Last Updated on May 21, 2022 by The Filtery Staff

For obvious reasons, deodorant is a non-toxic product you simply cannot skimp on. For other types of products, like shampoo or mascara for example, you can afford to play around with more natural products to find out what works best for you. But deodorant… well, it really has to work, and it has to work for you.

I’ve tried a lot of natural and non-toxic deodorants over the years, and some of them work better than others. And although Native has been a frontrunner in the space for a while now, it took me a while to actually try it! But, I’ve finally done it.

So in this article, I’m going to give you my thoughts on whether or not it worked, whether it’s actually “natural” or “non-toxic,” the pros and cons, whether it’s good for sensitive skin or excessive sweaters, and basically everything else you might want to know about Native deodorant.

THE OVERVIEW

  • What is it? Native deodorant is a (mostly) non-toxic and gender-neutral deodorant that’s free of aluminum, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and talc.
  • Price: $12-13
  • For: All skin types and all genders
  • Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, shea butter, baking soda, magnesium hydroxide
  • Available scents: Coconut & Vanilla, Cucumber & Mint, Citrus & Herbal Musk, Lilac & White Tea, Lavender & Rose, Charcoal, Sweet Peach & Nectar, Oat Milk Latte, Matcha & Sweet Cream, Eucalyptus & Mint, Sea Salt & Cedar, Buttercream & French Vanilla, Powder & Cotton, Candy Cane, Sugar Cookie, Fresh Mistletoe, Cherry & Vanilla Macaron, Earl Grey & Mulberry, Unscented

REVIEW: Does Native Deodorant Actually Work?

In short, Native is the most effective “non-toxic” deodorant I’ve tried so far. (I’ll explain why the “non-toxic” part is in quotes in a minute.) I would consider my armpits “average”… I definitely sweat (especially when I drink coffee and/or get stressed out, both of which happen frequently), but I don’t consider myself an “over-sweater.” Same goes for body odor: depending on my physical activity level, how hot it is outside, etc., I’ll start getting stinky after a day or so.

I should also say that I’ve been using aluminum-free deodorant for a long time now, so I’m used to letting my body sweat. When people first stop using aluminum antiperspirants (which actually stop your pits from sweating), there can be a bit of an adjustment period. But just remember that sweat does not always equal stink, so don’t be afraid to let yourself sweat. (We’ll give you some more pointers on how to switch to non-toxic deo at the end of the article.)

I’ve tried a LOT of natural and non-toxic deodorants. Many don’t work at all, while others work great for a while. My problem is that I usually have to switch up the brand of deodorant I use every month or two because, for whatever reason, it will stop working after several weeks.

BUT! I’m now several months into using Native’s deodorant and it’s still working. Here are some of my honest thoughts:

On the Application:

It goes on smoothly, the same way a more conventional deodorant like Dove does (some natural/non-toxic deodorants don’t have such a smooth application, they will get clumpy, and/or will require you to use your fingers to apply it).

On the Scent & Odor-Protection:

Native smells really good and the scent seems to last longer than some of other deodorants I’ve used. But it’s not an overpowering chemical-y smell (this might be more of an issue for men’s deodorant… those Old Spice scents are a little much for me!)

Even after a hard workout or a stressful day, I was still smelling pretty fresh.

On Wetness Protection:

As mentioned above, Native is not an antiperspirant, which means it’s not meant to clog up your pores and prevent you from sweating. Instead, it absorbs moisture while allowing your body to sweat naturally.

Native uses ingredients like tapioca starch and baking soda to naturally absorb moisture. So you’re not likely to feel completely dry throughout the day, especially if during a workout or in a high-temperature environment. But I personally found that Native did a great job of absorbing enough of my sweat to keep me comfortable and to keep pit stains off of my shirts.

On Skin Irritation:

Some natural deodorants can make my skin itchy, red, and irritated. Some people are sensitive to baking soda (it can throw off your pH—more on that here), while others may react to natural ingredients like charcoal or tea tree oil, which can be a bit harsh.

I didn’t have any of these issues with Native; my skin felt soft and moisturized and I didn’t have any problems with redness or itchiness.

But if you do have problems with Native’s regular deodorant formulations, they do make sensitive skin varieties as well, which are free from both aluminum and baking soda.

