The Best Deodorant According to Two Big Deodorant Snobs

(Who I love very much.)

10.06.17
Collage by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.

My two older siblings, who I love very much and who I would voluntarily sniff at length, are huge deodorant whiners. They’re very Goldilocks about their brands, both in perpetual search of a new one while claiming their current one doesn’t work. Then, one day, their complaints gave way to raves — the kind of raves that can only result from a fruitless, life-long search. They’d finally found it.

“I went on a trajectory from big name stuff like Old Spice in high school to ‘natural’ stuff like Tom’s in college, none of which worked for me,” my brother Andy tells me when I ask him to lay out his deodorant history. “Eventually, I fell into a rotation of smaller ‘menswear’ or high-end deodorants:Β Baxter,Β Ursa Major, Herban Cowboy,Β Malin +Goetz, Aesop.” He says they all smelled good but didn’t work and were expensive (Aesop is $35 for a bottle), but he kept using them anyway. “I couldn’t remember not having a vague B.O. smell at the end of the day regardless of what I used. Some people are into that, but it’s not really my thing.”

Then he saw an ad for Native on Instagram.

A post shared by Native (@native_cos) on

“It’s the only Instagram ad I’ve intentionally tapped on, and it’s the first deodorant I’ve used in years that straight up works and continues to work after two months of daily use.” He tells me that at the end of the day he doesn’t have a single hint of B.O. “I keep waiting for the day that it stops working as my body gets used to it, but it’s never come.”

(I know this sounds like an ad — but so does he!)

“I’ve never been loyal to a deodorant because I didn’t feel like any of them worked that well for me,” my sister Kelly tells me. She’s newer to Native, but almost as hooked. “I would often switch between Dove, Secret, Mitchum, etc. My only experience with ‘natural’ deodorant was the Malin+Goetz one, which didn’t work.” But when she recently changed her birth control, her body revolted and things got worse. “After Andy forced Native on me, I’ve been letting my body adjust and am definitely noticing a significantly difference.”

Native’s branding touts a paraben-free, aluminum-free formula — but those are selling points I’ve seen before. What makes it different? I spoke to the founder of the company, Moiz Ali, to find out.

“We iterate on our deodorant formula like software companies iterate on software,” he tells me over the phone. “We’re constantly testing new ingredients and new variations of our formula to make it better.”

One of his team’s biggest breakthroughs was the use of a probiotic called acidophilus. “It’s a bacteria that’s found in your gut, and in yogurts like Chobani and Fage. It’s a bacteria that eats stinky odor-causing bacteria under you arm. I don’t think any deodorant company in the world uses it.” They also incorporated what they call “VegiCides,” which are 100% vegetable-derived preservatives that also eat odor-causing bacteria. “The way we’ve been able to make an effective deodorant is by pioneering new ingredients in deodorant and then testing new ones.”

(According to the website, Native contains shea butter, jojoba oil, beeswax, baking soda, vitamin E, vegetable preservatives, acidophilus, probiotics, castor bean oil, stearyl alchohol, fractionated coconut oil and arrowroot powder.)

Ali explains the idea was born when his sister got pregnant and his family decided to switch to aluminum-free deodorant. Aluminum is the ingredient that makes deodorants “antiperspirant,” and its safety is highly contested, with some studies linking it to an increased risk of breast cancer or Alzheimers, and others studies disproving those links. In other words: No one knows for sure. That wasn’t a risk Ali wanted to take, so he started trying tons of natural deodorants. “But none of them were efficacious; None of them actually prevented odors. (Ed note: MR has covered this before!) So I started developing Native just for my family to use.” Soon, friends and colleagues started asking for samples, and a business was born.

I ask Ali about aluminum and Native’s lack of it. “What aluminum does is basically act as a plug to sweat ducts to prevent sweating. We do have a lot of ingredients to absorb wetness, like arrow root powder, so when you sweat, it’s absorbed.” So not prevention, but absorption.

My sister confirms it hasn’t stopped her sweating, but abated it. “I’m wondering now if antiperspirants were confusing my body and triggering more sweat. If this keeps up, I will be so sad that I didn’t find it earlier.”

