Activated Charcoal Deodorant: Everything You Need to Know.

best activated charcoal deodorants

I’m really excited about today’s blog post as I am constantly hunting for other natural deodorants that I really like. As you know I’m a HUGE fan of Native (that coconut vanilla scent is INCREDIBLE) but I also am always trying new things as I have this constant thing that maybe there is something better out there.

Everything You Need To Know About Activated Charcoal Deodorant

First of all, let’s talk about natural deodorant. I realize that it isn’t going to be for everyone, and if that is you, skip this post. I am not trying to fearmonger but I personally only use natural deodorants but am not going to shame or judge you if you feel differently. With all the research out there, I just don’t want to take the risk of using something that could have potentially adverse affects on my health.

Why You Should Switch To An All Natural Deodorant

We have talked a LOT about natural deodorants over here but I want to provide a little refresher. Honestly, I am not a doctor, scientist or an expert on this stuff but I have just heard way too many terrible things about conventional deodorant (especially anti-perspirant, which almost always contains aluminum). There is so much research tying it to breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and so on and so forth that I just don’t want to chance it.

I made the switch a few years ago and didn’t look back. I like using products with natural ingredients, and so long as they keep me smelling fresh, I am all for a natural deodorant. As a rule I don’t get super sweaty unless I do hot yoga or something like that, but I will smell terrible if I don’t apply any deodorant. And I find that most natural deodorants that are just deodorant and don’t contain ingredients that absorb sweat. I will smell. Like, I don’t sweat a LOT but I’ll sweat enough for the product to slip off and not work… if that makes sense?

My litmus test for a deodorant is whether I can wear it all day from showering til bed without reapplying. Bonus points if it lasts through sleeping too. There are very few natural deodorants I’ve found that last a full 24 hours.

Activated Charcoal Deodorant

I’ve been reading so much about activated charcoal and how powerful it is. When you hear the term “activated” charcoal, it’s not the same thing as the charcoal you’d buy for your grill. It’s charcoal that’s been heated to a high temperature and combined with gases. Adding the powdered charcoal to a deodorant has really powerful results…

Top Brands Selling Charcoal Deodorant To Try

I have tried four different charcoal deodorants. One of them I won’t mention as it wasn’t very good. Awful, actually. If I didn’t reapply multiple times throughout the day I got awful body odor. The three that I am listing here are good. They’re all-natural, aluminum free, and cruelty free. And most importantly, they will eliminate odor and keep you smelling fresh.

The original winner was Schmidt’s Charcoal Magnesium Deodorant. I’ve been a big fan of Schmidt’s for a while (the rose + vanilla one is so nice!). I really like the creamy texture of this deodorant (arrowroot powder is the main ingredient which gives it a nice smooth glide) but the charcoal version is even better. I can apply this after my morning shower and will smell great til I shower the next day. I really put this one to the test with a night out at Gitano this past weekend when things were so, so hot.  This one is also a great value. You only need a little bit and the stick lasts for ages.

More recently, I tried the Kopari Charcoal Deodorant and I like that one even more. The Schmidt’s one is great but does get a little messy (it’s a creamier formula vs Kopari which is a more sheer formula. It’s really effective and I like that the coconut formula is also very hydrating. For more info on that read my Kopari Charcoal Deodorant review!

PiperWai Activated Charcoal Deodorant is 100% vegan and plant based. It was very good (and I love the texture – it contains coconut oil and shea butter) but it didn’t pass the test when I was out in the sun all day. I came home and had terrible BO. Honestly, I was sad about this as the tea tree oils and essential oils in this one make it smell so good. I prefer the scent of this (minty!) to the scent of the Schmidt’s, which smells more citrusy/lemony. I’ll say that I kept it, and will use this one on days where I’m just working from home, etc. It’s good it just won’t stand up to extreme heat and humidity!

