Help! One Reader’s Struggle To Find The Right Deodorant (+ A Roundup Of Our Favorites)

We love a good deodorant throwdown, and it’s been a LONG time since our last. Here’s the deal: Poor Emily can’t find a natch deodorant that doesn’t break her out in a rash. Let your favorite finds and DIY suggestions roll for this newly converted clean girl. Happy Friday!

Here’s a quick roundup of the ones we’ve tried and liked.

Lavanila: This used to be quite spency but on their site it’s only $14 (not cheap, but not the $20 it was at Sephora). It feels the most like a mainstream deodorant and works like a star. It used to have one slightly suspect ingredient but we haven’t revisited the list in some time. (Anyone know?)

Soapwalla: Absolutely love love love BUT don’t always love applying with a finger. Also many women (including Alexandra) have gotten rashy from it. For her it was just once right after shaving.

Nourish: Smells and feels really really good, functional for sure but not the most powerful we’ve tried.

Weleda: This sage one is one of the first naturals we tried, and it worked great. Until it didn’t. If memory serves the effect wore off after a little while. That sounds weird, but it happened to Siobhan, Alexandra + two friends.

Onto Emily’s email…

I’ve been cleaning up my beauty routine for the past few months, and so far haven’t had too much trouble finding clean versions of all the products I used to use – except for one:I can’t find a natural deodorant that doesn’t give me a painful, red, itchy rash.

I’ve tried just about every deodorant available at the health food store, I’ve tried Face Naturals, I’ve tried several from Etsy…everything works alright for about a week, and then comes the inevitable day when my armpits turn red and start to hurt.

The only one I’ve found that doesn’t give me the rash is the Crystal deodorant rock, but it’s not very effective against smell, for me.

So, after all this TMI, I was wondering whether you, or your readers, might have had similar problems and found a solution?  I really don’t like to feel like I stink, but I also really don’t want to go back to using Secret – besides the aluminum and other gunk I don’t want to put on myself, the fragrances now give me a headache!

Hoping you can help,


91 Responses to “Help! One Reader’s Struggle To Find The Right Deodorant (+ A Roundup Of Our Favorites)”
  1. Emily says:

    You guys are great! Thanks for all the suggestions! After a lot of trial and error I’ve figured out that it’s baking soda that causes problems for me, so at least now I know what to avoid. I’ve ordered a tube of Bumble and Bee’s Pit Putty, and until it gets here I’m alternating the Crystal rock with a deodorant from FaceNaturals which does have baking soda but doesn’t seem to bother me as much (unless I use it two days in a row).

    It’s funny, someone mentioned Soapwalla being good and her being helpful about working to create a custom blend – I emailed her asking about buying a smaller sample size, explaining some of the problems I’d had and that I was wary of spending $14 on something I wouldn’t be able to use, and all I got was a rather curt response saying, “I don’t do samples.”

  2. MD says:

    There are some amazing ideas here, thanks ladies. But it’s so sad when someone tries to be a comedian.

  3. jane says:

    Primal Pit Paste is great –

  4. x says:

    I personally use baking soda because that’s what’s super cheap and since I already buy it for eating, why not put it on my underarms, too! But I do agree that it does sting after shaving.

    I’ve heard good things about milk of magnesia (the medicine you take when you have an acid stomach). I have no problem believing it would be good because it’s got a pH of 8.3 (in other words, it’s an alkaline). Bacteria don’t like alkaline environments, so rubbing this on your armpits creates a rather inhabitable space for them.

    I think it would be worth a try, especially given how cheap it is! And if it doesn’t work, you can always use it for its intended purpose! :)

  5. Hi @Emily, I just saw your message above. I think there must have been some misunderstanding because I do sell trial sizes of my deodorant cream (.5 oz, they last approximately 3 weeks). This is ideal for those who would like to take it for a test run before purchasing a full jar.
    Hope this clears up the confusion!
    Rachel, Soapwalla Chef

  6. Narna says:

    i loove this lemon myrtle deodorant, by an australian company, moogoo

  7. Angi says:

    Hi Ladies,

    I’d recommend sheer crystal rock deodorant and washing with real soap. Preferably Aleppo, because of its antbacterial qualities. Ever since i go with this, my sweat is less and less stinky, no more srains in clothes and absolut zip chemicals which might cause problems.

