Do Natural Deodorants Really Work? We Put 8 Different Brands to the Test
Nothing says summer quite like sweating profusely in record-breaking high temps. To help you beat the sweltering heat, we’ve pieced together a no-sweat survival guide that answers, explores, and solves every issue you might encounter this summer. Welcome to our Sweat Series.
To be perfectly honest, I don't sweat excessively, and my most strenuous workout is when I walk my Chihuahuas around the block. Yet, somehow at the end of each day (even on the laziest Netflix-binging Sundays), my underarms smell like I ran a marathon in 90-degree weather. OK, it’s not nearly that bad, but for years, every deodorant I’ve tried has given up on me long before lunchtime. When I was asked to test a bunch of all-natural formulas for a story, assuming my situation was hopeless, my first thought was, “How can I get out of this?”
For the last month, I’ve been slathering my pits with all kinds of gels, creams, and earthy aromas that are packed with organic ingredients (as in, no traces of aluminum, parabens, or other harsh chemicals). While I wasn't expecting to see results, I’m happy to say that some of these actually did the impossible by making me not smell, even after weeks of stepping out in scorching hot temperatures.
I ranked the formulas in order of effectiveness. Keep scrolling to see how they worked.
Schmidt's Deodorant Cedar +Juniper Deodorant
Upon starting this experiment, I’ll admit I wasn’t thrilled about using anything that required finger application. Traditional sticks are simply easier to use. For this reason, I saved Schmidt’s Deodorant ($9; schmidtsdeodorant.com) for last, which made the results all the more shocking. This deodorant is what you call a game-changer. I skeptically rubbed it on before braving New York City’s first summer heat wave and not once did I feel even an inkling of sweat the entire day. The truly amazing part, though, is that I wasn’t the least bit smelly when I got home that night—and that literally never happens. I’ve officially converted.
Soapwalla Deodorant Cream
With that said, Soapwalla’s Deodorant Cream ($14; soapwallakitchen.com) came in a close second. This one quickly absorbed into my skin and kept me stink-free from day to night, even after a long walk in the humidity with the doggies. Although there was a hint of perspiration (as opposed to Schmidt’s, which left my pits bone dry), my nose was pleasantly surprised when I went in for the final sniff test.
Lavilin 72hr Roll-On Deodorant
This brings me to Lavalin’s roll-on ($16; lavilin.com), which claims to last up to 72 hours. I have to say, I’m not sure what that even means (are you not supposed to shower?), but that didn’t stop me from trying to find out. Was I fresh as a daisy for three whole days? More like a trip to work and back—and I had some white residue to show for it later. I did enjoy the powdery scent and clean feeling it provided, though, and the more I used it, the better it worked, hence it making my top three.
Baxter of California Deodorant
I’m not opposed to using men’s deodorant and was rather excited to see how Baxter's ($18; baxterofcalifornia.com) fared. The solid gel formula glided on completely clear and the masculine scent wasn’t strong enough to make it obvious I was borrowing from the boys. I still smelled pretty good at the end of a work day, but will I start shopping in the men’s section from here on out? Probably not.
Malin + Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant
Also a gel formula, Malin + Goetz ($14; malinandgoetz.com) is must-try for those with sensitive skin. The eucalyptus scent refreshes without irritating, but with one caveat: I was catching whiffs of B.O. by mid-afternoon. The website says it could take up to two weeks for your pores to respond to the formula if you’re switching from aluminum-based deodorants, so I’ll give this one the benefit of the doubt. If anything, I’ll save it for fall and winter when the stink factor goes down.
Meow Meow Tweet Cream Deodorant in Tea Tree
While I love the name Meow Meow Tweet, I didn’t really love the packaging of the brand’s cream deodorant ($14; meowmeowtweet.com). I had to dig my nails into the container to scoop out the formula (a stick applicator would be more ideal) and while it left me mostly dry, the earthy Tea Tree scent mixed with my body chemistry made for one pretty funky smell. I’d be willing to try this one again in a different fragrance.
Kiss My Face Fresh Smoothie Moisturizing Deodorants in Pink Grapefruit
Kiss My Face’s Smoothie Deodorant ($6; kissmyface.com in September) aloe-infused formula left my skin soothed and moisturizied (which is nice right after shaving). I’m also a fan of the grapefruit scent and plan to continue using it—depending on what I’m doing. It didn’t survive my commute back and forth into the city in the sweltering heat, but it did the trick during a relaxed weekend.
Le Couvent des Minimes Everyday Deodorant
Though this fancy option ($14; ulta.com) boasts a blend of essential oils, including rosemary, lemon, and blood orange, it didn’t really live up to my expectations. After a few hours, it smelled like I spritzed cologne in my armpits to cover up a stinky situation. Not a good mix.