In this article we’ll review the ingredients in Native Deodorant based on published medical research to determine if it truly is healthier than commercial options, and whether or not we recommend the brand.
Is Regular Deodorant Unhealthy?
Before we can determine if Native is a healthier option, it’s worthwhile to review the ingredients in a popular commercial deodorant for comparison.
Old Spice is one of the most popular men’s deodorant brands, and we’ve highlighted the ingredients list from the first deodorant that they feature on their site, called “Swagger Deodorant”, below:
It contains an artificial dye called Blue 1, which has been shown in medical research to cause hypersensitivity reactions. The researchers examined a variety of artificial dyes used in foods and cosmetics and suggested that every one be replaced with safer alternatives due to health concerns.
Old Spice also contains fragrance, a broad descriptor term which encompasses a wide variety of chemicals. Some of the compounds used to make fragrance are safe and some are not; without the manufacturer publishing exactly what chemicals are used there’s no way for consumers to determine their safety.
Some chemicals used to make fragrance were found toxic in an animal study published in the Environmental & Occupational Health journal.
There’s also seemingly a lack of ingredients effective for controlling odor in the Old Spice product. Here are a description of the ingredients from an expanded version of the label: dissolving agent, water, solvent, surfactant, fragrance, emulsifier, skin conditioning agent, chelating agent, colorant.
It appears the product only works by masking the scent with artificial fragrance rather than actually including effective ingredients for controlling and reducing body odor.
Native Deodorant Ingredient Review
Native sells a variety of different scented deodorants, but they also offer an unscented version which is the one we would recommend for health reasons.
All of the ingredients in the unscented version of Native Deodorant are natural and non-toxic.
Native contains the probiotic lactobacillus acidophilus, which is a novel choice for a deodorant but seems to be effective. While this type of probiotic hasn’t yet been studied in deodorant products specifically, a medical study found that it significantly reduced odor to negative in all patients when applied topically for bacterial vaginosis.
Another effective active ingredient in Native is coconut oil, which has documented antibacterial and antifungal effects.
Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, is another safe and non-toxic ingredient for natural odor control. It’s used in commercial settings for exactly this purpose, and makes sense as an ingredient inclusion in a natural deodorant.
Shea butter is included as a skin moisturizer, and has proven benefits for that effect. The linked study found that a shea butter moisturizer was effective for patients with sensitive skin.
Overall we would recommend this deodorant, and it’s the best deodorant formulation we’ve reviewed yet. Lume had a decent formulation but fewer effective ingredients and made questionable research claims.
Native Deodorant unscented has several ingredients with efficacy proven by medical studies, ahd contains no toxic or questionable filler ingredients. We find it to be significantly safer and healthier than the Old Spice commercial deodorant used as a comparison, and also more likely to be effective given that we couldn’t identify one single ingredient for odor-blocking in the Old Spice deodorant (nor did the company suggest one existed on their ingredient label).
Native also provides an option for purchasing their deodorant in plastic-free packaging, which we would strongly recommend for environmental reasons. The cost and size is exactly the same, as are the ingredients. We’re actually unsure why they still actively sell the plastic version if they already have a plastic-free version that’s the same product.
Other Native Products
Deodorant is by far the most popular Native product, but we figured it would be useful to review a few of Native’s other products in a more rapid-fire style.
Native Bar Soap
The unscented option has a similar formulation to their deodorant. More skin hydrating ingredients such as glycerin, which makes sense for a soap product. We like the continued inclusion of coconut oil in Native’s products; its antifungal, antibacterial and skin-moisturizing effects make it a great option for personal care products. We would recommend this product.
The main active ingredient in Native sunscreen is zinc oxide, which is a physical sunscreen compound without the potential endocrine-disrupting effects of oxybenzone, which is in many commercial sunscreen brands.
Zinc oxide has been proven in a medical review to be effective at blocking UV damage, non-toxic and better for the environment than chemical sunscreens.
All of the additional ingredients are safe and non-toxic, and we would recommend this sunscreen.
Native Hair Products
Unfortunately, all of Native’s hair products contain fragrance so we can’t recommend them. They also contain the preservative sodium benzoate, which while relatively non-toxic, we typically recommend avoiding because of questionable sensitivity reactions and because there are plenty of hair products with no preservatives
Native’s fluoride-free toothpaste contains a healthier formulation than commercial toothpastes. The charcoal option is better-formulated than the wild mint option, as it’s free of titanium dioxide, an additive which has possible adverse effects on the immune system due to its toxicity as documented by medical research.
The vast majority of commercial toothpaste contains titanium dioxide as well, so Native isn’t alone in this regard, but their charcoal toothpaste formulations are free of it.
The whitening agent in Native’s fluoride-free charcoal toothpaste is hydrated silica, which is proven effective for that purpose.
Overall we find Native’s fluoride-free charcoal toothpaste to be significantly healthier than commercial products, and would recommend it from a health perspective. It may provide less whitening effect than commercial toothpastes with multiple whitening agents, so it’s up to consumers to weigh the health vs. cosmetic benefits when making a purchase decision.