I tend to roll my eyes at the anxiety perpetuated by the wellness movement and have happily used Old Spice for years as a result, but I can’t help but find my siblings reviews and Ali’s impetus for making Native compelling. “Deodorant is the only product I apply on my body and it’s been on my body for 23 hours and 50 minutes a day since I was 13 years old,” Ali says. “And it will sit on my body almost all day for the next 50 or 60 years. So why risk it?”

They might be onto something. What are your feelings on antiperspirant versus natural? Have you found a deodorant you’re satisfied with?

(P.S. This is fun: Native just offered MR readers a 10% discount with coupon code MAN10! I swear to G this isn’t a paid post, but have at it if you’re a believer.)

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  • Abby

    I always say this but…North Coast Organics is truly the best natural deo. Awesome scents, gentle on my sensitive pits, very excellent odor control.

  • Allie

    I just feel so lucky to be able to comment early…

  • Juliana Salazar

    YOU GUYS ARE IN MY BRAIN. Wish I would have known this yesterday before buying the Aesop one πŸ™„

  • Coco

    I love Native deo. My sister introduced me to it a few months back and I am in love. The coconut one is my favorite and I do feel like the “seasonal scents” is a little gimmicky, but oh well I can never have “too much” deodorant.

  • Kate

    I love the Dove dry spray antiperspirant in pomegranate. It’s effective and doesn’t stain my clothing. It does have aluminum in it but that doesn’t bother me. Does the Native deo create white streaks on clothing?

    • Bmo

      Yes I need this answer! I wear too much black to deal with white streaks

      • Kelly

        I haven’t seen any so far… It comes with two surprising instructions: 1) Use less than you think 2) Rub in excess with your fingers. These two tricks have worked for me so far!

        • Haley Nahman

          Oh that’s interesting!

      • I’ll second Kelly’s response. I wear mostly black and haven’t had issues with this. I use only one swipe per pit and let it absorb a little before getting dressed. It’s been smooth sailing since February for me πŸ™‚

    • anna lee

      i luv mitchum..only one that wrks all day…..anna lee

  • Alison

    Any ideas on scents? e.g., Lavender & Rose vs. Rose & Magnolia?

    • Haley Nahman

      Both my sibs prefer the unscented one!

      • Kelly

        Snobby sister here, confirming I prefer unscented. I also have Eucalyptus/Mint (good but stronger than I expected) and a sample of the Lavender/Rose (haven’t tried but basically just smells like lavender). I so wish they had these in a store so you could smell in person, scent selection caused me much anxiety…

        • Alison

          Thank you!

    • Megalopyge

      I bought the seasonal box. 30 bucks for 3 and free shipping to Oz? BARGAIN!

    • The Lavender & Rose, Coconut, and Unscented ones have been my favorite. I got the grapefruit and like it, but can only wear it one day in a row (without showering) before it doesn’t work as well. I just ordered the summer seasonal pack and am excited to try some new scents!

  • Rae

    You guys, as a Very Sweaty Person, I take my deodorants seriously. I tried sooooo many aluminum-free brands (Tom’s is garbage, btw) and Native is the only one that has ever worked for me. I’m obsessed. I love the citrus & herbal musk scent (it’s a ‘men’ scent but like…why does our deodorant need to be gendered AM I RIGHT).

    • eizhowa

      The gendering is too dumb. I buy my deodorant in the mens section as well πŸ™‚

    • Engels_Beard

      Tom’s occasionally actually lathers in my armpits. It’s so bad.

      • rsrchtchncn

        I once put on Toms and got on one of those ellipticals with the moving arm-things (or are they all like that?)

        Anyway, I looked down after a while and noticed that I had a big frothy mess oozing out of my pits. I didn’t go back to that gym for a long time after that.

  • Abbie

    I had such high hopes for this Native stuff but alas, it doesn’t really work that great for me. The odor is definitely gone but I keep pitting out my shirts. I like it when I’m wearing sleeveless shirts and not going to the gym.

  • Amelia Diamond

    I thoroughly might buy this and I am 100% a chemical deodorant kind of person but your sister sold me, plus you, haley, are the most skeptical.

  • Danielle Menkens

    I’ve never bought anything faster than after reading this article and the straight razor article Harling did.

    • Jomama

      Didn’t even make it to the promotion code. No regrets

  • Hayley

    Team Schmidt’s over here!

    • Millie Lammoreaux

      Yepppp

    • Riley W

      LOVE Schmidts

    • Andre Meaux

      Me too!!!

