Everything You Need to Know About Natural Deodorant

Let's talk about deodorant. It's actually a favourite topic here at Biome HQ - we have many chats about which natural deodorant we've tried and which ones work best on our skin. But how does natural deodorant actually work? And how do you know which one will work for you? If you've thought about making the switch, but don't know where to start, keep reading!

 How does natural deodorant work and which is the best sort for my skin?

Antiperspirant vs Deodorant

These terms are often used interchangeably, but there are key differences. Antiperspirants prevent sweat from reaching the skin's surface by plugging the sweat glands with a gel that is formed from dissolving aluminium salts in your sweat . This means you are absorbing aluminium, a toxic heavy metal, into your body, as well as inhibiting your sweat gland's natural process of releasing toxins. Natural deodorant doesn't stop you sweating, rather it uses natural anti-bacterial ingredients including mineral salts, coconut oil, baking soda or natural clays to control the odour causing bacteria.

Why is Natural Important?

Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants include many synthetic ingredients, petrochemicals and fragrances including parabens, talc, cyclomethicone and propylene glycol, which have been associated with serious health risks. Natural deodorants avoid these ingredients, finding safe, natural alternatives that still deliver effective results. Furthermore, the natural deodorants found at Biome are not only toxin free, they are palm oil free too.


Aluminium is the key ingredient in antiperspirants - it's effective at blocking sweat glands and keeping us dry. But what's the risk associated with it? There is much that is still unknown, but there have been studies linking high levels of aluminium to serious health problems such as breast cancer, kidney problems, Alzheimer's Disease and bone health. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recognises that studies in animals show that the nervous system is a sensitive target of aluminium toxicity. Aluminium can also cause irritation to the underarms resulting in rashes and discomfort. A note on crystal deodorants: many of these contain natural mineral salts such as potassium alum or ammonium alum. This is a form of aluminium, but the molecules are too large to be absorbed into the skin and instead form an invisible protective barrier on top of the skin. The jury is still out as to if and how much of these alums are absorbed into the skin, with no comprehensive research for either side. While research is still incomplete on the effects of aluminium that is absorbed through the skin via antiperspirants, those wishing to avoid aluminium altogether should look to other natural options, rather than those based on mineral salts. The good news is that there are a number of natural alternatives that allow you to reduce or end your reliance on aluminium-based antiperspirants.


If you've never used a natural deodorant before, you may experience a detox period as your body expels all the nasty chemicals that it absorbed from synthetic deodorants and balances its pH. According to natural deodorant brand, Earths Purities, "this detox period could be present for up to two weeks and some of the effects could be odour, redness or rash." Once this is over, your body should only release natural toxins, and any odour can be neutralised with natural deodorant. To help with the detox process as you switch from a conventional deodorant to a natural one, we recommend using Earths Purities detox-a-pit, which is designed to detox your armpits by drawing out toxins and heavy metals, and by correcting bacterial imbalances that cause odour and irritation.

So I'm Going to Sweat?

While some natural deodorants contain ingredients such as arrowroot or kaolin clay, which work to reduce moisture, there is no getting around the fact that if you don't use an aluminium antiperspirant, you will sweat. As there is no smell, this can be manageable, though some people like to use aluminium antiperspirants on particular occasions (meetings or special events) where they cannot afford to have any wetness, and then use natural deodorant the rest of the time.

There is No One-Size Fits All Natural Deodorant

We all have different biochemistry and are sensitive to different ingredients. Natural deodorants come in many shapes and sizes - pastes, sprays, roll-ons or solid crystal - but most fall under 3 categories:

Sodium Bicarbonate Based:  Also known as baking soda, bicarb is used as a substitute for aluminium and parabens found in conventional deodorant. It is highly effective at reducing odours. Baking soda can cause irritation in some people, especially after shaving, while others have no reaction and find it very effective. Try:

Deodorant for Sensitive Skin Without Bicarb

Magnesium Hydroxide: Magnesium attacks the odour-causing bacteria as well as helping to maintain a low pH environment under the arm in which bacteria can not survive. If you react to deodorants that contain sodium bicarbonate, a deodorant based on magnesium hydroxide is an ideal alternative. Try:

Mineral Salt Based: As mentioned above, crystal or mineral based deodorants use alums (such as potassium alum or ammonium alum) to create an invisible layer of protection on your skin, which makes it hard for odour causing bacteria to populate. Those wishing to avoid aluminium entirely should look to other alternatives. Try:

With all natural body care products deodorants, it's important to have a look at ingredients and try out different types, allowing your body time to adjust to them (at least two weeks).

Many of our customers are making a commitment to eliminate plastics from their everyday life. Are you on a similar mission? If so, read about our range of plastic free deodorants.

Make Your Own Natural Deodorant

Making your own natural deodorant at home is really easy, not to mention the fact you can save money, reduce single use plastic, and adjust the scent and ingredients to how you like. Plus, this DIY deodorant is free from petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances, aluminium, propylene glycol and parabens, making it much kinder for you and the planet (particularly if you store it in a reusable glass jar). DIY deodorant using safe, natural ingredients. Read the blog post here >

Explore all our natural deodorants here >


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