Why is it that most deodorants are bad for the environment? I’m sure some of you have heard of this but thought, ‘I’m putting this on my body so it can’t be bad, right?’.

Yeah, no. You were very wrong. Deodorants and antiperspirants contribute to air and water pollution through sprays releasing harmful chemicals like parabens, triclosan, aluminium compounds, phthalates and propylene glycol. This is why roll-on is said to be better than spray deodorants. Triclosan is the chemical that stops you from sweating by blocking your sweat glands. When this washes off your body in the shower, it flows through the waterways and threatens aquatic organisms in the ocean. Lastly, deodorant packaging is often non-recyclable using plastic, aluminium, or tin which contributes to waste pollution.

Natural deodorants eliminate odour in a way that is environmentally friendly however, be warned; they do not eliminate sweat! If you are interested in making the change, or have, but think it isn’t good because you keep sweating… yeah, that’s meant to happen. Sweating is natural and much better for your health and your body than using antiperspirants.

There are many, many natural deodorants out there in the forms of cream, roll-on or spray. Here are five accessible and affordable Australian-made options that I would recommend.

1. No Pong rub-on

No Pong rub-on cream comes in a small 35g tin with different types such as original, bicarb free, spicy chai, vegan, and more. Depending on how you use it, one tin can typically last between one to six months of use. Prices include:

  • No Pong online: $6.95-9.95 plus $3 shipping
  • Go Vita: $9.95
  • Supermarkets: $10
  • Chemists: $8-9

2. Sukin Spray

Sukin is a huge environmental brand with its own 125ml natural deodorant spray. Unlike tins or glass jars, Sukin uses a plastic spray bottle which they recycle through Terracycle. All you do is sign up to join the Sukin recycling program through Terracycle, collect your plastic bottles in a box, then print the label and mail it to them (which is prepaid so no cost to you— yay!). They also have a refill station in Melbourne. Other than the ‘Signature’ scent, the sprays come in ‘Fresh cotton’ and ‘Ocean mist’. Prices include:

  • Sukin online: $8 plus $7.95 shipping
  • Supermarkets: $8
  • Chemists: $3.97-$8.00
  • Amazon: $3.97 plus $7.99 Newcastle shipping (shipping price varies depending on address or pickup location)

3. Dermal Therapy Crystal Stick

Crystal Deodorant is a 120g stick in plastic packaging that you roll-on after applying a bit of water. Alternatively, there is a 120ml plastic spray bottle. Typically, a crystal stick can last about a year of use. Prices include:

  • Amazon online: $8.99 plus $7.99 Newcastle shipping (varies)
  •   Chemists: $8-$9.95

4. MooGoo roll-on

MooGoo roll-on comes in a 60ml plastic bottle with different types such as sensitive, coconut cream, oats and honey, and lemon myrtle. Additionally, a 115ml plastic bottle is available but only in unscented or lemon myrtle. The plastic bottles can also be recycled through Terracycle with the prepaid postal service. If used twice a day, the 60ml bottle should last three months of use and the 115ml bottle will last five and a half months. Prices include:

  • MooGoo online: $8.90 for 60ml or $14.90 for 115ml plus $7.90 Newcastle shipping (may vary)
  • Chemists: $6-8.90 60ml or $11-13 115ml
  • Go Vita: $8.20-9.95

5. Homemade natural deodorant

If these are not for you, you can make your own natural deodorant with a few easy steps.

  1. Mix two tablespoons of baking soda and four tablespoons of arrowroot starch in a small bowl.
  2. Mash in four tablespoons of coconut oil until blended. Add essential oils, if desired.
  3. Place the mixture in an empty glass jar and set aside for at least half an hour to let it solidify.
  4. Apply to your armpits once ready.

The arrowroot starch helps thicken the mixture while coconut oil is antibacterial and moisturising. Baking soda helps to absorb your armpit bacteria and eliminate odour. Some people can react badly to baking soda so please be careful. Supermarket prices include:

  • Baking soda: $2.45 500g
  • Arrowroot starch: $1.90 175g
  • Coconut oil: $4.35 300ml
  • Essential oils: approx. $15-20 at supermarkets or $3.75 at Kmart. Typically found cheaper at cheap shops, retail stores or chemists.

Homemade deodorant will typically last about 6-12 months and with the above amounts you could get approximately three or four batches before running out of arrowroot starch. So, for about twenty bucks you would potentially be set for a minimum of two years depending on usage. Because natural deodorant is meant to eliminate smell and nothing else, I’d recommend pairing it with a nice natural perfume or other nice-smelling options.

Sami Peters

Sami Peters

Hi, I’m Sami Peters and I am the Environment and Global Change Reporter for Opus. I study a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and Writing. I love reading, writing, dancing, and the beach. I have a lot of passions but to combine two of my favourites: the environment and writing… that’s the dream.