I'm not the most health-conscious person in the world, but under no circumstances will I use a deodorant that contains aluminum. I'm obviously not a doctor, but I've read and heard about potential links to breast cancer (you can get cancerous tumors in your armpits), and even the possibility is enough to scare me into using more natural deodorants. If you'd like more information on this topic, which I strongly recommend, talk to your physician or maybe do some research on your own.
There are actually quite a few natural, aluminum-free deodorants on the market these days, but a lot of them don't work as well as their more chemical counterparts--isn't that always the case? If you sweat minimally and have little need for anti-perspirant, any natural deodorant would work fine (like Tom's or anything you can find at a health store). But for the rest of us, here are my three favorite aluminum-free picks!
1. LaVanila Healthy Deodorant: This stick is gaining quite a fan following, and I can totally see why as it's probably my favorite of this group. Not only is it aluminum and paraben free, it's also 100% natural and recommended by dermatologists. I've found that it does the best job at keeping sweat and odor at bay when it comes to aluminum-free deodorants, and it doesn't leave that weird film some others do. It also seems to be a bit soothing for irritated armpits, in case that's an issue for you or you're just a bit uncoordinated with a razor (hey, it happens!). LaVanila is predominantly carried at Sephora, and while they do about 5 or 6 vanilla-based scents for this deodorant, vanilla passion fruit is my favorite (though it doesn't really smell like either). That's kind of to say that it's the least bad option, as all of their scents have an off-putting powderiness and don't really match up to the description. LaVanila is also the most expensive of the three, at $18, but I don't mind paying more for deodorant if it's a natural one. Unfortunately, it contains less product so you do go through it more quickly. Again, it's not a purchase I ever mind or feel guilty over, but if my wallet is feeling a little pinched, I skip to either #2 or #3 on this list.
2. Nivea Pure and Natural Action: This one will probably be more helpful to anyone living outside North America, as I can almost never find this deodorant here. I actually bought this a few months ago in Zurich, and while I'm not sure if it's 100% natural, it definitely doesn't contain aluminum. (Always double-check by reading the ingredients list!) Unlike these other two, this one is a gel formula applied with a rollerball, and smells exactly like DKNY Be Delicious--that fresh, clean, green apple scent. I actually sometimes like to layer the perfume on top for a really long-lasting fragrance. This one isn't quite as sweat-combatant as the LaVanila, but it comes in at a very close second. Gel deodorants feel really nice on hot summer days and their transparency is priceless when wearing black clothing, so even if you don't typically like gel formulas, give this one a go if you can! I found it very easily at COOP and pretty much any pharmacy in Switzerland, so you shouldn't have too much difficulty finding it in Europe. Luckily, if you live in New York, I've been able to get it here too--check your small, off the beaten path drugstores--Pasteur Pharmacy in Manhattan carries it for $10.
3. Arm and Hammer Essentials Natural Deodorant: This, while still a good deodorant, is my least favorite of the three, yet I've gone through about 6 of them. Hands down, it is the most accessible aluminum-free deodorant, available at virtually any drugstore for a mere $4. It's not all natural, but is also paraben-free, if that's something you're concerned about. Again, it holds up well against sweat and the like, but not quite as well as the former two, which is why it's last on the list. Still, if price is a concern, and you don't mind reapplying, this really can't be beat. Arm and Hammer calls this scent "fresh", but it just smells like soap with a small dash of men's cologne. I don't mind it, and that probably makes it more unisex, so tell the men in your life about this deodorant! But be careful when you go pick it up--Arm and Hammer makes quite a few deodorants, but only this one is aluminum free.
If you know of any other good aluminum-free deodorants, please let me know!
Hope you (and your armpits!) are well!