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For me, spring cleaning is about more than just tidying up my bedroom. It’s a time to reassess and clean up my personal care routine. Working as a beauty reporter for the past three years has opened my eyes to the complex ingredients lurking in our shampoos, lotions, and makeup. While I’ve made strides in choosing more body- and planet-friendly products, there’s one switch I haven’t been able to make -- deodorant.
I’ve dabbled with natural deodorants before and have found some I really do love, but when it comes summer time, I always go back to plain old anti-perspirant. I want to feel dry, and I don’t want to ruin my outfits with sweat, feel uncomfortable, or scare people on the subway away with my stench -- actually, that wouldn’t be so bad. I’ve heard Native Deodorant is one of the best on the market, so I was excited to give it a try and see if it could hold up. Keep reading to see if this $13 natural deodorant became my new go-to.
- Exceptional natural ingredient list
- Overall brand transparency
- Leaves skin feeling soft
- Variety of scents to choose from
- Availability both at retailers and online
- Free of animal testing
We don't like
- Premium price
- Only one size available
- Stronger scent (although Unscented is an option)
An Armpit Audit
For a little background, I would say I am a moderately sweaty person. I won’t wear makeup in the summer without setting spray, but I don’t shy away from a gray t-shirt if you know what I mean. I’ve experimented with multiple different natural deodorants before and have found some I really do love, most notably Megababe’s Rosy Pits and Beachy Pits.
When I’m exercising or spending a lot of time outside in the heat, I hate feeling damp, so I’ll usually just slick on some anti-perspirant as a preventative measure. I replaced my regular deodorant with Native’s Coconut & Vanilla for three weeks, putting it on first thing in the morning.
Switching from Antiperspirant To Natural deodorant
Are you considering a natural deodorant and wondering is Native deodorant good?
Transitioning from an antiperspirant to a natural, aluminum-free deodorant does require some patience. Natural deodorants take a little time to get to work as your underarms detox after years of covering up odors.
It’s during the detox phase that some start to ask this common question: does Native deodorant work?
While Native gives new customers fair warning that it can take up to 14 days to get the maximum effectiveness out of Native when making the switch, I was worried about sweating and smelling for the first two weeks of my test.
Meng Li, VP of Marketing at Native, explained that the transition period is natural, especially for someone who used antiperspirants before switching to natural deodorants. Antiperspirant uses aluminum to block sweat ducts, preventing you from sweating. It can take up to two weeks for that to leave the body after you stop using it.
“When people are using antiperspirant and switching to a natural deodorant, we'll often hear from them that they'll feel extra wetness or it feels very different because of that process of not using aluminum,” Li said. “It can take time for those ducts to get unplugged and adjust to a natural deodorant.”
Native deodorant ingredients include baking soda, which is used to absorb wetness, and other naturally occurring ingredients such as coconut oil, shea butter, and magnesium hydroxide (which aims to block odor-causing bacteria without absorbing into the skin like aluminum).
Although research on whether aluminum is harmful to our health isn't definitive, there's something about putting natural products on my body that feels more, well, natural.
Li explained that although some studies link aluminum to cancer, Native has not done these studies and therefore cannot make these claims. However, they are a proponent of using more natural products.
“In general, there's this concept of using this synthetic material to prevent your body from doing what it's meant to do naturally,” she said. “It's something in general that isn't great.”
Li also told me that baking soda—an ingredient in Native used to block order and absorb wetness—can irritate some skin, but any redness should go away as your body adjusts to the baking soda.
Although I never experienced this during my test, it's something to remember if you have sensitive skin.
It’s What On The Inside That Counts
While I only tried the Coconut & Vanilla, there are currently seventeen other classic scents, including a refreshing Eucalyptus & Mint and a light Lavender & Rose. In addition to the classic scents, Native frequently changes out their limited edition scents, some of the most intriguing at the time of this piece being “Gummy Bears” and “Sweet Cinnamon Hearts.”
Next, there’s the stick itself. Native’s deodorizing capabilities come from three main ingredients. Magnesium hydroxide and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) help neutralize odor-causing bacteria, and tapioca starch keeps your pits feeling dry. There’s also coconut oil and shea butter, revered for their antioxidants and moisturizing properties. I was interested to see lactobacillus acidophilus on the list. Like our gut, our skin has a microbiome of its own, so it makes sense to add a probiotic that helps bring balance, and thus lessens odor.
Baking soda can be an irritant to those with sensitive skin, but Native has a solution. There’s a whole line of deodorants in the same scents, specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Arrowroot powder is used instead to absorb moisture and keep your underarms dry.
