My Quest to Find a Natural Deodorant That Doesn’t Make Me Smell Like a Pubescent Boy

natural deodorant

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become increasingly self-aware of my mortality. Because of this, I’m convinced that every single stomach gurgle is in fact an organ-feasting parasite contracted through the drinking fountain at Target or a headache is a long-growing tumor developed via sniffing too many blueberry-scented markers as a first grader. I’m adamant that every animal and inanimate object can and will kill me if given the chance. I stay clear of TVs affixed to restaurant ceilings and walk as far as possible in the opposite direction of squirrels.

My current concern is Alzheimer’s Disease. Unlike my other worries, this fear is not unfounded (warning- Debbie Downer moment about to occur): one in every 10 people over the age of 65 and nearly 50% of people over the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s. I’ve watched my adopted grandfather gradually lose his mind from this horrendous disease. Though researchers are not quite sure what causes Alzheimer’s, there has been long-standing speculation that people exposed to aluminum cans or cooking pots are more susceptible to it. You know what else has aluminum in it? Friggin’ deodorant! The Alzheimer’s Association states there is no evidence to support that aluminum causes Alzheimer’s, but rumor is enough for this anxious Jew to recently throw away her aluminum-encrusted Va Va Vanilla Secret stick and start trying the natural stuff sans aluminum.

Which means I stink. Actually, “stink” is too weak of a word. I “Staaaaank” with multiple A’s and a capital S.

Finding a good natural deodorant is tricky; there’s a reason why potentially brain-degenerative metals exist in deodorant- it prevents you from smelling like a boy awoken from a pubescent wet dream.

My first foray into the natural deodorant world was back in 2007. I was the director’s assistant on a television production in Chicago and thought that using JASON’s natural deodorant while working on cramped sets with anywhere from 50-100 people for 12-15 hours a day was a good idea. It took two days of me quietly judging the other assistants nearby to realize that the person that actually stunk was indeed me and that I needed to rid of the portable self-esteem killer instantly.

Not wanting to smell and hoping to actually date someone, I shied away from natural deodorants until now, when I came up with the theory that Lady Speed Stick = Lady Swiss Cheese Brain. So I jumped back into the murky underworld of neo-hippie armpit culture and bought a stick of Tom’s of Maine Wild Lavender deodorant, which is “clinically proven” to have “long lasting” “24 hour odor protection”. I’m assuming that whatever clinic this deodorant was tested at must have been run by a bunch of former flower children whose sense of scent had been destroyed by years of burning patchouli incense. It’s physically impossible for a human being to smell the armpit of another human being who has used Tom’s deodorant and think, “Mmmm…fresh”. I smelled like Paula Cole running a 10k after only a couple of hours wearing Tom’s. In fact, I’ve found that your natural stink- without natural deodorant- is better than the stink you get AFTER a couple of hours of Tom’s natural deodorant use. It’s equivalent to the dilemma of bathroom air freshener; air freshner will always smell like poopy flowers because you’ve grown accustomed to smelling the freshener after someone takes a dump.

The next product I tried was The Crystal deodorant. Anything that sounds and looks like it should exist in the Lord of the Rings trilogy sounds promising. And it is. I definitely had better luck with The Crystal, but was still not satisfied. With its magical crystal powers, The Crystal fends off body odor for more hours than Tom’s, but by mid-day, the scent of body rises to the surface and you have to reapply.

Finding a natural deodorant that worked seemed impossible and I took to whining on social media to see if anyone could recommend alternative sources. Online friends who worked in the beauty and spa industry recommended amber and jojoba oil, but it was an organic beauty line in Los Angeles, Root Beauty, that caught my attention (caught my attention = they offered me free stuff).

I was skeptical of their organic deodorant. At this point I didn’t believe that anything would work, but I’ve been using the product for awhile now and have been pleasantly surprised. Not only does it cover up my stank for the majority of the day, but I smell like your grandmother’s herb garden. Though the product claims not to be an antiperspirant, I’ve found that I sweat less with this product than the others mentioned above.

