Thanks to targeted advertising, I first started using the brand Lume (pronounced loo-mee) nearly three years ago when I bought a starter pack.
My experience with the starter pack went reasonably well (I have a full review here), but soon tragedy struck! Lume deodorants no longer came in the Jasmine Rose cream scent I’d gotten used to.
Since I’d always been on the fence about how much I liked that scent anyway, it seemed like a good time to dive into a range of Lume’s fragrances and find my favorite scents.
So… I decided to buy Lume again to try every single Lume deodorant, in both cream and solid form. I tested out all the scents to determine which ones smell good and which don’t.
My favorite scent from that initial comprehensive test was Tangerine. But then, in response to widespread customer complaints about the formula’s smell, Lume changed their recipe.
I ordered a stick of the new Lume formula in Tangerine and discovered that it was a very different scent that didn’t seem to work as well, throwing my previous scent rankings into chaos.
I needed to try out the new versions of the entire Lume deodorant line and do a complete overhaul. My armpits were ready for battle.
Read on for my in-depth review of each new Lume scent and my thoughts on what the best Lume scent is!
Note: this article contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
My Experience with Lume Deodorant
The first thing you need to know about Lume deodorant is that it uses a natural ingredient, mandelic acid, to lower your skin’s pH and ward off bacteria.
You can read my full Lume deodorant review for more details on how Lume deodorant works, coupon codes, and more.
If you’re reading an article about scents, you might ask, “why does Lume smell so bad?”
Here’s the critical thing to know:
Mandelic acid, one of the main natural ingredients in Lume deodorant, can smell bad to many people. Very bad. Like stinky cheese, musty butts, or diaper cream.
Unfortunately, if you have that reaction, you’ll find that almost every scent will disappoint you.
But don’t worry! Those are extreme reactions, and Lume deodorant is fine-smelling (and even good!) to most people.
Furthermore, Lume has updated its formula, and I can confirm that the “diaper cream” smell has significantly decreased.
Even with the old formula, the mandelic smell faded away after ten minutes, leaving behind just the smell of the deodorant and very effective protection against body odor.
This partially explains why I was disappointed with the odor when I got my initial Lume starter pack and sniffed Lume’s Jasmine scent.
It wasn’t very reminiscent of the actual flowers or their essential oil versions, and the formula’s inherent smell reminded me of diaper cream.
Still, I found the vaguely floral, baby’s bottom scent inoffensive; the Lume deodorant did work at eliminating body odors, and I’d spent nearly thirty dollars on the starter pack, so I dutifully used it (albeit somewhat sporadically).
I felt very “meh” about the scent and figured I wouldn’t be a repeat customer.
Years later, I am still happily using Lume deodorant.
But does it work?
Below, I have the results of my testing. I rank the best scents and then follow up with additional comments on each scent if you want ALL the details.
Lume Scents Ranked: My Picks for the Best Lume Deodorant Scents
If you’ve read my Lume deodorant review, you know that I based my judgments on the FOFAL criteria, which I invented (in a very scientific manner!) just for that article. Those criteria include:
- Odor control
- Antiperspirant abilities
The body odor control, functionality, antiperspirant ability, and longevity are generally the same, regardless of scent.
So, I’m focusing on just the initial F (for fragrantness) for this ranking and will mention any additional details on how they are at preventing body odor if needed.
Moreover, the evaluation of the smell is based on the smell after testing Lume against my normal daily activities, including walking, working on my feet, and living through New York summers.
So, this isn’t just smelling the deodorant straight out of the packaging but deciding the best Lume scent based on wearing it.
|Peony Rose||9/10||Rose is one of my favorite fragrances. I love rose essential oil, and my go-to perfume is rose-scented. |
The old version of this scent was floral in an indistinct way. So, not offensive but disappointing because it didn’t smell like roses.
The new version is a vast improvement! It’s still not overwhelmingly rosey and has a substantial similarity to the original version, but something about how it intermingles with the new formula produces a much prettier perfume.
