Unscented deodorant might seem slightly counterintuitive, but hear us out. Fragrance in deodorants is the most common allergen in underarm products. So it only makes sense to avoid this ingredient or at least go for more skin-friendly alternatives when we can. Unscented deodorant does what a traditional antiperspirant does--it eliminates odor and prevents excessive sweating, but without giving your skin trouble.
Let’s take a look at why you should give it a try as we did!
From personal experience, you’ve probably noticed that almost every deodorant brand has at least one product with synthetic fragrances. In fact, some brands capitalize on a trademark scent.
Think: Dove’s Original Fresh, the Old Spice Classic musk, and Secret’s Powder Fresh label. These are all instantly recognizable and we’re willing to bet you’ve tried at least one of these in the past. Let’s be honest: so have we.
But here’s the thing.
In one study by The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, clinicians found that about 90% of deodorants from a specific drugstore chain contained fragrances, which can cause cosmetic allergies. We’re talking relentless rashes, splotchy skin, and irritating itchiness, for starters.
This is not to say that every scented deodorant will make your skin break out in hives. In fact, a lot of natural scented deodorants use essential oils for the difference is these oils are also there for other benefits like fighting inflammation and soothing skin. However, if you’re already prone to skin rashes, we wouldn’t want you to take that chance on synthetic fragrances.
So if you’re looking for a possible new substitute for your conventional deodorant, we’ve got you covered.
Simple DIY unscented deodorant
Deodorants are actually two-in-one deals that stop odor and help keep you from sweating too much. So ideally, every deodorant should be one part deodorant and one part antiperspirant. For our DIY recipe, the ingredients do both. Other ingredients are there for beneficial properties like moisturization and texture-improvement.
What you’ll need:
- 4 tablespoons baking soda
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons shea butter
- 15 drops of tea tree essential oil (optional)
What to do:
- Combine coconut oil and shea butter in a glass container and put on a saucepan over the stove.
- Pour water onto the pan without letting it get into the jar. Heat on low until ingredients are melted.
- Take the jar out of the pan and mix in your dry ingredients. It should form a thick or creamy paste depending on your ingredient ratio.
- Drop-in essential oils, mix, and pour into your storage container. We suggest using a glass jar and apply using your fingers. Another option is a reusable or empty deodorant stick container, but keep a careful watch on it since coconut oil tends to melt at room temperature.
- Enjoy your unscented deodorant!
Tea tree oil is a powerful antibacterial agent that eliminates underarm bacteria and keeps the deodorant itself fresh. We chose to include this ingredient to our recipe, but the formula works just as well without it.
If you prefer a light scent, consider adding in 15 drops of essential oils and mix before it cools. In this recipe, the cornstarch and baking soda keep the deodorant together and helps prevent odor and sweat. Store-bought deodorants typically use aluminum-based ingredients to keep you from sweating, but cornstarch and baking soda are gentler alternatives. Many DIYs online also use arrowroot powder which makes sense if you’re allergic to corn products or want to steer away from baking soda.
Beyond DIY recipes, you might prefer to support businesses instead of who make unscented deodorants, and that’s totally cool with us.
Check out these unscented deodorants we love that might just work for you.
4 Unscented Deodorants to replace your old plastic one
This natural, unscented deodorant is an all-around best no matter what type of skin you have--sensitive, normal, oily, sweat-prone, etc. Hold on, is sweat-prone even a skin type? Nevertheless, we’re officially declaring it a skin type when it comes to deodorant talk. After all, sweating’s nothing to be ashamed of!
Here are some quick points about this deodorant.
- Handmade with aluminum-free and baking-soda free vegan recipe
- Minimalist, recyclable paper tube packaging
- 37 ounces lasts up to three months
We know our DIY recipe above includes baking soda, but if this ingredient doesn’t agree with your skin, no worries. We have a solution. Arrowroot starch is a common alternative to baking soda and cornstarch.
