Last updated on November 20th, 2020 at 09:05 pm
Alright, let’s talk deodorant.
Whether you spend your days in an office or as a competitive athlete, deodorant is non-negotiable. It keeps the smellies away so that you (and everyone around you) stays sane.
While the need for deodorant is dead simple, considering all potential side effects of daily exposure to chemicals isn’t. Aluminum, for example, presents serious health risks, but is also the most powerful sweat-blocker around…can we really afford not to use it?
Enter natural deodorant alternatives. Aluminum-free and gentler on the body, brands like Native, Lume, and Kopari are working to convert us all into adopters of a more #natural lifestyle. For the skeptics among us, it may be hard to believe that any all-natural scent could mask their own ripe stench.
How do Native, Lume, and Kopari compare to traditional antiperspirants? In this article, we take a hard look at these DTC natural deodorant brands to see how they stack up. (We also compare another brand, Myro, with Native here.)
But first off: Let’s define deodorant vs antiperspirant.
It can be easy to mix up deodorant and antiperspirant, given that you slather both products on your underarms to fend off body odor. While there’s nothing to deny there, deodorant and antiperspirant are technically different and serve two separate functions.
Deodorant’s sole purpose is to fight off underarm odor. It does this by counteracting the bacteria in your sweat, which is what causes that unmistakable BO reek. Deodorant will keep you smelling peachy even after a hardcore cardio session or extra-long day at the office.
Antiperspirant, on the other hand, goes a step further by reducing the amount that you sweat. It uses aluminum to obstruct your sweat glands, solving the odor problem before it starts.
So, deodorant will manage the smell of your sweat, while antiperspirants will keep you from sweating in the first place. Now, with that primer, let’s move on to the argument for all-natural alternatives.
Natural deodorant vs traditional antiperspirants
Natural deodorants have been around forever, but the trend has only taken off in the last decade or so when research raised health concerns over the potentially carcinogenic ingredients in antiperspirants. Awareness grew that aluminum in antiperspirants could increase your risk of cancer and dementia. But, are these worries justified?
It’s more complicated than a simple yes or no. Let’s break it down.
Do traditional deodorants with aluminum cause cancer?
Studies have shown that aluminum in antiperspirants and deodorants could increase your risk for breast cancer. Similar claims have been made about parabens, though the research is less conclusive. But, it’s important to note that the use of aluminum-containing antiperspirants or deodorants isn’t directly linked to a higher risk for cancer.
There’s a gray area here, so let’s get a bit more specific.
Some studies have shown that when aluminum-containing products are applied to the underarms, which are close to the breasts, it could behave like estrogen once absorbed. Estrogen, the female sex hormone, can spur breast cancer cell production. But, the link between the aluminum in antiperspirant and breast cancer risk remains unconfirmed.
That said, it intuitively makes sense to limit your (underarm) exposure to chemical compounds like aluminum. Everything is toxic if taken too frequently, and given that deodorant is used every single day, there might not need to be a proven link between cancer before you decide to start.
What about dementia: How do antiperspirants contribute?
While increased aluminum in the body could be a risk factor for dementia, studies have been conflicting. Certain studies, however, did show higher levels of aluminum in the brains of dementia patients. So, while a link is there, again it’s unconfirmed.
Bottom line? The evidence linking aluminum in antiperspirants to major health risks is unconfirmed. But, the possibility of adverse effects remains, and for many, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially if there are alternatives that are just as good.
Does natural deodorant actually work?
While the possibility that aluminum in personal care products can harm your health, let’s be real: no one wants to wonder if their deodorant will work or not. We’ve all had that moment of realizing that the disgusting smell filling the room is actually coming from us, and it’s terrifying!
So, when push comes to shove, can natural deodorant do the job of keeping BO at bay, all day long, just as well as antiperspirants? Yes, but it comes down to the ingredients. Most natural deodorants use baking soda to absorb and neutralize bad odors coming from a sweaty armpit. Other additions like coconut oil and tea tree oil can provide antibacterial ingredients, while essential oils often contribute a lovely scent. The combination of all three can be a wonderfully protective and durable odor fighting formula.
That said, natural deodorants aren’t going to work the same as an antiperspirant with aluminum. Your body will have to adjust to the natural formula, and in the time that it takes to do so, you’ll be sweatier (and probably smellier) than you’re used to. Your body also needs time to rid itself of any leftover deodorant or antiperspirant that you were previously using.
