Seven Natural Deodorants That Work for Nonhippies

Here are the results of our week-long test


Natural, chemical-free deodorants are gaining top-shelf real estate. By definition, a semi-organic deodorant should be relatively free of aluminum, an ingredient used to block pores and prevent you from sweating. Deodorant, whether you love it or hate it, is a regional necessity; L.A. ranks as the 8th sweatiest city in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s National Climatic Data Center.

I thought it might be time to re-assess the clean-laundry-scented stick that I’ve been picking up on sale for nearly 10 years and scope out some aluminum-free options. Most often, they feature anti-bacterial elements like baking soda, plant extracts or even a cocktail of essential oils that promise to reduce the day’s odor. But, do any of the non-aluminum, mostly herbal scented deodorants actually work?

Depends on whether or not you’re a heavy sweater. If you hardly break a sweat from a moderate exercise class, a natural product just may work well enough. I tested seven aluminum-free formulas throughout my real-life workweek (think hour-long commutes on the congested 405; time spent in the Valley’s sticky, humid air; and a grueling flow yoga schedule) and I was generally thrilled with these finds:

Dr. Hauschka Sage Mint Deodorant
The product is sopping wet, but dries within seconds. The herbal-mint scent comes from essential oils, and the formula uses synthetic-free dyes (so the clear, non-tacky product won’t stain your clothes). But it didn’t completely mask the odor. Martha Stewart swears by it, but I wouldn’t if I were doing a marathon sun salutation set.
Final Word: Ok

Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant Solid Stick
The best thing about the line is the floral, feminine scents like Vanilla Grapefruit. Technically, it’s a solid stick but when applied to the skin, the texture melts to into a thinner, cream-like form and then dries. It has tea tree oil and corn starch, which prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria. It smells great, but didn’t provide enough antiperspirant action. It works well enough for a few hours if you don’t mind a second application.
Overall verdict: Good stuff

Soapwalla Deodorant Cream Citrus
There is something odd about smearing a clay-like cream under your arms. Expect to factor in a few minutes of drying time–this one is a paste and will likely smear onto clothes. The product smells fresh–it’s definitely unisex–and is made from food-grade ingredients, so it’s ideal for sensitive skin that’s prone to rashes. A pea-sized dollop gets the job done.
Overall verdict: Good stuff

Korres 24h Deodorant Protection with Equisetum Extract
This Greek product didn’t leave a trace of whiteness despite its thick, dense texture. It’s 94% natural, uses equisetum (a grass-like plant with astringent properties) and was able to mostly cover unpleasant B.O. through the evening. It’s a good option for those who are not ready to commit to an all-green regimen.
Overall verdict: Awesome

Schmidt Ylang-Ylang + Calendula Deodorant
This baking soda concoction provided pretty great protection when the temperatures hit 105°F last week. At the end of a 10-hour day, I still smelled like Ylang Ylang. A little goes a long way and worked to control any unpleasant odor, though it’s another one that might require a re-application. For its lasting power, Schmidt’s is practical and forgiving.
Overall verdict: Awesome

Le Couvent des Minimes Everyday Deodorant with Alum Stone
This French, clear roll-on dates back 1862 and is, unsurprisingly, still a best seller. The French get it right again. The blood orange and rosemary oils make it a zesty summer alternative. The active ingredient is alum stone. It’s not industrial strength, but it’s seriously close to it.
Overall verdict: Excellent

Acqua Di Parma Colonia Deodorant Stick
This spendy, aluminum-free product has been around since 1916 and is for the lady (like me) who loves the scent of a man’s deodorant but doesn’t want a Speed Stick on her side of the bathroom. The musky scent is every bit a classic. It contains alcohol, but it keeps me dry for hours on end. Can’t. Get. Enough.
Overall verdict: Fave!