefore deodorants are considered to be the superior product.
Typically, vegan products do not contain synthetic chemicals. Instead, most of the better quality deodorants will have naturally derived ingredients such as non-aluminum bicarbonate soda, essential oils, coconut oil, aloe vera gel, and other plant-based additives.
Why use natural, cruelty-free deodorant?
The biggest reason why people often choose to switch over to a cruelty-free product is an obvious one – animal welfare. Unfortunately, animal testing is still rife in the cosmetics industry, and deodorant manufacturing is no exception.
The barbaric practices used against defenceless animals is clearly unacceptable, but many people remain unaware of just how cruel the testing process can be. That’s why it’s vitally important those of us who do know about it do all we can to inform and educate those who do not. (2, 3)
It’s one of the key reason why I started Happy Happy Vegan.
Another reason, as mentioned above, is that many of the better vegan deodorants on the market do not contain any synthetic chemicals typically found in conventional deodorants and antiperspirants that block sweat ducts.
There has been some debate on whether or not these chemicals, notably triclosan and steareth-n, lead to serious health problems such as Alzheimer’s disease and various cancers. (4)
Then, of course, there is the fact that vegan deodorant contains no ingredients derived from animals or their by-products. Many think that cruelty-free and vegan are the same thing, but unfortunately they’re not.
Therefore it’s always important to check that your product ticks both of these boxes, as do all of the products listed below.
Choosing to use a vegan product means avoiding potentially harmful, toxic chemicals. Furthermore, as a compassionate consumer, opting for a product that neither contains nor is tested on animals furthers your commitment to living a vegan, earth-friendly lifestyle.
And, if they work just as well as conventional products, why wouldn’t you switch to a cruelty-free alternative?
Making your own vegan deodorant
Sweat is a natural response of the body. We sweat when we are hot, nervous, or engaging in physical activity.
However, the smell it produces is not exactly desirable, so addressing this natural bodily issue with natural, plant-derived ingredients seems like the logical solution.
Lots of vegans make their own beauty products at home, but the results can be a little hit and miss. While you may feel compelled to create your own vegan cruelty-free deodorant, many of us (myself included!) are simply not that skillful at DIY projects.
This can leave you with an end product that doesn’t work, which is a waste of perfectly good ingredients that could have been used elsewhere.
Also, creating beauty products at home can be time consuming, and sourcing all of the specific ingredients to concoct a natural deodorant can be a difficult feat to undertake, especially if you haven’t got a decent natural, green store nearby. Oh, and don’t forget the mess!
In reality, the process of making your own natural beauty products can be a lot more hassle than it’s worth. So for those of you who are too busy (or too lazy, like me), opting for a store bought vegan product is totally fine.
Simply put, purchasing a cruelty-free deodorant from a reputable company makes being vegan a little easier. Which is what we all want, right?
Things to consider before purchasing a vegan, cruelty-free deodorant
It’s important to keep in mind that each person has his or her own unique body chemistry which will react differently to various scents and additives. Therefore, you’ll need to be willing to remain open-minded in the quest to find for the perfect vegan-friendly deodorant for you.
Also, make sure you thoroughly read the ingredient list to ensure you avoid any ingredients which might irritate sensitive skin. This may seem like an obvious point to make, but too often we rush past these things and regret our decisions later. Don’t do that. Stay on the safe side.
Lastly, be willing to research companies that claim to use all-natural, animal- and cruelty-free ingredients to ensure that the product is truly ethically sourced and environmentally sustainable. Our list below will help narrow the field somewhat, but you may still find a better product for you elsewhere.
Cruelty-free deodorant reviews
Listed below are a number of vegan items to get you started on your transition across from harmful to healthy beauty products.
None of these contain any animal products whatsoever, and they are all deemed to be cruelty-free too, so you can rest assured your ethics will not be compromised if you buy one of these items.
As we’ve mentioned above, purchasing products such as deodorant can be an extremely subjective affair, but hopefully this list will give you a good starting point from which to make your final decision.
Let’s take a look at number one!
Bali Secrets Natural Deodorant
Unleash your inner goddess with this all-natural roll-on deodorant from Bali Secrets. Available in five different fragrances including Aloe Delight, Unscented, Original Essence, Sandal Wood, Delicate Rose, each scent is created using a blend of essential oils. I personally love the Delicate Rose fragrance, which is made with rose oil, a highly coveted natural ingredient. Also, this product is baking soda-free so you won’t have to worry about annoying white marks on your clothes.
