There comes a time in every parent’s life when they are suddenly overcome by strong feelings for their growing child. Unfortunately, the feelings we’re referring to are feelings of disgust at the sudden stench emanating from those once-sweet armpits you used to blow raspberries into.
So, what do you do when your child starts producing body odor? How do you protect your child from the harmful chemicals found in so many products? Do natural deodorants even work?
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you could ever wish to know about deodorants and review the ten best deodorants for kids. Then you’ll be ready to make an educated choice and eliminate that nasty stench once and for all.
- Vegan product, not tested on animals
- Made with all-natural ingredients
- Suitable for boys or girls
- Well-loved brand for quality products
- Contains bacteria-neutralizing probiotics
- Wide variety of fragrance options
- Affordable compared to other options
- Uses simple, all-natural ingredients
- Doesn’t contain extra fragrances
- Comes in a larger size than most
- Vegan formulation
- Smoother than other natural deodorants
- Formulated especially for sensitive skin
- Lasts for 24 hours
- Doesn’t stain clothing
- Roll-on style is easy to use
- Fragrance-free formula
- Users claim it works great & lasts all day
- Uses only 4 natural ingredients
- Softens skin while deodorizing
- Non-staining formula
- Sweet, fresh-smelling scent
- Hypoallergenic formula for sensitive skin
- Made in the US
- Lasts for 24 hours
- Free of aluminum, parabens, talc, etc
- Formula stays soft & doesn’t dry out
- Great for kids who sweat a lot
- Uses many natural ingredients
- Comes in a variety of scents
How to Choose the Best Deodorant for Kids
When it comes time to purchase deodorant for your kids, you’ll want to consider the following:
Deodorant vs Antiperspirant
Deodorant helps to get rid of bacteria that causes body odor by increasing skin acidity. It may also reduce sweat by absorbing moisture. However, its sole purpose is to prevent stinkiness, not sweating.
Antiperspirant, on the other hand, reduces sweat by blocking the sweat ducts, typically using an aluminum compound.
There has been a lot of controversy around the use of aluminum in skin products. Aluminum has been rumored to be a contributor to breast cancer. More research needs to be done in this area, but according to the American Cancer Society, there is currently no clear link between breast cancer and the use of antiperspirants (1).
However, it’s still a good idea to avoid potentially harmful chemicals, especially when it comes to children. So many parents skip the aluminum antiperspirants and stick with deodorants made from natural ingredients. In fact, nearly all deodorants marketed for children are made with natural ingredients.
When it comes time to look for a deodorant for your malodorous offspring, you’ll first want to consider what type will work best. Deodorant comes in a variety of forms.
This is the most commonly used type of deodorant. It comes in a roll-up tube and feels soft and powdery. It’s generally quick and easy to rub on, and fairly inexpensive. However, stick deodorants that include coconut oil or beeswax as a base may be harder and require a little warming on your skin before use.
Stick deodorant doesn’t travel well as it often becomes crumbled or broken over time. It’s a good option for keeping at home or in a locker but not the best to cart around in a gym bag or backpack. It can also leave a powdery film under arms or on clothing.
This is a liquid or gel-based deodorant that comes in a bottle with a roller top. Roll-on deodorant goes on fairly wet, so you need to give it a little time to dry before having your armpits come in contact with clothing. It’s generally affordable and may last longer than stick deodorant as it doesn’t crumble.
It’s great for gym bags and backpacks, as long as they remain in temperature-controlled environments. You do not want to apply roll-on deodorant after it has been left in a vehicle for a few hours in the dead of winter! (Don’t ask me how I know this.)
Cream deodorant usually comes in a tub and rubs on like a lotion. It is not as common as stick or roll-on deodorants, and although it works well, it can be messy to apply. As it’s usually an oil-based product, it may also leave stains on clothing.
This usually comes in an aerosol can and is applied by spraying under the arms. People like it because it tends to dry quicker than other types.
However, there are many health risks linked to the use of spray deodorants. Some of these risks include headaches, asthma, eczema, allergies, and even fatal heart problems.
The concern is especially high for children and teens as they tend to overuse these products. When it comes to your loved ones, it’s best to avoid spray deodorants and reach for a more natural alternative (2).
