This Natural Deodorant Is Fine


“Smell me. No, really, smell me!” is something I say with an alarming frequency for someone who doesn’t wear too much deodorant. TBH, I’ve mostly used lemon juice in lieu of anything else for the past few years, hence the smell tests forced on incredulous friends and a few acquaintances at parties.

Lemon juice works surprisingly well, but when I moved to Berlin last year, I knew I’d need something a bit stronger since I bike around most days. So the testing began. Malin and Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant smells good, but leaves you sweaty. Weleda's Citrus Deo was pretty helpful but smelled, as my boyfriend put it, “like lime popsicles mixed with hand sanitizer.” Tom’s of Maine does exactly nothing. As far as I was concerned, the natural deodorant offerings were either A) ineffective, B) smelled so much like potpourri that it didn’t matter how well they worked, or C) had a surprisingly chemical scent for something natural.

Then, while waiting for a chronically late friend at a hybrid store-cafe, I came across a little glass jar of something called Fine. As I later learned, Fine is made here in Berlin by a woman who works as a curator, researcher, and yoga teacher, which probably accounts for some of its success. I imagine she’s often running between gigs and schlepping stuff, which gives her a better sense of sweating than someone sitting in a freezing, climate-controlled office.

I’ve worn it on flights to Florence and Marrakech, for long bike rides and to dumb gym classes. It passes any and all test. I have the smaller jar, which last forever assuming you’re following my recommended application size of exactly one a tiny smidge per pit. Germans are much more fastidious about beauty product ingredients than Americans, so it’s comforting to know that Fine is clean enough to eat.

Clove, vetiver, and sandalwood give it an earthy, smoky scent. Geranium and lavender keep it feeling fresh while tea tree keeps you feeling fresh. If the word ‘sexy’ just feels like ad copy, this deodorant, of all things, will change your mind. I’ve never gotten into perfume, but now, every so often, a woman in line behind me or a friend at a dinner will lean in and conspiratorily ask, “What are you wearing?” They’re asking about perfume, I’m talking about deodorant.

—Alex Ronan

Photographed by the author.

The natural deodorant detox is real—read one product developer's deo diary here.