Bottom line is: it helps reduce sweating by absorbing excess moisture. This plant-based starch comes from the arrowroot plant, which is also a great choice if you have any corn allergies. Furthermore, it’s flavorless and odorless, so it helps make this deodorant truly unscented.
Other awesome ingredients include organic coconut oil, magnesium hydroxide, candelilla wax, shea butter, and essential oils. As you know, coconut oil and shea butter are natural moisturizers and help keep the product from becoming chalky.
Candelilla wax helps thicken the deodorant so it holds shape and doesn’t melt even when it’s room temperature or warmer. If you notice that your deodorant is turning grainy or clumpy, warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds, mix, and let it cool before using again.
We know that magnesium hydroxide might sound kind of alarming at first, but it’s actually a non-toxic mineral found in nature. The best part about it is it prevents bacteria from wreaking havoc under your arms. In other words, magnesium hydroxide keeps you smelling fresh! It’s a common food additive and it’s deemed safe by the FDA.
One of many organic essential oils Bai-li uses is jojoba oil, which helps fight inflammation. Let’s be honest: skin chafing is uncomfortable, but it is real and it’s more common than we care to admit. Jojoba oil gently calms skin when chafing does happen and prevents further symptoms. This is crucial in warmer months when heat rashes are common!
Moving on, a unique ingredient we like about this unscented deodorant is a mix of probiotics that strengthens your existing “good bacteria” and keeps smelly bacteria in check. You might be familiar with the oral capsule or powder probiotic supplements, and it works in a similar way with this deodorant.
As for packaging, it’s fairly straightforward. If you aren’t used to paper tube deodorants, it’s a quick learning curve. Take off the top, push the tube from the bottom, and then apply onto your underarms. It’s like using a giant lip balm tube for your underarms, and we couldn’t have asked for anything better, really. Zero waste deodorant, easy to use, and recyclable.
Keep in mind that this 2.37-ounce deodorant typically lasts anywhere between one to three months, but of course it depends on how much you use and how frequently you use it. When the tube is empty, recycle it with other paper products.
If you’ve tried various unscented deodorants with both baking soda and aluminum but still haven’t found the best one for your sensitive skin, this deodorant is the one for you. We know you’ve probably heard this from a bunch of different companies, but we’re serious! Aptly named Sensitive Pit Cream, a baking soda-free, and aluminum-free formula makes this ideal for delicate underarms.
Take a look at these snapshot specs.
- Baking-soda free best for sensitive skin
- Plastic-free, leak-proof glass jar and metal tin container, 2 ounces
- No more white stains on dark shirts
We love Fat and the Moon not just because they believe in natural products with zero waste packaging, but also because they believe strongly in self love and self care. It’s no wonder why one of their main goals is to heal and support instead of buying into the mainstream narrative of fixing yourself by buying even more products. True to Fat and the Moon’s brand purpose, this deodorant is an effective, chemical-free alternative to drugstore deodorants.
This cruelty-free deodorant puts arrowroot powder, coconut oil, beeswax, basil oil, vetiver oil, and magnesium hydroxide to work. Unlike aluminum-based antiperspirants, this one helps reduce sweating without resorting to unpleasant, man-made ingredients. There’s also no faux scents to be found here!
Like we mentioned above, arrowroot powder and magnesium hydroxide absorb moisture while coconut oil gives you some moisturizing love. Beeswax keeps the paste together to give it a unique texture that’s neither completely solid or liquid, making it really easy to apply. It also acts as a barrier between your skin and the air, preventing essential moisture from escaping, so if you tend to have dry skin, this deodorant will help.
Moreover, Fat and the Moon knows the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial powers of vetiver oil, which is why this deodorant works better than most. Lastly, basil oil is packed with skin-healing vitamin C and more anti-inflammatory properties that prevent any skin breakouts. If you tend to get razor bumps or other skin blemishes under your arms, all the more reason to try their pit cream.
