I Thought Natural Deodorant Couldn’t Fight Odor Until I Tried This One

written by JENNA IGNERI UPDATED MAR 31, 2020

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Finding a natural deodorant that actually works can be a challenge—especially if you, like me, are someone who tends to smell on the funkier side when it comes to sweat. Not all natural deodorants are created equal, though, and some are much more effective at keeping odor at bay than others.In my quest to find the ~ultimate~ clean deodorant, I put a cult-favorite to the test: Kopari’s Coconut Deodorant.

Already deemed the best overall natural deodorant by Byrdie—as well as the best deodorant in Byrdie's 2019 Eco Beauty Awards—I tried it out over the course of a week to see if it was truly worth the hype. Keeping in mind its ability to keep me feeling fresh, I also evaluated the kinds of natural ingredients it uses to fight odor, its texture and feel, and its ease of application (because let’s face it, deodorant can be messy!). Read on for my review.

About My Underarms: Used to natural deodorants, but prone to funkiness

I’m naturally a sweaty person, but as soon as I began to familiarize myself with the world of beauty and wellness, I began seeking out cleaner products with more natural formulas—which meant nixing the traditional drugstore antiperspirants I was used to. As soon as I began reading about how aluminum-laden products may be linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s, I began the detox process of switching to natural deodorants. Since clean deodorants don’t actually prevent you from sweating the way antiperspirants do, I’ve come to accept that even if a natural formula works for me, it’s inevitable that I’m probably going to smell a little funky by the end of the day.

I’ve probably tried every natural deodorant under the sun, but I’ve only found a few that actually keep me smelling relatively fresh by the end of the day and don’t leave me with a rash. My all-time favorite brand is Corpus, a natural, vegan line of gel stick deodorants. I’ve currently been using The Botanist scent—a fresh, herbal unisex scent that both my husband and I love—daily, but an affordable favorite of mine is Schmidt’s classic deodorant sticks; the bergamot and lime scent is my go-to whenever I’m out of Corpus.

That said, incorporating Kopari’s Coconut Deodorant into my typical routine was easy. I applied it once or twice a day as needed, either when waking up to start my day or post-shower, as I typically do with deodorants.

Kopari Aluminum-Free Coconut Deodorant ($18.00)

Ingredient Quality: Plant-based actives and sage oil protect against odor

The key ingredients in the Coconut Deodorant are a combination of plant-based enzymes (plant-derived triethyl citrate and saccharomyces ferment) and sage oil, which provide protection against odor while also helping to break down the bacteria that cause it. Saccharomyces ferment appears close to the top of the ingredient list while triethyl citrate and sage oil appear towards the middle of the ingredient list, meaning they’re present in effective concentrations.

It’s also formulated with coconut oil, which is not only naturally antimicrobial and anti-bacterial but hydrates and soothes the underarm area—a bonus for anybody who has experienced sensitivity from other natural deodorant products. However, while this product is undoubtedly soothing, coconut oil is the second to last ingredient listed, so we can’t be sure there’s a high enough concentration to credit it for the product’s soothing abilities. However, coconut water, which lands in the middle of the ingredient list, provides extra hydrating benefits.

It’s also important to note that Coconut Deodorant is considered clean by Byrdie’s standards, and is cruelty-free and free of phthalates, sulfates, and parabens.

The Feel: Slightly wet and sticky

The texture and feel of your deodorant is important, as it basically decides how your armpits are going to feel all day long. Coconut Deodorant is formulated as a gel stick, and it glides on like a dream. I was pretty put off by how wet it felt upon application, but it dries within a few minutes. After it dries, it leaves behind a slightly sticky residue, but it’s also completely clear, so you’ll never have to worry about pesky deodorant stains on your darker clothing.

Odor Protection: Breaks down odor-causing bacteria

The Coconut Deodorant may be one of the most effective odor-fighting natural deodorants I’ve ever used. Throughout the duration of testing it, I was entirely odor-free, even after a jog or an intense workout where I sweated heavily. I wouldn’t say its efficacy changed at all throughout the testing period—it remained a reliable odor-fighter the whole time.