However, if you find yourself put-off by floral, perfumed scents, you may want to pursue other options (the fragrances might be slightly overwhelming for those with a sensitive sense of smell). This deodorant is designed for women in mind as the fragrance options are all pretty feminine.
Despite being marketed as “All-Day Fresh”, several online product reviews do mention that the product may not be long lasting if you are routinely engaged in strenuous activity or living in a very hot, humid environment. Therefore, you may need to reapply at least once, or possibly twice, in the course of a day.
Yet, for those seeking a naturally-derived aromatic deodorant, Bali Secrets is a wonderful option. Being a fan of essential oils, I like this particular product a lot, but you may prefer the unscented version or some of the other less fragrant options on this list.
- Convenient, portable roll-on
- 5 fragrance varieties
- Scents made with essential oils
- Product is baking soda
- The aroma may be slightly overwhelming to some
- Specifically made for women in mind (sorry guys!)
Nani Naturals All-Natural, Unscented, Organic Deodorant for Men & Women
This all-natural, unscented, organic deodorant from Nani Naturals doesn’t contain any harsh, toxic chemicals or heavy perfumes. Nani Naturals deodorant is made using a gel-based formula for easy, roll-on application. It is also fragrance-free, making it a wonderful option for a cruelty-free mens deodorant.
Despite being non-scented, sweat will not smell unpleasant even after hours of wear or partaking in strenuous physical activity (as an obsessive yogi, this is a big plus for me!).
The US-based company prides itself on only using organic and ethically-sourced ingredients. Furthermore, Nani Naturals is committed to helping fund breast cancer research. A portion of the company’s profits goes towards finding a cure. Amazing.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that this deodorant’s main ingredient is coconut oil, which is something to be aware of if you have any sensitives to this particular ingredient.
- Gel-based formula
- Organic and ethically-sourced ingredients
- Made in the USA
- Pretty heavy on the baking soda, can stain clothing
- Can leave underarm feeling wet
DeodoMom is a company adamant about creating cruelty-free products, so it’s little wonder their roll-on deodorant made the cut!
This product is perfect for those seeking simplicity. It’s formula is created using only two ingredients: water & magnesium hydroxide. DeodoMom is fragrance-free and does not contain any harsh dyes either, which may irritate sensitive skin.
A few online reviews noted that this deodorant may not be the best at masking body odor after several hours of strenuous physical activity, so reapplication may be necessary throughout the course of the day. Furthermore, several reviewers also mentioned that they were left with white streaks on their clothing while using this product, but they are extremely light and it seems to happen only when you apply too much.
While I’m always intrigued by the notion of simplicity, and this is just a two-ingredient formula, I do like to have at least a little fragrance in my deodorant. However, if you’re a fan of minimalism this would be the perfect product to try.
Because this product is water-based, please keep in mind that exposing it to extremely cold temperatures will render it ineffective.
- Simple, two ingredient formula will be very appealing to many
- Does not contain any harsh dyes or fragrances
- Perfect for anyone with sensitive skin
- May leave white residue on clothing (generally only if you over-apply, though)
- Reapplication may be necessary throughout the day if in a hot, humid environment
Schmidt’s Rose + Vanilla Deodorant Jar
Schmidt’s Rose + Vanilla Deodorant Jar is a cruelty-free product that really works!
A small amount is all you need to be apply to provide all-day wetness protection and a wonderful scent. The product is securely packaged in a glass jar which is environmentally-friendly and easy to recycle once the product is finished.
Downsides? Well, this product needs to be applied by hand which might be considered a messy task for some. Also, the packaging is on the smaller side, meaning the product may have to be repurchased after about two or three months of regular use.
The scent is quite floral and sweet, which may be a little overpowering for some. However, Schmidt’s deodorant jar is available in six different scent combinations: Rose + Vanilla, Bergamot + Lime, Lavender + Sage, Cedarwood + Juniper, Ylang Ylang + Calendula, and Fragrance-Free, so you should easily be able to find a scent which works for you.
Finally, Schmidt’s now have a range of vegan deodorant sticks available, so hand application is no a thing of the past, too! Check out the range here.
