My Lavanila Deodorant Review
Why I Think Lavanila Is a Good Deodorant for Transitioning to Natural
- Goes on like a traditional deodorant, which might feel comforting to those trying natural deodorant for the first time.
- Formula is free of comedogenic ingredients such as mineral oil, silicone, synthetic colors, and petroleum.
- Reasonably effective odor control.
- It may leave clumps and white streaks behind.
- It's not an antiperspirant, which is true of just about every natural deodorant.
Lavanila deodorant checks of all the boxes that a natural deodorant should: it's free of aluminum, baking soda, parabens, sulfates, and more potentially harmful ingredients. But for me, the consistency was a bit heavy, it clumped under my arms, and it streaked my clothes.
My first experience with Lavanila was several years back when I was spending a few days at my parents' house for the holidays and had forgotten to pack deodorant. Who else does one turn to in this type of pickle than your mom? My mum was currently using Lavanila, which she came upon at Whole Foods and decided to try. She liked it and has been using it ever since. Simple tale with a happy ending for her! My using my mum's Lavanila occurred long before I began experimenting with natural deodorant, and at a time in life (I was a recent college graduate) when spending $12 on a stick of deodorant was not realistic for me. I actually didn't know deodorant that expensive even existed, and I didn't pause to question why—I just chalked it up to Whole Foods mark-ups. I remember Lavanila feeling normal and smelling nice. I wasn't paying close attention to how long it lasted, but I didn't have any complaints. I also didn't have a reaction, thankfully—if I had, I wouldn't have known why.
Fast forward to today, and I've now sampled some 8 or 10 natural deodorants, all the while educating myself on ingredients commonly found (and left out of) these products, familiarizing myself with what works best for my body, and understanding what my preferences are. And while I recognize that $12 is certainly not the cheapest deodorant out there, my priorities have shifted and it generally feels like a worthwhile cost to me. All this to say, I decided to try Lavanila again with this new perspective and see how it compares to my other natural deodorant experiences. All the details are below!
My Subscription Addiction paid for this product. (Check out the review process post to learn more.)
Lavanila Deodorant Quick Facts
- $12 for a one-time purchase + shipping.
- No subscription option.
- Ships to the US & Canada. They do not ship to PO Boxes or APO/AFO addresses.
- Standard FedEx rates apply (shipping cost $5 for me).
- Free US shipping for orders over $40.
2 oz. solid deodorant stick in a twist-up plastic tube.
- Free from Propylene Glycol
- No Mineral Oils
- Free from Synthetic Dyes or Synthetic Fragrances
- No Chemical Sunscreens
Lavanila's signature scents include:
- Pure Vanilla
- Vanilla Eucalyptus
- Vanilla Lavender
- Vanilla Coconut
- Vanilla Grapefruit
- Fresh Vanilla Lemon
- Vanilla Passion Fruit
- Vanilla Blackberry
They also carry limited-edition scents inspired by the elements, the seasons, and a line of feminine aromas. Note that some scents come along with differing formulas, are sold in different volumes, and cost more (up to $14) or less (as low as $8).
Ingredients for all of Lavanila's scents:
Aloe barbadensis leaf juice (Aloe juice, water/aqua), Propanediol (Corn derived), Zea mays (Corn) starch, Sodium stearate (Coconut derived), Silica, Carrageenan (Seaweed derived), Stearyl behenate (Coconut derived), Citrus medica limonum (Lemon peel oil), Inulin (Artichoke derived), Saccharomyces ferment, Alpha-Glucan oligosaccharide (Sugar derived), Yeast beta glucan, Lonicera caprifolium (Honeysuckle) flower extract, Usnea barbata (Lichen) extract, Valeriana officinalis root extract (Valerian), Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal) extract, Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea tree) flower/leaf/stem extract, Lycium barbarum fruit extract (Goji berry), Vanilla planifolia (Vanilla) oil, Botanical fragrance blend*
*Lavanila's botanical fragrance blend is a proprietary blend of pure essential oils, nature identical oils, and botanically derived aromas.
For the Vanilla Eucalyptus scent, Lavanila calls out these key ingredients:
Balancing Probiotics: Breakthrough probiotics work to neutralize bacteria responsible for odor.