Moisture: Doesn’t prevent sweat

This product is a deodorant, not an antiperspirant, so its purpose is to prevent you from getting smelly rather than decrease the amount you perspire. Throughout the duration of the testing period, I found that I still sweat as much as I normally did, both on a regular day or during an intense workout. However, I still smelled pretty nice!

Dryness & Irritation: None whatsoever

If you’re making a switch to a natural deodorant from traditional antiperspirants, you might experience some irritation due to additional moisture in the area that your skin isn’t used to, while others develop a rash from baking soda (an ingredient found in many natural deodorants). While I’m already used to using natural deodorants, I still sometimes react to products that contain baking soda. As this product is baking soda-free and incredibly soothing, I think it would be a safe bet for anyone making the switch to natural.

The Scent: Sweet and tropical

The brand offers four different scents as well as an unscented version, but I went with Original, a sweet coconut milk fragrance that instantly transports you to the beach. While I didn’t mind how sweet the fragrance was, it’s definitely pretty strong, so it might not be for everyone. If beachy scents aren’t your thing, the unscented version is a safe bet.

The Packaging: Mess-free

The solid gel formula is packaged as a twist-up stick, like most deodorants on the market, meaning a totally mess-free application. Yay!

The Results: Smelled great all day

I tested the Coconut Deodorant on a few very active days as well as more chilled-out days. Regardless of what I got into, I smelled great—even after being destroyed by a Tone It Up workout.

While this deodorant can feel a bit wet and sticky when first applied, it dries down quickly and any stickiness slowly breaks down throughout the day—and more importantly, it doesn’t rub off onto your clothing. By the end of the day, I still smelled and felt fresh, no matter how long and strenuous my day was.

I didn’t notice any changes in efficacy throughout the testing period, nor did I notice any changes in the skin surrounding my underarm area or in the amount that I sweat. Since I’ve been using natural deodorants for quite a few years already, I didn’t experience any negative side effects of detoxing.

The Value: A steal!

The Coconut Deodorant retails for $14, or you can subscribe to have a new tube delivered every one, two, or three months for $11.90 a pop. As most traditional deodorants fall in the $5 to $10 range, I’d say this is a steal for a product that’s not only clean, but actually works.

Similar Products: Lots to choose from

Nécessaire The Deodorant: I began testing Coconut Deodorant immediately following testing another natural deodorant, Nécessaire’s The Deodorant (view on Nécessaire). Both products aim to fight odor rather than prevent sweating—the Coconut Deodorant does this by breaking down the bacteria that cause odor, while The Deodorant neutralizes bacteria with a blend of lactic and mandolin acids and absorbs wetness with clay, silica, and zinc. They’re very different in texture: The aforementioned wet, gel-like feel of Coconut Deodorant is a lot lighter than The Deodorant’s thicker creamy paste, but both formulations have their pros and cons.

If I had to choose one based on scent, The Deodorant’s natural, unisex eucalyptus scent would have my vote over Kopari's very sweet coconut milk scent. However, the Coconut Deodorant kept me smelling fresher for longer and lasted through strenuous workouts and long days better than The Deodorant. Overall, while I loved both products, the Coconut Deodorant was more effective.

Corpus The Botanist: When comparing Coconut Deodorant to the natural deodorant I’ve been using religiously for almost a year, Corpus’ The Botanist Deodorant (view on Credo Beauty), both are very similar in texture and feel. The Botanist is a clean, vegan, and cruelty-free water-based stick that deodorizes with plant- and mineral-based ingredients, such as saccharomyces ferment filtrate—which the Coconut Deodorant also uses—and diatomaceous earth. Both products glide on smoothly and kept me smelling fresh, but I preferred The Botanist’s drier texture and feel as well as its fragrance. Overall though, the Coconut Deodorant was more effective in fighting odor.

Our Verdict: Truly one of the best

I’m completely in love with Kopari’s Coconut Deodorant—it’s without a doubt one of the most effective natural deodorants I’ve ever used. While the wet and slightly sticky texture can be off-putting at first, it does a great job at fighting odor and keeping me fresh all day long.