Their deodorant is a mix of organic arrowroot powder, baking soda, organic virgin coconut oil and organic rosemary oil. The oil mixed with the arrowroot powder makes for a grainy sludge-type substance that you apply with two fingers onto your armpits. This action will cause those around you to mock you, but you can laugh back, “At least my brain isn’t going to die like yours!” Though the 2.5 oz. jar is a little costly ($15), it will last for several months and a little dap goes a long way.

Anyways, $15 is a small price to pay for peace of mind when you worry about things completely out of your control.

Oh, and this isn’t a sponsored post for the company; I just really like the stuff.

If you use natural deodorant, I’m curious to hear what products have worked for you?

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  • Reply Jennifer December 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. Must try!

  • Reply Juliet December 5, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I make it myself for a fraction of the cost – I get organic coconut oil in bulk at Costco and use it for so many other things, but Amazon is a good one-stop-shop for all the ingredients, as well as empty deodorant stick applicators so you don’t have to wash your hands after each application. Shea butter is a solid at room temp so it helps the mixture stay solid, as well as moisturizing your pits 😀

  • Reply EC Gordon December 5, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I use Men’s Stock Natural Dry Pine Deodorant by Aubrey Organics. I wouldn’t call its fragrance incredibly manly, but it definitely more forest than herb garden. A quick look at the Aubrey Organics website and I find a couple of non Men specific choices. I’m guessing you could probably check out the scents in your local whole grocer.

  • Reply Chris Apollo Lynn December 5, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Soapwalla’s Deodorant Cream is completely all natural. I’ve been using it for a few years, and I can tell you that it works. It works even after I bike around in 105 degree heat, party on the East Side, and don’t shower until a day later.

    At $14 it seems pricey, but I usually order two per year.

    • Reply Elisa December 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Ha! Jinx.

    • Reply Jenn December 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      Ditto on the Soapwalla – great stuff.

      But actually, I’ve recently just started wearing men’s aluminum-free deodorant (Old Spice “Hawkridge” which has a big ol’ hawk on it!). I feel like there are a TON of deodorants for men but not a lot for women – they’re all anti-perspirants. Granted, the Old Spice isn’t all-natural, but it has a little staying power than the Soapwalla, for me.

  • Reply Elisa December 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I’ve been on the identical under-arm de-stank journey, and have found the same to be true about Jason and Toms deodorants. Horrible! I’ve had luck with a sludgey cream that sounds a lot like the one you’re using, from Soapwalla ($12) and sometimes I use good old Arm & Hammer men’s deodorant. It’s not the most natural thing, but it is aluminum-free. Fuck Alzheimer’s.

  • Reply megan December 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I put some organic coconut oil on my face every morning and with the bit thats left over, I rub it under my arms. Then I dab with some baking soda.
    It’s cheap and effective.

    That’s it. If I want a scent, I dab on essential oil.

  • Reply LaLa December 6, 2013 at 9:32 am

    You know, I’ve heard this crunchy rumor, that as you ‘detox’ from your previous aluminum-based deod, you will stank less. I have no idea if that’s true.
    I DO know, I rarely wear ANY deod any more. I have a crystal rock (that’s like >5 years old), and a crystal-based roll-on, which I always have to prime, if I want it, because I use it so infrequently. Of course, I always do a ‘pit check’, before I get dressed, but, again, I rarely need deod.
    (Honestly, I find a monthly cycle there.)
    I wonder if you will find the same thing.
    Has anyone else experience this?

    • Reply Blissbot August 14, 2016 at 4:37 am

      The shop is now closed for root beauty. Is there another place to buy this, or have you found other products since then Lauren?

  • Reply Becky B December 6, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Went on this same stanky journey a while back! Now I use a combination of products from Lush – a bar deodorant that smells a little like patchouli (but not overpowering) and a coconut powder that smells like a beach vacation. They work great and keep me dry and fresh!

  • Reply Heidi December 6, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    I have also been using Root Beauty’s deodorant for almost two years now with excellent results! I think it works BETTER than those aluminum-laden antiperspirants. Totally worth the price. I also am in love with their facial moisturizer!