Beta Glucan Technology: Breakthrough health-promoting technology breaks down sweat molecules & prevents odor while nourishing delicate underarms.
Eucalyptus Oil: A freshly scented, natural antibacterial and antiseptic that works to keep odor at bay.
My Lavanila Deodorant Review
The Promise: "Velvet-soft formula goes on clear and smooth. Clean, natural formula allows skin to breathe."
The Reality: Application is reasonably smooth (like conventional deodorant), but feels a little heavy on the skin.
Now that I have nearly 4 years of using natural deodorant under my belt, I'm accustomed to products feeling particularly gentle and light on my armpits (and in some cases, like with Tom's of Maine, too light to the point of just not really doing much of anything at all). I'm also used to needing to apply 3-4 swipes, whereas Lavanila's website recommends swiping 1-2 times under your arms. Even with the minimalist swiping, my first application of Lavanila left white clumps on my underarms. Woah, blast from the past! This hasn't happened to me since using traditional deodorant. I was not too keen on the phenomenon returning. I wiped it off and reapplied even more gingerly, like, half-a-swipe. I'm sure nobody will be surprised that one super-quick ninja-swipe of deodorant didn't do a mind-blowing job of protecting me against body odor. More on that below.
The Promise: The soft vanilla is meant to provide comfort, as it's often associated with warmth and softness, while eucalyptus adds a freshness.
The Reality: Pleasant, aromatic, simultaneously warm and fresh—just perhaps a bit strong.
Lavanila really commits to the vanilla thing! Every single scent they offer is a vanilla blend, except in the case of their original scent, which is pure vanilla. There's no unscented option. Years ago when I used my mum's Lavanila stick, it was the Vanilla Lavender scent, and it was as pleasing as you'd imagine that combo to be. This time I tried the Vanilla Eucalyptus option, and the two scents blended beautifully, making for an undeniably agreeable aroma.
That said, this natural deodorant again reminded me of a classic deodorant in that it was like a serious scent blast to the armpits after applying, and it was a little much for me. I liked the smell better as the day went on, as it wore off.
I'll also note that while there's no mention of Lavanila products being catered specifically to women, the two scents I've tried struck me as being feminine, and I wonder if that's the vanilla's doing. You don't find vanilla scents in men's or gender neutral products too often. I asked my husband what he thought of my Lavanila deodorant and he said he'd wear it in a pinch, but wouldn't want to wear it every day. To be honest, I kind of agree with him.
The Odor Protection
The Promise: "Balancing probiotics eliminate odor before it starts."
The Reality: Comparable to other natural deodorants in that it does a fine job, but you shouldn't be surprised if you have to reapply.
Lavanila makes strong claims for their odor protection. In general across scents they promise "Superior, Aluminum-Free odor protection" (I guess we're supposed to just take their word for it), but the scent I specifically chose happens to include eucalyptus oil in it, which is a natural antibacterial and antiseptic, and is said to help reduce odor. It also happened to include probiotics, another supposed odor-preventing ingredient. You'd think this stuff would be magic! Alas, the odor protection was...fine. It took me a few days to strike the right balance of applying enough Lavanila to actually deodorize me, but not so much that it would streak my clothes and clump under my arms. Some folks might be unbothered by that, but it left me missing other natural deodorants like Kopari and Megababe and by Humankind, all of which I feel I could swipe 'til the cows come home and I would never see clumping on my skin or staining on my clothes.
Is Lavanila the best natural deodorant? In my opinion, it's not—while it's nice in ways, the qualities I have come to seek in a natural deodorant (lightweight, completely clear, and a subtle & natural scent to name a few) are not held by Lavanila. But that's just my opinion! Not everyone is walking the same path as me; for example, my own lovely mother has used Lavanila for about 5 years now and continues to love it. I think Lavanila would be a great deodorant for someone curious about the whole natural deodorant thing but not sure they want to overhaul their day-to-day deodorant experience. For some, knowing it's made from organic ingredients may be enough. And that's perfectly reasonable!