Activated Charcoal For Body Odor

Okay so this may be repetitive but body odor isn’t caused specifically by sweating but rather by the bacteria on your skin breaking down acid in your sweat. It’s the bacteria that smells – not your sweat, if that makes any sense. Charcoal is highly porous and absorbs bacteria and toxins (it’s said to absorb 100-200x its weight in impurities, which is why it makes a great ingredient for deodorant.

Does Activated Charcoal Detox Your Armpits?

Okay I went down a real rabbit hole here with research. Just switching to a deodorant that contains activated charcoal won’t detox your armpits but you can do an entire armpit detox… did you know that armpit masking is a thing? I kind of want to do it!!! A lot of people recommend doing a full armpit detox prior to making the switch to a natural deodorant. I’ve never done this (and made the switch years ago) and am curious about it.

The goal here is to remove all the toxins, parabens, aluminum, etc. that you’ll find in regular deodorant. This looks like a good “recipe” for an armpit detox. Another thing I read that was interesting is that doing an armpit detox will actually help prevent against rashes from natural deodorants (a lot of people have a reaction to baking soda and doing a detox first will help with that).

Will it stain my armpits or clothing?

This was something I was really concerned about as the color of all of these products is a light grey. Honestly though, you just have to be a little bit careful. With the Piperwai product, upon applying, there was definitely a bit of excess grey product on my armpit area after applying. I just rubbed that in with my hands and was fine. With the Schmidt’s product, there was no discoloration – the product is grey in the tube but glides on sheer. For both, I gave it a minute to dry before putting on clothes and was fine. Neither products stained or darkened my clothes, even my white t-shirts (yes, I very bravely did this!).

So… Does It Work?

Yes! The Schmidt’s product was my favorite. The Piperwai was great on days where I laid low but the Schmidt’s passed every single test with flying colors.

And does it work better than other natural deodorants!?

I’m honestly not sure but I can give you my personal opinion. Like I said, I LOVE the Native one and I would put the Schmidt’s product up there with that one (tied for first place). I will say that I found that the Schmidt’s charcoal deodorant works better than the regular Schmidt’s deodorant so having the charcoal in there helps. I LOVE this product (and also love that it’s $10 – many natural deos are really, really expensive!) So I will say that In my opinion, deodorants with activated charcoal in them work better than other deodorants.

If you can’t tell, I’m very passionate about natural deodorant. 

A few more posts about this: My first post about natural deodorants (I tried so many!) and a review of Agent Nateur, which I also really love.

charcoal deodorant schmidt's charcoal + magnesium deodorant

Disclosure: If you buy something through my links, I may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. I only feature things I truly love here. Thanks for your support.


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  1. I’ve only just gotten into natural deodorant, and at first glance, the activated charcoal deodorant really does seem like a gimmick! Good to know it isn’t, thanks for the review! I’ll definitely try it out should I get my hands on a bottle! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    7.5.18 Reply
  2. Ashlee:

    Thanks for the review, Grace! I’ve recently gotten into trying out a few natural deodorants but haven’t tried these out yet! Just added Schmidt’s and Vapour to my Amazon cart! Excited to try!

    Ashlee |

    7.5.18 Reply
  3. Dana J:

    Ok, I used to use the Schmidt’s charcoal but recently got the Kopari coconut oil natural deodorant and it is a game changer! Smells amazing, great coconut-y scent, easy rollerball application, and manages to stand up to even hot yoga better than the Schmidt’s (which would drip off in white streaks… ick). Also just $15 I think at Sephora. Highly recommend, as a fellow natural deodorant quest obsessive!

    7.5.18 Reply
    • I have to try that! Thanks for the suggestion!!!

      7.5.18 Reply
    • Laurence:

      I agree with Dana. the Kopari deodorant is amazing. I have tried A LOT OF natural deodorants and the Koprai one is my favorite, hands down! I put it in the fridge when it’s hot.

      7.5.18 Reply
  4. Brianna Rooney:

    i’ve used regular schmidt’s and their one for sensitive skin so I will try this one next.

    By receiving the Vapour one as a gift from you, you really set my bar SO high since nothing I tried before that compared!

