Buying deodorant for the first time is like a right of passage. It’s like crossing the finish line after a long-distance run, or like the first time you ride a bike without training wheels— invigorating, or should I say #adulting?
I remember buying deodorant for the first time. Standing in the aisle of the supermarket with my mom, probably about 12 years old, mind-boggled by all the options I had. Luxe Lavendar? Vava Vanilla? PH Balanced? Ultra Strength? What is sweat, anyway? Grabbed Citrus Splash and walked away... because the smell of an orange peel is just a unanimous crowd pleaser.
My point is, though, that I just walked away. I didn’t even turn a single bottle around. Nor did I question how rubbing something on my armpits would stop me from sweating, and if I should be stopping myself from sweating in the first place. All I cared about was smelling good and making sure that I didn’t have sweat marks in my sweater arms during the middle of May while attending a public middle school with cheerleaders, jocks and everything in between.
Then, the research came out. I was young, probably around 15, when scientists discovered the risk of antiperspirants and their potential to cause cancer. Luckily, I didn’t have to go my entire life blindly wearing antiperspirants and also thankful that my mom is a total hypochondriac and wouldn’t buy me antiperspirant deodorant after the fact. But then I went away to college, and I became a big girl who had to make her own decisions and microwave her own popcorn and buy her own deodorant. So I took matters into my own hands, and this is what I concluded:
- Sweat is a way of my body dispelling toxins. It’s cleansing itself. If I don’t allow my body to sweat, then the toxins are going to stay in my body and cause much more harm than good.
- Let Thy Sweat. I don’t wear deodorant if I don’t have to, and what I've learned is that the more you don't wear deodorant, the more your body actually adjusts to not wearing it and you don't smell as bad. Which brings me to my next point...
- Wearing that crappy, toxic deodorant makes you smell WORSE when you’re not wearing it. I swear. Now that I switched to natural deodorant, I smell better than ever and I also don’t need deodorant as often as I used to.
- Not all deodorants are created equal, even if they’re natural and non-toxic. Some shit works, some shit doesn’t. I've personally checked every deodorant reviewed below to see if there are toxins (natural and synthetic) in them. You can find a score at the end of each review, 1 being the least hazardous and 10 being extremely hazardous.
- Every human bean is different. You could be a Lima bean, you could be a black bean, garbanzo, cannelloni, whatever. The deodorant that works best for me might not work best for you, but here I am, giving you my honest, un-bias review of some of the top rated deodorants.
Let's get this (deodorant) party started, shall we?
Ujjayi - Citrus Thyme
I had no problems with Ujjayi's Citrus Thyme deodorant. The texture is just right, it's easy to apply and I noticed that I smelled of Citrus Thyme during all my sweaty workouts. Plus, I still felt that I could sweat normally! I also didn't have any issues with underarm stains during the day, so that's a win win. I will say, though, that the scent was a little hard to get used to. Supposedly, the Tobacco scent is much better and more popular. I smelled it once and it seemed ok, but it's more of a masculine scent so just make sure you're into that. I have a friend that swears by Ujjayi's deodorant, and I have another friend who claims to get rashes from it. The ingredients are really pure, but I don't like that they don't list the exact fragrance. I know that sometimes the FDA requires you to list "fragrance" instead of the exact fragrance (makes absolutely no sense, but it's true) but I still think you can list what "fragrance" means below. I could be wrong. This is always a little sus to me, but again, I had no issues using it!
Ingredients: Kaolin Clay. Arrowroot Powder. Aluminum Free Baking Soda. Coconut Oil. Bees Wax. Shea Butter. Activated Coconut Charcoal. Clove. Tea Tree oil. Fragrance.
Safety Rating: 1
Kiss My Face - Liquid Rock / Fragrance Free
Personally, this is my favorite right now, BUT there is a "but." It's a liquid deodorant, so you legit have to wait for your pits to dry before you put on a shirt. Ain't nobody got time for that. That being said, I use this on a daily basis now when I'm home just working or for a workout. If I'm going out and feel like using this light deodorant, I legit will put it on and sometimes use the cold setting on my blow dryer and dry my underarms. Lol. #extra
The reason I like this one the best is because it feels really light. I don't feel like it clogs my pores and I feel like it allows my underarms to breathe, while making me smell delicious, which is weird because it's unscented but it still smells yummy and clean.
