I’ve reviewed natural deodorants in the past, but after a reader asked for an update in the Wardrobe Oxygen community on Facebook, I felt it was time for a new post. Since my last natural deodorants reviews, I have tried a few more as I hadn’t yet found a natural deodorant that works for me.
What is “Natural” Deodorant?
The term natural deodorant is misleading, and many different deodorants with very different ingredient lists use this term. While I don’t like this term, I choose to use it for this post as this is the term used to market these deodorants.
Many people choose a “natural” deodorant because they’re looking to reduce aluminum, parabens, and other chemicals. That was one of my reasons for seeking such a deodorant; another is because I wasn’t satisfied with traditional deodorant/antiperspirant products. After decades of using them, I didn’t find them as effective and didn’t like the weird smell I had. It was like a mix of body odor and fabric softener. Doing the research, it sounded as though a natural deodorant would help clear out plugged sweat glands, improving my body smells, requiring less product.
I previously shared my experience with Native Deodorant and going through deodorant detox. After that, I shared reviews of several natural deodorants. That was over a year ago, and since then I have had different results with products I previously reviewed and tried new products. Below, a timeline of my natural deodorant journey and the products I tried.
May 2017: I Made the Switch to Natural Deodorant
Before it got too hot, I decided to try natural deodorant. There is a detox period of 2-3 weeks when switching where your body is getting rid of the old deodorant that is in your sweat glands. This period is nasty, and you will smell like a mix between hot metal and B.O. It wasn’t fun, but I found showering twice a day, exfoliating my pits, and wiping my pits with alcohol helped greatly.
I used Native Deodorant, which got great reviews online and seemed to be advertised on every social media channel. At first, it was hard to tell whether it worked or not because of the detox period. Once my body stopped smelling horrible, the product seemed good. And then the next day, my armpits had a fiery rash. I learned this was common and a reaction to baking soda, and ingredient in Native Deodorant and many other natural deodorants.
At the end of May, I went to NYC to host an event with a brand and forgot my deodorant at home. They had E.O. Lavender Spray Deodorant in their office bathroom; that with some personal cleansing wipes got me smelling fresh after the train trip and worked reasonably well through the event that evening. At that event, I ended up in a conversation about natural deodorant with some attendees. One of the guests told me about Piperwai. She was an inventor and met the folks behind Piperwai Deodorant and thought they and their product was amazing. She inspired me to order a jar that very night.
June 2017: I Filled my Amazon Cart
Armed with a fresh jar of Piperwai, I decided to do a true natural deodorant review and ordered a dozen different types of Amazon and various websites. This is my original natural deodorant review. After that review, my three winners were Piperwai, Meow Meow Tweet, and E.O.
August 2017: Another Natural Deodorant Bites the Dust
It seemed like everywhere I went, I smelled cat pee and I don’t have a cat. I finally realized it was me every time I wore Piperwai. This stuff seemed so great, I was so disappointed. I decided to cut it out for two weeks to see if it was Piperwai or just natural deodorant in general. In those two weeks, Piperwai contacted me and sent me a stick version of their deodorant. Once the two weeks was over, I used that. For the first week back on Piperwai, things were great. I smelled like nothing most days. But eventually the cat pee smell came back. However, my husband continued to use Piperwai and smell just dandy.
If there’s something I learned through this process is that everyone is different and what works for one may not another. And that what makes me smell like cat pee may make you smell like a rose.
September 2017: Bye Bye Meow Meow
Meow Meow Tweet had my heart. The name was cute, the label was cute, the smell was awesome. Meow Meow Tweet is what I used when I took a Piperwai break and it was pretty effective. Not as effective as Piperwai, but enough that I felt comfortable in public. But all good things must come to an end and by the end of September Meow Meow Tweet had come to not accomplishing anything. Over time, it lost its effectiveness. I even bought another tub, thinking the first one may have lost its oomph after having my fingers dip in it so often. A new tub didn’t change the fact that I smelled like body odor coated in Froot Loops.
While I still had E.O. Lavender spray I learned early on that it wasn’t a replacement for a true deodorant. As a spray, it was great as a refresher mid-day but not as a sole product to keep the funk at bay. I still have this product and love it for travel, but it’s not an everyday product.
November 2017: Limping Back to Lavanilla
I tried Lavanilla Sport Luxe during my original review and found it… fine. I liked how nicely it glided on, and it didn’t give a rash. I still had the stick of it so I decided to use it up. The temps had dropped, I figured I wouldn’t need as heavy duty a deodorant. And it worked okay enough. I usually had to do a touch-up mid-day but that wasn’t a big deal. However, after a few weeks again I started to smell like cat pee. My husband uses up the stick, thinks it works okay, though not as effective as Piperwai.
December 2017: Back to Traditional Deodorant/Antiperspirant
I started working out regularly and no natural deodorant in my house could keep up. I gave up and went back to Dove. Immediately, I smelled better. When I switched to natural deodorant I felt I was less sweaty and stinky. Well, switching back to traditional deodorant gave me the same experience. I forgot what it felt like to have non-sticky, dry pits and to not have to wash my clothing after every wear. It was awesome, I couldn’t go back; I decided I would just try to be more natural in other aspects of my life.
