8.11.13

raise your hand if you're sure


(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.


Lush Aromaco
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.

47 comments:

  1. ooh, i love these kinds of posts, too! my favorite is soapwalla deodorant cream. it's scented with tea tree, lavender, sweet orange, peppermint, and bergamot. and it really, really works. i am also a fan of patchouli, so i will be trying that lush bar!

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    1. Thanks! Lots of mentions of this one, I'll have to look for it!

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  2. I was thinking about buying the one from LUSH. Glad it actually does a good job on blocking sweat!

    I did try a natural crystal deo from Hydréa, which was okay. The effect wore off after a few hours even though it claims to work for 24 hours. On the bright side, it was cheap and the rock will last a few years.

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    1. I know with these sorts of things it's so hard to say since everyone's chemistry is so different, but it really does work well for me.

      Years!? Wow!

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  3. Love this post. I've also been on the natural deodorant quest lately after giving up on Toms. Happy to say it ended when I found Soapwalla Deodorant cream. It smells great (tea tree) and really works.

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    1. Thanks! Happy to hear you found something.

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  4. Anonymous8.11.13

    you MUST try the soapwalla. beats everything out there!!

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    1. I'm going to see if I can find it!

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  5. I started making my own recently...it's shockingly easy. Cornstarch, baking soda, coconut oil, essential oil of choice. Mix together and pack it into an old deoderant container. It actually keeps your pits dry & smelling fresh. I was surprised.

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    1. Good to hear. I did look into some DIY posts but thought I'd start with these... I'd like to try it at some point!

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  6. Oh, thanks so much for this! I've tried everything from organic deodorants to those crystal sticks, but none of them seem to work well. I'll definitely be trying out the Lush one :)

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  7. another vote for soapwalla! although now that i'm used to dipping my fingers into pots of deodorant, i might try the fat and the moon version. that packaging is too good!

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    1. It's really adorable! Definitely a fan.

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  8. I make my own- cheap and you can make it smell however you want. Coconut oil, arrowroot, baking soda and essential oils. It the only thing that works - and when I say works I mean biking to work for an hour, working 9 hours and biking an hour home. :) ( as far as essential oils- I always put a little tea tree and lavender for anti microbial properties and then something fun like vanilla)

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    1. I'll have to try it at some point! I thought I would start with these and then if I stick to the switch I'll try my own. Just too lazy so far!

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  9. Weleda makes a nice spray-on deodorant; I use the rose scent which is heavenly. I think it works quite well.

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    1. Thanks! I think I tried that once years ago and didn't like how it smelled on me. But I'm always willing to re-visit things.

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  10. I like the Tom's of Maine unscented for what it is. I don't do a ton of vigorous activity so heavy sweating isn't really an issue, and for everyday it does the job; I seldom need to reapply. I found it less effective when I first started using it, I think it was the adjustment period needed from switching from a heavily-scented synthetic to an unscented natural product....

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    1. Hmm, maybe. It's certainly fine, but I was happy to find ones that worked better for me. It's what I carry in my purse as back-up, ha.

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  11. I've been wanting to try the Fat & the Moon deodorant for awhile now, but have always had bad luck with natural deodorants. I use her dry shampoo, which is the bomb, so I should give the deodorant a go! Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Ooh, good luck! I was sold on it when Brooke at Likely General told me a male friend of hers swears by it and came in and bought a bunch for his friends. If it works for a dude...!

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  12. Anonymous10.11.13

    You need to try the Dessert Essence! I love the lavender scent. I do feel like it stops sweat, and has a better ingredient profile than most, even Tom's (and works wayyy better than Tom's which does nothing for me!).

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    1. If I see it and it's not too pricey I might pick it up... once I'm done with some of these! Thanks.

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  13. Anonymous10.11.13

    i was surprise by the quality of this product, which i grabbed at the drugstore :
    http://www.cleanattitude.com/product_p/11901.htm
    it is cheap, works perflectly, has nice scent & it's made in quebec (where i live).
    the packaging is not the most fancy, though.

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    1. My favourite one here has no packaging at all, so that's okay! Thanks for the tip, nice to see something made in Canada.

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  14. When you say "blocks the sweat" do you mean that you actually don't sweat? The only products that stop me from sweating are the typical aluminum antiperspirants. Can I really have aluminum-free AND no sweat?? In your opinion, which blocks sweat the best?

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    1. Well. Hmm. I'd say that I probably still sweat only I don't really feel it? I still feel quite dry. I think some of the deodorants up there have stuff in them like witch hazel, baking soda, and arrowroot which can block sweat. I think the Lush, Fat and the Moon, and Malin + Goetz ones block sweat well. In my experience.

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  15. I use the lush deodorant too! Once a woman that I worked with asked me what perfume I was wearing. She said that I smelled like a Madonna record she had in the 80s. Strange. Later I found out that one of Madonna's records WAS pachouli scented. Hm...

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    1. Oh nice! Yeah, Like a Prayer! I LOVED that tape! I still have a couple of copies around, which I bought because I missed the smell.

