Can Natural Deodorant Stand Up to a Half Marathon?

Natural deodorant and I have a long and storied past. As with a lover who has scorned me time and again, I’ve often crept back to natural deodorant, usually to get burned. But recent years have brought many breakthroughs, for both deodorant and me…

On a personal front, the last few years have ushered in a newfound love for extreme fitness — running long distances, kickboxing, hopping on and off boxes like a deranged goat. I became a certified yoga instructor. I lifted heavy objects. Through all this, I grew stronger. Perhaps, I thought, with a naiveté falling squarely between ridiculous and touching, natural deodorant had grown stronger, too.

And so, in search of an answer, I wore these aluminum/sulfate/paraben/phalate-free formulas throughout my days. Here’s what happened:

1. Violets Are Blue Roll-On Deodorant
The lemongrass-and-tea-tree-oil scent made me feel like microscopic people set up two little spas in my armpits. Their tiny spas smelled so nice, until the end of the workday, when they started to smell more like a locker room, and I’d need to reapply. Still, this formula has surprising staying power. The roll-on liquid goes on wet, but dries quickly enough. Added bonus: It smooths and softens sensitive underarm skin.
Rating: Four out of five stars.

2. Ursa Major No B.S. Deodorant
Sometimes, you want to smell fresh. Sometimes, you just don’t want to smell, period. So I took this unscented deodorant out for a spin — a literal spin, in a cycling class. The point of an indoor cycling class is to sweat more than you knew was humanly possible. And sweat I did. At the end of it all, I didn’t smell great, but I didn’t smell terrible! Which, trust me, is saying a lot. Bonus: This formula is baking soda free and safe for sensitive skin.
Rating: Three out of five stars.

3. Agent Nateur Holi(Stick)
This is like the natural deodorant equivalent of a supermodel. Its lovely package has graced more Instagram posts and fashion magazine spreads and best-of lists than I can count. Thus, I went in with high expectations. I wanted to love it, but each and every night, I’d awake to discover something smelled like a yak that got doused with ammonia. (I’m sorry for the specificity, but that’s exactly what it smelled like. I’ve never encountered a yak, and yet I know for sure.) As you’ve likely predicted: that something was me. We broke up soon after.
Rating: Two-ish out of five stars.

4. Malin + Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant
Good for sensitive skin, this non-irritating formula goes on clear and lightweight — not at all tacky — so it’s perfect for those sleeveless top days when you want something discreet. Eucalyptus, hailed for its natural antibacterial and antiseptic qualities, helps keep things fresh. I wouldn’t recommend this one for, say, climbing a mountain, but I wore it on many walks with friends and it worked out just fine.
Rating: Four out of five stars.

5. Kopari Coconut Oil Deodorant
I did not expect to like this one. Coconut oil has been acting like a natural ingredient superhero for a long time now, and it’s kind of like, enough already. But then I started wearing this and was shocked by how well it worked. So I wore it to move around. A lot. Very swiftly. For an entire half marathon. TAKE THAT, COCONUT! I thought, running across the Manhattan Bridge. LET’S SEE HOW WELL YOU DO NOW. I crossed the finish line smelling no worse than one would after a mildly stressful trip to the grocery store. Touché, coconut. Touché.
Rating: All of the stars in the sky. Or four-and-a-half of them. Same diff.

The Best Natural Deodorants

Are you on the natural deodorant bandwagon? Do you have a favorite brand? We’d love to hear…

P.S. The original deodorant challenge, and a brilliant trick for when you forget deodorant.

(This post is sponsored by Nordstrom, a store we use and love. Their beauty department is incredible, including their natural beauty selection. Plus, they always offer free shipping and returns. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep this site running.)