Searching for the best plastic free deodorant? You are not the only one. A truly plastic free deodorant is going to be non-toxic, free from microplastics and not wrapped in a plastic roll on or push up container. Oh, and it must actually work on those pits. Truly plastic free deodorants are actually harder to find than you think, we have found. Here are some of our best finds.
What makes a plastic free deodorant?
A plastic free deodorant is going to contain no microplastic beads in the ingredients and is not going to be packaged in plastic. This is tricky for a deodorant, which we are used to being handily packaged in a roll on or push up stick. Spray aerosol deodorants, despite packaging made of metal, can also have plastic elements.
In addition to this, the best plastic free deodorant is going to be one that has non-toxic ingredients and is going to be effective. Let’s look at how plastic free a deodorant can be.
Microplastic free deodorant
Microplastics are everywhere, in the environment, in our cosmetics and even in our bodies. These tiny pieces of plastic are found in many health & beauty products and deodorants are no exception.
With our handy ‘Beat The Micro Bead’ scanner from the Plastic Soup Foundation, we are able to identify microplastic free deodorants from their ingredients lists. And a surprising number of deodorant products have microplastics in them.
We scanned deodorants from 6 of the top brands and all of them had microplastics or potential microplastics in them. We aren’t going to name and shame them because we think big brands will be influenced by shoppers’ demand for plastic free deodorant.
We recommend that you always check the ingredients list!
Zero waste deodorant
Let’s state the obvious. A plastic free deodorant is not going to be packaged in plastic. This is a problem for both spray aerosol deodorant, push up sticks and roll-ons.
Roll on deodorants and push up deodorants have both been packaged in plastic for years. Even if the plastics are recyclable, they are often a mix of plastics and so they don’t get recycled.
In the U.S. only 8.7% of plastic was recycled in 2018 (EPA) and plastics contributed 12.7% of municipal solid waste (35.7 million tons). 3 million tons were recycled, 5 million tons were burned and 27 million tons went into landfill.
The best plastic free deodorant would not be packaged in plastic at all. It is possible, as shown by Lekker, We Love The Planet and Native who package their deodorants in paper.
Is spray or roll on deodorant better for the environment?
According to Packaging Insights, aerosol cans contain a mix of tin and aluminum, which can both be recycled but if the aerosol also contains plastic parts in the spray top, and your recycling depot does not have the ability to separate them, they will end up in landfill.
Although aerosols no longer contain chlorofluorocarbons they do still emit VOCs. In a recent study by the University of York and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science found household aerosols to be more harmful to the environment than driving a car.
“Virtually all aerosol based consumer products can be delivered in non-aerosol form, for example as dry or roll-on deodorants, bars of polish not spray. Making just small changes in what we buy could have a major impact on both outdoor and indoor air quality, and have relatively little impact on our lives.”Professor Alastair Lewis
Pretty much what we are always recommending – little changes add up to sustainable living.
Antiperspirant vs deodorant
What is the difference between an antiperspirant and a deodorant? Antiperspirants stop the sweat by blocking the sweat ducts, according to dermatologist Dr. Shari Sperling in the NY mag. A deodorant stops the odor, caused by bacteria.
Natural plastic free deodorants do not contain aluminum which is the only FDA approved antiperspirant. That said, a natural deodorant can contain ingredients which absorb moisture, providing the same effect as an antiperspirant, according to dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick in the same NY mag article.
Plastic free deodorant with aluminum
Is there such a thing as a plastic free deodorant with aluminum, or in other words a plastic free antiperspirant? We couldn’t find one. Let us know if you have.
Non toxic deodorant
Next let’s talk about non toxic deodorant. If you have read any of our other sustainable swaps articles, you will know that we are obsessed with finding products that have no toxic ingredients in them. And so many personal hygiene products do.
There is a lot of talk about aluminum in deodorants being harmful and linked to breast cancer but Penn Medicine says there is no proven link between aluminum and breast cancer. Their only note of caution is if you have very low kidney function, in which case the aluminum build up could cause some issues.
Look out for nasty and hidden ingredients in your deodorant brand. The generic ‘perfume’ label is one that we think needs further investigation, maybe warranting a call to the manufacturers to find out what it is. We always prefer brands who are transparent on their labels.
Native plastic free deodorant
Native makes a range of plastic free deodorant alongside the normal range in a plastic push up. The plastic free version is packaged in a paper from responsibly managed forests. The website gives a clear list of ingredients. It includes baking soda, magnesium hydroxide and probiotics. Native plastic free deodorant is aluminum free, vegan and naturally derived.
Lekker plastic free deodorant
The Lekker Company shop details the ingredients for their plastic free deodorant in chemical names and plain English (despite being a Dutch company). Their deodorant is packaged in 100% plastic free paper. The cream is supplied in a cardboard tube and a paper bag. It is vegan and cruelty free.
Nuud plastic free deodorant
Nuud is microplastic free and packaged in a biodegradable tube made from sugar cane. Nuud is vegan and 100% natural. It does contain micro silver and the jury is out on whether silver is safe and of course, silver is a finite resource. The ingredients, both chemical name and common names, are listed on the website.
Mome plastic free deodorant
Mome Indispensible Deo (shown in the main photo) is packaged in a 100% vegetal PE and refillable roll on bottle. The ingredients are clearly listed and are microplastics free. It is vegan, cruelty free and COSMOS ORGANIC certified by Ecocert Greenlife with 99.7% ingredients of natural origin. Plus it is a small company in France that empowers workers.
We Love The Planet plastic free deodorant
We Love The Planet is another Dutch company making plastic free deodorant. They offer the deodorant in aluminum cans or as stick deodorant in biodegradable paper packaging. We Love The Planet ingredients are not listed on the website. We found that the Sweet Serenity deodorant includes some ingredients that can trigger allergies e.g. coumarin.
As we always keep saying, check the labels even when the brand is labeled 100% natural and eco-friendly. Each of us reacts to different things and each of us has a different attitude to risk.
The best plastic free deodorant
The best plastic free deodorant we found was Native. Although expensive, it is highly recommended. The ingredients are clear and we know they work on underarm odor.
If a baking soda based deodorant is not your preference, there are plenty of options on the list.
We always say check the ingredients list for any potential microplastics or toxins. And of course, check out the packaging.