Last updated: October 17th, 2023
After testing six scents over the past three years and the recent formula change, I still recommend Lume deodorant. These are the key takeaways from my Lume Deodorant review:
- Lume has an initial scent that can smell bad–a baby formula or cheese smell–but it goes away quickly after application.
- Lume works! Even on private parts! It’s made from mostly natural ingredients and is science-backed and invented by a gynecologist.
- You have to use Lume deodorant properly by applying it straight out of the shower.
- Because Lume works by affecting the bacteria on your body, it’s different for everybody.
- Most reviews are positive but it doesn’t work universally, so try a sample set first.
It’s possible that I’m sadly mistaken, and no one has the heart to tell me, but I’ve never had a big problem with body odor. (I think! Hopefully!)
I shower every day (sometimes twice a day) and frequently change my clothes midday, simply because I love baths and showers, and I enjoy playing dress-up.
As a result, I’ve used previous deodorants more like perfume: a pleasant scent to add to my body rather than a means to control odor.
I do, however, use deodorant in the summertime to prevent thigh-chafing and underboob sweat.
I started using Lume three years ago after impulsively ordering a set (thanks, targeted advertising!).
I had hoped for an aromatic, floral scent, but instead it reminded me of diaper cream. It smelled like a baby’s bottom!
I wondered why I had dropped $30 on deodorant that smelled terrible and cursed my impulsive spending habits.
However, even after that awful start, I’m still a fan of Lume.
That’s because I was missing a key piece of understanding about Lume during my first experience. Lume doesn’t cover up odor; it chemically prevents it.
Read on for my in-depth review of Lume deodorant, the baby’s bottom smell, a list of ranked Lume deodorant scents, and find out if Lume is worth the price and the hype.
Note: this article contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free recommendations.
What is Lume Deodorant?
Lume is an aluminum-free, paraben-free deodorant that was invented by a gynecologist, Dr. Shannon Klingman, to help control body odor and sweat while avoiding irritation to sensitive skin. It contains natural ingredients such as:
- aloe barbadensis leaf juice
- tapioca starch
- maranta arundinacea root powder AKA arrowroot powder
- mandelic acid
These natural ingredients in Lume are scientifically shown to affect the pH of your body to decrease odor-causing bacteria, absorb perspiration, and moisturize to reduce chaffing.
In 2023, Lume reformulated its deodorant and is no longer fully natural. It also contains some synthetic ingredients, though it is still skin-safe, vegan, cruelty-free, and has top marks from the Environmental Working Group.
How You Should Use Lume Deodorant and How it Works–Important!
The most critical Lume deodorant ingredient is mandelic acid, which has an antibacterial effect. Mandelic acid stops odor-causing bacteria from building up in the first place, which means Lume needs a “clean slate” to work.
If you haven’t showered in a few days and start to smell, putting on some Lume won’t tide you over for another 24 hours. This is because the odor-causing bacteria is already there. So to use it properly, apply it right after showering to protect your pits, privates, groin, feet, or whatever other parts you treasure.
How I Tested Lume Deodorant
I’ve been using Lume for over three years. I generally use it on my armpits, but have also used it in the under-boob area, inner thighs, and private areas.
I tested Lume against my normal daily activities, which include lots of walking, working on my feet, and living through New York summers.
I’ve based my judgments on the FOFAL criteria, which I invented just now and present to you below:
- Fragrance (15%): As in, how good the product smells on its own, and how much the scent lives up to its name. For example, does the Peony Rose actually smell like peonies and roses?
- Odor control (50%): How good do I smell when I use Lume? Does it give me B.O. or does it prevent it?
- Functionality (10%): Does the packaging work well? Does the formula leave residue?
- Antiperspirant abilities (5%): Most drugstore deodorants tackle both odor and sweat. Does Lume prevent pit stains as well as body odors?
- Longevity (20%): How long does the product last on my body? How often do I need to reapply? And, also, how long does each package last, relative to the cost?
Lume Deodorant Review and Results from Testing 
I’ve tested, since 2021 for Jasmine Rose and since 2022 for the others, the following Lume deodorants:
- Jasmine Rose (cream stick and cream tube)
- Clean Tangerine (cream stick)
- Silver Spruce (cream stick)
- Lavender Sage (solid stick)
- Peony Rose (cream stick)
- Warm Vanilla (cream tube)
- Coconut Crush (solid stick)
- Unscented (solid stick)
In 2023, Lume made a lot of changes. They discontinued some of the scents I reviewed in 2022, and they also updated their formula to address those negative reviews about its smell.