So while this transition period is enough to scare away many would-be natural deodorant converts, rest assured that natural solutions can be just as effective if you allow your body enough time to adjust.
Native vs Lume vs Kopari: Which natural deo is right for you?
Now that you have a sense of how natural deodorant fits into the landscape overall, let’s dive into the nuances between Native, Lume, and Kopari — the three leading direct-to-consumer brands of natural deodorant. While each boasts an aluminum-free formula, these three brands are distinctly different, both in brand image and product offerings.
Native: What are natural deodorants all about?
Native sells personal hygiene products for women, men, and teens. Their deodorant is available in a range of scents, dubbed either classic (think “Eucalyptus and Mint” and “Lavender and Rose”) or seasonal (“Rose and Magnolia” for summer and “Jasmine and Cedar” for winter, to name a few favorites).
You can purchase Native deodorant online. Single sticks are available for $12 as a one-time purchase or for $10 each when you subscribe. You can choose to have Native deodorant shipped every one to four months, depending on your usage.
What’s inside Native Deodorant?
Native deodorant contains all vegan ingredients and is free of aluminum, parabens, and sulfates. Here are some of the ingredients that it uses instead to keep you feeling fresh:
- Caprylic/capric triglyceride for smooth application
- Tapioca starch to keep your underarms dry
- Baking soda to neutralize bacteria
- Cyclodextrin to release scent throughout the day
- Coconut oil, because who doesn’t love coconut oil?
Of course, these are just a handful of the ingredients found in Native deodorant. You can find the full list on their website.
How long does it take to transition to Native’s natural deodorant?
Native tells new users that it can take up to two weeks for your body to fully adjust to their deodorant (although most people adjust faster). Nonetheless, keep in mind that Native may not work as well as to prevent sweating as your old, traditional deodorant. But it can still masks odors just as effectively.
Overall thoughts on Native deodorant
Native deodorant advertises the catchphrase “Invest in yourself”. The angle here is that their high-end price point ($10-$12 per stick) is a good investment in your long-term health, given that it vehemently omits aluminum, parabens, sulfates, and all other harmful ingredients from their product. We’re fans of their wide range of scents for both men and women, as well as the proven benefits of the ingredients in their formula.
Ultimately Native is a globally-recognized leader in natural deodorant. If you’re looking for a safe bet, Native provides an excellent product.
Lume: What’s unique about Lume’s natural deodorant?
Lume began with the goal of solving an under-addressed issue: feminine body odor. The brand now sells natural deodorant for both women and men that can be applied anywhere on the body. This super-sensitive formula is free of aluminum and baking soda, making it safe for armpits and private parts alike.
Lume deodorant is available in stick or tube form, and in an array of gender-neutral scents like “Silver Spruce”, “Jasmine Rose”, and “Juniper Berry”. A single stick costs $13.99 as a one-time purchase or $12.59 if you subscribe. A single tube costs $18.99 as a one-time purchase or $17.09 if you subscribe. Subscribers receive a deodorant refill every one, two, or three months.
What’s in Lume Deodorant?
Lume deodorant is vegan, cruelty-free, and free of aluminum, artificial fragrances, baking soda, silicone, phthalates, sulfates, parabens, and talc. Pure essential oils or naturally-derived botanicals are used to fragrance their deodorants.
Here are some of the ingredients in Lume deodorant:
- Mandelic acid for its antibacterial properties
- Tapioca starch to absorb moisture
- Caprylic/capric triglyceride to keep skin moisturized
- Cocoa butter for its skin-soothing properties
Overall thoughts on Lume
While Lume is a pricier option, we love its dual purpose. In addition to working as your daily underarm deodorant, it can also help you manage odor all over. If you’re running straight from the office to the gym, or perhaps from the gym to dinner with friends, you’re going to need odor protection everywhere, and Lume’s sensitive skin friendly formula has that to offer. Plus, it can be an excellent companion to treatments for vaginal infections (just make sure to check with your doctor first). It’s our top pick as a healthier alternative to keep you smelling fresh ALL OVER.
Kopari: What does Kopari deodorant have to offer?
Kopari sells a wide range of personal care products, including natural deodorant. They claim that each one of their products starts with all-organic, sustainably-sourced coconut oil from small family farms in the Philippines. With pure coconut oil in every product, Kopari caught out attention and now has us hooked.