It’s what I’ve gravitated towards most from the new batch
|9/10||The wipes have a fresh, mild, and very natural cucumber aroma.|
Plus, the wipes themselves are very convenient.
|Minted Cucumber||8/10||Minted Cucumber has a fresh and pleasant smell both in the tube and on the skin. It’s my new favorite scent in Lume’s repertoire.|
(formerly Silver Spruce)
|8/10||Fresh Alpine has a long-lasting, pine aroma that I enjoy a lot. |
Although it initially didn’t feel very feminine to me, it’s grown on me as time has gone on.
It’s also significantly different-smelling from its predecessor, Spruce.
(formerly Coconut Crush)
|7/10||Lume’s previous coconut scent was a bit faint, even when I directly sniffed the tube, but it reminded me, not unpleasantly, of sunscreen. |
Toasted Coconut is more pungent and emphasizes the “toasted” aspect. It’s not the sunscreen version of coconut; it’s the edible coconut cream version.
It smells good, but it’s not my first pick–I’m not always sure that I want to smell like an Almond Joy.
|Clean Tangerine||6/10||Clean Tangerine was previously my pick for the best overall Lume scent. |
While its smell isn’t super strong, it was good both out of the tube and on my body.
It also did the best compared to the other scents at keeping my clothes smelling fresh.
The new formula has a distinctly different scent from the original. While I liked it when I sniffed it directly from the solid stick, I found its abilities to control odor lacking. I originally had this scent in the cream stick, but switched to solid for the new formula.
|Lavender Sage||6/10||Lavender Sage was my initial favorite Lume scent because I’m a big fan of lavender, and I gravitate toward floral and herbal scents for deodorant and beyond. |
However, I don’t love the way it smells on my skin. It might work better with someone else’s body chemistry.
|Soft Powder||5/10||As far as “Powder” scents go, the Lume version is not bad. |
I’m just not a huge fan of powdery scents for deodorant, so I’ll always opt for other scents over this one.
|Unscented||5/10||I prefer aromatic and fragrant deodorants, so the unscented version ranks last for me. |
But if you’re only interested in Lume’s functionality, the unscented stick deodorants are the best choice.
Details on Every Lume Deodorant Scent
I ranked the original version of Peony Rose fairly low, but with the new formula, it has emerged as an unexpected front-runner.
I’m fond of flower scents. That also means that I’m discerning when it comes to them. I want roses to smell like roses, lilies to smell like lilies, you get the point.
That’s why I initially judged this smell harshly–it didn’t smell like roses or peonies, just floral in a general way. On top of that, the formula’s inherent smell gave it a bit of a grandma vibe.
I got this fragrance in a cream stick dispenser, and the new formula really lets the floral perfumes shine.
The combination of the scent, the formula, and my particular skin chemistry results in a mild, flowery smell that I find myself reaching for over most others.
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Cool Cucumber (Wipes)
Okay, so, granted–the deodorant wipes are in their own category. But I tried them out as part of this order, and they do have a distinct flavor that’s separate from the other fragrances, so they deserve their own ranking.
As far as the aroma goes, the wipes are only lightly scented and distinctly different from the much more pungent and fruity Minted Cucumber. They are pretty true to their name: they smell very pleasantly like cucumber.
I also love this product–they’re super convenient as a quick way to freshen up when you’re not able to shower.
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I have the new formula for Minted Cucumber in a solid stick. Its smell is fresh, pleasant and a little fruity.
There was a time period when I was a pre-teen in the late 90s and early oughts when cucumber melon had a huge moment. I had many cucumber melon lotions and body sprays.
Minted Cucumber is decidedly toned down from that Limited Too-era smell, but it’s just reminiscent enough to stir a little warm and fuzzy nostalgia.
I will note, however, that this scent leans more melon-y than minty, despite not having any mention of “melon” in its name.
However, I appreciate that it smells good both in the tube and on the skin. So that’s why it’s my new favorite scent in Lume’s updated repertoire, and the best Lume scent for women.
SHOP THE MINTED CUCUMBER ON:
The Fresh Alpine scent, which I have in cream stick form, is somewhat different from its predecessor.