This 2-ounce jar lasts a few months, but try to use the whole thing no more than a year past your purchase date for best results. To use, scoop up a peanut-size of deodorant onto your fingers and then apply to your underarms. Put on more or less depending on your underarm type and sweat levels.
Sweating is natural, yes, but in some situations, it’s undeniably inconvenient. We all have some sticky stories, and off the top of our heads, we can empathize with workers who have to wear white shirts or a sweat-inducing uniform. We’re looking at you, stuffy long-sleeve button-ups!
You’ll be happy to hear that this biodegradable deodorant solves this clammy dilemma.
- Natural coconut scent backed by powers of organic cornstarch and baking soda
- Biodegradable and recyclable paper tube
- Travel-friendly 1.5-ounce size
Made in Ohio by a trustworthy brand, this unscented zero waste deodorant stick is especially helpful if you tend to sweat more than average. Using organic cornstarch and just enough baking soda along with virgin coconut oil, organic beeswax, virgin shea butter, organic jojoba oil, and rosemary oil extract, Soap & Salve’s antiperspirant works wonders.
Cornstarch not only soaks up excess moisture, but it also gives your underarms a pleasant silky feel. Since Soap & Salve incorporates oils and butter into their deodorant, cornstarch also helps prevent the mixture from feeling oily or greasy when applied. We know clammy pits are undesirable, but greasy ones are probably not ideal, either. The secret to this balance is cornstarch and beeswax.
Their organic beeswax helps skin hold onto natural oils and moisture while shea butter provides nourishment. One of the superstars in this lineup is organic rosemary oil extract which helps keep their ingredients fresh for longer. Additionally, it’s a well-known antioxidant that fights inflammation and bacterial growth.
What’s more, this deodorant is certified organic by the USDA and it bears the Leaping Bunny cruelty-free seal. From the date of purchase, this deodorant will last up to six months. We recommend keeping this in your work bag or in your work desk or locker if you have one. With this in reach, you can reapply throughout the day as needed. The convenient 1.5-ounce size is also perfect for travel, though be mindful of leaving it exposed in very warm temperatures.
Still, the mixture is solid at room temperature and the packaging helps prevent leaks. One reason why so many people love this deodorant and the company in general is their commitment to zero waste packaging. Their unscented deodorant is no exception. When you’ve run out of the product, toss this paper tube into the recycling bin or into your compost heap.
When you receive this product, you might discover that the application is a little trickier than a standard roll-on deodorant. And you know what? The answer is simple. Here is a word of advice from Soap & Salve themselves: since baking soda can be irritating, warm up the deodorant first by holding it onto your underarm. Wait a few seconds until it’s softened and then apply. Not only does your body warmth smooth out the product for a better application, but it’s also more gentle on your skin.
The plastic-free, baking soda-free deodorant from Meow Meow Tweet is a creamy formula specially made for sensitive pits and packaged in a cute, bag-friendly jar. This deodorant’s not an antiperspirant and it’s not pretending to be one, so keep in mind that it’s a mild product that’s best for folks who generally don’t sweat too much.
- Fairtrade and palm-oil free product
- Reusable or recyclable 2.4-ounce glass jar
- Made without baking soda or clays
If you want a baking soda-free deodorant that also doesn’t use clays, this is the one for you. We support Meow Meow Tweet because they expertly make their products in small batches and always use fair trade practices. Their unscented deodorant uses a recyclable container, organic or natural-based ingredients, and a gentle formula.
Meow Meow Tweet incorporates arrowroot powder, coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, magnesium hydroxide, and shea butter to make this creamy concoction. We might sound like a broken record, but again we can’t stress the moisturizing powers of shea butter and coconut oil. enough They’re also effective antifungal and anti-bacterial ingredients that keep your deodorant and underarms fresh.
