My experience with natural and "healthy" deodorants so far has left a lot to be desired. I really tried, but always ended up with a stink on my hands (or in my armpits, if we stick to the facts).
Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant in vanilla-coconut smells like a sheer beachy vanilla, quite pleasant and unobtrusive. When applied it feels cool to the touch and wet-- very different than the stick deodorants I've been using. It's an odd sensation at first, but not unpleasant. I'm guessing that the reason for it is that Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant is based on aloe leaf. Here's the full ingredient list:
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Juice, Water), 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), Botanical Fragrance Blend.Speaking of aloe, I know some people who use aloe gel as a face primer for oily skin. Interestingly enough, that's exactly what I used to do in my late teens, years before real makeup primers came on the market. It felt good and calming while somehow smoothing the surface and making whatever makeup I used back then last longer. So I guess I was on to something.
The real question here is, of course, performance. There's no doubt about this: Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant is the first natural deodorant I've tried that actually worked. It's winter, so there's only so much testing I could manage, but it holds in overheated stuffy rooms as well as overnight. However, during the day, it's only effective for 4-6 hours (depending on level of activity and humidity). The best way I can describe it is that the deodorizing ingredients fade away or are used up after a certain time, and if you don't reapply things are going to get more than a little ripe.
As long as you remember to carry it with you and renew after 4-6 hours, it's golden. This is a lot more than I can say for just about any natural deodorant I tried that vanished in the face of real sweat. While the Lavanila option is not perfect, for those desperately seeking to avoid aluminum this might be a good option.
Bottom Line: For the sake of your nearest and dearest, remember to keep a backup in your purse, in a drawer at work and in your locker.
LAVANILA The Healthy Deodorant ($18) is available at Sephora, SkinStore and DermStore. The product was sent to me free of charge by the company's PR.