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 the Vapour deodorant (in palo santo + blood orange – the scent is HEAVEN) but I also am always trying new things as I have this constant thing that maybe there is something better out there.

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. 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.

Top Brands Selling Charcoal Deodorant To Try

I have tried three 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 BO. The two that I am listing here are good. They’re both all-natural, aluminum free, and cruelty free.

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!) 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 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 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. Like I said, I LOVE the Vapour 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 – my Vapour deodorant is amazing but it’s $24!)

If you can’t tell, I’m very passionate about natural deodorant. Should I list that on my dating profile? (I kid.)

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

Leave a Comment


  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

  2. Ashlee says 7.5.18

    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 |

  3. Dana J says 7.5.18

    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!

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

    • Laurence says 7.5.18

      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.

  4. Brianna Rooney says 7.5.18

    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!

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

  5. Beth says 7.5.18

    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.

  6. Cy says 7.5.18

    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!

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

  7. Sophia says 7.5.18

    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.

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

  8. Julianna says 7.5.18

    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!

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

  9. Lauren says 7.5.18

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

  10. Alexandra says 7.5.18

    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!

  11. Lindsay says 7.5.18

    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!

    • 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!

  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

  13. Alix says 7.6.18

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

  14. Sara says 7.8.18

    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.

    • 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!)

  15. A Girl, A Style says 7.9.18

    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

  16. Hannah says 7.12.18

    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?

    • grace at the stripe says 7.12.18

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

  17. Melissa says 7.19.18

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

  18. Melissa Willis says 9.21.18

    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.

  19. Janiene West says 12.20.18

    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. 🙂

  20. Shirley May Kemna says 1.2.19

    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?

  21. Shirley May Kemna says 1.2.19

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

  22. LilacOpheliac says 1.23.19

    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.

  23. Bekah says 1.24.19

    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…

    • grace at the stripe says 1.24.19

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

      • Bekah says 1.24.19

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

        • grace at the stripe says 1.24.19

          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!

  24. Ali says 2.10.19

    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.

  25. Mary says 3.17.19

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

  26. George Compiani says 6.13.19

    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?

  27. Karen says 7.11.19

    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.

  28. Darla Kelso says 8.7.19

    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.

  29. Karen Bell says 11.19.19

    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?

  30. Lou Anne War says 4.13.20

    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?

  31. Michelle says 6.10.20

    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.