The ingredients in deodorants vary greatly, but some tend to stand out. Many antiperspirants and deodorants use harsh ingredients that you may not want on your developing child’s pits, regardless of how rank they smell.
As discussed previously, although unfounded, there are concerns that aluminum may be linked to breast cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. For this reason, many people choose to avoid aluminum-based deodorants.
Although it helps to kill bacteria, alcohol also dries out skin and can cause irritation.
Parabens are preservatives used in some cosmetics. Smaller studies have found a link between parabens and breast cancer tumors. Although parabens used to be common ingredients in deodorants, they are rarely used today (3).
Phthalates are often used in personal care products to lengthen fragrance life and increase ingredient flexibility. They have been linked to a number of health concerns. They affect people in different ways, but children going through puberty seem to be at higher risk of side effects. It’s best to avoid them as much as possible (4).
Rather than unnecessarily exposing children to harmful chemicals, most deodorants for kids are made using all-natural ingredients.
You might be unsure about natural deodorants, especially if your kid could win a scent battle against a skunk. You may worry that they won’t be effective enough. However, thousands of children with all levels of armpit toxicity use natural deodorants and find they work just as well, if not better than other alternatives.
Just like with regular deodorants, you may not click with the first natural deodorant you try. However, the trick is to find the active ingredient that agrees best with your skin. Even natural ingredients like baking soda can irritate the skin, so don’t be surprised if your child reacts to a particular brand. If this happens, look for another brand that uses different active ingredients.
These are some of the most common natural deodorant ingredients:
- Coconut oil: It helps kill bacteria and soften skin.
- Powders or starches: Baking soda, arrowroot powder, activated charcoal, and cornstarch are commonly used in natural deodorants to absorb moisture and sometimes kill bacteria.
- Essential oils: These natural oils are used to replace chemical fragrances and sometimes kill bacteria as well.
As deodorant usually includes essential oils or natural fragrances to replace that BO aroma, you’ll want to consider if the scent is appealing to you. Deodorants come in more scents than you can imagine, but all of them smell better than your funky kid.
As your child is going to be the one who smells the deodorant the most, discuss scent preferences with them to find the best fit.
Many deodorants also include a fragrance-free version for those who are sensitive to artificial smells.
Value for Money
When pricing out deodorants, don’t forget to consider the product size. Deodorant companies can be especially deceitful by hiding a small amount of product inside a larger tube.
View the weight of the product when comparing prices to ensure you will get the best value for your money. Also, review any longevity claims. If a product only lasts a few hours and needs to be constantly reapplied, it won’t be as great of a value as a product that lasts for 24 or more hours.
The Best Kids Deodorants of 2021
Here are ten great deodorant options for smelly kids of all ages.
1. Tom's Wicked Cool! Natural Deodorant for Kids
Tom’s of Maine’s Wicked Cool! deodorant is an aluminum-free stick deodorant for boys and girls made with all-natural ingredients.
Choose from two light and fresh scents, Summer Fun or Freestyle, which both smell great and are suitable for boys or girls.
This deodorant lasts for up to 24 hours, which is perfect for preteens who are far too busy to be bothered with reapplying.
The 3-pack set costs less than a lot of single deodorant sticks. Keep one at home, one at school, and one in your vehicle, so your child can smell fresh wherever they go.
- Vegan product, not tested on animals.
- Made with all-natural ingredients.
- Suitable for boys or girls.
- Small stick doesn’t last long.
|Net weight||1.6 ounces (45.3 grams)|
|Scent||Freestyle, Summer Fresh|
2. Native Natural Stick Deodorant
When most people think about natural deodorant, Native is usually the first brand that comes to mind. It is by far the most well-known and well-loved natural deodorant.
Although not formulated specifically for kids, Native’s all-natural ingredients make it completely safe and beneficial for sweaty people of all ages.
This vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free deodorant is unique in that it also contains a probiotic (acidophilus). This helps to neutralize the bacteria that cause that putrid pit smell.
- Well-loved brand known for creating quality natural products.
- Contains bacteria-neutralizing probiotics.
