Natural and Vegan Deodorants: Protecting your Health and the Animals

Commercial deodorants could be a stinky idea! Here are some ideas that will help you make your own healthy, natural and vegan deodorant at home

When I talk to people about being vegan, changing personal care products is usually the last thing they think about. Even when people finally get around to changing their personal care products, deodorant is usually the last on the list. Why? Because no one wants to be a sweaty, stinky mess! No need to fear – The Vegan Woman is here to offer you an alternative that will help you keep your pits happy, dry, and stink-free.

First things first; although deodorants and antiperspirants are slightly different (deodorants work by neutralizing the smell of sweat whereas antiperspirants work by clogging your pores to prevent sweat), for the sake of this post I will use the term ‘deodorant’ to cover both.

What’s the problem with commercial deodorants?

Many of the current commercial deodorants are likely to harm both humans and animals. If your deodorant is not labeled as vegan, there’s a good chance that some of its ingredients have been tested on animals somewhere along the line, or that they have been derived from animals and/or their secretions.

Commercial deodorants tend to use aluminum to stop sweating by blocking your pores, which means that these toxins cannot be released and are just reabsorbed into your body. Image: TVW

Commercial deodorants tend to use aluminum to stop sweating by blocking your pores. Image: TVW

On the health front, many deodorants are designed to keep you from smelliness by blocking one of the most natural detoxifying processes of your body: sweating. Sweat is one of the best ways to detox your body, as it aids in your body’s release of toxins, salt and even alcohol. Commercial deodorants tend to use aluminum to stop sweating by blocking your pores, which means that these toxins cannot be released and are just reabsorbed into your body. This may cause health problems over time.

Furthermore, according to Natural News, “Aluminum has been linked to breast cancer in women and has also been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Several studies have shown a link between increasing antiperspirant use and rising rates of female breast cancer and prostate cancer in men”. To top that all off, most commercial deodorants also use parabens and preservatives which have been shown to cause cancer.

Vegan deodorants: The healthier alternatives

Luckily, there are several non-toxic vegan deodorant brands on the market these days. If you are looking for a fragrance-free, natural solution, you might want to explore the world of natural crystals. Since I’m into great fragrances, my personal favorites are Meow Meow Tweet and Death by Lavender, as they both work really well to mask odor and they contain high-quality, simple ingredients. Both of these companies also use packaging that is easily recyclable, helping the environment. 

Examples of vegan deodorants. From left to right: Tom's of Maine, Meow Meow, Body Crystal, and North Coast.

Examples of vegan deodorants. From left to right: Tom’s of Maine, Meow Meow, Body Crystal, and North Coast.

DIY vegan deodorants

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, there are several recipes you could experiment with to make yourself an inexpensive natural deodorant. Image: Shutterstock.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, there are several recipes you could experiment with to make yourself an inexpensive natural deodorant. Image: Shutterstock.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, there are several recipes you could experiment with to make yourself an inexpensive natural deodorant. For most recipes, all you really need is a solid base and baking soda. To upgrade the smell you can also use essentials oils. My favorite vegan deodorant recipe is from Wellness Mama, which consists of a simple mixture of coconut oil, baking soda, arrowroot, and essential oils. Crunchy Betty suggests similar ingredients, along with ylang-ylang oil, sweet orange, and tea tree oil.

What is great about these recipes is that, aside from the essential oils, you probably have all the ingredients in your house already or you can obtain them pretty easily, and you can use the leftovers for cooking so there’s no waste.  

As someone who has tried these recipes, here are my personal tips:

  • As a reminder, since these do not have aluminum in them, they won’t prevent you from sweating. The baking soda will help to minimize the moisture, but it won’t stop it completely. Remember: sweat is good. Get rid of those toxins!
  • If you decide to try the recipe with baking soda, monitor your skin for several days. If you develop a rash STOP using it immediately. The chemical make-up of baking soda can have adverse reactions for many people (including myself), so you may need to omit it from the recipe you are using.
  • If these recipes are new to you, then I wouldn’t try them before a big event or before work. It might take several days for your body to get used to the natural deodorant; it might also take you a few days to find out whether the specific ratio of ingredients works for you. You don’t want to be in an important situation and then realize that your new deodorant concoction isn’t working!
  • Have you ever tried just not using deodorant? It might sound like a shocking idea at first, but if you trial it, you might find that you only really need to use deodorant in specific situations like work outs, stressful meetings or even just during the summer months.

Deodorant can be one of the most chemical-laden products that you use on your body, so I urge you to swap this product to a vegan, non-toxic one immediately. The above suggestions are easy and inexpensive ways to do it. Try different scents with the use of different essential oils and be patient. Have fun with your experiments! 

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Leolin has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana and is currently a Master's Candidate in Humane Education from Valparaiso University. She is one of the co-founders for the Chicago Veggie Pride Parade, teaches people how to live an authentic life on her personal blog My Life Outside the Box and she also is an independent consultant for the vegan beauty and wellness company, Arbonne. Leolin has been a vegetarian since 2007 and a vegan since 2009 and loves sharing the vegan message with others.

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