Natural Deodorant Reviews: Which Ones Pass Our Sweat Test?
We put these natural deodorant brands through some of Toronto’s sweatiest workouts. Read on to find out which ones passed our sweat-test.
Detox Mode’s Natural Deodorant
The Detox Market just launched two natural deodorants under its in-house brand, Detox Mode. I tried “Feeling Free,” a gentle formula made without baking soda for those of us with sensitive skin. The stick formula boasts a grey colour, thanks to activated charcoal, and has a flowery smell, thanks to lavender and eucalyptus. I love the faint floral scent—it doesn’t smell artificial like many deodorants from drugstore brands.
The Workout: I tested Feeling Free with a one-hour at-home (of course—we’re still in quarantine at the time I’m writing this) barre class I streamed with Toronto’s Extension Method. The class doesn’t involve cardio, but I’ve taken it enough times to know it’s a high-intensity workout that certainly makes me sweat. (Here are other streaming workouts BH editors love in quarantine.)
The Sniff Test: I always work out in the morning and never apply deodorant before doing so—I figure it’s still on there from the previous day’s post-shower application. So, I did the barre class 24-hours after applying the deodorant—the result? Still fresh! So, I put Feeling Free to another test: I’ve been wearing it every day for two weeks with cotton tees and dresses in 30-degree weather. It smells fresh all day and doesn’t stain my clothes, like other natural deodorants that I’ve tried.
Not a fan of floral-scented deodorants? Try Detox Mode’s other deodorant, Feeling Altogether, which is made with spicy cardamom.—Renée Reardin, digital editor
Feeling Free, $25, thedetoxmarket.ca
Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant
Schmit’s Naturals is a personal care company that specializes in plant- and mineral-based products. Naturally curious about the brand’s award-wining formula (free of aluminum, parabens, phthalates and artificial fragrance), I decided to put it through a sweat test to see how it would perform.
The Workout: I tested this natural deodorant at Barry’s Bootcamp, a fitness studio known for its high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes. I was put through one of their signature Total Body workouts, which consisted of: 50 percent strength training on the floor and 50 percent running on the treadmill.
The Sniff Test: When it comes to deodorant, I prefer a subtle fragrance so I tried Schmidt’s charcoal and magnesium scent. (FYI: It actually smells like freshly fallen rain.) But what I loved most? It’s smooth-glide stick application, fast absorption, and non-sticky and non-greasy texture. Nonetheless, I found this natural deodorant to actually keep me smelling pretty fresh pre- and post-workout.
The only downfall was that at the end of the workout, the formula really seemed to crease in my armpits. So, during my next use, I made sure to rub on a very small amount. A little really does go a long way with this formula. —Alyssa Ball, assistant digital editor
Charcoal + Magnesium Natural Deodorant, $7.79, schmidts.com and mass retailers
Lululemon Anti-Stink Natural Deodorant
Lululemon has a self-care collection consisting of four products: a dry shampoo, deodorant, face moisturizer and lip balm. The products were two years in the making and were developed with input from athletes with the goal of “seamlessly bridging the gap from sweat to everyday life,” according to the press release.
The Anti-Stink Deodorant is aluminum-free and available in two scents, aloe lotus and black pepper sandalwood. Ingredients include probiotics to reduce the growth of odour-forming bacteria, zinc which acts as a “stink absorber” and coconut oil which conditions and softens skin. All products in the Selfcare line are cruelty-free and certified Clean by Sephora.
The Sniff Test: I love the application of this spray deodorant. It’s so different from what I’m used to with a stick deodorant. According to Lululemon, they chose this application method because it doesn’t allow for the spread of bacteria like some stick applicators can. I tried the aloe scented version which smells very fresh but not overpowering — perfect for me as I prefer lighter scents. The spray goes on wet but dries really fast (think 15 seconds or less!). One caveat: Since it’s a spray, it’s hard to avoid inhaling some of the product. I tried to hold my breath during the short time it took me to apply. – Alyssa Ball, assistant digital editor
Anti-Stink Deodorant, $20 at Lululemon, lululemon.com and Sephora.com
No Pong Natural Deodorant
What drew me to this deodorant was the packaging: its circular tin design disguises the fact that you’re about to whip on some DEO for your BO. With its light citronella-like scent, creamy yet non-sticky, greasy or chalky texture, this product dries upon application almost immediately. But not only that, it takes up very little room in your beauty gym bag.
The Workout: 30-minute at-home Peloton cycling ride that consisted of a variety of intervals and high-resistance climbs. (Also, check out my review of the Peloton bike to find out if it’s really worth the $$$.)
Sniff Test: Having never used a finger-application deodorant before, I must say that it was a pretty odd feeling to be finger painting my armpits. But since my fingers are my best assets for applying my face makeup, why not my pits, right?