Kopari sells two varieties of natural deodorant: charcoal and extra-strength CBD, both in stick form. The charcoal deodorant sells for $14 each, or $11.90 when you subscribe, while the CBD deodorant costs $18 each, or $16.20 when you subscribe. Just like with Native and Lume, subscribers can adjust their delivery settings to every one, two, or three months.
What’s in Kopari natural deodorant?
Kopari deodorant has a 100% plant-based formula. It’s free of aluminum, parabens, silicone, phthalates, and baking soda. The formula’s blend of coconut water, coconut oil, and sage oil work to soothe the skin, including sensitive skin areas like Lume, too.
The charcoal variety of Kopari deodorant contains activated charcoal. This ingredient absorbs sweat and fights bacteria in your underarms, keeping odors at bay. The extra-strength CBD stick combines CBD and coconut oil for a soothing formula with anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal benefits.
Overall thoughts on Kopari
When it comes to Kopari, we’re all about their top-notch and unusual ingredients. You won’t find charcoal or CBD in many of its competitors’ formulas, which makes it stand out, and in our mind at least, justifies its lofty price. Plus, they are giving back by donating $1 from every Kopari purchase to a Direct Relief Fund to provide doctors and nurses with medical resources.
Quick aside: for women interested in other natural hygiene products — we also compare popular period panty brands Ruby Love vs Modibodi. Take a look when you have a sec!
Native vs Lume vs Kopari: Comparing the top natural deodorants subscriptions head-to-head
Native vs Lume vs Kopari: Comparing Natural Deodorants
|Available Forms||Stick||Stick and tube||Stick|
|Price Per Stick||$12||$13.99/$18.99||$14/$18|
|Subscription Discount||17% off||About 8% off||15% off|
|Subscription frequency options||1, 2, 3, or 4 months||1, 2, or 3 months||1, 2, or 3 months|
|Formula ingredients||vegan, free of aluminum, parabens, and sulfates||vegan, cruelty-free, and free of aluminum, artificial fragrances, baking soda, silicone, phthalates, sulfates, parabens, and talc||100% plant-based formula, free of aluminum, parabens, silicone, phthalates, and baking soda|
|Intended Area of Use||Underarms||Safe for whole body||Underarms|
|Return / cancellation policy||Return within 30 days for a full refund, including return shipping||Return one opened tube or stick within 30 days for a full refund, minus return shipping||Return within 60 days for a full refund, including return shipping|
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What are customers saying about Lume, Native, and Kopari?
So, now you’ve read about the ingredients in Lume, Native, and Kopari. But, how have they worked for subscribers IRL? We headed to Amazon and Facebook to find out what users are really saying about these natural deodorant brands.
Customer reviews of Native deodorant
Native users love the deodorant’s unique scent combinations and sensitive-skin friendly formula. Even after long workout sessions, users find that Native keeps them smelling fresh.
Customer reviews of Lume deodorant
The major perk that users find with Lume (and not with other natural deodorant brands) is that it works anywhere on the body. So, it’s a natural solution for all-around odor problems, and the cream formula makes it easy to apply.
Customer reviews of Kopari deodorant
Kopari users have spoken: It actually works! While athletes and other heavy sweaters may need an extra layer, Kopari effectively curbs body odor and leaves a pleasant, natural scent.
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The Verdict: Native vs Lume vs Kopari — which natural deodorant subscription is best for you?
In case you weren’t convinced before the customer reviews, rest assured that natural deodorants work well for millions of the most health-conscious among us. With the right formula, a natural deodorant will combat even the most intense BO smell, without the health risks that aluminum-based antiperspirants bring to the table. So long as you weather for the two-week transition period from your traditional deodorant stick with antiperspirant, natural deodorants can provide peace of mind over the long-run.
But, between Native, Lume, and Kopari, which natural deodorant subscription should you go for? Our top pick is Native. With a wide selection of scents, a significant subscription discount, and glowing customer reviews, they make it easiest to make natural deodorant your new normal. Plus, their full (albeit, short) ingredient list is available right on their website, with the purpose of each ingredient provided. Each ingredient in the Native formula is present for a reason, contributing to the deodorant’s super-solid, odor-blocking power.
That said, if you’re looking for the most environmentally friendly option that minimizes plastic, refillable is the way to go, and both Kopari and Lume offer great products. If you can’t choose, we have a slight preference for Lume because it’s slightly easier to apply and works to eliminate odor all over, even in spots other than your armpit.
Are you a natural deodorant convert or advocate? Tell us why in the comments below.