  • Reply Eddy December 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm


    Regarding your quest for natural deodorant…I have received an anonymous note from someone in your office. It is a simple, yet eloquently stated request that I think merits your attention: PLEASE HURRY!

    Thinking outside the cubical…until you find an adequate remedy, you might try to hide a garlic clove in someone else’s cubical to draw attention away from yourself 🙂

  • Reply Danny Witte December 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Malin and Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant – In love with this brand and is the only deodorant I use. All Natural and Aluminum free!

  • Reply paul January 22, 2014 at 12:13 am

    Try Arm & Hammer Essentials. Easily the best I’ve tried, and I’ve tried A LOT. Not only is it the best, but it’s cheap if you can find it. HEB stopped carrying it. I just bought ten for $10 at a Randall’s in Houston. Have also bought in bulk off amazon. This stuff is the real deal.

  • Reply alyssa February 4, 2014 at 12:28 am

    It’s super easy to make yourself at home!
    …and you can choose what you want it to smell like and add your own essential oil!

    lemon, lavender, geranium, mint…really loving just the coconut from the oil

    Check out this lady’s blog:
    Wellness Mamma and her Natural Living

    I’ve had fun making my own products and you can order ingredients from this awesome store.

    Mountain Rose Herbs in CA.



  • Reply Katie February 6, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I second the suggestion to make your own. I use coconut oil, baking powder and corn starch (or arrowroot powder), following this recipe: Add in whatever essential oils you might want – I use lavender, but tea tree is popular, too (too intense for my skin though). I used to use Jason, but they changed the formula a couple years ago, much to my dismay. With the coconut homemade deodorant, I NEVER smell, even during the Austin summer. It’s super easy to make, cheap, and all the ingredients can be used in your kitchen for other stuff. (Plus I think scooping out a little from a jar, with clean hands of course, is more hygienic than rubbing the same stick on your pits day after day anyway). It’s seriously the best thing ever. My pits are happier than ever, and after a year of using this stuff, I can skip days in the winter. I will never go back to store-bought.

  • Reply The_Unflattered February 7, 2014 at 5:33 am

    Actually, the trick w/ the crystal is that you need to be sure you cover every sq. mm of your pit with it. If you’re thorough, it’ll last the day. I buy it in a pump-action spray bottle that J found at a mom n’ pop health food place (pricey, but awesome), and the liquid form makes it easy to cover the bases, so to speak.

  • Reply Amanda March 15, 2014 at 8:01 am

    If you want to try a different scent that is really refreshing and actually works. Try Arbonne’s Pure Mint deodorant. It costs about the same as the deodorant you mentioned….but you can also become a consultant and get it considerably cheaper. The great thing about Arbonne is you just share the products (that you fall in love with anyway) and you get to make some money and get free products at the same time. This deoderant works so well, I wear it to the gym. And like all Arbonne products; they are pure, natural and beneficial. Organic at its most luxurious. Check out the site If you need an id to order or become a consultant…. I would be more than happy to give you my number. Find me on\givemenatural.

  • Reply Rebekah March 24, 2014 at 2:10 am

    I use Lavilin –

    Love it!!! It’s all-natural, long-lasting, and smells great. I run everyday, and only need to apply it once every 5 days. I also use their foot cream. Fantastic!

    • Reply Anna May 22, 2015 at 10:39 am

      Seriously every 5 days?? Have you found you don’t smell anymore with the help of this? I want to try this and think I am going to buy it. Having such a hard time finding an all natural deodorant! Hope it works!

  • Reply avery April 24, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    I have been on the same quest for almost 2 years now. I have tried spray ons, toms (which I agree is worse than nothing), I have made my own, and currently tried old spice which worked really well in the winter, but now that it is getting warmer my mom and my sister are complaining (although my boyfriend said that he hasn’t noticed and neither have I) so since my mom and sister think I have some funk going on I am out to find something new. I am a college student with no money and I seriously cannot afford $12 deodorant, I plan to go buy all of the aluminum free options at the corner store and give them a shot. I really don’t want to go back to using deodorant with aluminum but I also don’t want to stink. wish me luck.