- Wide variety of fragrance options, including an unscented option.
- Some users complained of dark stains on skin and clothing that were difficult to remove.
|Net weight||2.65 ounces (75 grams)|
|Scents||Coconut & Vanilla, Cucumber & Mint, Lavender & Rose, Unscented|
3. TBH Kids Unscented Stick Deodorant
Strong scents can be overwhelming for some children. And many schools and other environments have incorporated a policy banning fragrances due to allergies and sensitivities. So this fragrance-free, natural deodorant for kids is a good option.
TBH uses charcoal and arrowroot powder to gently absorb moisture and draw out toxins. It has a coconut oil base that gets rid of odor-causing bacteria and softens skin. Rather than hiding body odor behind another fragrance, it keeps kids smelling fresh with no additional scent required.
Because this formula is made with coconut oil, it can be a little hard or dry at times. TBH recommends warming the stick on the skin (or rubbing fingertips on the surface) to soften it slightly before use.
- Very affordable compared to other natural options.
- Uses simple, all-natural ingredients.
- Doesn’t contain any extra fragrances.
- Often requires some warming up before use.
|Net weight||2 ounces (57 grams)|
4. Pretty Frank Natural Deodorant Stick
Pretty Frank’s unscented deodorant is a natural deodorant designed to target armpit stink on people of all ages and genders.
Its active ingredients are magnesium hydroxide and zinc, which neutralize odors before they begin. It also includes organic arrowroot to absorb sweat, keeping armpits dry and comfortable.
Pretty Frank deodorant comes in a variety of unique scents such as Woodlands and Charcoal Seaside. We love that there’s an unscented version, which is acceptable for use in fragrance-free environments.
- Comes in a larger size than most other deodorants for kids.
- Vegan formula uses only ingredients that are safe enough to eat.
- Goes on more smoothly than many other natural deodorants.
- May leave a white residue on skin.
|Net weight||2.7 ounces (77 grams)|
|Scents||Unscented, Charcoal Seaside, Coconut Lime, Jasmine, Lavender, Orange Vanilla, Woodlands|
5. MONA Natural Deodorant for Kids — Sensitive Skin
If your child has sensitive skin and is likely to break out from any product applied under their arms, you should check out MONA’s 100 percent natural deodorant. This deodorant is specifically formulated to be gentle on kids’ skin.
It is made without irritants that are used in so many other deodorants. Instead, it uses magnesium oxide and zinc oxide — which are powerful but gentle natural deodorizers — and a variety of other plant-based ingredients.
MONA’s deodorant is available in four options: honeydew, vanilla spice, orange, and unscented.
- Formulated especially for sensitive skin.
- Lasts 24 hours.
- Doesn’t stain clothing.
- Doesn’t go on as smoothly as some other deodorants.
- Dries out quickly.
|Net weight||1.76 ounces (50 grams)|
|Scents||Honeydew, Vanilla Spice, Orange|
6. Keep It Kind Fresh Kidz Natural Roll-On Deodorant
Fresh Kidz Deodorant is an all-natural deodorant that comes in a roll-on tube.
This unscented version can be used for boys or girls. It glides on smoothly and keeps body odor in check throughout the day, regardless of how active your little stink bomb is. However, some young users don’t like the wet feeling after application.
Fresh Kidz deodorants are also available in a variety of other scents specific to boys or girls.
- Roll-on style is easy to use, perfect for younger kids.
- Fragrance-free formula is great for sensitive noses.
- Users claim it works great and lasts all day.
- Takes a little time to dry after use and can get clothing wet.
|Net weight||1.86 ounces (53 grams)|
7. Truly's Organic Deodorant for Kids
Coconut oil, powdered sugar, baking soda — sounds like startings of a sweet recipe, right? But Truly’s combined these ingredients with beeswax to create what many refer to as a “miracle product.”
This unique cream deodorant softens underarms while combating body odor. The soft formula comes in a small tub and looks like a standard skin lotion. To use, have your child rub a small amount into both armpits to stay fresh all day.
- Uses only four, all-natural ingredients.
- Softens skin while deodorizing.
- Non-staining formula keeps clothing clean.