I am currently in the process of testing a third bundle of Lume’s up-to-date fragrances in their new formula, so check back soon to find out if any of my opinions have shifted.
My first reaction in evaluating Lume deodorant came from initial receipt of the packages. I immediately sniffed them. While they were mostly pleasant, they also had that faint “baby’s bottom” smell.
I wasn’t too surprised because some of the bad Lume reviews on Reddit, Amazon, and other sites also mentioned this:
“Smells like a moldy wet hay field.”
“It’s like orange/vanilla/Lilly that’s been stuffed in someone’s musty buttcrack.”
“Smells like poo.”
Those reviews are a clear minority, though, and Lume interacts differently for different people (and based on usage… remember, apply right after showering!). So I soldiered on and continued to try out each deodorant.
For me, there were no negative Lume side effects and no terrible smell of sour milk. While some scents were more potent than others, they all smelled different when applied. Although I was initially disappointed with the ‘baby’s bottom’ fragrance, that smell went away after ten minutes.
I ended up impressed with Lume’s ability to prevent odor. I found that when I used Lume, my clothing–from shirts to undergarments–maintained a ‘fresh from the laundry’ smell, even after a full day’s wear.
When I dug a little deeper, I discovered that Lume achieves odor control by using ingredients that prevent bacterial growth. So, it’s stopping odor rather than simply masking it.
Lume doesn’t help much with chafing, though. That’s because Lume doesn’t contain aluminum like traditional antiperspirants. As such, it can’t prevent sweat (and sweat is what causes chafing). Ingredients like tapioca starch, however, help with absorbing sweat.
Lume still reduces skin irritation because it moisturizes and hydrates skin. The formula is creamy and conditioning, so it does provide a bit of a barrier that at least delays a severe chafe.
So although there are negative Lume reviews like the above, the majority (including mine) are positive. Lume really does show that the doctor knows best, which is why there are tons of reviews that say things like this:
“OMG! It Works! Not only NO BO AT ALL after 10 hrs of Sweating but I have no ODOR AT ALL!”
“I have keratosis on my arms. Nothing has worked… Decided to try this and I’m not going back to anything else. Not only are the bumps disappearing, but my elbows aren’t dry for the first time in forever.”
“I love the cream! I use the unscented. It still smells kind of weird while it’s drying, but there’s no scent once dried. It works like a charm anywhere you put it!”
Based on my FOFAL criteria, this is my conclusion:
- Fragrance (15%): The initial smell wasn’t as bad as curdled milk, but stil intrusive. And the accuracy of the scents varied. I certainly liked some more than others. So there won’t be a perfect score for this one, but check out the table below for my ranking and brief thoughts on each scent, or my in-depth article on Lume scents for more information.
- Odor control (50%): Lume worked so well at preventing BO! I’m sold on their marketing which says that the odor control lasts for up to 72 hours. While many natural deodorants I’ve tried are essentially just scented lotions with baking soda, Lume achieves excellent odor control at a chemical level.
- Functionality (10%): The solid stick deodorant is great for applying directly onto my skin. The cream stick may dry up and crust, so then you have to deal with that. Mixed score for this one.
- Antiperspirant abilities (5%): Lume contains tapioca starch which helps absorb sweat, but Lume doesn’t really act as an antiperspirant nor advertise itself to do so. So it doesn’t get many points here, but I only weighted this at 5% because that’s not what it’s for.
- Longevity (20%): The price is steep, but Lume works for a long time and I don’t have to use much each time. So overall, I’m a happy customer and rate it highly here.
Overall, I’d recommend that you try Lume if you’re looking for a solution that your current deodorant doesn’t solve. But is it critical? No, if you’re satisfied with your deodorant already, it’s not necessary, although I also wonder what you’re doing reading a deodorant review!
I also want to add here, given my recommendation, a little about why you can trust me and this review.
I’m a person, not AI, and Lume did not send me anything or offer any incentives. I don’t even know if they’re aware of me. I bought their products to test out on my own and a positive review was not guaranteed at all.
That said, we do get a small commission if you click through our links (at no added cost to you!), so please don’t be shy to use any of the buttons below if you’ve appreciated this review.
Pros & Cons of Lume Deodorant Products: What to Consider
- Effectively prevents odor – Lume does what it claims to do. If you apply it straight out of the shower, this stuff basically kills BO and will keep you odor-free all day long.
- Naturally derived ingredients – Lume doesn’t contain any aluminum, baking soda, phthalates, sulfates, parabens, or talc. As of the latest formulation in 2023, the fragrances are no longer all-natural, but they are still skin-safe, cruelty-free, and environmentally friendly.