    7.5.18 Reply
    • Ooops sorry about that. It’s so good right? The Schmidt’s is really nice too though!

      7.5.18 Reply
  5. Beth:

    I wish I could use natural deodorants with baking soda, but they make me break out in a rash. I use the Schmidt’s sensitive skin formula. The jasmine tea scent is my favorite. I hope Schmidt’s will make a sensitive version of the charcoal + magnesium. Love that you are obsessed with natural deodorant. Me too. Dying to try MegaBabe next, which seems to be baking soda free (yay!) but they don’t ship to Singapore, so have to wait til I’m in the US the next time.

    7.5.18 Reply
  6. Cy:

    I made the switch a while ago too! I’m on my second time around with Schmidt’s bergamot +lime which I love and you can’t beat the price. I really like the Agent Nateur shiva rose, but it was limited and the regular didn’t work as well and it is pricey. I even tried the one with the kitty on in in the compostable tube. Don’t remember the name, Kelly had it in one of her posts. It didn’t work for me in form or freshness. I read about the arm pit detox, but mine seemed to have done it on their own. Whe I used conventional deodorant, I had discoloration under my arms. Now that is all gone. Maybe I’ll try The Schmidt’s charcoal next time around. Thanks to you and all your testing!

    7.5.18 Reply
    • You’re so right about the price – it’s so good!!! Hope you try this one – let me know what you think!

      7.5.18 Reply
  7. Hey there!
    I like your blog.You are one of few blogs I follow and inspire me. I would like to show you and others my work. <3
    Also deodorant I use is from Garnier. I think it´s called Mineral extreme or something like that. It works longer than others in our drugstore. Smells also good.

    7.5.18 Reply
    • Good to know! I don’t think Garnier is natural though :-/ I use their products but will only use a natural deodorant!

      7.5.18 Reply
  8. Julianna:

    I’ve been trying natural deodorants, but does anyone else find they kind of discolour shirts? Not even a charcoal one, just regular old natural deodorants.. I feel like maybe something to do with the oils in them is what’s doing it, but a grey tshirt I have now looks like it has pit stains all the time. Please tell me it isn’t just me and if you have found any that don’t do this!

    7.5.18 Reply
    • One thing I would say is make sure you let it dry completely before you put your shirt on. I’m not sure!!!!

      7.5.18 Reply
  9. Lauren:

    You should look into Oh My Gaia! I switched to their natural deodorant last year and LOVE it!

    7.5.18 Reply
  10. Alexandra:

    Great review! I feel like I’ve tried so many natural deodorants since I’m one of those sensitive to baking soda. Looking forward to trying an activated charcoal version to see how I like it!

    7.5.18 Reply
  11. Lindsay:

    I currently have both the Piperwai and the Schmidt’s charcoal deodorants in my bathroom right now and I agree, I prefer the Schmidt’s. The Piperwai starts to smell weird on me so I only use it on weekends when I’m not going to be out long. Something about my body chemistry I guess. And I like that I can find Schmidt’s at Target and that it is so cheap!

    7.5.18 Reply
    • Ha! The Piperwai made me smell funny too! I included it because it WAS effective when I was in a cool environment/not hot or sweaty… but if I got hot I almost smelled a little bit skunky… ew so gross!

      7.5.18 Reply
  12. I’ve always wanted to switch to natural deodorant; however, I worried about it being ineffective. This review definitely makes me want to make the switch. Health is wealth!

    Happy Thursday

    7.5.18 Reply
  13. Alix:

    You can get Schmidt’s at Target for just $5!!!

    7.6.18 Reply
  14. Sara:

    Have you tried Native? It’s the first natural deodorant I’ve tried and think it works pretty well (I used secret clinical for years), but wondering how some of these other brands stack up.

    7.8.18 Reply
    • I have! Everyone loves it but it wasn’t my favorite which is why I’ve never featured it on the blog (more of a don’t say anything vs. give a negative review person!)