    Angi from Germany ;)

  8. Amy Jane says:

    I found that the most effective way to smell better is to cut back on beef/lamb/pork, processed sugars or junk food, and certain smelly veggies like onion, garlic, radishes, etc. and drink a lot of water… Especially water that is alkalizing or with fresh lemon. But if for whatever reason, I do happen to smell that day (probably because I had beef stew the night before – YUM) I use Herbal Clear Sport (can be found at Whole Foods, Sprouts, or many other natural food store).

  9. Nicole says:

    Wow, those are some nasty comments MD, and especially Anna. Lolly is a great resource to this group, and I, for one, appreciate her comments, and the spirit in which she delivers them.

  10. Arialynx says:

    I’ve had the same problems. Soapwalla gave me skin hard as leather & itchy. So now I use Dr. Mist mixed with witch hazel. It works great for me. It’s odorless, colorless & doesn’t stain my clothes! Soapwalla also stained my clothing that was made of delicate materials.

  11. Christina says:

    this post comes at the perfect time.

    i just ordered the deodorant cream from meow meow tweet. excited to try it.

    i use duggan sisters now. my boyfriend thinks i smell like pinesol when i wear it, but i may be overzealous in my application.

    so grateful for all of the suggestions. i’ll be trying a few of these. tx!

  12. Alexandra says:

    Hey everyone, I’d like to apologize for pubbing Anna’s comment. I was away all weekend and did it on my phone without reading properly. Those are not acceptable comments, and Lolly is an important member of our community. Super sorry that happened, Lolly! Anna, please refrain from attacking people if you want to comment. It’s not how we roll.

  13. Lolly says:

    Hey, thanks a million, Alexandra, and no worries at all. It looks like a new batch of comments, including yours, was published right after I submitted my comment – you don’t have to publish it if you think it will look weird without the context. I really do appreciate the support though!

    Nicole: Thank you!

  14. Alexandra says:

    You’re a good sport. :)

  15. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Lolly, I love reading your comments! And I’m lucky my super hero powers allow me to read even the unpublished ones. BLAM!

  16. susan says:

    coconut oil followed by a dusting of baking soda mixed with clay.
    I like pascalite. approximate 50/50 ratio. no need to be exact though.

  17. Joanna says:

    I agree with Jane, Primal Pit Paste has been a blessing in my life; it actually lasts all day. It comes in tiny little jars but a little bit goes a verrry long way. Highly recommended.

  18. Beth says:

    The Bubble and Bee deodorants are awesome. They have four different kinds: spray, stick, pit putty (in a stick form but doesn’t glide on), and cream. I’ve used all but the stick (the scents available for it didn’t sound as appealing to me). I currently use the cream followed by the pit putty, both in the orange vanilla scent. It works great for me. I also really love the Geranium Lime scent. All of the deodorants are certified organic.

    The best thing about Bubble and Bee is that they have a deodorant guarantee. If the first deodorant doesn’t work for you, they’ll figure out a better choice that will work for you and another one after that until they figure which combo will work for you. They use to make custom deodorants in whatever scent you wanted for a couple dollars more. I don’t see it listed on their website now but they’d probably still do it.

    I’ve tried the Pristine Beauty deodorant (not effective and the twist-up stick broke very quickly) and the Soapwalla (effective but got a rash especially while pregnant). When I’ve used up my current Bubble and Bee stash, I want to try these: Primal Pit Paste (I really want the lemonade scent in the kids version) and PITS! by THinc. Skin (they also make a super sensitive version). I’d like something a little simpler/less messy than what I’m using now.

  19. kimberlyloc says:

    i’m sensitive to baking soda, too, which means soapwalla also breaks me out in a rash. i’m loving osmia organics’ deodorant cream, which is similar to soapwalla (yeap, gotta massage some cream into your pits1), but i think the formulation has less baking soda in it because it doesn’t irritate me the way soapwalla did (think big, red, nasty rash compared to faint irritation in the skin creases). lavanila also works well for me, but there’s something about mild bo + vanilla that grosses me out. ill use it if i’m in a rush to get out the door. i’ve also been loving this roll-on that contains baking soda called “home health herbal magic” in jasmine scent that i picked up from natural grocers // vitamin cottage. it also leaves a faint irritation, but it does work and is convenient to apply! those are the three in my rotation — everything else mentioned (weleda, pit putty, etc.) is just not strong enough for stinky midwestern girl! :) good luck!