- Lume prevents chafing better than natural deodorants – While Lume isn’t as long-lasting as an antiperspirant in this regard, it does a meaningful job of preventing stinging, chafed skin on hot summer days.
- It lasts a long time – I’m not referring to how long Lume lasts on your body–although it should prevent odor for up to 72 hours–but the product itself lasts quite a while.
- The fragrances are underwhelming – While most of Lume’s fragrances are pleasant enough (after that initial baby’s bottom scent), I’ve yet to find a fragrance that I truly love. Some smell like you’d expect them to and some don’t.
- The formula has an off-putting initial odor – The most common theme you’ll see in negative reviews of Lume deodorant is that it smells bad. I don’t find it horrible, but it isn’t great. However, I found that this particular odor fades once you apply it to your skin.
- It’s expensive – One stick of Lume–cream or solid–is $15. The previous deodorants I’ve used run between $5 and $8 from the drugstore, so this seems a bit steep for deodorant.
- The cream stick gets crusty quickly – I also tested multiple kinds of Lume products to see if using a squeeze tube, cream stick, or solid deodorant was better. The cream stick inevitably has leftover deodorant dry out and plug the holes, leading to dispensing issues. I recommend choosing the solid stick deodorant or the squeeze tube.
Lume Scents Ranked: My Picks for the Best Lume Deodorant Scents
|Clean Tangerine||8/10||Clean Tangerine is the best overall Lume scent. |
While its fragrance isn’t super strong, it smells good both out of the tube and on my body.
It also does the best compared to the other scents at keeping my clothes smelling fresh.
(formerly Coconut Crush)
|8/10||Toasted Coconut is a bit faint, even when I directly sniffed the tube, but it reminds me, not unpleasantly, of sunscreen.|
(formerly Silver Spruce)
|7/10||Fresh Alpine has a long-lasting 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.|
|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. |
However, I don’t love the way it smells on my skin. It might work better with someone else’s body chemistry.
|Peony Rose||6/10||Rose is one of my favorite smells. I love rose essential oil, and my go-to perfume is rose-scented. |
The Peony Rose scent smells floral in an indistinct way. So, it’s not offensive, but it’s disappointing because it doesn’t smell like roses.
|Unscented||5/10||I prefer aromatic and fragrant deodorants, so Unscented lume ranks last for me. |
But if you’re only interested in Lume’s functionality, the unscented version is the best choice.
Lume Return & Exchange Policy
Lume offers returns for up to 60 days. You’ll need to send in a request with your order number and email address, and it could take up to 10 days to process the request.
Refunds don’t include shipping and they’ll issue it to your original payment method. They don’t offer exchanges.
Lume Discounts & Coupons
There are a lot of discount codes out there. We’ve tried a bunch and the best one we found was COMEBACK15 as of October 16, 2023. That took the price of their deodorant down from $14.99 to $12.74.
Some bundles on their site are currently marked down by up to 33%, but it’s unclear if these are temporary sales or permanent prices made to look like discounts. Either way, those are good deals for this product.
Lume also always offers free shipping on orders over $25.
Where to Buy Lume Deodorant
Lume Deodorant Subscription
If you subscribe to Lume, you can have the deodorant delivered every one, two, or three months and save 15% off the cost.
Be aware though that discount codes don’t appear to work on subscription orders, so that essentially cancels out the savings. Personally, I’d recommend ordering individually and coming back to this article and clicking through our links each and every time 😉
FAQs About Lume Deodorant
Does Lume really work for body odor?
Yes, Lume works well for preventing body odor. According to Dr. Andrea Suarez, a dermatologist with twelve years of experience and an expert on skincare, the mandelic acid in Lume helps prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria.
Suarez, who also has a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, explains, “by lowering the pH of your skin… it may help facilitate the colonization of skin micro-flora that is less likely to lead to body odor.”
For more details on the science behind it, check out Dr. Suarez’s (aka Dr. Dray) very helpful video below.
Does Lume Prevent Sweat?
Lume does not prevent sweat. It provides excellent body odor control and can absorb some sweat, but Lume is a deodorant, not an antiperspirant.
Is Lume Deodorant okay to use? Is it safe?
Lume is safe to use thanks to an aluminum-free formula full of gentle, naturally derived ingredients. Lume contains some synthetic ingredients, but those have been shown to be skin-safe.
Lume should be gentle even for sensitive skin, although it’s always a good idea to test products out on a small patch of your skin first.
Why Does Lume Smell So Bad for Some People? Where does that stinky smell come from?