  • Reply CourtCCL May 20, 2014 at 4:28 am

    I’m a Lavilin girl. Always will be! Love the brand. It is so so good at killing odors for me. Doesn’t last me a week like it does for other people, but 3 days is enough for me!

  • Reply Amber June 21, 2014 at 6:03 pm



  • Reply Kimmie October 1, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    So I have stumbled upon your blog today and can totally relate. I’ve have issues with the BO so bad that I throw away my shirts after a couple of wears. I either smell like a boy in puberty, hoagie with extra onions, chicken noodle soup, or a skunk. I have cut out all caffeine drinks except 1 cup of java a day. I drink mostly water. I shower as often as possible (2 small kids) but use either alcohol or witch hazel daily to try to deal with the smell. Homemade deodorant broke me out after 2 weeks – too much baking soda. Toms made me smell so gross I didn’t try it again after one use. Now I am on day 2 of the crystal solid stuff… no bueno! It is like I didn’t even put anything on. I will have to try this stuff you suggested. I cannot go through life with this horrible pit smell!!

    • Reply Deb November 1, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      try taking Spirulina (chlorophyll is an internal deoderizer, just try anything with a high amount of chlorophyll) Make sure it’s from an organic source too. Do some research into it just to know the ins and outs and start with a low amount and increase as needed if you do take it. I deal with BO and it has helped me a lot. It’s usually an internal issue. Also making sure you are not backed up is important. It’s better to tackle this internally and externally.

      I’m planning to try this DIY deo too, it has a lot of glowing reviews:

      Good luck!

    • Reply Deb November 1, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Forgot to add Chlorella is very good too!

  • Reply Hamilton Berg December 8, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    OK, I’ve been through this whole thing, and yes I tried every single deodorant out there including random online brands. I found this product with shea butter, Ozone layer deodorant, and it manages to keep me from smelling like a bear but also soothes my uber sensitive skin. Thats a tall order, because i really do smell like a bear, and my skin is unfortunately unable to put up with aluminum or parabens.

  • Reply Reid December 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    The best deodorant that I have ever used is Ozone Layer Deodorant, which also happens to be all natural. It uses a new patent pending deodorant technology that oxidizes odor causing anaerobic bacteria with oxygen infused into just 2 ingredients, shea butter and beeswax. It is so effective that it can be applied after you already experience body odor because it eliminates the bacteria that cause it in the first place, it is incredible. Check it out at, it’s also guaranteed to work!

  • Reply Sebastian February 7, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Try Botox on the armpit’s sweat glands. It’s a bit costly but it’s technically natural–bacteria toxin. This will basically stop sweat production and in theory no deodorant would be necessary, but of course I would stay on the cautious side and use some everyday as well. Another, albeit expensive, alternative is surgical removal of the armpit’s sweat glands, which would have the safe effect as Botox but without need for yearly injections or (harmless!) toxins.

  • Reply Jeanine April 19, 2015 at 4:49 am

    Hey! Have you ever tried Lavilin? I am IN LOVE with the brand. All-natural, safe, and long-lasting – lasts up to 5 days for me (only 2 days for my boyfriend though).

    Nice review here:

  • Reply Rita June 18, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Ohhhh what a shame the crystal deo did not work for more than a few hours for you. The majority of my friends and family have all been trialing Native Unearthed cyrstal deodorant and it has been working splendidly.

  • Reply Mike July 8, 2015 at 1:28 am

    Try Serota’s Underarm Balm! It’s amazing stuff, works, and is made in Austin!

  • Reply Linda August 31, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Hi can anyone help me, I can’t seem to find root beauty’s website to purchase their deodorant.

    • Reply hipstercrite September 1, 2015 at 8:59 pm

      Aww…it looks like they closed down! Poo!

  • Reply Paris September 7, 2015 at 11:07 am

    if you stop eating red meat and avoid chemicals in you food you wont stink wile wearing natural deodorants.

