Got pits? Listen up. When it comes to underarms, it’s important to understand one essential distinction: Deodorants stop odor. Antiperspirants stop sweating. But sweat isn’t all bad, according to Rob Streisfeld, a Los Angeles-based doctor of naturopathic medicine. “Your body is designed to sweat,” Streisfeld said.

What’s not good, however, is stopping that sweat with chemical compounds like aluminum, which can affect the lymph system and compromise the immune system, according to Streisfeld. “Using chemicals and agents to block the natural process is never good.” Streisfeld explained.

And far be it from unscientifically qualified us to weigh in on as controversial a subject as breast cancer, but some have suggested that the chemicals in antiperspirants may account for the dramatic rise in breast cancer in recent years. Even if conventional medicine says they’re safe, why apply chemicals in such a sensitive area when natural alternatives do the job as well—or better?

Luckily, just because you choose to sweat (lightly) doesn’t mean you have to smell.

Forget the sticky stuff of yesteryore; purists, save your baking-soda-and-water concoctions for the bathroom sink. Today’s paraben-free deodorants use mineral salts to balance pH and reduce bacterial growth and are infused with herbs like aloe, coriander and lichen, which have powerful, natural antiperspirant qualities. We put a selection of deodorants to the stress test to find our top seven faves. Oh and p.s. We saved the best for last.

MBeze Natural Skin Care Deodorette, made with natural and organic ingredients hand blended in small batches in the USA, is a stylish little handbag-friendly deodorant that’s perfect for freshening up on the fly. It contains natural and organic ingredients like lime oil, Arrowroot powder and Vitamin E, with no aluminum, parabens or propylene glycol.

Aluminum- and chemical-free Erbaviva Lemon and Sage Organic Deodorant is a sprayable blend of organic extracts of sage, lemon, patchouli and tea tree oils designed to sweetly counteract the growth of bacteria without clogging pores.

Sensitive-skinned EcoStilettoistas will appreciate Dr. Hauschka Skin Care Fresh Deodorant, formulated with witch hazel and sage extracts to absorb odor without clogging pores and zinc to reduce odor without wreaking havoc on delicate skin. Plus it’s spiked with citrus essential oils that kept us smelling fresh for hours.

Toms of Maine Long-Lasting Care may be an old standby, but it has a new and unusual odor-killing weapon: hops! Yes, those dried flowers that make our beer taste so yummy actually inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria on the skin while reducing the possibility of skin irritation. To gently intensify the anti-odor action, zinc ricinoleate binds up odor molecules, trapping and absorbing bad smells. All this, and a lovely lemongrass scent, too. 

Kiss My Face Active Enzyme Stick Deodorant neutralizes odor by using enzymatic protein from grains, while baking soda and purifying clays absorb any excess scent, keeping you clean-smelling all day long. We love that the dry stick is aluminum- and paraben-free, plus it’s colorless and non-staining, so no fear of ruining our clothes!

Paraben and propylene glycol-free, Lafe’s Natural and Organic Hemp Roll-On keeps you sweetly scented with certified organic hemp oil, aloe vera and baking soda—a proven formula that’s worked for the company since they started making natural deodorants in 1992. The company also donates 1% of all sales through the Lafe’s One Percent Project to breast cancer education and prevention. Fitting.

Finally, Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Deodorant is the deodorant of choice at ES central these days. Free of aluminum, parabens, propylene glycol, talc, phthalates and triclosan, the little stick is packed with antioxidants, active botanicals and essential oils (like goji berry, Japanese honeysuckle, aloe, lemon and tea tree) to fight odor, and to condition, soothe and nourish the skin. We especially love the light vanilla-grapefruit scent. Can we get that in eau de toilette?

Now through November 19th, get 20% off at with “ecostiletto” at checkout. Oh and are you reading our tweets? We’re giving away five Lafe deodorants this week. Woot!

With weekly sustainable swag giveaways worth $100 or more, SELF dubbed us an "earth-loving site we heart," the Los Angeles Times named it "our favorite guide to being chic and green," and "Gossip Girl" Kelly Rutherford said is "for the woman who wants to do the right thing and still look good doing it." Sign up and stiletto-size you!



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