Good to Know
Natural Deodorants vs. Antiperspirants
Most deodorants you'll find on the shelf are antiperspirants, which are meant to inhibit sweating (and therefore reduce odor) by using aluminum salts to block the sweat glands. Non-antiperspirant deodorants allow the body to sweat naturally, but contain ingredients that curb odor by addressing the bacteria that causes it. While some early research linked the use of antiperspirants with Alzheimer’s and cancer, according to Teen Vogue there is no compelling scientific case to prove it; still, consumers are increasingly wary of using body products that contain unnecessary chemicals. Some consumers also have concerns about interfering with the "detoxifying" process of sweating, but Teen Vogue clarifies that sweating is really only responsible for a "negligible" amount of detoxification.
While Lavanila is not an antiperspirant (and therefore this deodorant is not going to stop you from sweating), it does boast a feature I haven't encountered in other natural deodorants, which is something by the name of "beta glucan technology." It's alleged to minimize and absorb sweat molecules. Lavanila describes it like this:
"This Lavanila-developed technology is a breakthrough in natural deodorant protection. Derived from the cell walls of oats and yeast, our technology blends beta glucan with high powered antioxidants and antibacterial agents to break down sweat molecules & effectively prevent odor."
Maybe this breaking down of sweat molecules can be attributed to why Lavanila wears (and clumps) similarly to a mainstream deodorant. And, interestingly, while Lavanila shares a lot of qualities with other natural deodorants—it's aluminum-free, being the main one—it calls itself a "healthy deodorant" more often than a "natural deodorant" on its website. I wonder if there's something to that.
What is an "Armpit Detox?" Transitioning to Natural Deodorant
You may have heard tell of the 2-4 week transition period that's typical when switching from an antiperspirant to a natural deodorant. Some sources call this period an "armpit detox," which sounds kind of intense, but it doesn't have to be. Everybody's body reacts differently during the transition, but generally what you can expect is to be a little extra stinky for a time while your armpits adjust to sweating regularly again.
Here are a few tips for getting through the switch:
- Research your options before choosing a natural deodorant. I would recommend Lavanila as a great natural deodorant for first-timers to try. It does not contain baking soda, which can sometimes cause armpit rashes on sensitive skin, especially for first-time natural deodorant wearers, and it also just kind of feels like a mainstream deodorant—like Dove or Degree.
- Bring your new natural deodorant along with you for a bit—carry it in your purse or work bag so you can apply an extra layer if you feel you need it partway through the day.
- Rest assured knowing that you're probably way more aware of this smelly phase than anyone else is. It's not as bad as you think! And, truly, it will come to an end.
- If you experience any stinging, redness, or rash, it's time to stop using that deodorant and give your precious pits a little break—and maybe even check in with a dermatologist if it's bad. Sometimes even natural ingredients don't work great with everyone's skin, and there are all sorts of other natural deodorants to try out there.
Shipping, Returns, & More
Placing Your Order
For this review, I ordered Lavanila through their website. I've also seen it sold online at Amazon, Ulta, Sephora, Target, Anthropologie, and on the shelf at Whole Foods—prices vary. Ordering 1 stick of Lavanila in a classic scent cost me $12 + shipping.
FYI, Lavanila carries other natural products too: armpit detox masks, organic body butter, 3-in-1 body wash, and perfume.
Shipping & Tracking
I ordered Lavanila on a Friday and chose their Standard US shipping option ($5.00). An order confirmation email showed up in my inbox within a few minutes, and a shipping notification with tracking was sent on Monday afternoon. I'm not sure what happened, but my deodorant didn't arrive until almost 2 weeks later. There were no COVID-related shipping delays indicated on the Lavanila website when I placed my order, and orders from other sites sent to me through UPS had arrived within days of my having received a shipping notification.
If you've made your purchase through Lavanila's website and aren't happy with your product, you are encouraged to reach out to [email protected] to coordinate a return within 30 days of your purchase. They will email you an authorization within 2 business days, and you'll need that authorization to be included in your return package. Note that the customer is responsible for all return shipping costs, and that opened or gently-used products will be subject to a $5 restock fee.
Give Lavanila a Try
Have you tried Lavanila? What did you think of this healthy deodorant? Let us know below!
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