What I DON’T Like:

There is one glaring thing that I do not like about Native’s deodorant. When it comes to the fragrances used, they are not transparent. With two exceptions being the Lavender & Rose and Unscented versions, the rest of their scents contain “fragrance” listed in their ingredients, which essentially means they’re hiding ingredients from their customers. For those of us who like to know what exactly is used in the products we use every day, this can be very frustrating. We’ll talk about this more in a minute, under the “Ingredient Investigation” section.

Overall:

  • Native deodorant smells great, even at the end of the day.
  • It’s one of the most effective “non-toxic” deodorants I’ve tried so far.
  • It stays on throughout the whole day and keeps working, even through my workouts.
  • It doesn’t leave any stains on my clothes.

PROS:

  • One of the most effective “non-toxic” deodorants I’ve tried yet
  • Free from some of the worst ingredients like aluminum, phthalates, and talc
  • Lots of different scent options
  • Available options include plastic-free versions, sensitive skin formulations, and unscented
  • Subscription model available
  • Vegan & cruelty-free

CONS:

  • Lacks ingredient transparency (full ingredient lists are only provided for the Lavender & Rose, Candy Cane, and Unscented versions)
  • May not be the best option for excessive sweaters

INGREDIENT INVESTIGATION: Is Native Deodorant Safe & Non-Toxic?

Although the specific ingredients vary slightly based on the specific scent and version (Regular or Sensitive), here is the general ingredient list for Native’s deodorant:

Ingredients:

  • Ozokerite (a type of wax; can be derived from mineral sources or from petroleum; usually considered safe, although there’s not a lot of data on it)
  • Sodium Bicarbonate (a.k.a. baking soda, which is commonly used in deodorant, but some underarms are sensitive to. Native’s Sensitive formulas do NOT contain baking soda.)
  • Magnesium Hydroxide (also known as milk of magnesia; considered safe when used in restricted doses)
  • Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil
  • Cyclodextrin (a synthetic that’s extracted from starch and considered safe)
  • Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter
  • Fragrance (the only concerning ingredient on this list… more below)
  • Glucose (a sugar)
  • Lactobacillus Acidophilus (a probiotic)
  • Various plant oils depending on the scent (which are generally safe when used in the right doses, however, some people can have allergies or sensitivities to certain plant-based oils)
  • Now, Let’s Get to this “Fragrance” Issue…

    I have one big bone to pick with Native, and that’s the fact that they will not disclose the ingredients in their fragrances. You can read about the fragrance loophole more right here, but basically, there is a loophole in U.S. law that allows companies to hide almost 4,000 different ingredients in their products WITHOUT disclosing them to consumers. Some of these 4,000 chemicals are completely safe, while others are carcinogens, allergens, endocrine disruptors, and more. The problem is that since they aren’t disclosed, consumers simply have no way of knowing.

    I reached out to Native and requested the list of ingredients used in their fragrance products, but they gave me the runaround, saying things like “We use the term fragrance for proprietary reasons” and “All of our products are phthalate-free and paraben-free” and “Our ingredients have been reviewed by our internal regulatory & safety team, which abides by US Regulatory and FDA standards.”

    I went back and forth with them several times, really trying to nicely pressure them to give me their list. One, because I believe customers deserve to know what’s in the products they buy and use on a daily basis. And two, because I honestly do like the way their deodorant works, and I’d like to be able to recommend it to you as a great non-toxic alternative.

    But alas, they wouldn’t give me the info. Instead, they suggested that I use their “Lavender & RoseCandy Cane, or Unscented deodorant if you are looking for an option where all of the oils are listed.”

    While I’m glad that Native doesn’t use some of the worst offenders like phthalates and parabens, they’re not in the clear when it comes to ingredient transparency, and I unfortunately can’t qualify most of their products as “non-toxic” since I don’t fully know what’s in them.

    I really do hope Native decides to do the transparent thing and disclose their fragrance ingredients soon (and with new laws like the California Senate Bill 312, they may be required to in the future!), but until then, I will likely do what they suggest and stick with the Lavender & Rose and/or Unscented versions for now. (Or I’ll just use a different brand.)

    Wondering about other potentially toxic ingredients? Here are some specific things you might be wondering about and whether or not Native deodorant has them:

    Alcohol? No.

    Aluminum? No.

    Baking soda? Yes (for the regular versions) and No (for the Sensitive versions).

    Benzene? Unknown (could be hidden under the fragrance loophole).

    Parabens? No.

    Phthalates? No.

    Propylene Glycol? No.

