Lume vs. Native Deodorant: 2 week Pit Test results

Wondering which of the leading aluminum-free deodorants is more effective? Looking for a recommendation on which one to buy? We’ll cover all the differences between Lume and Native in this article. I’ll also share the results of our 2 week Lume vs Native “pit test” to see which deodorant is really more effective. This post is not sponsored but may contain affiliate links.

six individual sticks of lume and native deodorant on a white counter surrounded by greenery.

Lume Vs Native deodorant

I tried one in each arm pit for two weeks…

Wondering which of these two aluminum-free deodorants is really the best?

We’ll talk ingredients, packaging, scents, and strength…

Lume Vs Native Deodorant

If you’ve been thinking about switching to an aluminum-free deodorant, you have almost certainly heard of Native and Lume. These leading brands were founded within two years of each other (2015 for Native and Lume 2 years later in 2017). Since then Native has been acquired by Proctor and Gamble and Lume has been acquired by Harry’s (think razors). They have both shown rapid growth and have loyal customer bases. Let’s take a closer look at both brands and see if the differences help you make a decision on which one is better for you.

Earlier this year I switched to Lume deodorant in an effort to go aluminum-free. I started with Lume because it came highly recommended and, honestly, because it was more expensive. I am willing to pay a little more for better deodorant (hence why I used this luxury Donna Karen deodorant for so many years). You can read my full review after using Lume for a few months here.

Of my friends that use aluminum-free deodorant, the majority use Native. I wasn’t in love with the smell of the Lume deodorant* so I decided to compare the two in a two-week test. I’ll share all the results and which deodorant I am now using but first, let’s look at a few more differences between the two.

*Since the initial 2 week test Lume has reformulated and the new formula smells 4902 times better

Ingredients and Formulation:

Let’s compare the ingredients of both sticks. For this ingredient comparison, we’re comparing the ingredients in a standard stick of deodorant (not the creams, aerosols, or sensitive formulas)

Native Deodorant Ingredients:

I grabbed the list of Native deodorant ingredients for one of the women’s sticks directly from their website. This is what it includes:

  • Coconut Oil: Also known as Cocos Nucifera Oil – we can’t get enough of it – is packed with rich fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants
  • Shea Butter: Also known as Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, a great moisturizer that holds antioxidants and vitamins
  • Baking Soda: Also known as Sodium Bicarbonate, found in cakes and cookies – helps neutralize odor-causing bacteria
  • Tapioca Starch: Extracted from the cassava plant
  • Probiotics: Lactobacillus Acidophilus are healthy bacteria found in your gut
  • Ozokerite: Also known as earth wax and is great at naturally stabilizing all the ingredients
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride: An oil made from coconuts that makes Native go on smooth
  • Magnesium Hydroxide: Also found in antacids like Milk of Magnesia, Magnesium Hydroxide partners with baking soda to help neutralize odor-causing bacteria
  • Cyclodextrin: This sugar-based ingredient from starch that slowly releases additional scent throughout the day to keep you smelling fresh
  • Glucose: A simple sugar (Dextrose) made from corn

Lume Deodorant Ingredients

Let’s compare that to a Lume deodorant stick:

  • Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate
  • PPG-15 Stearyl Ether
  • Zea Mays (Corn) Starch
  • Ozokerite
  • Stearyl Alcohol
  • Isododecane
  • Isopentyldiol
  • Maranta Arundinacea Root Powder
  • Lauryl Laurate
  • Mandelic Acid
  • Sorbitan Oleate
  • Fragrance*
  • Silica
  • Panthenol
  • Caffeine
  • Ethylhexylglycerin

Both brands are free from aluminum, phthalates, sulfates, parabens, and talc.

Lume is ALSO free from baking soda while Native uses baking soda in its deodorants. Baking soda creates an alkaline environment in your armpits that makes it harder for bacteria to grow, preventing odor. However, baking soda can be harsh on your skin. If you have sensitive skin or have had sensitivity issues with deodorant before, regular Native deodorant might be too harsh for you. Native has released a sensitive skin formula without baking soda which I haven’t tried yet.

Lume Vs. Native Scent Options:

You guys, Native deodorant smells better than Lume. I have ordered 4+ scents from each brand and Native wins every single time. I liked every single Native scent I smelled when I checked out the brand in-store at Target. With Lume the scents are hit or miss. The hits are fine but the misses are awful. There is going to be a lot of personal preference in this but I did a quick poll of a few friends and no one thought a scent from Lume smelled better than a scent from Native.

