Road test: 9 natural deodorants that actually work

Lavanila Laboratories, Nourish / Today

Recently, I noticed that several new natural deodorants are hitting shelves. With hopes that this new crop would be better than their predecessors, I pitched a "natural deodorant road test" to my editor (secretly hoping she'd think the idea was lame — or at least assign it to someone else). But, she went for it — and I found myself trapped in my worst beauty nightmare with 20-some-odd tubes to try. They didn’t all make the cut. But these are the nine natural deodorants that actually worked.

Check out what makes each one special.

Winner: Lavanila Laboratories Lavanila Healthy Deodorant, $18

Of all the natural deodorants I tested, this is the only one I'd actually use on a sweltering summer day. In fact, I believe in it so much that I'd wear it to an interview, during a business meeting, or to any other highly stressful situation where I'd be prone to sweat. It's that good. I chose the vanilla grapefruit scent because it was the most refreshing, but all of the fragrances are fantastic.

As for the formula, it's a solid that glides on smoothly, and it's made with aloe, essential oils and corn starch to help absorb sweat and keep you from smelling like a construction worker. The packaging is also pretty, unlike just about every other deodorant out there — natural or otherwise. As for a downside, it does leave behind some white residue, but I think that's a fair tradeoff for a natural deodorant that works this well.First runner-up: Weleda Citrus Deodorant, $12.99

This formula couldn't be more different from the Lavanila, but it works almost as well — and that's why it's nabbing second place. It's a simple spray with only six ingredients (alcohol, water, lemon peel oil and three other obscure-sounding essential oils). The spray also makes it easy to reapply — perfect for afternoons at the beach. One word of warning: Because it contains alcohol, it does sting a little (especially if you just shaved), but in a cooling sort of way. 

Geodeo / Today

Second runner-up: Geodeo Natural Deodorant, $5.99

Geodeo is a new brand, and their deodorants supposedly go beyond blocking odor — they also have a "detox complex" that "helps prevent daily buildup of impurities." I was intrigued. I opted for a stick in the "island" scent and put it on before I went for a run. When I took a sniff, the fragrance actually smelled stronger than when I first put it on — in a good way. And at the end of my jog I couldn't detect even a hint of B.O.

Bonus: I love that this one goes on clear and contains nourishing vitamin E and skin-soothing bamboo. I'm still skeptical that a deodorant can help with detoxing, but this one doesn't clog pores so at least it's not making things worse.

Honorable mention: Nourish Organic Deodorant, $7.99

This deodorant is made with USDA certified organic ingredients, and its "fresh fig" scent is warm and sweet. Plus, the main ingredient is coconut oil, which has tons of benefits from killing bacteria to soothing irritation. This one passed the run test with flying colors, and I thought it was going to be my top pick, until I decided to wear it on a steamy Sunday afternoon while I cleaned my apartment. Can you guess what happened next? All that scrubbing and sweating was too much for it. I'm saving this one for the winter.Honorable mention: Nature's Gate Herbal Blend Deodorant, $6.29

First, let me say that the tea tree and blue cypress scent that I opted for is intense. It's like walking through a field of soaking wet Christmas trees. But I found that all that pungent fragrance — which comes from essential oils — was really helpful at blocking B.O. Plus, it lightened up by the end of my run. In addition to a lot of extracts and oils, this one contains vegetable enzymes to neutralize odor — and the smooth solid goes on clear.Honorable mention: For Pits Sake Deodorant, $7.99

I'll admit, the name is not for everyone (I've got this one hidden in my sock drawer), but I wouldn't have included it if it didn't get the job done. Its lime and clove scent is nice in a borrowed-from-a-guy sort of way, and because it contains aluminum-free baking soda, it has sweat-absorption capabilities that many of the others do not.Honorable mention: Dr. Hauschka Deodorant, $27

This one has a clear downside: the price. It's by far the most expensive deodorant on the list. However, if you have extremely sensitive skin and you don't mind spending a little bit more, this one's for you. It's ultra gentle with witch hazel and sage, and the scent is light and refreshing. It's a roll-on, but it dries quickly.Honorable mention: Jason Tea Tree Oil Deodorant, $6.95

I was excited about this deodorant because it contains zinc to block sweat and tea tree oil to kill bacteria and odor. It made it through the run test — but just barely. I still think it's a viable option for cooler weather or for people who sweat less than I do.Honorable mention: Kiss My Face Liquid Rock Roll-On Deodorant, $4.95

I made it a point to try this one because it rated so well among readers (it's currently at 8.3 out of 10). However, I'm not a big fan of liquid deodorants, which probably explains why this was my least favorite. I found that it felt damp and sticky after I applied it, and there wasn't much I could do (arm flapping, spinning in circles) to get it to dry. That said, I smelled fresh at the end of my run. 

Now that you know which natural deodorants I liked, find out which traditional deodorants rated the highest — and the lowest — among our readers.

More from Total Beauty:

The best and worst blushes

6 new haircuts for long hair

12 nude nail polishes for every skin type