    Fragrance? Yes (except for the Lavender & Rose, Candy Cane, and Unscented versions).

    Is Native Deodorant Natural and/or Organic?

    Native is not organic. Although it does contain many natural and naturally-derived ingredients, it also contains several synthetics. So while it’s often put under the “natural deodorant” umbrella, it’s not technically “all-natural.”

    Where Can You Buy Native Deodorant?

    Here’s Where to Buy Native Products In Stores and Online:

    Nativecos.com (Online; ships to the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Brazil)

    Target (In-Store & Online)

    Walmart (In-Store & Online)

    Amazon (Online; BE CAREFUL if you choose to buy from Amazon, as many reviews state that customers received fake versions of the deodorant.)

    Kroger (+ Kroger stores like King Soopers; In-Store & Online)

    Meijer (In-Store & Online)

    Fresh Thyme (In-Store)

    Walgreens (In-Store & Online)

    CVS (In-Store & Online)

    Well.ca (Canada; Online)

    Shoppers Drug Mart (Canada; In-Store & Online)

    UBuy (U.K.; Online)

    Why is Native Deodorant So Expensive?

    A stick of conventional deodorant is usually around $5-8, whereas Native’s deodorant is $12. If you’re used to buying more conventional brands, that can be a pretty steep jump for your wallet.

    Why is it more expensive? In short, conventional deodorant is less expensive because manufacturers use cheaper, often synthetic ingredients instead of higher-quality, natural, and responsibly sourced ingredients (like shea butter and coconut oil, for example).

    Compared to other natural and non-toxic deos, Native is pretty middle-of-the-road. Some brands are a bit cheaper, while others can cost up to $20 or more per stick/jar.

    For me personally, reducing my exposure to toxic chemicals in personal care products is worth a few extra bucks each month, especially for a product I use every single day!

    Native Deo Packaging: Plastic-Free Options?

    Just like most conventional deodorant brands, Native’s standard deodorants come in a regular plastic tube with a twist-up stick for an easy, mess-free application. But they also have plastic-free options available on their website, which come in a cardboard tube. Their plastic-free versions are available in a wide variety of scents (including seasonal) and sensitive formulas. Most of these aren’t available in stores, though.

    To apply the plastic-free deodorant, you have to push the stick up from the bottom and then hold it there with your finger while you apply it. So it’s not quite as easy to apply, but I personally didn’t really have an issue with it… especially considering it can help me decrease plastic use!

    Native for Men

    Another thing I like about Native’s products is the wide range of scents they offer. Some of them are more feminine (like Lavender & Rose), while others are more masculine (like Citrus & Herbal Musk). Many of them are more gender-neutral and just “clean” smelling (like Cucumber & Mint or Powder & Cotton).

    Men and women don’t really need different deodorant formulations. Really, underarm needs vary from person to person, regardless of gender. Individuals may be more or less sweaty and stinky based on a variety of different reasons, including genetics, diet, daily activity level, skin type, shaving habits, stress levels, and more.

    So, if you’re wondering whether men can use Native deodorant (and other products), the answer is: yes. All of Native’s products are unisex and meant to be used by anyone and everyone.

    does native deodorant work

    More F.A.Q.s About Native Deodorant

    Is Native Deodorant Good for Sensitive Skin?

    Native deodorant is generally a good option for those with sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, here are a few things to consider:

    • A lot of dedorants use baking soda, but this can be irritating for some people. Native’s Sensitive versions are made without baking soda.
    • Some natural fragrance oils can be irritating for some people as well, so you might want to try the Unscented deodorant.
    • With the exception of the Lavender & Rose, Candy Cane, and Unscented ones, most of Native’s deodorants contain “fragrance” in the ingredients, which means there could be more hidden allergens that aren’t listed on the label. Again, we suggest trying the Unscented version for this.

    Does Native Deodorant Stain Your Clothes or Leave White Marks?

    Although there were some light marks on the inside of my shirt after a full day of wearing Native’s deo, they weren’t noticeable and washed out in the laundry. So stains or white marks weren’t an issue for me.

    Is Native Deodorant an Antiperspirant?

    No, native is a deodorant, not an antiperspirant. It does not stop you from sweating; rather, it absorbs moisture and prevents stinkiness.

    Is Native Deodorant Good for Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)?

    As mentioned above, Native is not an antiperspirant, so it will not prevent sweating. For this reason, it might not be the best fit for excessive sweaters. If you want to use an aluminum-free deodorant, I suggest asking your doctor or dermatologist to see if they have any recommendations.