  • Reply Kimmie November 6, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    My long journey to all-natural, stink-free has ended! As others here have mentioned, Soapwalla is amazing! The only non-aluminum that’s worked for me. It’s worth the price. Cancer is so expensive! And, unlike all the others I’ve tried, it also seems to work as an antiperspirant

  • Reply Sarah February 20, 2016 at 12:06 am

    I identify with this on so many levels. Thank you.

  • Reply Ashley March 10, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    I tried Lanvanilla found in Sephora initially. And the product was great. I tried Tom’s in a pinch and I cannot stand the stench of my pits. Lanvanilla comes in all sorts of great natural smells.

  • Reply Lily March 15, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    I use Arbonne too! one of my friends started selling it and I hosted a party and fell in love with the products…..I pretty much buy everything from them now -_-;;;;;
    I should also mention that even though the link between aluminum and alzheimer’s isn’t proven there is a link between aluminum antiperspirants and breast cancer so be careful! Using a natural deodorant is totally worth it, even if you get toms and are super stinky. B.O is always better than chemo.

  • Reply Ivonne June 15, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    I use an aluminum free deodorant from
    Works great and is only $9! Plus she’s in Austin tx.

  • Reply Maria Vilela George June 19, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Hi everyone! Since teenerger I had problems with my smelly armpitts! I tried all kinds of products, but no use. As I grew up, I began to use deodorants that promise last 24 or 48 hours and they worked! However, I began to study the chemical composition of these products and I chose not use them anymore.
    I studied aromatherapy and some years ago, I developed a deodorant 100% aluminum and other chemicals free using only essential oils and natural components. The result was incredible! Yes, I got it! Something that really works! People who used my natural deodorant said they enjoyed because it is natural, lasts all day, promotes an incredible freshness, and yes, SMELLS GOOD!

    If you want to try it let me know. Here is my page at Facebook:

  • Reply CMU June 21, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Oh my gosh, this is too funny! I literally found my way here by googling “Tom’s deodorant makes me stink” just to see if anybody else had the same experience. I don’t normally have bad BO, and usually just use coconut oil on my pits after I get out of the shower. I was skeptical at first, but I decided to give it a try. Since I really wanted it to work, and didn’t really trust my own sense of smell, I made my husband smell my pits everyday for a week. If I stunk he would have told me, trust me! Anyway, I decided to to buy a stick of Tom’s just in case I needed to throw on deodorant as I was running out the door. I tried it one day (not a particularly hot day, mind you) and almost instantly I smelled like a homeless bum who had not showered in months. It. Was. That. Bad. I’m so glad I realized where that horrid skunk smell was coming from before I went to meet up with my sister that night! She was laughing so hard as I tried to express to her exactly how bad it really was. Moral of the story, don’t buy Tom’s. Don’t even try it if you get it for free… I have all the supplies on hand to make a version of the deodorant you mentioned above, and will be trying that soon.

  • Reply Katrina July 2, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    I also found that Tom’s made me smell terrible! Like, so, so bad! It turned me off of natural deos for years, but a DoTerra rep gave me a sample of some she made last year, and I’ve been making my own ever since with zero stank. My recipe uses arrowroot powder, baking soda, coconut oil, bees wax, Shea butter, and essential oils. I use cypress, tea tree, and whatever else I’m feeling at the moment (last batch was wild sweet orange). The ingredients are pretty cheap and easy to come by, and my pits smell great 🙂

  • Reply Blissbot August 14, 2016 at 4:38 am

    The shop is now closed for root beauty. Is there another place to buy this, or have you found other products since then?

  • Reply Stacey September 7, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    I’m going to give it a try. I love Rosemary. So far the only thing that has worked for me is Pure Haven formerly Ava Anderson. I haven’t tried it since they switched but will be in a few days. Waiting for my order. In the mean time I’ve been using Taylors Pits and it sucks. At $14 a stick I shouldn’t smell like a skunk in 4 hours!

  • Reply Diane October 5, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Odor? Lone Deodorant!!! And it does NOT contain baking soda, which is an irritant to many. Lone is a slightly softer stick, so apply gently – a couple light swipes and you’re done – a little goes a long way. Great customer service and standing behind the product.

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