(With apologies to the squeamish!)
I recently came across a post by Kris Carr rating a number of natural deodorants, and realized that I actually really love those sorts of posts—so I thought I would do one of my own. It was also a good kick in the pants for me to go back to using an aluminum-free deodorant; I had tried a few and hadn’t had the best luck with them, so I had to try again. Trying to find one that works well can be difficult and costly, but here is my experience with the experiment. Feel free to tell me about products you like!
I tested five deodorants, some of which I already had on hand in the back of a drawer: Malin + Goetz Eucalyptus (I got mine for around $20 from Jacob & Sebastian), Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting (unscented; I got this in a three pack from Costco ages ago), Lush Aromaco (sold by weight; mine was about $8), Nourish Organic Clean & Fresh (fig; Whole Foods, $10), and Fat and the Moon cream (I got mine at Likely General for $18).
A few notes: I don’t have sensitive skin, and I tested each one by using it during a workout and also while going about my daily routines of bike riding to work, etc. When I was selecting my deodorants, I didn’t look for products that were as natural as possible, but merely aluminum-free. I did look these up in the EWG Skin Deep database and most were rated as low hazard, except the Lush which was moderate (because of fragrance and citral, which are irritants), and the Fat and the Moon, which was not in the database. Also, it’s not summer here, so I might have to revisit this when it’s the time of year when one is constantly, constantly in a cloud of sweaty humidity.
Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting, unscented
Pros: Readily available in most drug stores (I mean, I got mine at Costco of all places), unscented, invisible.
Cons: Very sticky, needs to be re-applied throughout the day. Doesn’t block sweat at all (which, of course, deodorant isn’t supposed to do, but since some of these do, it’s worth noting). Tom’s is partially owned by Colgate-Palmolive, which might be a concern for some.
Final word: Convenient, not bad if you carry it with you and don’t mind re-applying. But not the most effective. My rating: 2/5.
Nourish Organic Fresh & Dry, fig
Pros: Organic ingredients, invisible. Cute package!
Cons: Ineffective, extremely sticky, and even though I love fig scents, this one was a bit sickly and drove me crazy. I didn’t even want to try re-applying.
Final word: Nope. There are better products out there, although I should have known to try the lavender or unscented varieties! My rating: 1/5.
Fat and the Moon Deodorant Cream
Pros: Works quite well, blocks sweat, invisible, a little goes a long way and this jar will last a while. Good company, handmade. Cute packaging. Mostly unscented. This one passed the polyester shirt test the time I wore a chiffon blouse!
Cons: Sometimes I get lazy about the application because I have to stick my finger in the jar, scrape some of the cream, melt it in my hands, rub my hands all over the pits of my arms (which are usually fresh from the shower when I apply this), and then have to go wash the cream off my hands. It’s not the worst process, but after years of stick application, it takes a little getting used to. Also while I found this to be a really effective product, there were a few days when I wore it when all I could smell was the black pepper in it, and that scent drove me bonkers; I was just really sensitive to it. At $18 it was one of the most expensive products.
Final word: This was actually one of my favourites, despite the application, because it works well and I like that it’s handmade. I don’t mind the cost because when I buy it I’m supporting a small company and a local store I love. My rating: 4/5.
Malin + Goetz Eucalyptus
Cons: Works well, invisible. Geoff has been using it daily & enjoying it. Actually effective in blocking sweat.
Cons: Scent is a little medicinal, and the first time I tried it I found it a bit irritating. I gave it another chance and it didn’t turn my skin red this time, but I’m still a little wary. The most expensive product on this list. Large, heavy packaging (for a deodorant).
Final word: Effective, if you don’t mind the smell and the cost. My rating: 3.5/5.
Pros: No excessive packaging, invisible, effective, and I love love the smell! It’s patchouli. A delicate, subtle patchouli that you might catch a whiff of throughout the day but that most people won’t smell on you. Blocks sweat!
Cons: You might HATE the smell. Not everyone loves patchouli. You can get this all over your hands depending on how you apply it (I store the bar it in an airtight bag and hold the bar in the bag through the opening when I apply it—the bag is a mess, but it works). To buy it you have to go into a Lush store and I always find that quite a, um, heady experience (unless you buy it online, of course).
Final word: This one was a late contender, because I rarely go into Lush stores, but I happened to be going past and this one caught my eye. It actually is my favourite of all the products here, even though I know that most people would not like it! It’s the one I reach for most mornings. My rating: 5/5.