What is different here is jojoba seed oil. It’s popular with other skin products like lotion and cleansers because it naturally soothes dry, irritated skin. Jojoba oil also prevents inflammation and redness, which is good news if you have eczema or other skin conditions.
To use, apply a small amount onto your armpits one at a time. A pea-sized scoop should suffice. If you have an existing rash or cut, we recommend waiting until your skin heals before applying this deodorant to avoid further irritation.
Once you’ve used up all the amazing products, reuse or recycle the jar. This deodorant comes with a paper box for added protection, but no worries--you can recycle, reuse, or compost this. Each 2.4-ounce jar should last at least three months.
Check out our zero waste deodorant blog post to find more about natural and plastic-free deodorants.
Other tips & alternatives to unscented deodorant
We believe deodorant (or some variation of it) is a social obligation especially if you have extra funky pits. Nevertheless, we fully support folks who might not be into deodorants for medical, religious, or other personal reasons. In this case, we have some helpful tips to keep sweat and must under control!
1. Check your diet
Some foods are known to make you smell a little funnier than usual. These include onion, garlic, fatty foods, junk food, and red meat. Vegetables with significant amounts of sulfur-like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage also contribute to smelly pits.
Besides food, try to cut down on caffeine and alcohol. Instead, drink more water. Now might be a good time to wean yourself off of that fifth cup of daily coffee! Consider switching to herbal tea or caffeinated varieties like green tea.
Most importantly, make sure you’re eating a well-balanced diet full of fruits and different types of veggies.
2. Check your hygiene
You might not want to hear this possibility, but maybe your armpit problem can be traced back to a hygiene issue. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, but hold yourself accountable to showering at least once a day (more on warmer days) to keep armpits fresh.
Wash clothes regularly so smells and sweat don’t build up. If you tend to sweat with certain fabrics, choose breathable alternatives like cotton, linen, and bamboo. Opt for looser cuts when possible to avoid overheating.
Try to keep underarms as dry as possible. With sweat, odor is pretty much unavoidable, so whenever you can, keep from sweating by staying cool. Shaving your underarms might also prevent sweat, since hairs tend to trap both odor and moisture.
Lastly, use antibacterial soap when you shower. It’s self-explanatory, but these soaps prevent bacteria growth on your pits and other moisture-prone body areas. These are typically mild and won't irritate sensitive skin.
3. Try some homemade remedies
Many people swear by remedies that don’t involve conventional deodorants. One option is to apply apple cider vinegar to your armpits at least twice a day. This acidic mixture essentially makes your armpit non-friendly to odor-causing bacteria and neutralizes any odor.
Another way to go is dabbing witch hazel to your underarms via cotton balls in the morning before you start your day. This astringent helps reduce sweat by minimizing pores and preventing bacteria growth.
4. Embrace the power of calm
When you’re stressed out, your body produces a special kind of sweat that’s unfortunately well-known for its foul odor. This stress sweat is made of 20% nutrients and 80% water compared to regular sweat which is mainly water.
A combination of these nutrients, water, and bacteria on your skin then results in the dreaded stress sweat odor. Small amounts of stress is healthy and necessary, but avoid excessive levels by practicing meditation, taking mental and physical breaks, and doing whatever it is that helps you stay grounded during tough times.
This might be going outside for a few minutes of quiet or taking ten deep breaths. Incorporate these strategies with our previous three tips and you’ll be on your way to a significantly less sweaty and less smelly future.
Unscented deodorant is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to managing BO, excessive sweating, and even zero waste personal care products. This humble solution is great on all skin types but particularly beneficial on sensitive pits. Moreover, it’s a great find for folks who might be looking into aluminum-free alternatives.
As always, there might be a transition period when you’re switching from a drugstore product to a natural one, but hang in there! Just because your new deodorant may seem ineffective the first few days or even weeks, the pay-off is so much worth it. We all know that, self-care is important!
If you have more questions about swapping your old deodorant to an unscented one, shoot us a message on Instagram and we’d be more than happy to help!