No matter what the alarmists say, the jury is still out as to whether your deodorant is causing cancer, changing your hormone levels, or even, as some argue, leading to Alzheimer's disease. Even the Environmental Working Group (EWG), whose SkinSense program is the gold standard for consumer chemical watchdogs, vacillates a bit on the category. "We don't know whether there is a relationship between antiperspirants and cancer or Alzheimer's," says Paul Pestano, a research analyst at EWG. "Additional research is required." Still, EWG will be the first to point out that there are chemicals in many standard deodorants that can build up in the body over time and irritate the skin right away. They include aluminum, parabens, and phthalates, and some of the chemicals found in the fragrances themselves. If you have sensitive skin or just want to reduce the amount of chemicals to which you're exposed, you have plenty of less-toxic alternatives to choose from that actually work. To note: None of the natural deodorants we tried contain aluminum (the most effective antiperspirant out today) and therefore are far less effective at stopping sweat than your standard deodorants, but they were all surprisingly effective at fighting the stench.
Malin + Goetz Eucalyptus
This clear roller has the best application of the bunch with its transparent, wet roller. It smells a bit like a spa – pleasant, but not for everyone – and does the least for sweat stoppage, given the thin substance. Still, we loved our gook-free underarms, and it kept us smelling fresh for a full day. [$18; malinandgoetz.com]