      7.8.18 Reply
  15. Going to order this Schmidt’s version immediately! I’ve been trying to switch to natural deodorant because of you, but have had the hardest time finding one that actually *works* here in the UK (Soapwalla isn’t available here and Agent Natuer wasn’t until it finally arrived on Net-a-Porter last week!), and so far the best has been the Schmidt’s rose & vanilla that I get at Urban Outfitters. I confess I saw this last week and was sceptical it would either stain all my white summer clothes or smell too medicinal, but you’ve convinced me.

    Briony xx

    7.9.18 Reply
  16. Hannah:

    Can’t wait to try the Schmidt’s Charcoal Deodorant. I was looking at Target and it said it’s $4.69 but $10 from Macy’s. The ounces are a little less than from Macy’s. Wondering if they are the same just different packaging?

    7.12.18 Reply
    • I have no idea – I think they are the same but it’s cheaper at Target. Get it there!!!

      7.12.18 Reply
  17. Melissa:

    I love Schmidt’s! I use the Bergamot and Lime for summer, but I will have to try the activated charcoal.

    7.19.18 Reply
  18. Melissa Willis:

    I personally and a natural deodorant wearer and Just switched to Schmidt’s charcoal +magnesium deodorant last week. Everything you said is true and I also love this product too!! Thanks for the review.

    9.21.18 Reply
  19. Janiene West:

    Heya! I have never had an issue with staining while using activated charcoal. I use my waxes to allow me to have stick deodorant, add in both activated charcoal and baking soda for myself. While I give a big thanks to the charcoal and baking soda acting a bit like an antiperspirant, I feel like the EOs I choose make a huge difference. I often keep a small jar of the deodorant or a roller ball of the EOs with me for those days that I am spending too much time working steamers or running laundry, I will stealthily apply a bit more EOs, so any late booked appointments or stragglers end up with a whiffy esthetician. 🙂

    12.20.18 Reply
  20. What makes it itch so bad. I love that it doesn’t leave any odor, but I itch so bad. Is there any other product I can try?

    1.2.19 Reply
  21. What makes it itch so much?? I love the product, but the itching drives me crazy.

    1.2.19 Reply
  22. LilacOpheliac:

    I absolutely love the smell of Schmidt’s charcoal & magnesium deodorant, it’s very subtle which I prefer in a deodorant. I was using their lavender & sage, and while I do like the way it smells, I found it to be a little overpowering for my armpits.

    1.23.19 Reply
  23. Bekah:

    I bought Native and wasn’t the biggest fan so I ordered the Charcoal deodorant from Primally Pure and just started using that yesterday. The card they included said that as the armpits detox that there will likely be more odor than usual but that it will go away for good. I’m giving it a go…

    1.24.19 Reply
    • good to know! I found I had a detox period where I smelled worse but then it went away for good!

      1.24.19 Reply
      • That is good to know! I guess I’ll go into hiding for a couple days or weeks..

        1.24.19 Reply
        • Haha. You’ll be fine. I just found myself showering extra, and exfoliating my armpits!
          Another trick I liked was using pixi glow tonic before deodorant!

          1.24.19 Reply
  24. Ali:

    I bought this for my lovely and he had great results finally. I just noticed that his underarm hair is orange! He has very dark if not black but definitely not orange almost as though someone bleached or son and his underarm hair. I’m not sure if this is from the Magnesium or activated charcoal but I’m going to do then armpit detox and see if that doesn’t change anything possibly some lemon juice apple cider vinegar I don’t know. Got to go back in the old chemistry teachings and see what what is causing this chemical reaction.

    2.10.19 Reply
  25. Mary:

    This deodorant goes on like wet flour and left huge white underarm rings. I’m going back to salt.

    3.17.19 Reply
  26. George Compiani:

    I’ve used the Schmidt’s deodorant and I liked the smell and the long lasting protection.
    However, it stained my shirts so much so that I can no longer wear the shirts.
    Can you recommend a deodorant that will give me a healthy alternative that won’t stain my shirts?