- Several fragrance options
- Gives wetness protection, as well as neutralizing odor
- Doesn’t stain clothing, even black items
- Shea butter makes it feel more luxurious than many other brands
- Glass jars are easily recyclable
- Product is made in the USA
- Awkward to apply
- Packaging is on the smaller-side
- May cause irritation, check ingredients if you have sensitive skin
Greener Path All Natural Deodorant for Women & Men The faint fragrance of Greener Path’s all-natural product makes it a wonderful unisex deodorant option. With the company’s commitment to using vegan, cruelty-free ingredients, this all natural deodorant is one that can be trusted. The roll-on design makes this item easy to apply. Greener Path’s product is aluminum-free, paraben-free, gluten-free, soy-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, cruelty free, and GMO-free. The fragrances are made with a blend of botanical and green tea extracts. This may, however, cause irritation to sensitive, rash-prone skin. The fragrances are quite subtle, so if you’re not seeking an understated deodorant you may want to look elsewhere. A few online reviews also noted that the use of subtle fragrances may not be the best at fully masking body odor, especially after strenuous activity. You’ll probably need to reapply this deodorant in order to feel comfortable.
Completely free of toxic chemicals Fragrance is made with botanical and green tea extracts Ingredients are organic and ethically-sourced Made in the USA
Fragrance might be too subtle for some Botanical extracts may cause irritation on sensitive skin
Native Deodorant – Natural Deodorant for Women and Men
For those of you who are looking for a solid deodorant that’ll allow you to just grab and go, Native’s Natural Deodorant could well be what you’re looking for.
Developed after extensive testing, this easy to apply and remarkably effective at the job it is tasked to do: keeping you smelling fresh, regardless of what you’re doing. This particular scent, coconut and vanilla, is unisex, but Native’s range includes more gender specific smells if that’s what you’re looking for.
Some users have reported bad staining on clothing, which Native seemed to have addressed with their latest incarnation. Unfortunately, however, it looks as though they continued to sell off their old stock on Amazon, leaving customers feeling disgruntled and baffled.
Many thought they were receiving fake products when, in reality, it was just old stock, which isn’t great.
All that said, the new and improved version has not only won a raft of 5 star reviews, it also means that we can now include it in our list. Their old deodorant contained beeswax, making it a no-no for us, but the new formula is 100% vegan. Well done, Native!
It certainly looks as though Native are maturing as a company and growing a healthy fanbase along the way. Will you join them?
- Multiple scent options
- Hypoallergenic formula makes it ideal for those with sensitive skin
- All natural: alluminum, paraben, and, most importantly, cruelty free product
- Great for active individuals
- Made in the USA
- Some staining reported, but this has been improved upon with their new formula
- Slightly underhand selling off of old stock on Amazon (now resolved)
Best vegan deodorant?
After careful overview of all the options listed above, one product stands out as the best all natural product: Schmidt’s Rose + Vanilla Deodorant Jar.
From the cruelty-free ingredients, environmentally-friendly glass jar packaging, and delightfully aromatic natural fragrances, this product is easily my favorite and one that many consider to be the best cruelty-free deodorant on the market.
The Portland-based company’s ethos represents true vegan values which translates into a product of superior quality. Also, the different naturally-derived fragrant combination options make it a wonderful unisex product and, therefore, the best vegan deodorant.
For those who find applying deodorant by hand a chore, Schmidt’s now have a wide range of stick deodorants available, too. You can find them here.
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Vegan shopping can be difficult at times, but our list proves that selecting an effective cruelty-free product doesn’t have to stink! If you possess a passion for incorporating veganism into every aspect of life, from diet to your beauty regime, please look into trying one of the products listed above.
Hopefully this explanatory overview provided the information you need to avoid the pitfalls (pun intended) of navigating a beauty product market saturated with hundreds of choices – some of which are far from perfect for both us and our animal buddies.
Keep fresh while staying true to your body, soul, and the earth by buying a vegan deodorant that works!
About The Author:
Lisa Williams is a committed vegan, passionate animal welfare advocate, and keen follower of too many v-friendly food blogs to mention. She started happyhappyvegan.com back in 2016 because she felt there was a need for more straightforward information on plant-based living.
Back then, too many sites seem to either concentrate solely on recipes or be too intimidating or inaccessible for the v-curious, and she wanted to change that. The landscape is certainly a whole lot different now!
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- Alain Pineau, Bernard Fauconneau, André-Pascal Sappino, Roger Deloncle, Olivier Guillard | If exposure to aluminium in antiperspirants presents health risks, its content should be reduced | https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0946672X13002034
- Cruelty Free International | Types of animal testing | https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/why-we-do-it/types-animal-testing
- PETA | Cruelty to Animals in Laboratories | https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/animals-laboratories/
- Colleen Thurman | The Effects of Aluminum on the Skin | https://www.leaf.tv/4886106/the-effects-of-aluminum-on-the-skin/