I used Dove and only Dove for a month or two, and then I wasn’t satisfied. To boost it, I added Certain Dri, applying the roll-on every evening. That helped, but after a week Certain Dri started itching and burning a few minutes after application. I switched to only using Certain Dri the night before I had an event. Once my stick of Dove ran out, I switched to Degree which seemed to work better. However, when that stick ran out I stood in the aisle at Target for a long while wondering what to do next because none of the scents appealed to me and I felt like nothing was really doing what it claimed it would.
August 2018: Influenced by Influencers, I Try Kopari
It seemed like every blogger suddenly got into natural deodorant and that natural deodorant was Kopari. Unlike mass-influencer campaigns like Olay Whips that turned me off, this one turned me on. Kopari was working with bloggers I respected, who were known for being more honest, more down to earth, less likely to rave about just anything. And so I bought a stick.
I didn’t have to go through a detox with Kopari, I switched right to it and it seemed to work. Not only that, it smelled great. I love the smell of coconut, and this smells like coconut. And when your body heats up, it smells like warm coconut. The container is cute, it glides on easily, I was an instant fan.
And then three weeks later the stuff stopped working. Like overnight, it went from warm coconut to burnt coconut and body odor. I understand that with natural deodorants you need to switch them up every so often, but it seemed no deodorant lasted even a month. Sorry, but I have neither the time nor money to change my deodorant every few weeks.
Since this stuff stopped working but did work at one point I’ve stuck this into my toiletries kit in case I again forget to pack my regular deodorant for a trip. My husband had no desire to smell like coconut so I don't know how it worked for him.
September 2018: A Mist of Cashmere… and Funerals
During all this research, people time and again raved about how much they loved Donna Karan’s Cashmere Mist deodorant. It was so effective! The smell is amazing! One stick lasts forever! Your skin will feel like silk! It survives hatha yoga and spartan races and 16-hour flights! It cures cancer! It's not natural, but considering how I don't even have success with traditional deodorant/antipersperant products I decided to try it.
- Day 1: I smell fancy. No B.O. even after a grueling morning at the gym.
- Day 2: Wow, this stuff has an uber strong scent. Maybe I’m just too used to regular deodorants, maybe I can make this my news signature scent instead of perfume. It works great.
- Day 3: This stuff is overwhelming and giving me a headache. Maybe I’m just overly sensitive to the scent because my period is coming. It works really well.
- Day 4: I smell like decade-old potpourri. This is not chic. However, the stuff works well and I have nothing else in the house right now and it was not cheap so I’ll keep using it for now.
- Day 5: I snuggle up next to my husband. “You smell weird,” he says. “Yeah, kind of like potpourri? It’s my new deodorant. Is it bad?” He says, “You smell like dust and mildew and dried flowers. You smell like a funeral.”
- Day 6: I go to CVS and buy a stick of Degree. My husband takes the Cashmere Mist, continues to use it, likes it, and doesn’t smell at all like a funeral.
December 2018: Facebook Ads Are Effective AKA I Try Lume Deodorant
That lady with the orange dress and bad accent got me. I saw Lume Deodorant ads all over Facebook, on Instagram, even showing up on my own site (my ads are through a network and affected by content on the site as well as content the viewer was searching or reading prior to visiting). The commercial compared Lume to products I tried and found ineffective, it was free of baking soda so no rash, and I liked that it could be used places other than the underarms. I bought a stick of their original and a stick of their unscented.
I started with the unscented option… and I didn’t like it. It smelled like paste and I didn’t find it terribly effective. I started by rolling it on, but then learned to click up a regular amount of traditional deodorant product and use my finger to wipe off half of it and rub it into one pit, and then the other half for the second pit. Rubbing just with the stick doesn’t get it deep enough; using your finger will get you a couple more hours. Even so, I was lucky to get six hours before I smelled.
I then switched to their original version. Their original version is scented lavender and clary sage and the scent is pretty strong. I’m not a big lavender fan, so I wasn’t expecting to like this. The scent is about 75% gone after an hour, and what’s left isn’t super potent. Again, I found it more effective to rub it in with my fingers. The formula is creamy, absorbs nicely, leaves skin feeling soft and moisturized. No irritation, even when applied to freshly shaved pits.
I use the unscented version for other parts of the body. Lume Deodorant is safe for external use anywhere and the unscented does a good job of keeping feet and nether regions having less odor without making them smell like something else. If you're keeping track, my husband has not yet used Lume as he's still using the same stick of Cashmere Mist (reviews say one stick lasts forever and they're right).
January 2019: Lume Deodorant Is Still Working
I'm on on week 5 of Lume Deodorant and it is still working. Unlike other natural deodorants, I haven’t had to touch up middle of the day. I do touch up before going out in the evening and apply after every shower. Lume claims to work for 72 hours and that is not so for me. I can put it on in the morning after my post-gym shower, wake up the next day smelling faintly of lavender and clary sage, do another application and go to the gym and leave the gym still only smelling like lavender and clary sage. I don’t even get such results from Dove or Degree (which leave me smelling like hot fabric softener and toilet bowl cleaner).
Based on my previous natural deodorant experiences, I cannot guarantee that I will continue to like Lume. However, thus far it has been the most effective, one of the most comfortable to wear, and one of the least offensive fragrances of all the natural deodorants I have tried.
Natural Deodorants Lesson Learned
Almost every deodorant on the planet works for my husband but doesn't work for me. Fingers crossed Lume does the trick or I am back to the deodorant drawing board!