The Spruce scent was the only scent I could smell coming off my armpits later in the day. In that regard, the new Fresh Alpine scent is somewhat similar in that it’s also quite long-lasting.
I liked the Spruce fragrance’s strong smell, but it struck me as a bit more masculine.
I tried to give it to my husband, and he applied it after a long day, but it smelled completely different when he did and actually made him smell worse!
But this is just further proof of how Lume deodorant doesn’t mask the odor; it prevents it. So, when an odor is already present, it’s not going to help much.
I ended up liking the way it smelled on my body after all, so I took it back and used it myself.
The Spruce had a spicy, almost patchouli-esque scent. By contrast, Fresh Alpine smells like freshly-crushed Christmas tree needles.
Sniffing the solid stick, it also struck me as masculine, so again, I gave it to my husband. This time, he actually used and enjoyed it.
I tested it on myself as well and found I was still getting pleasant, piney whiffs from my armpits towards the end of the day.
It’s definitely a unisex scent, but it also works well for men, so I do think that Fresh Alpine is the best Lume scent for men.
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Toasted Coconut (formerly Coconut Crush)
During my first testing run, my Coconut Crush scent came in the form of a solid stick.
The fragrance was faint, even when I directly sniffed the tube. It reminded me of sunscreen, though not in a bad way. Like some of the other Lumes, the aroma faded quickly once applied.
Toasted Coconut has a distinctly different aroma from its predecessor. Its scent is much stronger, and it smells edible rather than that faint, tropical sunscreen feeling. It is also, predictably, more toasty.
Like I said, I’m a floral, fruity girl. This, by contrast, reminds me of a coconut cake. You could almost imagine it’s coconut frosting coming out of the cream stick. I don’t dislike it, but it’s not my go-to flavor.
SHOP THE TOASTED COCONUT ON:
Last year, when I tested all the Lumes in a second purchase, I got the Tangerine in a cream stick. The scent wasn’t overpowering when it came out of the tube, so I didn’t expect to think much of it.
But as it turned out, Tangerine turned me into a Lume deodorant believer.
The fragrance remained pretty faint on my body, but it gained a slightly botanical quality that I enjoyed.
I like to take an evening bath before cooking dinner. After my day of wearing Clean Tangerine all over, I was putting my clothes back on after my bath when I noticed something remarkable.
Both my shirt and underwear smelled like they’d come straight out of the drawer – with a hint of citrus. After wearing them for an entire day!
I finally fully understood Lume. It’s not about the added fragrances; it’s about chemically preventing odor altogether. When you apply Lume to a clean slate, Lume claims (and I can confirm) you’ll stay smelling fresh for longer.
That said, when Lume released an updated formula, I tried the new and improved Tangerine in a solid stick and ended up being a little underwhelmed.
The new version is good-smelling and citrusy out of the package, but I’ve noticed it starts to meld with my body chemistry in a somewhat unpleasant way during long, hot days.
I was wearing the new Clean Tangerine a lot in August and September on some pretty warm days, and noticed a unique sweaty scent that I haven’t noticed with other fragrances in the new formula.
So, for that reason, the new version of Tangerine lost its top spot as “best fragrance.”
SHOP THE CLEAN TANGERINE ON:
Lavender Sage was my original favorite, partially because I expected it to be the best Lume deodorant scent.
This fragrance came as a solid stick, which I prefer to the cream tube deodorant. Smelling it straight out of the tube, I liked this scent for its herbaceous and floral qualities.
Also, Lume uses essential oils for their fragrances, which was especially apparent in this scent.
However, after wearing it on my skin for a while, my enthusiasm for this scent cooled a little. I found that it smelled worse when it mixed with my particular body chemistry.
If you look at Reddit, Amazon, or Lume’s own website, online reviews of Lavender Sage are generally positive, though.
SHOP THE LAVENDER SAGE ON:
My rating here is pretty subjective because powder-scented deodorants are not my jam. I don’t think Lume did a bad job here, but I rated Soft Powder low simply because it’s the one I’m least likely to reach for (aside from unscented).
