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necessaire the deoderant review CAT
Nécessaire

  • Value: 16/20
  • Functionality: 19/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 18/20
  • Aesthetic: 20/20
  • Clean Ingredients: 20/20
  • TOTAL: 93/100
I’m relatively new to the natural deodorant club. I know, late to the party.

Don't get me wrong, I’ve always been interested in an au-natural underarm. Keen on health and wellness, I was fully aware of the long-term risks associated with chemical-laden antiperspirants, but I’m also extremely active and with that, sweaty, sweaty, sweaty. I relied on the heavy-duty, sweat-blocking, odor-eliminating stuff to get me through my hardest spin class or my most nerve-wracking work meeting (did I mention I nervous sweat?). And though it worked, the Gwyneth Paltrow in me tsk-tsked every time I swiped it on. But I’d heard the smelly horror stories of the “detox period” involved in making the switch, and with a busy life in a big city, it never felt like the right time. That is until the pandemic hit.

I’m sure I’m not the first to tell you that quarantine is a great time to switch to a natural deodorant. An airtight excuse to never leave your house? I, like many others, took my chance.

There are a handful of natural deodorant brands that have flooded our shelves and Instagram feeds: Kopari, Kosas, Native, Type A. But Nécessaire quickly became the wealthy, well-dressed new kid with its release (and subsequent cult-following) of The Deodorant back in February 2020. Less than six months later, the brand went all in adding two additional scents.

Now, in my quest to find an effective all-natural deodorant, I initially scrolled past the Nécessaire rendition. My reasoning at the time was simple: I couldn’t justify spending $20 on deodorant when I was used to shelling out $5 max at the drugstore. Now, with two new scents and a handful of friends who swear by it, I was ready to give it a go.

The Ingredients

Nécessaire touts its deodorant as “mulit-acid and multi-mineral,” meaning it uses a blend of lactic and mandelic acids to neutralize odor as well as a blend of silica, zinc and kaolin clay to absorb sweat. On top of that, it’s free of aluminum, parabens, and synthetic fragrances. I’ll admit that the acids had me worried at first. My armpits can get pretty sensitive and I’ve dealt with bouts of psoriasis over the years, so I’m always wary before trying a new product. Save for some minor irritation when applied directly after shaving, my skin took to it nicely and the clean ingredients checked off every box.

The Packaging & Texture

I couldn’t love the packaging of this little tube more. It’s cohesive, minimal and chic enough to leave on my bathroom vanity. The applicator was a bit messy, leaving behind a thin layer of product on both the top and inside of the cap, but once I realized that a little goes a long way it was much easier to manage. Pro tip: You really only need a quarter of a turn or less to get the right amount for each pit.

The product itself is creamy, almost like a lotion, but was surprisingly wet on contact (not something I’m used to with my usual solid stick). Luckily, it dries quickly and blends easily into a clear layer that stays put without any unwanted residue on your clothes. A major win in my book.

The Effectiveness

IMHO, the heroes of this product are the acids and minerals. Our bodies were made to sweat. It’s how we release heat and regulate our internal temperature. So instead of blocking sweat, like a normal antiperspirant, the minerals in this deodorant absorb moisture while the acids work to eliminate odor-causing bacteria by decreasing the pH level of the skin. Rather than working against your body’s natural reactions, it works with them.

Did it completely stop me from sweating on my 6-mile run (OK, run/walk) this past weekend? No, I was dripping like a faucet. But did it nix odor and keep the everyday sweat of an average Tuesday at bay? Absolutely.

The Scents

The OG scent is a light, herbal blend called Eucalyptus. It’s clean, refreshing and on par with what you’d think a natural deodorant would smell like. Next up are the two new releases: Sandalwood and Fragrance-Free (yup). Initially, I was turned off by Sandalwood. It’s intensely smoky, slightly peppery and very masculine. Nécessaire is a gender-neutral beauty brand, so this kind of scent isn't totally out of left field, but it wasn't for me, so I stealthily set it aside in favor of the other newbie: Fragrance-Free. In the beginning, I was skeptical. A fragrance-free deodorant?! No chance. But since I’m never one to back down from a challenge, I swiped it on before heading out to go wedding dress shopping, curious to see how it would fare in a tight changing room with another human in close proximity. After two hours of outfit changes and a brisk walk on a very hot day through downtown NYC, I was floored. There was no smell whatsoever. Nothing. Nada. Not. A. Whiff. Rather than the usual “lavender fresh” mixed with light notes of B.O., I smelled nothing, and it was incredible.

Fragrance-Free: #1, gold star, all-around winner

Eucalyptus: Silver medal, strong contender, a solid #2

Sandalwood: Honorable mention, a valiant effort, great gift for the men in your life

As I got home that night, I noticed my Sandalwood stick had mysteriously gone missing. Hmmm, I pondered. My instincts kicked in and I quickly checked my fiancé’s travel bag. He had stolen it­­­—gasp! At first, I was appalled, then proud, then confused. The scent I turned my nose up at, he absolutely loved. I was more than happy to relinquish it if it meant replacing his usual (also chemical-ridden) Old Spice version. Plus, on him, it smelled way more ‘sexy mountain man’ than ‘old grandpa’. I also can’t help but love that he’s made the switch to an all-natural deodorant (and that we now have matching versions).

TRY IT YOURSELF ($20)

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The PureWow100 is a scale our editors use to vet new products and services, so you know what's worth the spend—and what's total hype. Learn more about our process here.

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