Ingredients: Water, Potassium Alum, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Sodium Phytate, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate
Safety Rating: 1
Type A - The Visionary
I really love the branding on this one. It's sleek, straightforward, and I'm a type-a so maybe I'm bias. I also love the smell, the way it rolls on (it's kind of a pasty texture, which is fun) and it does definitely work in terms of anti-sweat technology. Here's my but: while they are minimally toxic, they're not completely toxic free. The Environmental Working Group rates The Visionary scent with Level 3 toxicity. The Minimalist scent is ranked Level 1, but both mixtures seem to use a long list of ingredients (generally a red flag) and one specifically called Dimethicone, which is a synthetic and not the safest ingredient to be using on one of the most highly absorbable parts of our body. So, I use Type A when I'm in a pinch and sometimes just to switch it up on a night out.
Ingredients: Diisopropyl Adipate, Glycerin (organic, vegetable derived), Dimethicone, Beeswax, Heptyl Undecylenate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Maranta Arundinacea (Arrowroot) Powder, Sorbitan Oleate, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Triethyl Citrate, Glyceryl Stearate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil (organic), Zeolite, Tapioca Starch, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Linalool, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Elettaria Cardamomum Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract, Dimethyl Heptenal, Zinc Citrate, Water, Bisabolol, Titanium Dioxide, Silver Chloride.
Native - Lavender & Rose
Every time I use Native's Lavender & Rose deodorant, I get a compliment on how great I smell. It's a potent lavender smell, but not too potent where it's overwhelming. It's a mixture of being fresh and zen AF. However, I try to avoid using it. I noticed that when I was consistently using it (because the scent is just gdamn amazing), that I started to get little bumps in my armpits. It's a fairly thick paste, so my guess is that it's just too thick and clogs the pores in my underarms, especially if you use it right after you shave. I'll use it if I haven't shaved or waxed for a few days, or I'll use it just around the sides of my armpits for when I'm going out and want to smell like a fresh zen goddess.
Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Tapioca Starch, Ozokerite, Sodium Bicarbonate, Magnesium Hydroxide, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Cyclodextrin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Dextrose, Lactobacillus Acidophilus
Milk + Honey - Regular Strength Lavender & Tea Tree
I have to give kudos to Milk + Honey for their beautiful branding and packaging. I know this has nothing to do with the actual deodorant and safety, but like come on. The bottle is so sleek and cute, plus the box it comes in was literally picturesque. I think I took a video of it just to remember how beautiful it was. Ok, so, to the main point. Milk + Honey's Regular Strength Lavender & Tea Tree deodorant pretty much paralleled Native's Lavender & Rose deodorant. It smells great, but not as potent as Native's. The pastes are fairly similar as well, but Milk + Honey's is a little more chalky. I didn't notice any bumps or rashes with using Milk + Honey's at all, but after my experience with Native, I decided to not use Milk + Honey's right after the shower, a shave, or wax. I would only put it around my armpits and use it mostly for a day out and about. Another quick note— Milk + Honey does use beeswax in their deodorant. I've checked with them and done research myself, and their sourcing of beeswax is humane and they do not test on animals.
Ingredients: Organic Arrowroot (Manihot esculenta) Powder, Organic Virgin Coconut (Cocos nucifera) Oil, Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate), Organic Shea (Butyrospermum parkii) Fruit Butter, Organic Beeswax, Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus) Seed Wax, Organic Lavender (Lavandula intermedia) Oil, Organic Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) Leaf Oil.
North Coast Organics - Death by Lavender
After my Tom's of Maine natural deodorant experience, this was next. By the way, Tom's natural deodorant doesn't work. Period. It's super unfortunate, but I've tried it so many times and have had multiple friends try it as well and it just doesn't last and it makes you smelly. BUT we're not here to talk about Tom's! We're here to talk about North Coast Organics Death by Lavender scented deodorant. By now, you've probably figured out I'm a sucker for Lavender scented deodorants. That probably makes this blog post a little difficult if you don't like lavender, but hopefully you're still learning a thing or two!
I took this deodorant with me while I traveled for 3 weeks through southeast Asia, and it was GREAT! The problem is... when I came back to the states, it was too difficult to use. The temperature here wasn't as hot as it was in SE Asia, so the paste was too hard to apply. When I was in Asia, it was hot and it slightly softened the paste. So unfortunately, this deodorant sits in my travel bag awaiting another adventure. The ingredients are 100% vegan and 100% edible, which is really freaking cool. I also love that they disclose their mixture of organic essential oils instead of just writing "fragrance". Transparency = bae.
Ingredients: 100% organic coconut oil, 100% organic carnauba wax, 100% organic arrowroot powder, 95% organic shea butter, aluminum-free, natural baking soda, & Organic Essential Oils (Lavender, Lemon, Cypress, Rosemary)