I tried this one out purely for scientific purposes, but anything with powder in the name will never be my first choice.
As far as powder goes, the Lume version isn’t bad. It’s actually one of the better powder-scented deodorants that I’ve encountered. So if powder-fresh is your go-to, then you’ll be happy with the Lume version.
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As I’ve mentioned, I’m pretty focused on pleasant scents when it comes to deodorant, so the Unscented solid deodorant tube didn’t excite me much.
However, this one is truly odor-free. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, it’s a great option.
I think, for me, the unscented one will be helpful to prevent thigh chafing once summer rolls around.
Some baking soda natural deodorants I’ve used in the past do absolutely nothing to avoid chafing when they’re aluminum-free, but I found that using Lume prevents chafing reasonably well.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Does Lume smell bad?
Lume initially received some complaints about its smell, but as of 2023, Lume has revised its formula to improve its aroma.
Those original complaints about Lume smelling bad are subjective. In my opinion, the original formula itself was not a great smell, and none of the fragrances are an all-time favorite scent.
The cause of the complaints, an ingredient called mandelic acid, isn’t an issue for most people, and (based on personal experience and others’ reviews) it goes away quickly.
After testing a few new scents already, I find the new formula to be an improvement over the old one, but it’s potentially not as effective.
The new formula no longer has the distinct, unpleasant smell that it used to have, and it mixes much better with the essential oils and natural perfumes in the fragrances.
Unfortunately, I found myself sometimes having a little odor after particularly sweaty days, and I noticed this the most with the tangerine one.
What’s the difference between natural deodorant and antiperspirant?
Antiperspirant uses aluminum to block pores and sweat, but it’s not always the best choice for people with sensitive skin.
Natural deodorant products address odor specifically, usually with detoxifying or antibacterial ingredients. Many use baking soda, but others use stronger antimicrobial ingredients. Lume works in this way as well.
Unlike many other natural deodorants that primarily use baking soda, which doesn’t help much against sweat, Lume also contains tapioca starch to help absorb sweat.
Which Lume Deodorant smells the best?
Peony Rose is currently my favorite. Just a pea-sized amount is enough for each ‘zone’ of the body.
So even though Lume is more expensive than regular deodorant, my Lume products last a long time.
I can squeeze more out of the cream tube, but that’s not very necessary since you don’t need too much. Lume is skin-safe and generally works well even for people with very sensitive skin.
What are some Lume scents that have been discontinued?
Lume has made numerous changes since I first started using it. The original scent I bought was Jasmine Rose, but it’s now discontinued.
Here’s a complete list of their retired fragrances:
- Bay Rum
- Sandalwood Citrus
- Cucumber Melon
- Jasmine Rose
- Sweet Lily
- Twisted Lime
- Warm Vanilla
- Coconut (replaced by the similar Toasted Coconut)
- Silver Spruce (replaced by the similar Fresh Alpine)
Does Lume work for both men and women?
While much of Lume’s marketing is geared toward women, it works well for any gender.
Conclusion: Which Lume Scent Should You Get?
Lume’s Peony Rose now ranks the highest amongst my favorite scents for its flowery and delicate aroma, which I find very pleasant in combination with the new formula’s natural smell.
Second place goes to the Cool Cucumber wipes, which smell great and come in a very handy format.
As with most deodorants, the way the scents interact with your body chemistry differs for each person. For that reason, I recommend trying a sample pack set first.
If you’ve already tried Lume yourself and agree (or disagree) with my rankings in this Lume review, let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elina Ansary is a writer, visual artist, and avid traveler. She grew up in San Francisco, CA, and spent her childhood camping up and down Northern California.
Beyond being a travel enthusiast, she’s had a lifelong passion for natural beauty products. As a kid, her idea of fun was making her own face masks from ingredients in her kitchen and backyard.
These days, she considers bubble baths a crucial part of her mental healthcare. Elina visits artist residencies around the world and has lived in Amsterdam, Australia, Brooklyn, and Ithaca, NY.
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