    • Katy Boyd Dutt

      Can’t do Schmidt’s, I breakout!

      • Hayley

        I use their sensitive formula – works great! May be worth trying that.

      • Angela Anthony Thrasher

        Same here! It didn’t happen right away. I was so upset, because otherwise, it worked great.

    • Julie

      schmidt’s discolors my clothes like none other! whites all turn yellow in the pits and, if i wear a black shirt to work and then change into gym clothes, the dye from the shirt that mixed with the deodorant stains my top/sports bra πŸ™

      • Hayley

        Really?? I haven’t experienced this issue before…

  • nell

    Okay, your sister’s theory about antiperspirant triggering MORE sweat is something I have thought for years! I used to always pit through my T-shirts when I used Secret or Dove but now that I’m on the natural deo train I never do except maybe on an extremely hot day. I think I am the only person who actually likes Tom’s although granted I usually reapply it at some point during the day — it’s not going to keep you smelling perfect for 12+ hours, but it’s cheap and you can get it everywhere. The lavender one is great. I have also tried Schmidt’s but reacted badly to it (I think it is the baking soda – apparently they make a sensitive version without it now) and Soapwalla which seems to be the Cool Girl natural deodorant….the texture and the fact that you have to smear it on with your fingers was just a big nope for me.

  • The native deodorant worked well, but left so much residue on my clothing! White, yes, but also just this thick gunk in the armpits of my shirts (which are mostly black silk shirts of some kind that that I certainly don’t want to wash after every wear!). I find the Thai spray deodorant far more clothing friendly while still being chemical free. The packaging is super ugly, so I transfer it to my own amber glass spray bottle.

    • Dee

      I LOVE THAI. I’m obsessed.

    • Gertrudes Demesa

      Thai spray doesn’t work for me. Stone is better but I use Native now. My friends use Native now… very good

  • Jess

    CRYSTAL DEODORANT FOREVER

    • Julia Schnell

      YES, except for the one stick/crystal that I accidentally dropped on my tile floor and it shattered into one billion pieces. But other than that: yes!

      • I dropped mine in the sink and the top half shattered but the bottom was still usable if it weren’t for how sharp and jagged it was! PRO TIP: Use a nail file to smooth it out!!!

        But I’m definitely getting immune to the Thai crystal after about a year. My bf uses Native and loves it, so I’m going to switch!

    • Lindsey

      Yes!! I just found one that comes in a little bottle like regular deodorant and isn’t that weird egg shape that makes it impossible to hold once it’s wet. It’s so genius. Crystal deodorant for life.

  • Cristina

    So, this wasn’t sponsored by Native? It def feels like a plug.
    Regardless, I’m iffy. I’ve been through the natural deodorant ringer from the health aspect. I’m a sweaty sweater and I work out. I just got tired of smelling like BO at the end of the day. I had to wash my jammies every day because body odor just seeps into your clothes and ew. I’ve tried store natural, Etsy natural, “paleo natural” (insert eye roll emoji at myself) and DIY. A couple months ago I went back to Dove and never felt more alive. And my Etsy one also had probiotics and I didn’t make a lick o difference. Lots of proverbial “people” say the key to kicking BO is in a strict diet. I’d rather use Dove than give up pizza.

    • Haley Nahman

      Def not sponsored!!

    • Caro A

      I hear you. I’ve been on the natural train for about 2 months and am not completely sold on it. I have friends who tell me that after a while you just stop smelling bc your body gets used to it and I’m like….listen, I have to interact closely to ppl every day, that is not really a risk I”m willing to take. And the clothes! Any tips for getting the B.O. smell out?

    • After trying a few different natural options, including my own DIY batch, I can confirm that Native is the BEST. I’ve been using it since February and it works so well, it is unreal. I am a hyper-sweaty person and this stuff makes me sweat significantly less. The formula seems to work best for about 12-16 hours, but after that I find I need to reapply. Also, I am fairly disgusting and sometimes don’t shower after the gym, I can confirm that a quick swipe of Native under each pit after a gym sesh is enough to trick my boyfriend into thinking I am not gross.

  • girlshawne

    This deodorant is so goopy. Maybe I used it wrong, but I did not enjoy. It left residue on my sweaters and made my armpits feel very moist.

    • Haley Nahman

      My sister said if you use less than you think and rub it in with your fingers it’s not goopy/doesn’t leave residue…but maybe it’s diff person to person!

