Cultures That Don’t Use Deodorants

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Fun Fact: Did you know that more than 75% of people with a particular gene type don’t produce any under-arm odor but use deodorants anyway? That’s a lot of wasted sprays.

Cultures That Don’t Use Deodorants

Even though some people might not necessarily need deodorants, there is still a lot of cultural dimension to their usage.

While we know deodorants as a must-have, there are cultures that don’t use them. Islam is a good case study here.

While it does permits muslim faithfuls to use perfum/fragrance or deodorants, it prohibits them from using those that are derived from alcohol.

So, a lot of deodorants made with alcohol are automatically out of option.

Therefore, muslim’s culture will be considered one of the strongest proponents against the use of deodorants.

The main reason is that there is slight alcoholic content in deodorants.

Both men and women are prohibited from using any deodorant that has even the slightest alcoholic content.

Even though this opinion is contested, they do have substitutes that help with fragrance.

Islam doesn’t permit women to wear any scent in public. Be it deodorants, fragrances, or perfumes. However, she can use it at home for her husband (if she is married) and she is not going out. The main reason is to not attract other men through her scent. The religion also prohibits the use of alcoholic products. So deodorants with alcoholic content may not be permissible. 

How Do These Cultures Manage Body Odor?

Daily Hygiene Routines

Regular bathing, using natural soaps and scrubs, plays a crucial role in managing body odor for cultures that don’t use deodorant.

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Clothing Choices

Natural fibers, such as cotton or linen, allow the skin to breathe, reducing sweat and odor. These materials are preferred by many deodorant-free cultures.

Dietary Influences

It’s believed that certain foods can influence body odor. Some cultures, thus, avoid pungent foods like garlic and onions or include detoxifying foods like green tea and citrus fruits in their diets.

Cultures that Don’t Use Deodorant

Indigenous Tribes

Many indigenous tribes, particularly in remote areas, have little access to commercial products. Their connection to the land and nature often dictates their hygiene practices.

Remote Mountain Communities

The cool climates of high-altitude regions reduce the need for deodorants. Communities in these areas often rely on natural springs for bathing, which provides minerals beneficial for skin health.

Spiritual Communities

Certain spiritual groups believe in purity—both internally and externally. They avoid any synthetic products, including deodorants, to maintain this purity.

Global Reactions and Perceptions

Western Views on Deodorant-Free Cultures

The West, driven by advertising and societal norms, often views the use of deodorant as non-negotiable. However, as awareness grows, many are becoming more understanding and even embracing deodorant-free lifestyles.

Embracing Diversity and Understanding

With globalization, the world is becoming a melting pot of cultures. There’s a growing movement to understand and respect diverse cultural practices, including those related to personal hygiene.

Tribes & Communities that Don’t Use Deodorants

There are also many tribes and communities that use scent for their rituals and these have a deepder meaning beyond simply looking after yourself.

Hence, while deodorants might not be a product they use, the concept of smelling a particular way does have its relevance.

Tzotzil of Mexico, Dakota of the Western Plains, and Dogan of Mali are just a few examples of such communities that have specific ways of going about smell and scents.

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In developing countries, the culture doesn’t put a lot of importance on deodorants.

As a result, you’ll only be able to find a small fraction of people that have self-imposed routines, which deodorant is a part.

An example of one such country would be India.

Surprisingly, they do give a lot of emphasis on smell and scent when it comes to religious rituals etc (Hinduism and Christianity in particular).

Western Cultures

Western culture has only recently started focusing on the importance of deodorants.

The first deodorant was first invented in the US in the year 1988, in Pennsylvania.

Since then it has quickly spread like wildfire and the West is now responsible for some of the biggest deodorant companies in the world.

Different countries with different cultures and different religions have different ways of looking at deodorants and scents in general.

While some give it importance from a self-care perspective, others do it for religious reasons.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Deodorants

Here are some advantages and disadvantages for those curious to know the good and the bad is about deodorants outside the realm of culture.


  • The most obvious advantage would be that it neutralizes body odor
  • Eliminates bacteria that causes odor
  • Prevents excessive sweating


  • It blocks perspiration (if it has aluminum) and this isn’t necessarily a good thing since it builds up toxins in the body
  • Some deodorants cause itching and rashes


  • Why don’t some cultures use deodorant? Many cultures opt out of deodorant use due to traditional beliefs, health concerns, and environmental reasons.
  • How do they manage body odor? Natural alternatives, daily hygiene routines, clothing choices, and dietary habits all play a role in managing body odor for these cultures.
  • Aren’t they concerned about social perceptions? While social perceptions vary across the globe, these cultures prioritize their traditions, health, and environment over conforming to globalized standards.
  • Are there natural alternatives to deodorant? Yes, there are many natural alternatives like herbs, ancient recipes, and modern adaptations of age-old practices.
  • Do these practices benefit the environment? Choosing not to use commercially produced deodorants can reduce environmental impact, particularly when considering production and disposal of containers.
  • Are there health benefits to not using deodorant? Some believe that avoiding chemicals found in certain deodorants can be beneficial. However, individual experiences may vary.
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Reason Behind Not Using Deodorants

This can be personal, religious, or cultural reasons. 

There are many reasons why someone might not want to use deodorants. Whether culturally or for specific reasons.

It could also be because of the negative effects of deodorants. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to reduce the effect.

One of them is to use natural deodorants.

You might also want to look into antiperspirants and how they might be different from deodorants.

However, it should be noted that their job is different.

Most times, an antiperspirant will help you reduce sweat and not control odor.

Except, of course, it’s a combo where both are mixed to stop both odor and sweat.

You may also want to try out different deodorants to see which one works best for you.

At the end of the day, these products are meant to complement your body and if they get the job done, then go for it.

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