I Tried 5 Natural Deodorants Training for a 10K—Here's the One I Recommend

Updated 05/05/19

Confession: Up until a month ago, I was still using an aluminum-laden antiperspirant. I know, I know, studies have drawn links between aluminum and breast cancer and Alzheimer's, but for some reason, I found it difficult to toss the product I'd been using for over 10 years in the trash. Despite everything I knew about the potentially harmful effects of the top ingredient listed on my go-to antiperspirant's product label, I had an on-again, off-again relationship with natural deodorant at best.

After every well-intentioned attempt I made to switch to an aluminum-, sulfate-, paraben-, phthalate-free formula, I'd find myself under my bathroom sink reaching for a stick of the clinical strength antiperspirant I'd stored away "just in case." When I told natural deodorant diehards that I was convinced strong, clean formulas were a myth, the resounding reply was, "You just haven't found the right one for you."

So when the opportunity to train for a 10K race with Nike landed in my inbox, I figured what better opportunity to put the best natural deodorants on the market to the test and find out, once and for all, which formula is The One for me? Here, I'm breaking down what happened when I put five all-natural formulas to the test (because there was a clear favorite).

Natural deodorant for working out
Fashion Me Now

If You're All About Convenience…

Agent Nateur Holi(Stick) No. 3 Deodorant
Agent Nateur Holi(Stick) No. 3 Deodorant $21
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The Scent: Although I love the fragrance of this deodorant, featuring notes of lavender and eucalyptus, it was overpowering once I started to sweat. All things considered, I'd give it four out of five for everyday wear, but I have to give it a three out of five for working out. (3/5)

The Ease of Application: Agent Nateur's holi(stick) is one the few natural deodorants available in stick form (raised hands emoji), and I was surprised at how easily it glided on. If I could, I'd give this deodorant additional stars for convenience. (5/5)

The Level of Protection: The essential oil–rich formula proved to be a bit too oily for my skin. There was a persistent stickiness that didn't seem to fade with time. (3/5)

The Price: At $21, this was by far the most expensive deodorant of the bunch, however, I would be willing to spend a lot on a great deodorant. After all, how much is it worth to avoid smelling up the elevator at work? That said, I'd opt for a deodorant that offers a bit more protection at this price point. (3/5)

Final Score: 14/20

If You're Prone to Sweating Profusely…

Meow Meow Tweet Eucalyptus Lemon Deodorant Stick $14
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The Scent: I have to admit that the eucalyptus lemon fragrance was not my favorite at first. However, it did grow on me as it lost its potency during my workout. Now that it's spring, I'd love to give the brand's rose geranium scent a try. (3/5)

The Ease of Application: Although this deodorant comes in a stick, I found that I had to rub the product into my skin after applying it. That said, I do love the eco-friendly cardboard packaging, even if it's not the most convenient to open and close. (4/5)

The Level of Protection: I was skeptical about whether or not a natural deodorant would be able to handle the infamous trail up to Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Most people would probably describe the terrain as a hill, but I, as an amateur runner, would describe it as more of a mountain (cue profuse sweating). I was pleasantly surprised to find Meow Meow Tweet's formula was more than up to the challenge. (5/5)

The Price: While the price is nearly double that of the aluminum-ridden deodorant I used to swear by, I do love that it's available at Target, making it an accessible option for people who want to give natural deodorant a try. (3/5)

Final Score: 15/20

If You Don't Mind Getting Your Hands Dirty…

Soapwalla Sensitive Skin Citrus Deodorant Cream $16
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The Scent: The lemongrass-and-vanilla fragrance was a bit too potent for my taste. I felt as though the scent was following me with every stride I took. (3/5)

The Ease of Application: To be completely honest, I wasn't crazy about the green color. While the formula was incredibly smooth and easy to apply, I was paranoid that the tint would get on my clothes, which meant I had to wait until it was completely dry to get fully dressed, which isn't convenient when you're trying to squeeze a run before the sun sets during the workweek. (3/5)

The Level of Protection: Despite not containing any baking soda, this formula kept me dry and smelling not-too-terrible, thanks to a combination of vegetable powders, charcoal, and clay. (4/5)

The Price: Although the level of protection is rather high, the ease of application and the scent bring down the overall value of this product in my opinion. (3/5)

Final Score: 13/20

If You Prefer an Unscented Option…

Ursa Major No B.s. Deodorant
Ursa Major No B.S. Deodorant $18
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The Scent: I don't tend to gravitate toward unscented deodorants but, for the sake of diversifying my options, I decided to test one out. After a 30-minute run, I didn't smell like roses, but I also didn't smell terrible either. That said, I think I'll stick with scented deodorants for tougher workouts. (3/5)

The Ease of Application: Ursa Major's stick deodorant is convenient in theory, but I did find that I had to rub the formula into my skin after swiping it on. (4/5)

The Level of Protection: This deodorant is made without baking soda, making it a great option for people with sensitive skin, like myself. However, I found that it wasn't quite as effective at wicking up moisture as the other formulas I tried. (3/5)

The Price: This deodorant stick is on the more affordable end of the natural deodorant spectrum, but given the scent and level of protection score, I'd give it three out of five stars. (3/5)

Final Score: 13/20

If You're on a Budget…

Captain Blankenship Lime & Vetiver Cream Deodorant $16
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The Scent: I'll admit that I had to google "vetiver" to discover that it's a type of grass native to India and known for its earthy, calming aroma. When paired with lime essential oils in this cream deodorant, it smells divine. (5/5)

The Ease of Application: I didn't think I'd enjoy rubbing cream on my underarms, but as it turns out, the practice is pretty underrated. (4/5)

The Level of Protection: This was hands down my favorite deodorant. Even after hour-long runs, I felt relatively dry and smelled surprisingly fresh. It's the one that got me over that 10K finish line without smelling terrible. (5/5)

The Price: While the price is double that of my clinical strength standby, a single jar contains about one and a half times as much product, making it a bang-for-my-buck buy. All the stars! (5/5)

Final Score: 19/20

Shop Additional Scents Below

Agent Nateur Holi(Rose) No4 Deodorant
Agent Nateur Holi(Rose) No4 Deodorant $26
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Meow Meow Tweet Lavender Bergamot Deodorant Stick $14
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Ursa Major Hoppin' Fresh Deodorant
Ursa Major Hoppin' Fresh Deodorant $18
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Soapwalla Lavender Mint Deodorant Cream $16
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Up next, the original women's Olympic marathon champion, now 60, is still at it. Here's how she stays motivated to hit the pavement every day.

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