  • gaby

    Currently into Piperwai

    • Me too. I’ve tried most of the ones mentioned in these comments, but Piperwai is hands-down the best for me. Love the scent.

  • Bo

    Sorry to do this but you are all wrong, the best deodorant is a tiny Australian brand called No Pong. Natural, zero-waste (I’m not big on throwing out non-recyclable plastic toiletry containers if I can help it), v v effective, comes in a cute little tin you can reuse for other stuff and CHEAP – 1 tin lasts me almost 2 months and costs around US$4.00. Comes in normal and sensitive skin variety. I’m just here to educate
    https://www.nopong.com

    • Megalopyge

      There’s another Aussie brand called Black Chicken that makes one called Axilla that’s only one that has ever worked for me. Only downside is its a paste which is kind of a hassle to apply.

      • Bo

        I haven’t tried black chicken yet! I’m planning to once I run out of the 7 tins of no pong I bought in excitement. I neglected to mention No Pong is a paste too – although I ??kind of like?? the consistency – makes me feel like I’m giving my poor neglected armpits some love when I apply it Β―_(ツ)_/Β―

      • Michelle

        Black chicken Axilla gives me a bad rash under my arms, which is a pity since it does work as deodorant.

  • Caro A

    Also, one day I had to put on my boyfriends Old Spice in a pinch and was reading the ingredients by chance: no aluminum! Also, I use Native and sometimes I smell- like on days when I’m interacting w a lot of ppl: I think it has to do w/ stress. I also smelled when I used Schmidt’s. I’ve resolved to washing my armpits every morning over the sink like I do my face (I’m not an every day shower person) and that helps dramatically. Also, with both Schmidt’s and Native, just one of my armpits itches quite a bit. (?)

  • Caro A

    One other thing! Someone on here wrote about two months ago or something that the reason your white t-shirt armpits turn yellow is because of aluminum and after wearing natural deo I can confirm that this is NOT true. I have yellow pits on new tees πŸ™

    • Charlsey

      It’s not necessarily from aluminum but it IS from your sweat reacting to ingredients in your deodorant. Ex: I never had stains with my ClayDry and when I switched to Schmidt’s and ruined MULTIPLE of my white tees with almost neon yellow stains, which I’ve never had in my entire life. Switched to Herban Cowboy and all the staining stopped.

    • FYI, if you’re using any sort of bleach in your laundry the bleach turns whites yellow! It reacts with your body funk and creates a yellow-orange hue. I switched to a blueing liquid for washing my whites and the problem has basically disappeared.

    • Jessica

      I’m not 100% sure if this is true, but I thought the yellowing was due to residual waxes in deodorant transferring to your clothes which would be hard to remove in the laundry.

  • Piluca Valverde

    Shipping to Spain please!!!!

  • cecilrahn

    gonna have to try this..I’ve used meow meow tweet for about a year but they’ve raised there prices and shrunk their sizes so this seems like something thats worth a shot!

  • Michaela H

    can we also talk about the email you get once you order? delightful. Thanks for the strong rec!

  • I’m totally team Native! I’m an incredibly sweaty person and despite the product not being an anti-perspirant, I sweat SIGNIFICANTLY less with it than I ever did with even the strongest anti-perspirants. It’s such an awesome product, I can’t say enough good things about it!

  • Emily

    this reallllly convinced me, especially because when i read it i was having an allergic reaction to old spice (sometimes i wear mens deodorant, lol). has anyone tried the lavender and rose or lavender and pear smells? thoughts?

  • imeansure

    Very intrigued, but a 10% discount with a minimum of $15 when the only offerings are $12 each is kind of… weird.

  • Sally

    Has anyone who’s used this product found that the baking soda component was irritating to their skin? Last time I tried a natural deodorant, it made my underarms red and sensitive.

    • yup, that’s where I’m at right now. Chemical burn in my armpit from Schmidt’s. πŸ™

    • Aydan

      try primal pit paste! They have different versions with varying levels of baking soda, so for you sensitive types, there should be one for you! I typically use the jar, level 2, unscented, but I LOVE their products and have been using for ages (I got my mom, little brother, dad, friends, etc. all hooked too!)

    • Stella

      This is me too! I found an amazing natural deodorant “Agent Nateur NΒ°3 deodorant” which is absolutely absolutely perfect other than the fact it turns my armpits dark and red. I want the branding of Agent Nateur without the baking soda!