Native also wins for more scent options. Here are the current options from each brand and my personal favorites:

Native Deodorant Scents:

  • Coconut & Vanilla (love this one)
  • Sea Salt & Cedar
  • Buttercream & French Vanilla
  • Powder & Cotton
  • Eucalyptus & Mint
  • Cucumber & Mint
  • Citrus & Herbal Musk
  • Lilac & White Tea
  • Lavender & Rose
  • Sweet Peach & Nectar
  • Charcoal
  • Unscented
  • Honey & White Oak
  • Black Oak & Amber
  • Blackberry & Green Tea
  • Grapefruit & Bergamot
  • Vanilla & Sandalwood
  • Jasmine & Cedar

They also currently have some limited edition scents which include: Desert Grass & Sandalwood, Honey & Suguaro, Sage & Sweet Citrus, Vanilla & Cactus Flower

Lume Deodorant Scents:

  • Clean Tangerine (a brand favorite and my VERY FAVORITE)
  • Minted Cucumber (new and I haven’t tried it yet)
  • Soft Powder
  • Lavender Sage (this one is strong but solid)
  • Toasted Coconut (also very strong but solid)
  • Peony Rose (I like peony but cannot stand this one – I have only tried it in the cream tube)
  • Unscented
  • Fresh Alpine (I like this one)

Application & Texture

For the sake of this comparison, let’s contrast the two stick deodorants. Both brands have a few different products in addition to the standard stick deodorant. For Lume there is a cream deodorant (in a stick and in a bottle form) and Native has an aerosol spray.

The Native deodorant stick is a little more moist than the Lume stick and goes on a bit smoother. The texture is slightly more akin to a lipbalm and is almost….glossier…than the Lume stick. The Lume stick is drier and is slightly less soft to apply. I prefer the experience of applying Native deodorant.

Update: The new Lume formula (released summer 2023) is closer to the native deodorant and I like applying it more than the Native. It is more moist and softer on my armpits. With the new formula (doesn’t apply to all the scents from what I understand – stick with Clean Tangerine and the Lavendar Sage), there is very little difference between the texture of the two.

Effectiveness / How long do Lume and Native deodorants last:

In my experience, the Lume deodorant lasts a bit longer than the Native deodorant but not nearly as long as the 72 claimed on the packaging. You will still absolutely need to apply Lume deodorant daily to avoid body odor.

Depending on the stress and physical activity level of the day, I can usually go morning until bedtime with Lume deodorant without reapplication. When using Native deodorant I would reapply in the evening before I went to work out or meet friends.

Lume: 12-24 hours (12 hours when doing physical activity but 24 hours if I’m not on my period, super stressed, or working out)

Native: 8-18 hours (18 hours on a stress-free, period-free, exercise-free day)

Price / Value of Lume vs Native: Not significantly different

Lume Price:

  • individual stick on Target.com (also available on Amazon for varying prices up to $18 a stick)
  • individual stick on website: $15
  • bundle on website: $12.74

Native Price:

With Native deodorant, you can subscribe and save on their website and get sticks for $11 OR bundle and save the same 15% by ordering 3 products.

Lume is slightly more expensive. If you are ordering directly from the brand and subscribing, the difference is $1.70 a stick. On average a deodorant stick lasts 2-3 months with daily use. You’ll spend about $8 more per year on deodorant if you use Lume (assuming you use the same amount of deodorant as if you used Native which might not be a fair assumption; your Lume stick will likely last you longer than a Native stick because it is more effective and you can apply it less frequently). For something that has such a daily impact, the $8 a year seems inconsequential. Go with the one that works best for you and pay (or save) the 70 cents per month.

Availability + Purchase options:

Both are available at Target, on Amazon, and directly from each brand’s website. Native is carried in more stores like Walgreens and CVS. You are more likely to find your favorite scent of Native deodorant in a physical store than you are Lume.

You can go into Target and smell both brands if you want to test out some of the scents before you purchase. In my Target there were more scent options for Native and a few things from Lume were sold out.

The Lume Vs Native Pit Test: Which is More Effective:

Here’s what you really came here to read. I tried both deodorants, one in each arm pit, for 2 weeks. I then got my hands on the new formulation of Lume deodorant (available in the Clean Tangerine and the Lavender Sage scents) and added another week to the pit test.

Lume deodorant in the left armpit (L for Lume and left to make it easy to remember) and Native Deodorant in the right armpit for 2 weeks.

For the first two weeks I used the Lume Lavendar (old formula) or Alpine Fresh scent. I used the Native Coconut & Vanilla stick.