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  16. Fifth vote for Soapwalla. It's also a finger application process, but so effective at preventing bad odors; I think it blocks the sweat a little too. As a person who sweats easily, I never have to reapply on a normal day, only if I'm dancing for hours or nervous sweating for hours. And it smells mildly like lavender.

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    1. Popular! Thanks for the tip, I'll look for it!

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  17. I currently use lafes deodorant stick, and it's one of my favourite natural options i've ever used... it's a stick, so it's easy to fly with, REALLY inexpensive (i bought my small stick for $3.99 at whole foods, and have been using it for about 6 months now, with no sign of it finishing soon!), and while I still sweat (because it's not an antiperspirant), i rarely RARELY can smell myself (TMI? maybe).
    also easy to apply, since all you have to do is wet the crystal, and apply like a 'regular' deodorant.
    just wanted to put another option in the running!

    jamie
    inconsistency rang the horse

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    1. I came close to picking up Lafes when I got the Nourish... oops! Thanks for the tip.

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  18. These are fun posts - I never got Toms to work for me, and haven't had the best luck with the M+G either, I wind up having to re-apply it a bunch throughout the day. I've used Soapwalla's too which is the most effective but winds up giving me a rash if I use it too many days in a row (gross and ow). Maybe I'll give the Lush a try - lately I've been giving in to the dove aluminum-filled bad boy because it seems to help the irritation, alternating with the Soapwalla. I think being pregnant makes me extra sensitive to how I smell too, so maybe post-pregnancy I'll do more experimenting.
    Anyway... deodorant! Thanks for the comparisons!

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    1. Thanks! Oh no, that's too bad about the rash. The Lush one does contain irritants but maybe you can get a sample? Or just a small piece? And yeah, I can imagine being extra sensitive to smell during pregnancy!

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  19. Great post! After using Tom's and disliking this I discovered nivea has a few deodorants. They're about $6 but go on sale frequently at shoppers and I've found they work really well but don't block sweat all day. I use the sheer comfort jasmine scent from the sheer comfort line.

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  20. Ashley13.11.13

    Another great option, which I now swear by, is LaVanila Labortories 'The Healthy Deodorant' in Pure Vanilla scent (http://www.lavanila.com/Deodorant-_c_57.html). You can find it on their website or at Sephora for $22, a bit more expensive than most but I find each stick lasts me about 3 months. I also don't usually feel the need to apply it more than once or twice a day, even in the hot, sticky Toronto summer!

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  21. Anabela, I know its imperative that you remain consistent with your personal brand so I definitely recommend you try the following product -

    TMI backstory: I broke my collarbone 3 months ago which meant literally not being able to lift/move my arm AT ALL for like 8 weeks so basically my armpits NEVER DRIED PROPERLY & everything was terrible. Any deodorant I tried just combined to make everything even worse & life was miserable. Now I can move my arm again, so things at least dry, but even the smell of most deodorants make me want to die now.

    Just recently I picked up a bottle of LAVERA deodorant spray & life is good again. Ive tried both the Blue (Organic Rose & Witch Hazel) & Pink (Organic Wild Rose) - both smell so good & work amazingly! & did I mention ROSE? So good! x

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  22. Anonymous14.11.13

    the BEST natural deodorant (and non- antiperspirant) I've ever used is Burt's Bees Mens deodorant. Its smells like spicy orange, and although its meant for men, I use it as a woman and LOVE it. it actually works better with your natural BO, which is awesome! Good to know there are good eco- alternatives though thanks for this post!

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  23. I might have to get Dave that last one, he's been against deodorant since I've known him. But strange thing is, unless its summer time he doesn't really smell. I guess from like 15 years of not wearing it. His friends ACTUALLY GOT cancer from deodorant from when he was a kid I so when it comes to these things he's especially hippy-sh but its why I lub him :)

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  24. when i have residual fat & the moon cream on my hands i like to rub it into the ends of my hair? from my pits to the tips

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  25. Ok this is a little embarrassing to ask but does anyone have any problem where your white t-shirt (or any white tops with sleeves really) gets yellowish in the armpits area? Would certain type of deodorant avoid this or you just can't do anything about it?

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    1. I think that just happens. Underarm sweat is really special, haha. Which is why we need deodorants in the first place, I guess.

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  26. Love this post! I've tested out a few and haven't loved the one from Tom's and I tried another one by arm and hammer. I also tried a soapwalla one which I think worked pretty well...but I didn't like the application and scooping it out with my hands. I think I'm going to try out the lush one! Thank you.

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  27. Anonymous15.7.14

    If you have sensitive skin, commercial deodorants and anti-perspirants can cause irritations and rashes. My dermatologist suggested a deodorant called Lavilin a few years ago. It's 100% natural, so you are not introducing chemicals to your body. It took me a while to adjust (almost 2 months!), but I'm glad I stuck with it. My rashes have disappeared and I no longer experience discomfort under my arms. The deodorant smells really nice as well.

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  28. You need to try the Dessert Essence! I love the lavender scent. I do feel like it stops sweat, and has a better ingredient profile than most, even Tom's (and works wayyy better than Tom's which does nothing for me!).
    Ruby

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