We’ve all heard that aluminum based deodorants are unhealthy. I’ve looked into this and to some extent, I agree. Aluminum plugs pores to block sweat. Sweating is natural and plugging sweat glands with aluminum is not. That much is what everyone can probably agree with. While I am not opposed to using things that stop natural body functions, I think finding an alternative that lets my body act as it should is generally a good idea. Since the 6th grade, I’ve been using aluminum based deodorant daily. Over time, I started using clinical strength deodorants to make sure I never smelled bad. Body odor is a huge turnoff, and there is nothing worse than being the one emitting that awful scent. In the spring, I decided it was time to finally test some natural deodorants.
I had successfully tried regular strength after years of using clinical strength, so I thought my body was ready to try something without any antiperspirant. Natural deodorants do not use antiperspirant at all. They rely on deodorant to work on the bacteria in sweat instead of an ingredient that blocks sweat. Most antiperspirants also use deodorant, but most of their effectiveness comes from blocking the sweat altogether. After brief research, I decided to start my journey with the one everyone always talks about, Lavanila, and the one that has great reviews for a mass market, drugstore brand, Schmidt’s.
While I admittedly like that aluminum deodorants have antiperspirants, I can handle excessive sweat (at least while my body weaned its aluminum addiction) as long as I do not smell bad. Rumor had it that there is an adjustment period where your body would sweat excessively and reek of body odor until it accepted the new normal of not using any aluminum for the antiperspirant. Had I not read that, I would have tried switching over years ago. We all have our quirks, and I would rather pump my body with aluminum than smell bad. That’s just me (and probably a lot of other people).
I started with the Lavanila Sport Luxe Deodorant. For some strange reason, I thought purchasing the larger 2.2oz size for $16 was a good idea. The price has since dropped to $14. It immediately won me over the second I applied it. Fresh scents are my favorite, and this smells like fresh and soap had a beautiful baby. Without a doubt, it is the best smelling deodorant I have ever applied. In less than an hour, I was sweating a lot. That did not throw me off, because I knew my body was not used to the lack of aluminum plugging my sweat glands. As the days rolled on, the sweat intensified, which I also expected. Aluminum takes some time to completely leave the body. Anyone who has ever accidentally gotten aluminum based deodorant on her hand can attest that it takes many washes before your hands feel normal again.
In less than three hours, I smelled bad, really bad. I cannot ever remember smelling that bad in my entire life. All I could think was, “Slider, you stink.” How can someone who just showered three hours ago, smell this bad? Have you ever been around someone who smells bad all the time, even immediately after taking a shower? You ask yourself how is it even possible that they can smell so bad immediately after cleaning? The answer would come to me, which I will touch upon later. My immediate thought was bacteria was growing under my arms and creating b.o. Surely someone who has stockpiles of backups the way I do has an antibacterial soap, right? Wrong! Every antibacterial soap that once existed in my collection was used or purged. After all, you wash away the good bacteria when you wash away the bad, so antibacterial soaps are generally not known as a good thing.
Good for me or not, I figured some antibacterial soap would return my pits to smelling like a normal human being. Around the four-hour mark, I drove to the store to grab some. I could not find a single antibacterial body wash. How times have changed? It was not that long ago that I regularly bought one. As I walked through the store trying to keep my arms to my side and avoid people, because there was no way I could hide that smell, I finally found ONE antibacterial option in bar form. Bar soaps leave a film on my skin, so I generally dislike them. A film sounded better than smelling bad, so I purchased the antibacterial bar and rushed home for my second shower of the day.
I scrubbed and scrubbed. No matter how much I scrubbed, the scent would not completely go away. It diminished but was not eliminated. Then, it hit me. People with b.o. problems cannot just shower it away. The problem is deeper, and soap will not help much. Despite feeling like I had wasted a trip to the store, I used that soap on my armpits every time I showered while I tested this deodorant. After scrubbing my pits raw, I got out and applied the deodorant again. Once again, the amazing smell of the deodorant was present. It was so great that it even overshadowed my body odor. That convinced me that with time I would eventually be able to use this deodorant without smelling like a person who worked in the sun all day who had not showered for a week.
A few hours later, I smelled bad again. It was not as bad as the first time, so I thought adding more deodorant would help. I was not about to take a third shower. My skin is dry, and that is excessive. The fresh scent of the deodorant did mask some of the body odor. It was tolerable. Within a few more hours, I smelled bad again. Once again, I applied more deodorant. By the end of day one, I had become the person who masks bad odor with fragrance, and my fragrance of choice was deodorant.
As any good reviewer will tell you, it takes time to see if something will work, especially when you know there is a detox or cleansing phase. I used this deodorant daily for almost three solid weeks waiting for the body odor to lessen. It never happened. I smelled as bad around day 21 as I did on day one. There is no way aluminum stays in the body that long, so it is safe to assume I will always smell bad when I use this. It is also terrible that I spent $16 on something I will probably never finish. Because I hate wasting money, I decided I will torture myself once again once the weather gets colder. My theory is maybe if I sweat less, which I do in the winter, I will not smell as bad. Winter is just around the corner, so I will edit this in a few months if I find my theory correct. Should my theory get disproven, I will not devote another second to this article.
Of course, I can also try alternating this with an aluminum based deodorant every other day to limit the amount of aluminum in my body but hopefully prevent myself from getting too much body odor. We’ll see if I am brave enough to try that as well. One thing I can tell you with certainty is I will never purchase this again, and I will never use this in warm weather again. As much as I hate wasting money, I would rather throw it away than smell bad.