The strongest ingredient in Lume deodorant is mandelic acid, which helps lower the pH of your body in order to control odor-causing bacteria. Some people find the scent of mandelic acid to be especially pungent, even saying that it smells like “urea” or a “stinky butt,” but it’s not an issue for most people and (based on personal experience and others’ reviews) it goes away quickly.
Should you use Lume every day?
Lume promises to last for up to 72 hours. I shower daily, so I apply it after I shower.
I can’t find any evidence of Lume deodorant side effects, either in my research or firsthand experience, so using it every day shouldn’t hurt.
How much Lume Deodorant should I use?
A little goes a long way! A pea-sized amount for each armpit or one swipe of a solid stick should have you covered.
How long does the same Lume Deodorant stick last? How about the cream?
A stick should last 110 applications, while a tube should last 150 applications. Depending on how often you use it, that could be quite long!
Does Lume Deodorant stain your clothes?
Lume doesn’t have a white residue (if you use the right amount and rub it in all the way), and it doesn’t stain your clothes at all.
Why is Lume so popular? What’s so damn good about it?
Lume is unique in two ways. The first thing that sets it apart from natural deodorants is that it doesn’t use baking soda and–well–it actually works.
Second, most deodorants market themselves for armpits and don’t discuss the other body parts you might want to deodorize.
It turns out deodorant for private parts is something a lot of people want but perhaps were afraid to ask for.
Does Lume actually work for private parts?
Yes, Lume deodorant works well for private parts and was even invented by a gynecologist, Dr. Shannon Klingman.
With that said, it’s not for internal use, and it isn’t like a douche that will strip away your body’s natural microbiome.
You should also be aware that many dermatologists recommend only using water to clean private parts.
That’s because “the skin there is very delicate” and “sensitive to product,” according to Dr. Suarez, whose video analysis we mentioned above.
How do you apply Lume to lady parts?
The cream formula is what you should use for “full-body” application, while the solid stick is primarily for underarms.
Working from front to back, you can apply the cream formula to all external privates (including your butt crack!).
Don’t apply from the back to the front (UTIs are hell on earth), and there’s no need to “reach deep inside yourself.”
Can Lume Wipes be used on private parts?
Lume deodorant wipes contain the same formula as their deodorant.
You can use them on your pits, privates, feet, or anywhere in between to freshen up when you’re on the go.
The Lume body wipe is $15.99 and only available in a scent called “Cool Cucumber,” a fragrance not available for the cream and stick deodorants.
Can I use Lume under my breasts?
Does Lume Deodorant work for feet?
Yes! Lume works to control odor anywhere it might arise, including your feet.
However, due to the specific glands in the feet, foot odor is better dealt with by aluminum-based antiperpirants or moisture removal. An absorbent powder like Zeasol is ideal if you’re looking to target that issue.
But for everyday foot odor, using Lume should still help.
Who can use Lume?
Anyone! Lume works for women and men, kids, teens going through puberty, old people who might be dealing with “old people” smell, and anyone else. Just humans though! Though they’re cruelty-free so didn’t test it on animals, so I can’t say for sure.
So, Does Lume Deodorant Actually Work? Is it Worth it to Try Lume?
Overall Rating: 7/10
The time has come to make the ultimate verdict for this Lume review. Is Lume deodorant worth it? Should you buy it?
Does it actually work? The short answer is yes–this is, overall, a positive review.
Lume does what it claims to do. It stops body odor at the source and does so without artificial or harmful ingredients.
Plus, it’s safe for delicate areas and sensitive skin.
Lume is a bit expensive when you compare it to regular deodorant. But when you look at the price compared to natural deodorants, it’s pretty comparable.
And considering how long it lasts, the price is relatively reasonable at $14.99 (or $12.74 with the coupon code listed above). That’s better than most natural deodorants, which cost between $10 and $20 dollars per package.
The real caveat of Lume is the smell.
The formula itself is a bit unpleasant even though it works great to prevent BO, and none of the fragrances are anything to write home about.
But the formula’s bad smell disappears after you apply it, and the fragrance isn’t what’s working to control odor.
If you’re like me and love a fragrant aroma, you can supplement Lume with your favorite perfume. Or, if you’re the opposite of me, opt for the unscented version.
While the fragrance issue keeps me from saying that I absolutely love Lume, I believe it works wonders for odor control, so I’ll continue to use it because of that.
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.
Looking for more reviews? Read our related guides below!
Pin one of these images for future reference
- Christmas in California: 17 BEST Places to Go in 2023 - November 29, 2023
- Top 20 Travel Essentials For Women You Haven’t Thought Of - November 25, 2023
- 30+ BEST California Gifts for 2023 [Themed & Souvenirs] - November 22, 2023