    But remember: sweat does not always equal stink! Depending on your situation (what kind of job you have, etc.), you might want to just let yourself sweat on most days, and then just use an antiperspirant on the days when you really need to.

    Is Native Deodorant Good for Working Out?

    Everyone is different, but for me, Native continued to work well, even throughout hard workouts. There are also countless online reviews from customers stating that it’s workout-approved for them as well.

    Is Native Deodorant Good for Body Odor?

    Everyone’s body is different, and body odor can be caused by a wide range of different factors. So far, Native has been one of the most effective non-toxic deodorant I’ve tried so far. Although a lot of consumers agree, Native doesn’t work for everyone. We encourage you to try it out and see for yourself. If you want even extra protection against smells and stinks, you might try the charcoal version. If that still doesn’t work to deal with your body odor, we’ve got some more tips for you below on how to successfully transition to a non-toxic deodorant.

    Is Native Deodorant Cruelty-Free and/or Vegan?

    Native is vegan and does not test on animals (although the products do not carry any third-party certifications verifying this).

    Which Native Scent is Best?

    Native offers so many scents, so it’s really up to you to decide which one is your favorite!

    For me personally, I will only be using the Lavender & Rose or Unscented from now on, since those are the only varieties where the full ingredient lists are disclosed for customers. Even though Native says their scents are free from phthalates, parabens, I personally just don’t want to use products where the ingredients aren’t completely disclosed if I don’t have to.

    Who Owns Native Deodorant?

    While Native began as an independent, direct-to-consumer startup (founded by Moiz Ali), it was acquired by P&G in 2017.

    I’ll be honest: I don’t really like the fact that Native is now owned by a big corporation like P&G. Not only does P&G use toxic ingredients in their other products, but they’ve also done a significant amount of greenwashing, they lack overall transparency, and more. (In December 2021, the company recalled 32 of its dry shampoo products because they contained potentially dangerous amounts of benzene, a known carcinogen.)

    Will Native be able to maintain their original vision and quality sourcing of ingredients even though they’re now owned by such a huge corporation? It’s tough to say. But in the meantime, I’ll be looking at Native with a skeptical eye.

    is native deodorant non toxic

    What if Native Deodorant Doesn’t Work for You?

    Not all of the Native reviews are positive. As I said, everyone’s biochemistry is different. Some people need stronger deodorant than others, while others don’t need to wear deodorant at all (yes, I have several friends who rarely wear it, and they literally don’t smell!)

    If Native doesn’t work for you, here are a few tips you can play around with:

    • Do a pit detox mask. I use this bentonite clay powder (mixed with either water or apple cider vinegar) or this charcoal mask from Beautycounter. Even though I switched to natural deo a long time ago, I still do a pit mask every few months. This helps to “unplug” pores and get rid of andy built-up aluminum and/or bacteria (which is what actually makes you smell bad). I swear it works!
    • Try a different non-toxic or natural deodorant. Different brands work for different people!
    • Try decreasing caffeine intake (especially coffee). I have found that on the days when I drink coffee, I get stinky faster.
    • Try to decrease stress when possible. Stress sweat actually smells different than normal sweat, and for a lot of people, it’s smellier!
    • Consider switching up your diet. Factors like the amount of processed food you eat as well as your veggie to meat ratio can affect your body odor. (Of course, make sure you check with your doctor before making any changes, especially if you have any diagnosed health conditions!)

    What About Native’s Other Products?

    Native also makes other personal care products, including haircare (which we reviewed here), body wash, toothpaste (see our review here), and sunscreen. Check out their website for their full range of products.

    Conclusion: TL;DR: Is Native Deodorant Worth It?

    Native deodorant has a lot going for it. It actually works and it comes in a variety of gender-neutral scents, so there’s something for everyone.

    But the issue of undisclosed “fragrance” ingredients is a real problem for those who are trying to cut toxins out of their personal care products. While almost all of the ingredients in Native’s deodorant are non-toxic, most of the scents contain undisclosed “fragrance” ingredients, which they refused to share with me when I asked. Therefore, the only ones we can confidently say are “non-toxic” are the Lavender & Rose, Candy Cane (when in season), and Unscented (since these are the only varieties where all of the ingredients are actually listed).

    Have you tried Native deodorant? Did it work for you? What is your favorite natural or non-toxic deodorant?