- Some users don’t like the coconut smell.
- A small percentage of users broke out in a rash after using.
|Net weight||2.5 ounces (71 grams)|
8. Fresh Monster Gummy Burst Natural Deodorant for Kids
If you’ve always wished your kids were sweeter, Fresh Monster’s deodorant will help you achieve that. Well, they’ll smell sweeter at least. With a hint of gummy bear fragrance, this deodorant will make you want to spend more time with your kids, regardless of their disposition.
Fresh Kids glides on smoothly and lasts all day. This soft, gentle, hypoallergenic formula was designed by two moms on a mission to create toxin-free products for kids. The plant-based ingredients are vegan, cruelty-free, and made in the U.S.
- Sweet, fresh-smelling scent.
- Hypoallergenic formula for sensitive skin
- Made in the U.S. with high-quality products.
- Pricey for a smaller-sized product.
- Some users claim it smells too strong.
|Net weight||1.76 ounces (50 grams)|
9. Grownish Sport A Natural Deodorant
Marketed for active boys, this sports deodorant was created to keep kids fresh and dry for 24 hours.
This deodorant is free of aluminum, parabens, talc, and other harmful ingredients. Users claim it works best for athletic boys 8 to 13 years old.
Grownish also has a formula designed specifically for girls. Although it’s not labeled as a sports deodorant, it seems to work just as well as the boys’ sports version.
- Lasts for 24 hours.
- Free of aluminum, parabens, talc, phthalates.
- Great for kids with active lifestyles.
- Formula stays soft and doesn’t dry out over time.
- Some users don’t like the scent.
- Doesn’t include a sports version for girls.
|Net weight||2.5 ounces (75 grams)|
|Scents||Cool Water + Amber, Honey Pear + Hibiscus|
10. Tom's of Maine Antiperspirant Deodorant
Antiperspirants contain aluminum salts, which prevent you from releasing sweat. Aluminum has become a controversial ingredient, one most people prefer to avoid using on their children. This is why there are no antiperspirant products marketed specifically for children.
However, for some children, deodorant just doesn’t seem to cut it, so a dryer alternative is necessary.
Tom’s of Maine’s antiperspirant, although not marketed for children due to its use of aluminum (albeit a more gentle form of aluminum), is a more natural antiperspirant than others.
This product is free of silicone, dyes, parabens, artificial fragrances, phthalates, artificial colors, and many other harmful ingredients. It keeps even the nastiest pits fresh and dry throughout the day.
- Great for kids who sweat a lot.
- Uses many natural ingredients.
- Comes in a variety of scents.
- Contains aluminum.
- Some users complain that it stains armpits and clothing.
|Net weight||2.25 ounces (64 grams)|
|Scents||Fresh Meadow, Charcoal, Coconut Lavender, Natural Powder|
|Tom’s Wicked Cool! Natural Deodorant for Kids||Best Value Deodorant||1.6 oz (45.3 grams)||Stick||Freestyle, Summer Fresh|
|Native Natural Stick Deodorant||Best Natural Deodorant||2.65 oz (75 grams)||Stick||Coconut & Vanilla, Cucumber & Mint, Lavender & Rose, Unscented|
|TBH Kids Unscented Stick Deodorant||Best Fragrance-Free Deodorant||2 oz (57 grams)||Stick||Unscented|
|Pretty Frank Natural Deodorant Stick||Best Stick Deodorant||2.7 oz (77 grams)||Stick||Unscented, Charcoal Seaside, Coconut Lime, Jasmine, Lavender, Orange Vanilla, Woodlands|
|MONA Natural Deodorant for Kids — Sensitive Skin||Best for Sensitive Skin||1.76 oz (50 grams)||Stick||Honeydew, Vanilla Spice, Orange|
|Keep It Kind Fresh Kidz Natural Roll-On Deodorant||Best Roll-On Deodorant||1.86 oz (53 grams)||Roll-on||Unscented|
|Truly’s Organic Deodorant for Kids||Best Cream Deodorant||2.5 oz (71 grams)||Cream||Unscented|
|Fresh Monster Gummy Burst Natural Deodorant for Kids||Best Scented Deodorant||1.76 oz (50 grams)||Roll-on||Gummy Burst|
|Grownish Sport A Natural Deodorant||Best Sports Deodorant||2.5 oz (75 grams)||Stick||Cool Water + Amber, Honey Pear + Hibiscus|
|Tom’s of Maine Antiperspirant Deodorant||Best Antiperspirant Deodorant||2.25 oz (64 grams)||Stick||Fresh Meadow, Charcoal, Coconut Lavender, Natural Powder|
FAQs About Deodorants for Kids
Here are the answers to some common questions about deodorants for kids.
