Nowadays, it’s totally normal to incorporate green or eco-friendly products in almost all aspects of your daily life, from all natural beauty products to chemical-free household cleaners and everything in-between. Me? I’m a sucker for anything all-natural. But for me, one area that I’ve had trouble converting over to is deodorant. I’ve wanted to love natural deodorants but every time I tried one — and I’ve tried a few — I dropped it as quickly as I picked it up. The reason? It didn’t work. Before getting too far into this, I have to tell you natural deodorant DEFINITELY WORKS, but there’s a caveat: you have to go through a small period of detox first. Trust me: I did it.
This process ended up being longer and more intense than I imagined, and then it sort of turned into the attempt to find the best of the best. So I tried a series of brands in all different mediums over the last six months. My experience seemed crazy until I spoke to esthetician Andrea Lembkey, owner of Dermaplus Skin + Body, who was able to explain a lot of what I experienced in a way that made so much sense. She mentioned, “Just like with the skin on the face, when you transition to all natural products, there can sometimes be a ‘purging’ stage. This is a result of all the toxins and pent-up bacteria releasing out of the skin. So you may have an initial transitional phase, but like we tell our clients trying new skin care, push through those first two weeks, the results will be worth it!” I couldn’t agree more. Below, I’m outlining the natural deodorants I tried below, including all the pros, cons and — yep — smell factors. It’s about to get real.
My first go at this little experiment was a recommendation from a guy I met on an airplane (random, I know, but whatevs). I started with Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant ($14).
Pros: I LOVED the scent, and the texture was really nice. It went on easy and dried like a powder but didn’t stain my clothes.
Smell Factor: While the scent of this stick deodorant was lovely, my scent was not so lovely, if ya catch my drift — and if you were around me during this trial, you would have smelled it too!
Cons: It didn’t seem to work well. The ONLY thing that I can say in its defense is that it was the very first one I tried, so it could have been the whole “purge phase” that Andrea Lembkey mentioned. Had I thought about it I would have tried it again — I mean flight guy swore by it, after all!
Should You Try It?: Yes! I say give it a go, but don’t judge prematurely. Give yourself a good month or two.
The next product I used was a deodorant I hadn’t seen yet, Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream Baking Soda Free, Grapefruit ($14). It’s a cream you apply with your finger. So. Weird.
Pros: Aside from the super cute, appealing packaging, the effectiveness was almost immediate! Out the gate, this one worked 100%.
Smell Factor: The scent of the product was meh, but I actually didn’t mind it because it was mild and not overpowering. I didn’t have any smelly issues throughout the day, so that was great!
Cons: The only thing I was not a fan of initially was having to put this on with my fingers.
Should You Try It?: YES! YES! YES! This was actually my go to throughout the whole six months of trial. When one didn’t work, I reverted right back to this one.
Unfortunately, you have to buy doTerra Natural Deodorant Stick ($10) from a doTerra rep. They’re easy to find (even I’m a rep because I love their oils SO much), but you can also find it on Amazon. Full disclosure: Beware the authenticity of the actual product when you go that route.
Pros: The tea tree scent is so yummy! Also, the tea tree essential oil helps soothe your skin, which helped with razor burn.
Smell Factor: Let’s be real, this did not work. I smelled like I just ran a marathon wearing Old Spice. Dang it, I SO wanted to love this deodorant, because I literally love every other product I’ve ever used by them.
Cons: Aside from it not working for me, it was really sticky — the whole day.
Should You Try It?: Even though I didn’t love it, I have friends who love it. I’m the type to say don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
I had to try the Honest Company Deodorant Lavender Vanilla ($9) because I used their diapers, dishwashing soap, baby soap, dryer sheets… and I love them all.
Pros: I really loved that I could spray this one on — no touching!
Smell Factor: After a couple hours of wearing, I did not smell so hot.
Cons: The scent of this deodorant is definitely unique. Even for a hippie dippie, essential oil-loving gal like myself, I found it to be pretty intense. Not bad, though.
Should You Try It?: This is another situation where a very good girlfriend of mine absolutely swears by this deodorant, so I have to wonder if it’s just me? Def give it a go!
Next on the list is Captain Blankenship Lime + Vetiver Deodorant ($14). I was actually gifted this deodorant from a friend who owns Pretty Parlor, an all-natural salon. So, I was really excited to try it after she gave me one of the most amazing facials I’ve ever had!
Pros: It. Smelt. Divine. Period.
Smell Factor: This one worked alright. It wasn’t my favorite, but it definitely wasn’t my least favorite either.
Cons: I would have to say that there wasn’t anything that stood out necessarily as a con. It worked for the most part. At this point, I was a pro at the whole use your finger thing, and it didn’t phase me like the first run did.
Should You Try It?: Yes! Also, go get a facial from Sarah if you’re ever in SF! Yes, I just plugged a friend’s salon, but trust me — your skin will thank me if you go see her :) You’re welcome.
This Schmidt’s Ylang-Ylang + Calendula Deodorant ($9) was sent to us to try out here at B+C, and I have to say it was a nice surprise and good timing during my all-natural deodorant testing.
Pros: If you haven’t smelled ylang-ylang before, you’re missing out! This is an essential oil that’s meant to work with your natural pheromones to bring out a sensual scent. So deodorant that smells sexy = SUPER PRO!
Smell Factor: This one got me. It’s a toss up between this and Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream Baking Soda Free, Grapefruit ($14) as to which actually worked the best! I smelled amazing!
Cons: Absolutely no cons!
Okay, okay — so, technically I’m cheating a little, because this is also the same brand as the last one, Schmidt’s Bergamot + Lime Deodorant ($9), but I had to try the stick version as well as the cream one.
Pros: I didn’t have to use my fingers — yeah!
Smell Factor: I smelled oddly good! The lime is a scent I didn’t expect to like, but it really worked. Also big bonus, the first natural deodorant stick that worked well out of the bunch.
Cons: None! In. LOVE.
Should You Try It?: Heck yes! I loved this one too!
A very special shout out to our beauty photographer Kurt Andre for being my smell tester throughout this process! That’s true friendship, ya’all!
I would say the major take away is that transitioning into natural deodorant is a commitment that you sort of have to just deal with. One hack to getting through the weird smell zone is to pack your deodorant in your purse and just re-apply throughout the day. This worked for me, and I promise you it’s SO worth the results — I feel so happy that I no longer have to wear chemicals on my underarms!
Want to get even more into snooping (and routinely using) natural products? Andrea suggested using the app Think Dirty (Free), which rates the toxicity level of products from 1-10 and has a breakdown of how each ingredient works, as well as suggests healthier alternatives. New obsession? I think so.
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