When my sweat-dripping workout came to an end, I was pleased to have very little indication of BO. This floored me. Instead my anticipated stench was masked by the faintest scent of lemon, which smelt pretty darn fresh for having just drenched myself in sweat. —Alyssa Ball, assistant digital editor
No Pong Original, $6, nopong.com
Green Beaver Natural Antiperspirant
So this isn’t actually a natural deodorant – it’s the first-ever aluminum-free 100 percent natural antiperspirant! Deodorants work by absorbing the odour associated with sweat but they don’t stop you from sweating. Antiperspirants, on the other hand, prevent you from sweating by blocking your sweat ducts. Instead of using aluminum (like traditional antiperspirants), Green Beaver’s antiperspirant uses a proprietary NaturaDri™ technology and a combination of carnauba, mimosa flower and sunflower seed waxes.
The Workout: I wore this throughout the day while I was at work and reapplied just before a late afternoon personal training appointment at SWAT Health.
Sniff Test: The antiperspirant didn’t stop me from sweating during my workout at SWAT (I’m pretty sure that would be impossible) but I did like how it worked during my workday. Once I did start to sweat at SWAT, the fragrance (Verve, a “fresh and floral”) was more noticeable and I didn’t love it. Maybe it was how it mixed with my sweat? I ended up trying another fragrance, Escape, and I preferred its tropical scent.
Full disclosure: I probably wouldn’t wear this antiperspirant for a workout. Since I’m guaranteed to sweat while working out, it defeats the purpose, in my opinion. I would use this for an average day though – especially a hot summer day. —Melissa Greer, former digital editor
Biossance Squalane + Bamboo Deodorant
Biossance is a skincare company that formulates all products with squalane, a moisturizing ingredient that comes from squalene. Your body naturally produces squalene but the amount decreases as you age. In addition to squalane, this natural deodorant is formulated with bamboo extract to absorb moisture, as well as grapefruit geranium and clary sage essential oils to neutralize odour.
The Workout: A spin class at Tribe Fitness with founder Heather Gardner
The Sniff Test: I was really excited to try this natural deodorant because I love the entire skincare line from Biossance. Unfortunately, this was the first product from the brand that I didn’t like. The formula feels a bit like a gel-solid and just wasn’t my preference. I also don’t think the scent mixed well with my body chemistry. – Melissa Greer, former digital editor
Biossance, $19, sephora.ca
Rocky Mountain Soap Company Natural Deodorant
I’m not going to lie, at first glance, the packaging reminded me of something I used in the early 2000s when I was first inducted into the wonderful world of underarm fragrance. But once I took the cap off, I remembered just how easy and effective using a roller application was. This deodorant is liquid though, so I was intrigued to see how long it would take to dry after applying to my underarms. I gave it a couple of minutes to fully sink in, and much to my surprise, it was fully dry with no stickiness or chalky residue.
The Workout: I wore this to BOLO, a fitness studio that recently launched its official location in Toronto’s downtown core. I was put through a HIIT class that involved weight lifting, calisthenics, and explosive athletic conditioning, as well as a 15 minute core workout in their hot room.
Sniff Test: This deodorant ended up being quite the success after being put through a hot room where I — quite literally — felt as if I was bathing in my own sweat. But after a quick scan, I found that even though my armpits were soaking wet, the tea tree scent faintly remained. (Love tea tree oil? Here are extraordinary beauty uses.) – Alyssa Ball, assistant digital editor
Please note that I had been using this natural deodorant for three weeks prior to testing it during this workout.
Liquid Crystal Natural Deodorant in Tea Tree, $9.50, rockymountainsoap.com
Leaves of Trees Natural Deodorant
I’m not going to lie, sometimes I can be a little judgy when it comes to packaging. And yes, even for deodorant. Needless to say, this natural deodorant passed the test with its oh-so-stylish hand lotion vibe, moisturizing texture, and subtle minty scent. Containing sodium bicarbonate (a powerful deodorizer) and kaolin clay (a natural moisture absorber), it makes for the perfect on-the-go deodorant to keep in my gym bag.
The Workout: Studio Lagree, M3 Fusion — a full-body resistance class that takes place on Megaformer Pilates equipment
Sniff Test: Until this natural deodorant, I had never used one that I had to apply using my fingers. But I actually loved it because I was able to dictate how much I used upon application (which was a pea size per armpit by the way). I found the formula to be very creamy and light-weight, which seemed to allow it to absorb easily into my skin. The only thing that I wasn’t so fond of: how tingly the formula was after application. Although the cooling sensation eventually fades, it is still something I’d need to get used to.