After the three weeks passed, I decided to move onto the schmidt’s Rose + Vanilla Natural Deodorant. This has more product at 3.25oz for a lower retail price, $8.99. Repurchasing this would have been preferable to me anyway. My body had successfully detoxed from the aluminum by this point, so I expected less sweat and body odor off the bat. I continued using the antibacterial soap on my armpits through the month I used this deodorant. Yes, I was able to last a little longer with this one, because I stopped smelling bad after the first three to four days of using this. I think stopping the one that was giving me serious body odor and continuing to use the antibacterial soap eventually eliminated my body odor. While it was not as good as aluminum deodorant and I would sometimes smell less than fresh by the end of the day, I never smelled bad. One application a day was also enough.
Even though the weather was getting warmer, because we were moving from spring to summer, I also sweated less with this. After the first week, I was beginning to think this might be the natural deodorant for me. How lucky would that have been! So many people who make the switch have to experiment with a lot before they find the one that is right for them. We all have different body chemistries, so I can see some that work for certain people failing for others. After all, there are a lot of positive reviews on the one that made me stink. I was beginning to think years of aluminum deodorant just hid that I was a naturally smelly person until I had success with this. If I could use a natural deodorant without smelling bad, maybe I did not stink after all.
The scent of this one is not the best. I love vanilla, but I can only smell the rose. It is a strong artificial rose scent, too. Anything is better than body odor, so I figured I would just pick a different scent from the same brand when I went to repurchase. When I started using this, it felt smooth. I needed to warm it up by placing it on my skin to get it to move around with ease. Otherwise, it would be difficult to move around. Within a week, it started feeling like I was applying sandpaper. The texture was changing into something more rough. Around the second week, my under arms starting hurting. To say schmidt’s Rose + Vanilla Natural Deodorant gives me a rash is an understatement. It leaves the skin under my arms raw. That did not make sense to me, because I figured an allergic reaction would come much faster. Why would it take almost two weeks to appear? Figuring it was an odd coincidence, I continued using it. My armpits started getting acne. In all my life, I had never gotten acne in my armpits, but the breakouts were getting worse. By the fourth week, the rash under one arm was so bad that it was itchy and uncomfortable. Some of the acne was also painful.
I had to stop using it. While I could have purchased and tried another natural deodorant at that point, I decided to return to aluminum based one for the summer and most of the fall. My plan was to try it again when it started to get really cold outside. Hopefully, I could see if the rash and acne were just a weird coincidence or if this product turned on me. Fast forward to yesterday. The weather is finally consistency cold here. It was time to grab this and start using it again. Though I cannot see the expiration date (rubbed off), I just purchased it this year. It was only opened for the first time in May, and I had not used it since I halted it in June. However, I am 99% certain that it is covered in mold. Maybe the mold was already forming before, but it took a while to appear clearly as mold. That would explain why I had no problem for the first two weeks and a rash and acne started appearing after that.
My theory is my skin started showing signs of distress from the mold exposure before I could even see signs with my naked eye. There is a chance that this is not mold, but I am not willing to risk it. After all, I already went through extreme discomfort last time I used this. It took almost two weeks for the rashes to go away after I stopped using this and well over a month before the acne cleared up. Now that I have my regular armpits back, I am not using this again. I will not use anything else from this brand either. If you can buy something in March, start it in May, use it only until June and have it go bad by November, that is too fast for me. Thankfully, I got this one as an add-on in a FabFitFun box, so I did not pay full retail. No price or deal could get me to purchase this again. As I am always saying, a low price is not always a good deal.
I really do not recommend either of these products, so I refuse to link them. Even when I hate something, I will usually link it so you can read about it quickly and easily. When one product gives me the worst body odor ever and the other gives me an extreme rash and acne from what I can only guess is mold, I can safely say I really hate both. They are not worthy of being linked on my site, sorry. You can Google them if you want to read other reviews or find out more about the products. I did not think to take photos of the open products when they were new, so I only have these photos presented here after I had used them. Rest assured, the schmidt’s did not look like that when it was new. It was smooth. The Lavanila looked exactly the same.
Though I cannot recommend either, they will work differently for everyone. When it comes to products like these, I truly believe people who love or hate them can really give honest opinions that vary drastically. I’ve read that odor is a direct result of how your underarm bacteria breaks down sweat. Those with more vicious bacteria are likely to smell worse. Certain deodorants pair better with specific bacteria. Because no one really knows what bacteria they host more of and what deodorant will pair best with it, trial and error is necessary to find a natural deodorant that works for you. Some may get lucky and find one quickly. Others may abandon the process altogether and get discouraged after trying many that only make odor worse. While I am not ready to completely give up, I am already okay with continuing with aluminum based antiperspirants if that is what it takes for me to smell good.
*Whenever an article posts, my media settings automatically publish a link to my Facebook and Twitter account. The day it posted to Twitter, Schmidt’s responded to my Tweet (that did not even contain hashtags) stating it would love to hear more about my experience and provided an email to customer support. While I stand by my review and dislike contacting customer service (unless necessary, because I will call if something I paid for is missing or arrives broken), I do appreciate that touch. It is worth noting that it seems Schmidt’s cares about its customers. I did not and will not reach out, but it is clear that it wanted to open a line of communication based off my Tweet. This also means someone who works there took the time to read my article. That is uncommon as I can count on one hand how many times a brand reached out after reading my article.