    6.13.19 Reply
  27. Karen:

    I have been using the Schmidt’s charcoal deoderant and liked it… but I absolutely DID get gray staining on my clothing. I’m trying everything to remove it but no success so far. Looks like I ruined a very expensive bra.

    7.11.19 Reply
  28. Darla Kelso:

    I have been using Schmidt’s for a couple of months now and love it. However, I noticed today that my armpits have gotten very dark, discolored. I’m reading that it can be a reaction to the baking soda. Very disappointed.

    8.7.19 Reply
  29. Karen Bell:

    Very thorough job! Primally Pure is very good for sensitive people with auto immune issues! I’m looking for a good recipe to make my own at this point. Any suggestions?

    11.19.19 Reply
  30. Lou Anne War:

    I had been using Schmidt’s charcoal deodorant for six months and loved it because I had finally found something that works! Then all of a sudden, I developed a small cyst and rash….. so disappointed! I have gone without for the past two months while trying it again after letting the rash subside and it still pops back up…..any one else have this happen?

    4.13.20 Reply
  31. Michelle:

    Have you tried Pretty Frank which is formerly Primal Pit Paste. That has always worked for me however, they now have an option for one with the activated charcoal.


    6.10.20 Reply
  32. Margo:

    I am having a problem finding a true “deodorant” that works. The name brands are all anti-perspirants that do nothing for odor. So I researched and found a few to try. The first one was Schmidt’s Charcoal and Magnesium which WORKED for days without reapplying. I was so excited until I saw the stains on one of my new tank tops. Ruined. So I tried a bunch of others, including Native and Degree Dry Spray Passion, which gave me armpit pain and lumps so I tossed them immediately. Currently using Tom’s because it is harmless, but it doesn’t work for odor at all. After reading your article I kind of want to go back to Schmidt’s Charcoal but am worried about the staining. Am I stuck wearing black for the rest of my life? How did you keep it from staining your clothes? You think if they can send people to the moon they could take the black out of charcoal! I also read some of your comments below and might try Kopari or Oh My Gaia. This is so frustrating….

    12.5.20 Reply
  33. Kim M:

    I’ve been using non-anti-perspirant deodorant for about 20 years. I’ve never heard of an armpit detox but I do remember that it took about two months of using nothing before I noticed any body odour so I figure that’s how long it took for the aluminum to work it’s way out of my pours. Recently, I tried Schmidt’s charcoal deodorant for about a year. It takes a while but it definitely stains your cloths grey. It’s not so bad for the everyday clothes but any white t-shirt that you wear often will turn grey after a while and any clothes that you tend to sweat in will also turn grey. I also found that Schmidt’s gets a bit slimy when you get sweaty. Native charcoal deodorant was much better – lighter colour and not so creamy – but I still thought it was turning my clothes a bit grey so I stopped using it. I currently use Native Coconut and Vanilla and it works very well. It lasts all day – but not through the night. For many years my go-to was a combination of a deodorant crystal and Thursday Plantation Tea Tree deodorant. It worked really well, lasted at least 24 hours and didn’t leave a single mark on any of my clothes. Tea tree is anti-bacterial but it seemed to work much better if I used the crystal first. I wouldn’t have switched but I can’t get Thursday Plantation deodorant here in Canada anymore. Another option is to use the deodorant crystal with tea tree essential oil. You wet the crystal and put just a drop of tea tree on it before you put it on. But you have to really like the smell of tea tree!

    2.2.21 Reply
  34. Rachael:

    Hey I wanted to share with you something about the native deodorant. I am not trying to change your mind just to spread information that I know. There is an ingredient in native called dextrose. It is a form of MSG. I know this because I get stroke symptoms then a migraine from MSG. My sister tried this deodorant and instantly got a headache. I want to share a website with you! If you type in the search bar, hidden names for msg, truth in labeling. The website is

    That is all, thank you for reading! Your posts are great and I really appreciate you taking the time to do this type of research for the rest of us!

    2.20.24 Reply