After my workout, I was very impressed with how great my underarms smelled. And keeping in mind that success overrules a slight tingly sensation any day, this will definitely be a new go-to of mine. – Alyssa Ball, assistant digital editor
Leaves of Trees Eucalyptus Mint, $19, shophealthhut.com
Saje Natural Deodorant
The first thing I noticed about this deodorant was its packaging. It’s a spray, which I was excited for since it’s less messy than a paste. The smell was earthy, like a mix of salt water, sandalwood and patchouli (the latter two being its star ingredients).
Sniff Test: It dried on the skin almost immediately when applied. I used about one spray per armpit, and that proved to not be quite enough. Considering the intensity of the workout (I’m sweating just thinking about the climbs we did), I think a more generous application was necessary. However, after the workout, I could mostly smell patchouli rather than my own sweat. I liked the mess-free spray application and the fact that it was liquid — no worrying about it melting inside my gym bag in a hot car. – Courtney Reilly-Larke, associate editor
Saje Exotic Crystal Fresh Deodorant, $13, saje.com
Lovefresh Natural Deodorant
I actually use Lovefresh natural deodorant regularly so I was happy to test out a different scent than my usual. It’s formulated with a coconut oil base, along with arrowroot powder (to absorb moisture), baking soda, and a few other natural ingredients.
The Workout: I wore this to a Bodies by Elle bootcamp class at Elle Fitness where we alternate between intervals on the treadmill and floor exercises. Breaks are minimal and it’s sweaty. (This could be the reason why you sweat so much.)
Sniff Test: The stick format of this was easy to apply and the formula wasn’t chalky or sticky like some tend to be. I found this deodorant held up well throughout the day; all I could smell was a slight citrus scent. I reapplied before my workout which is something I didn’t always do when I used a conventional deodorant. I find that natural deodorant works best when applied right before a workout in order for it to truly last through a sweaty fitness session. – Melissa Greer, former digital editor
Lovefresh Mandarin Lime, $24, shophealthhut.com
Weleda Natural Deodorant
I’ve been a big Weleda fan for years (nothing heals winter-worn hands quite like Skin Food), so I was super-pumped to give this a go—but skeptical, too: I’d tried a number of natural deodorants in the past that barely got me through my morning commute before packing in.
The Workout: Arms day in my (non-air-conditioned!) condo gym. (20 minutes of cardio on the elliptical, followed by 40 minutes of free weights). (No gym? No problem! Here’s how to get fit without a gym membership.)
Sniff Test: Roll-ons are a bit of a rarity in the men’s market, so application was a bit unusual—but not unpleasant. In fact, there’s a refreshing cooling sensation as it goes on, and that lingers for several minutes. Luckily, the fragrance (the essential oil blend includes litsea cubeba, rosemary and vetiver) lingers even longer. Hugely impressed—and officially a convert. – Brett Walther, readersdigest.ca digital editor
Weleda Men 24 Hour Roll-On Deodorant, $7.49, Whole Foods, well.ca and natural health and wellness retailers across Canada.
Vapour Natural Deodorant
I’m a sucker for anything lavender, especially when it comes to deodorant. And given that this formula consists of a concoction of organic and natural ingredients, as well as essential oils, I was thrilled to test it out.
The Workout: HIIT NTC Workout with Nike Master Trainer Jennifer Lau.
Sniff Test: This deodorant may go on as a gel but quickly transforms into a light-weight powder. Upon application, it left my armpits with no residue, feeling non-sticky and completely dry. Although my workout was only a half an hour, my armpits were still sweaty — but not in a body odour kind of way.
Considering that I have found lavender scented deodorants to not hold up so well during workouts in the past, I was surprised to find my sweat pretty much odourless. – Alyssa Ball, assistant digital editor
Vapour AER Lavender Myrrh, $30, thedetoxmarket.ca
Soapwalla Natural Deodorant
The first thing I noticed about this deodorant was the colour: it’s almost black. I was curious if it would discolour my armpits. It’s also heavy with essential oils (tea tree oil, lavender and peppermint make an appearance) which I love, but I was worried it might sting my freshly-shaved armpits.
The Workout: I wore this to Keep Cool, a French fitness centre that recently opened it’s first Canadian location, where I partook in 3 mini workout classes. Two of the workouts were cardio and one was a butt and thigh toning exercise.
Sniff Test: Turns out it didn’t give me grey armpits or sting at all. It absorbed quickly leaving no colour (you apply it with your hands) and was surprisingly gentle despite the essential oils. The creamy texture of this formula makes it feels like skincare and the scent is spa-worthy. The only downside: it’s packaged in a tub, rather than a stick. It didn’t bother me, but some might find it inconvenient for on-the-go applications. After my workout, I was sweaty but surprised that my underarms didn’t smell like body odour. My armpits were only marginally wetter than if I’d worn antiperspirant, probably due to the absorbent cornstarch in the formula. – Courtney Reilly-Larke, associate editor
Soapwalla Sensitive Skin Deodorant Cream – Lavender Mint, $22, thedetoxmarket.ca