“It’s really a matter of finding what works best for you. Not every natural deodorant works for everybody,” says Katie Sturino, founder of Megababe, a body-positive beauty line. “I tried all the ones people were raving about when it first became a thing. A lot of them had baking soda, which I’m allergic to, so I ended up with pits covered in rashes.” Sturino, whose mother is also a two-time cancer survivor, decided to make nailing the perfect aluminum-free deodorant her personal mission. Megababe’s Rosy Pits deodorant was a year in the making, part of a new generation of products that bring the science of natural deodorants up to speed. Her brand replaces popular natural-deodorizing agents such as baking soda and alcohol, which can be irritants to sensitive skin, with a blend of antibacterial ingredients, like sandalwood and sage, as well as skin-nourishing coconut extract and antioxidant-rich vitamin E. Where traditional natural deodorants tend to pull from a repertoire of heavy herbal scents—eucalyptus comes to mind—Sturino’s has a light, floral note. “We went through a lot of roses—grandma, sugary, you name it—before I found the right one,” she says of her fragrant pick, Moldova rose. “Now, when I open it, I just want to stick my face in it because I love the scent so much.”
Admittedly, it’s a big part of why I like Rosy Pits too. I’m also a big fan of stick formulas, especially when they hold up all day like this one. Since my misadventure with the rock crystal, I’ve managed to get back on the aluminum-free deodorant wagon. In fact, ask my friends and family and they’ll probably say I’ve become a bit of a natural-deodorant zealot. Up until recently, I’d been relying on aluminum-free deodorants by brands like Vichy, which I discovered in Paris about nine years ago. Luckily, there are a ton of effective options on the American market now, so I no longer have to schlep all those products across the pond.
As far as roll-on natural alternatives go, Aesop has one of the best out there, in my opinion. Vetiver root, zinc, and Wasabia japonica are listed as active ingredients—no alcohol or baking soda to be found, so it’s pretty gentle. The biggest selling point for me, though, is the long-lasting fragrance, which is fresh and woody in a way that is appealing to both men and women (not that there aren’t men out there who want rose-scented pits—Sturino swears that her husband is her best guinea pig—but still!). For those nonsensitive types who are looking for something a little more zingy, there are solid options containing baking soda. Leaves of Trees has a paste formula that comes in a variety of fragrances, including Persian lime. Eir NYC’s fir-needle-scented version is in the same vein, pegged as “an antiperspirant for him and her.” It’s made almost exclusively from natural ingredients with names you will easily recognize—shea butter, arrowroot, rosemary oil, et cetera—music to the ears of hardcore natural-beauty purists.