  • Day 1: Lume clearly wins (on my period, more hormones/ sweating more than usual)
  • Day 2: Lume clearly wins
  • Day 3: Lume clearly wins
  • Day 4: Lume clearly wins
  • Day 5: undecided
  • Day 6: unclear but I think Native wins by a hair
  • Day 7: Native wins by a hair

One week in thoughts: Here’s the thing, the Lume deodorant works better but it smells worse. Lume has since been reformulated and that fixed the scent issue for me. At the end of the day, I can still smell the scent of the Lume deodorant in my right armpit. In my left armpit, I usually cannot smell the native deodorant anymore and just smell some body odor.

I am going to try re-applying the native deodorant halfway through the day to see if with a reapplication it works as well as the lume deodorant. On days I don’t sweat very much, native wins because the deodorant scent is more pleasant than the lume deodorant scent.

But there has never been a time where the armpit with the lume deodorant had more body odor than the one with the native deodorant.

  • Day 8: Lume wins barely
  • Day 9: Lume wins barely
  • Day 10: Lume wins barely

I got a second opinion from my 8-year-old. He said the left armpit (Lume) smelled better than the right (Native).

About a week and a half into this whole experiment I learned about the aluminum detox. I had been mostly using Lume deodorant for the two months and did a clay mask

  • Day 11: I showered midday and forgot to check then went swimming later so nothing to report
  • Day 12: I went to a cardio workout class for 30 minutes and sweat a lot. Afterwards, I was surprised to find that the Native deodorant had worked better. I smelled less in my right armpit than my left. There was a body odor in my left armpit and just the smell of the native deodorant in my right armpit.

I showered and reapplied each deodorant in their designated armpits afterward.

  • Day 13: No body odor from either armpit. Because I could only smell the deodorant and I think the Native deodorant smells better, Native wins.
  • Day 14: Same as day 13, Native wins

Enter the new Lume Formula! I have been sitting on this draft for a full week after the pit test because I haven’t snapped any images of the Lume and Native deodorants together for this post. In that time I stopped by Target and saw the Lume “Clean Tangerine” scent on a hubcap. A friend had reached out on IG after I started sharing about the deodorants. She let me know that Lume was reformulating their sticks. Apparently, SOME people smell the unpleasant “undersmell” (my made up word) in the Lume Deodorant and some don’t. Me and my husband are those that do. The new Clean Tangerine and Lavendar scents supposedly fix the “undersmell.” I tried the new Clean Tangerine scent with Native for the last few days and here are the results:

  • Day 15 At the end of the day neither pit had body odor but I could still smell the clean tangerine from the Lume deodorant and I couldn’t smell anything from the Native deodorant
  • Day 16 I forgot to smell at the end of the day and checked in the morning (a solid 24 hours after applying it) and Lume won by a hair (no body odor and still a faint smell of tangerines)
  • Day 17 a tie
  • Day 18 a tie (no body odor but the Lume deodorant still smelled like clean tangerines)

Conclusion of Lume Vs Native Pit Test:

Lume is a stronger, more effective deodorant. I look at this two-week test and see that when I was sweatier (on my period), Lume was the only thing that worked. I do have a slight preference for the Native packaging. The way Native deodorant smells better on the stick and on my armpit than Lume scents.

If I could only have one stick of deodorant, it would be the Lume Clean Tangerine in the new formulation. It smells great and lasts forever. My one drawback with this is that somedays I DO NOT want to smell like my deodorant. I love wearing perfume. I do prefer the scent options from Native (the variety and how they are more subtle than the Lume scents).

“If I could only have one stick of deodorant, it would be the Lume Clean Tangerine (new formula)”

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Going forward I will continue to wear Native deodorant on regular days (with perfume) and use Lume when I need something stronger (on my period, exercising, a long travel day, etc).

Which should you buy: Native or Lume?

If you’ve gotten this far, I wish I could give you a definitive, “X deodorant is better and you should buy it.” For the first 10 days of this test I was convinced this article would tell you to not waste your time with Native deodorant.

Here’s what I’d recommend:

If you struggle with body odor and are looking for a really effective deodorant that happens to be aluminum-free, start with Lume. Get the Clean Tangerine scent.

If, say, you get along fine with a Dove deodorant right now but want to go natural, try Native. Be sure to use a clay detox to speed up the detox process and avoid being extra smelly for two weeks.

Next on the deodorant lineup – upcoming pit test:

We’re not done with natural deodorants over here! We’ve tried the top two, Native and Lume, but is there anything else as good? What about Schmidts? Or this one I found at Anthropologie?

If there’s another brand you want to add to the lineup, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at hello(at)elisabethmcknight(dot)com. And if you want to try a pit test yourself, test Lume vs Native, and add your results to this article shoot me an email and I’ll see if we can get some deodorant sent your way!

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