  20. jjess says:

    Honestly, I’ve tried ALL of the deodorants listed and the best one I’ve ever found is Alvera Aloe and Almond. I can only find it in some health food stores, and when I do I stock up. The ingredient list is pretty clean, and it works without any irritating baking soda. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

  21. lisajay99 says:

    I just got a stick of pHresh in my Goodebox, and so far it works great – it’s the closest to traditional stick I’ve used so far in the way it glides on. No stink yet, and I have used Soapwalla, and a bunch of other naturals. I like Soapwalla but it does irritate my skin a bit.

    Some of the ingredients sound “chemical” although it says 100% natural.

  22. Jill says:

    I have tried tons of natural deodorants, bubble and bee, soapwalla, rainwater botanicals, Alba, several from etsy, and have ended up with the dreaded red, itchy, underarm rash. I thought it was the baking soda, but I have been using chagrin valley’s coconut silk deodorant in mint mist for over a year with no irritation and it works great. I don’t smell with this, even at the end of he day and I live in California where the summers are pretty brutal. Ingredients are: Organic Virgin Coconut Oil; Organic Jojoba Oil; Organic Cornstarch; Baking Soda; Organic Beeswax. Organic essential oils: Peppermint, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Spearmint. Lime and Tea Tree. It costs $7.75 for a 2 oz. tin which lasts forever. It is a cream that you have to rub in to your arm pits, so if that bothers you then this might not be for you. You can get it from their website,
    They also sell huge bars of amazing natural soap. Worth checking out.

  23. Tori says:

    I feel like I’ve tried everything and Real Purity’s deodorant is the BEST!!!! ( and I do sweat)

  24. Steph says:

    I’ve gone through two sticks of Herban Cowboy for her deodorant and love it. Ingredients are almost clean, but anything’s better than applying aluminum to your underarms!! It keeps the stink away well, and as overkill I throw on some Honeybee Gardens deodorant powder which absorbs nicely. It does have baking soda, so if sensitive the powder might not work for you, but this combo keeps me fresh and dry all day without feeling like I’m slowly poisoning myself!

  25. Caroline says:

    Oh the good old perfect deo quest! I wrote something kind of about it lately (I won’t post a link in the comment just in case you don’t like that kind of things but just click my name!), it’s titled “perfume and veganism” and it talks about how sweat and how we smell is connected to food and blahhh!
    For about a year or so I’ve used a home made deo with just rum and some essential oils and it does the deal (I’m quite fond of the one I made last: a touch of nard on a patchouli and clary sage base). My skin is quite easy going I have to say…

  26. I have tried SO many natural deodorants and the one that works best for me is the Lavanilla (the lavender one). It’s not perfect though and I find sometimes it doesn’t last me all day. I do also like Weleda’s rose spray deodorant which is good to layer over the Lavanilla. I also sometimes just use coconut oil + sandalwood essential oil and that will work really well. I have a sensitivity to baking soda and I LOVED Soapwalla but it gave me the worst rash. I am always on the hunt for good natural deodorants!

  27. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Caroline, that’s an interesting blog post you did on diet and body smells. I have been a mainly raw, grainless vegan for years, and I partially agree with you. My skin is overall much better, though certainly not perfect. I can still get stinky underarms, though it’s maybe not as bad as pre-vegan days. One thing I do notice is that I never have bad breath, at least not the horrifying kind my mom used to refer to as dragon breath. It’s a pretty big commitment to make though, going vegan – probably most people will still keep seeking the perfect deo!

  28. maureen says:

    I’ve had the same problem with baking-soda deodorants. I tried Soapwalla’s baking soda free option but it didn’t work (the baking soda option totally worked! so I was bummed that the other didn’t).

    I’ve learned that tea tree oil is an anti-bacterial, and bacteria is what makes us stink–so I’ve lately been using Earth Science Tea Tree Lavendar deodorant–baking soda free and for me, it works!! And only $7. I found it at whole foods. I know some have had an allergic reaction to tea tree oil, but it’s pretty mild in this and is worth a try for the price. Good luck!

  29. Candace says:

    I like the deodorant by Rocky Mountain Soap. It’s a Canadian company and I love all the products I have tried so far. I am on my second bottle of their geranium deodorant and so far it still works.