    • Merissa

      I thought that I had this problem with Schmidt’s because of the baking soda (my pits were RED but not sore or itchy, when I switched back to my non-natural deodorant the skin on my pits peeled like a sunburn). However, I had the same issue with redness when I switched to MILK natural deodorant (which is baking soda free). It could be an issue with the type of scent you’re choosing as well. When I tried Schmidts I got the cedar, which is apparently a really strong oil and probably not great if you have sensitive skin.

  • Currently suffering a chemical burn in my armpits after many a glowing recommendation compelled me to try Schmidt’s….wonder if this would have a similar effect on my very fragial, sensitive body.

    • Alice

      Does Schmidt’s have baking soda? That’s my issue with most natural deodorants. Even though I’m team chemicals I’ve been meaning to try meow meow tweet because they sell minis without baking soda.

      • yup. Their ylang ylang + calendula scent is the loveliest smell, so I’m super disappointed

        • Alice

          Aw, damn. We Alices are sensible delicate flowers.

          • it’s not easy being us

          • Alice

            Even if all the “ahah Alice, are you in wonderland?” weren’t burdensome already.

  • Asiah Green

    I love Native! Seriously the best.. since I’ve made the switch they were the first deordorant that didn’t burn my armpits bright red.

  • Suzan

    I’m all about natural and organic skincare, but I have to say that the theory that aluminum in deodorants causes breast cancer is simply not true. In the early 00’s there was one article laying out this correlation which had no true basis. Of course this result got caught on in the media and is now a very persistent myth. Which gets perpetuated even when people are saying they want aluminum-free deodorants “just to be safe” or “you can never know”. But yes, we do know by now (for a while even already) that there is no connection between aluminum in deodorants and breast cancer. Please people, inform yourself with reliable sources (as in: not necessarily beauty blogs), like: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/myths/antiperspirants-fact-sheet

    Let us stop this ridiculous health fearmongering.

    That being said. Go for natural products, it’s better for the environment, especially the brands that mind packaging, production processes and their workers. Vote with your money πŸ™‚

  • Anna Fiore

    Been using Native for almost a year now. I love it! I get bad anxiety pit sweat (ugh); I can’t say this stops it, but it is waaay better than Degree, Dove, etc.

  • Bailey Stark

    I am a very sweaty person and I made the switch to Native about a year and a half ago and it may be the best decision I’ve ever made. Native is the SHIT! It seriously works and it smells AH-MAZING.

  • Michelle

    Do none of you know about the crystal? Your lives are about to change forever, go to Whole Foods ASAP!!

  • Native is the best I’ve found! Here’s the thing about switching over, if you’ve been using anti-perspirant for years, your body actually stops producing the bacteria that controls your natural sweat and odor. It can take a few weeks for some people to acclimate to a natural brand. Because I work closely with clients and don’t want to gross them out, I used it on my days off and for morning workouts etc until I got less sweaty (about a month). Now It works great most days! I love the Peach and Mango scent but I think it was a limited release…

  • Summer Mosher.

    All my mom and I use is Native because it WORKS and you don’t really smell anymore even if you do sweat. wooooo. Haley, we’re on the same wavelength these days its wild.

  • Guest

    I should have read all the way to the bottom of the article before I immediately went to their website and ordered, LOL!

  • Mark

    We are big fans of Native’s Eucalyptus & Mint scent! We put this stick to our own personal test to compare against a regular antiperspirant/deodorant. Check out our review here: https://www.menstylefitness.com/active-wear/native-deodorant-review/

  • Beatus

    Got my Native deodorant after reading this article. Definitely down for the all natural ingredients. https://www.menstylefitness.com/active-wear/native-deodorant-review/

  • Franzi

    Thank you so much for your recommendation, Haley! After reading your article I instantly ordered. It actually took some time to ship to Germany, BUT I am super happy as it smells amazing and works much better than any other deodorant (sans aluminium etc.) ever has – at least for for me.

  • truth

    I’ve been using Native deodorant for a few months now. It’s good, but it’s not great. It leaves stains on light and dark shirts that don’t come out easily. Doesn’t last the whole day for odour. With the amount of positive comments about it online, i was totally disappointed. Makes me think they have one heck of a marketing department. Ugh.