When I first opened my tube of Native I was met with the most delicious whiff. Sweet scents can often be nauseating, but this is a far cry from anything like a Yankee Candle or Bath & Body Works spray. Native describes it as sweet and sophisticated and they’re spot on. Think piña coladas, banana boat sunscreen, and sandy beaches. If they bottled this fragrance up and sold it as perfume, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.
One of my favorite things about this product is how invisible it feels on my skin. Often, especially with natural deodorants, there’s a sticky, wet residue left behind. Native, on the other hand, is weightless. It almost feels like there’s nothing there. The formula does have a bit of a gritty texture, which I noticed when I first put it on. I have mildly sensitive skin, so I did find it a bit irritating at first, though that original itchy feeling quickly subsided.
Native In The Wild
Now, this is what I’m really judging when it comes to deodorant: odor and moisture.
In terms of keeping me smelling fresh all day long, Native did a really great job. I can’t think of one day during the testing process where I thought I smelled bad, though if you want to fact-check me on that you could reach out to my roommates. Jokes aside, for a moderately-sweaty gal, Native did it’s job of odor protection. If you’re someone who is particularly concerned about BO, I think a midday application will help at keeping odor in check.
Moisture is where it got a little more complicated. Native isn’t an anti-perspirant, so it’s expected that you will sweat a little. Instead of preventing you from sweating, the formula absorbs moisture to keep you dry. Most days, I had no issue with this and felt pretty dry in the pits from morning to night. There was one particularly hot Los Angeles day when I went for a long walk and felt super clammy at the end. The formula also sweat off onto my shirt. It came out easily, but just felt kind of gross. This was an anomaly of the experience, but definitely something to consider with summer on the horizon. All things considered, Native did a good job at taming odor and moisture given its clean formulation.
If you’re in the market for a natural deodorant, I’d definitely recommend trying Native’s out. The range of scents and sensitive skin formulations mean there’s something for everyone. The brand also just launched a plastic-free packaging option.
If you’re in the market for a natural deodorant, I’d definitely recommend trying Native’s out. The range of scents and sensitive skin formulations mean there’s something for everyone.
If you’re used to traditional antiperspirants, be patient. According to Native, it can take between two to four weeks for your body to adjust to an aluminum-free deodorant. This is what many refer to as the “detox,” when your body is releasing any buildup of bacteria in the armpit area. It definitely takes a bit to get used to the natural deodorant experience, but it’s the tradeoff you make for a healthier, more eco-friendly product.
5 More Reasons To Love Native:
- Aluminum-free, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly? We can get on board with that. Native’s values are represented through their products, packaging, and overall ethos, and we really like where they’re going.
- With so many delicious scent combinations and an ever-changing rotation of seasonal varieties, Native makes picking your next deodorant feel like an exciting adventure. They’re currently running a collaboration with LA-based lifestyle brand, Jungalow.
- Now you can clean up your whole personal care routine with Native. The brand has released body washes, sunscreens, toothpastes, and bar soaps.
- Native is easily accessible, found both online and at major big box retailers like Target and Walmart. The product has thousands of five-star reviews across all these platforms.
- If you’re curious about going au naturale, Native has a blog with educational information to help you through the process.
Editor’s Note: In addition to their classic deodorant and plastic-free stick, Native also recently released a spray deodorant/body spray. With many familiar scents (including our reviewed Coconut & Vanilla), $14 will get you an easy-to-apply, “goop-free” style deo with the same natural, easy to understand ingredients. While we haven’t tried it just yet, we’re big fans of the brand and look forward to trying it soon.
Native Deodorant FAQs
Looking for the best natural deodorant before making the switch? Here are some of the most common questions asked when considering using Native:
Do you still sweat when you use Native?
It’s important to remember that Native deodorant isn’t an antiperspirant (sweating is your body’s way of detoxing!), so you may still sweat when hot or stressed.
However, many people find that they don't sweat as much as they think they do. Plus, sweat doesn’t smell – the buildup of bacteria and dead skin under the arms is what causes odor.
To get an idea of what to expect, I turned to Native deodorant reviews to see how others fared post-antiperspirant. When I made the switch, and I was done detoxing my armpits (you may sweat more while detoxing), I didn't even notice the difference!
Why choose a natural deodorant?
One of the main reasons why people make the switch to a natural deodorant is because they want to live a healthier lifestyle, free from additives that are irritating to some, such as talc and aluminum.
The natural ingredients make it less likely that you'll have skin issues, and the lack of pore-blocking ingredients means good bacteria work better and may prevent odor even when you have no deodorant on at all!