  30. Kelly says:

    Hi Alexandra, I agree that all comments should be nice. But if you are going to allow someone to say baby prostitute, multiple times for emphasis, I think you should allow and expect some feedback. Mind you that I find Lollys comments neither offensive nor funny, though they were supposed to be both. They add nothing to this conversation and only come across as attention seeking. Food for thought if you ate going to moderate comments or not.

  31. Based on the comments, this is clearly a HOT TOPIC! I’ve loved Bubble & Bee. It’s the only deodorant that lasts all day for me. (And I am a sweaty betty too—no shame there as it’s an awesome way to eliminate toxins). I will be trying Fresca deodorant from Australia thanks to this glowing review from The Green Product Junkie:
    This list of comments is an awesome resource! No More Dirty Looks has some very educated and helpful readers!

  32. Garrett says:

    Lavilin’s a great option. I was at Whole Foods and saw a woman put it in their cart. I asked her what she thought about the brand and she spoke so highly of the product that I figured I’d give it a shot. My initial reaction was that she was over-selling it, but after trying it for a few months, I’ve gotta say she was 100% right. Lots of great selling points about the product: Aluminum-free, long-lasting (apparently lasts up to a week for some people; for me it lasts about 3-5 days ), smells fresh. Big fan. Actually convinced my (stubborn) girlfriend to try it, and she loves it too! You can find it at Whole Foods or Amazon or this website:

  33. Kristin says:

    I am so sorry you are having difficulties finding a perfect fit for your natural deodorant needs. I am just finishing in-house testing of my newest baking-soda free formulation, it works with various extracts to effectively neutralize odor and to reduce odor causing bacteria. It is delicate on underarms, moisturizing(without making you feel greasy or wet) and contains natural clays, oils and butters. It is a stick formula and does not have a bad “drag” thanks to my unique formula base utilizing oils and waxes that are unique to GREENBODY vs. the compitition(as well as the several synergistic blend of various essential oil to choose from, many say they would wear our baking soda formulation as a solid perfume if it did not work, but it does for their skin chemistry). If you are interested in keeping up to date with my Facebook page I would love for you to try my version, to see if it can outshine your pervious experiences! FB:

    Have a beautiful day.

    Kristin Jones, GREENBODY

  34. Ray says:

    My company, Carefree Organics, has an organic deodorant that has been really taking off. It took us almost 2 years of research to get it right but its organic, has no chemicals and such, and ACTUALLY WORKS. I can say that with such confidence and it feels great. Over the last 10 years I cant even tell you how many organic and natural deodorants I tried that failed to work. Anyway, give us a try, I promise you will be happy with it:!/~/product/category=5032107&id=24359922

  35. veggiejane says:

    The secret to clean smelling pits is to spray with a water/alcohol based solution before deo application. Yes, it stings a bit, but it provides a clean slate, which is key. Bubble & Bee Pit Putty in tea tree/spearmint is the best…sometimes I apply a little Crystal Rock first for extra protection.

  36. jessica says:

    I can’t vouch for this brand, as I haven’t tried and only just heard of it, but the scents look good and it’s natural:

    I make my own. Easy peasy, and when my pits get used to one concoction and it stops working, I just switch it up!

  37. Nicole says:

    My fiance and I both have had good luck with this brand…

    It doesn’t leave a residue which I love, so you can really cake it on.

    With all natural deodorants I have found that if it really bothers you, keep an extra stick with you to reapply. Reapplying is key, although after about 4 years of natural use, I find that I just stink less in general.

  38. I stopped using antiperspirants/deodorants when I first got pregnant – but I didn’t smell good! Then I tested a series of “natural” deodorants – from home made to fancy $20 a pop – some of which simply didn’t work or gave me a rash. I found DeodoMom by It’s absolutely safe (designed for pregnant women and besides water, has only one other ingredient) and absolutely effective (even in Florida’s summers). It’s the only product that doesn’t give me a rash (even when applied after shaving), and works. It’s also completely unscented which I love. I use the cream version and my active husband uses the roll-on. Good luck.

  39. Alexandra says:

    Tom’s and Jason are some good brands out there, but I think Lavilin is really great! It’s also all-natural and lasts a week! Love it!

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    Help! One Reader’s Struggle To Find The Right Deodorant (+ A Roundup Of Our Favorites) : No More Dirty Looks

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