What Age Should a Child Start Using Deodorant?
You’ll know it’s time for your child to start using deodorant when small animals start dying in their presence, and their bedroom smells like they’re hiding a month-old pizza. Or, at least, when you notice they are producing body odor.
Body odor is generally one of the first signs of puberty. For girls, puberty typically begins somewhere between the ages of 9 and 11, although it’s not uncommon for it to start earlier or later than this. For boys, the average age is 11 (5).
Some children start producing body odor at a much younger age. If this is the case, you should speak with their pediatrician to ensure there are no other underlying concerns. With your doctor’s approval, feel free to use an all-natural deodorant on them to help combat the stench (6).
There’s no need to start using deodorant on children who don’t have body odor.
What Can I Use Instead of Deodorant?
If your child is not a heavy sweater or someone who produces a lot of body odor, they may be able to get by without using deodorant. However, they will need to be self-aware enough to recognize if their armpits are getting ripe. If that’s the case, they can use a cloth or a wet wipe to quickly freshen up.
Some people have success using crystal deodorant, which is made of potassium alum, a natural mineral salt (7).
Other natural ingredients that can help combat body odor or reduce moisture are baking soda, corn starch, or arrowroot powder; coconut or shea oil; and witch hazel. Many people combine some of these ingredients to create their own simple deodorant products.
When switching from chemical-laden antiperspirants and deodorants to natural alternatives, it may take some time for your body to adapt to the sudden change. Don’t rule out natural options until you’ve given them a fair trial of at least two or three weeks.
Here’s a simple recipe for making your own natural cream deodorant:
- ½ cup of coconut oil (melted).
- ¾ cup of baking soda (arrowroot powder or cornstarch may also be used).
- Up to 40 drops of essential oil of your choice.
Mix all ingredients well until fully blended. Pour the mixture into a small glass jar. Allow the cream to cool and harden. (If you’re in a warm environment, you may need to pop it in the fridge for a few minutes until it fully cools.)
To use: Rub a small amount of the mixture onto your fingertips and massage into armpits. Allow to dry for up to a minute before dressing to avoid oil stains on clothing.
Can I Use Vaseline As a Deodorant?
No. Vaseline is made of 100 percent petroleum jelly, which is lubricating but has no deodorizing effect. However, the Vaseline brand now creates their own deodorant products, which contain Vaseline jelly along with other deodorizing ingredients to keep underarms fresh, soft, and bright (8).
Does Shaving Armpits Reduce Smell?
Armpit hair prevents sweat from drying and traps body odor. And it’s harder to get rid of the stink when it’s trapped in armpit hair. Studies have proven that shaving or waxing armpits significantly reduce armpit stench (9).
Why Do My Armpits Smell So Bad Even With Deodorant?
Just as our bodies are all unique, our bodies’ response systems are also unique. While some people will have amazing results with a particular brand of deodorant, others will have none. This is why there are so many different deodorant products on the market, each with its own formula of active ingredients.
If your armpits continue to reek after using deodorant, try a new deodorant with a different active ingredient list than the last. It may take several tries before you find the perfect fit.
The Bottom Line
When your child starts to stink, look for an all-natural deodorant designed for kids. Avoid toxins, harmful chemicals, and irritants such as aluminum, parabens, and phthalates. Find the formula that best fits your child’s lifestyle, and teach them to use it regularly.
Allow for some time before giving up on natural deodorant, and if one brand isn’t a good match, try another. When you find the best deodorant for your kid, your nose will thank you. And so will other family members, your child’s teachers, their friends, your neighbors, your pets, and anyone else they happen to come in contact with.