I bought natural deodorant I saw on Instagram—here’s what happened
Is Myro deodorant the perfect plant-based solution to 'pit sweat... or just the pits?
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I’m a runner and a personal trainer. I work out anywhere from four to seven days a week. I’m not telling you this to make you question your own exercise schedules (or lack thereof). I’m sharing it as proof that I have a significant need to use deodorant—or, really, antiperspirant, but who calls it that?—on the regular. I also have a fear bordering on phobia about having B.O. My nose is very sensitive and I’ve been affronted by more than my share of odors working—and working out—in gyms over the years. I do not want to contribute to that problem.
I’ve tried all the major brands and formulations for body odor, sticking with some for a while (Suave Invisible Solid in Sweet Pea and Violet was a long-time favorite), and cycling through others that I didn’t love for how they smelled (baby powder, blech!) or how they smelled on me. After all, fragrance isn’t just about smelling fresh on its own but how it interacts with your own body chemistry. For the past several years, I’ve been piling on Dove Dry Spray, an aerosol I discovered after getting a sample once at the gym. Despite pervasive rumors, science doesn’t support the claim that its 20% aluminum chlorohydrate content is bad for my body. But I’ve always found the concept of using products made of plant-derived ingredients appealing—especially as Dove seems to play fast and loose with its formulas, which sometimes contain a chemical fragrance ingredient I know I’m allergic to. So when the attractively packaged Myro deodorant rolled on into my Instagram feed, I wondered: Could it smell as nice as it looked?
What is Myro deodorant?
The startup, based in New York City, makes a number of bold-faced promises that its deodorant is eco-friendly, nontoxic, and effective. The first two claims are supported: Instead of disposable containers, Myro offers a refillable case, cutting down significantly on waste—”by about 50% over other deodorants,” or so the website claims. The deodorant’s active ingredients for neutralizing odor-causing bacteria are “citrus” (triethyl citrate, a component of citric acid), “probiotics” (saccharomyces ferment, an enzyme that breaks down yeast), and sage leaf extract. Its corn starch (maltodextrin crosspolymer) should absorb wetness. This all sounds good to me, as long as that third claim—that it’s actually effective—holds up.
What’s it like to order Myro deodorant?
The Myro website, where my Instagram ad directed me, is straightforward. First you select the color of your refillable deodorant container (I went with Flame red, though I could’ve picked from six other hues). Then you choose your scent based on the ingredients listed. If you’re not an expert in fragrance, words like “bergamot,” “vetiver,” and “ylang ylang” might have you scratching your head. From my teenage days spent at the mall, I know my way around The Body Shop, so I was able to pick my scent based on process of elimination: If a fragrance that I knew I disliked was among the descriptors, I passed. This left me with Solar Flare, described as containing orange, juniper, and sunflower. I also considered the floral-heavy Pillow Talk (violet leaf, ylang ylang, and wild amyris). Chill Wave, with cucumber and jasmine, also appealed until I got to one ingredient, spearmint, which I like in toothpaste, but do I want minty-fresh armpits? My no-gos were Big Dipper with lavender, which I may be alone on earth in not enjoying, and Cabin No. 5, which contains patchouli—hard pass.
I wished there was an option to preview the scents, like with a scratch-and-sniff postcard mailer or something. But unfortunately, you’re ordering blind, or whatever the word is for when you can’t smell something in advance. Just before I wrote this review, I learned that Myro had become available at Target, so if you’re a sniff-before-you-commit type like I am, get thee to your local box store. Myro online has a “no strings attached” 30-day return policy, but I'd like to have felt more confident in my scent choice—especially as the site forces you to sign up for a subscription for $10 a month, which includes three refill pods (not a bad price, but even I don’t use that much deodorant). You can cancel at any time, but I found the subscription model off-putting when I had no idea if I would even like the smell of the stuff—let alone be happy with how it works—from the get-go.
What is it like to use Myro deodorant?
My order was delayed. Apparently, it’s more popular than expected—thanks, Instagram?—and the company was having trouble keeping up, but after an email to nudge along the process, I receive a neatly packaged box containing my Myro. I popped out my Flame-colored container and loaded the Solar Flare-scent “refill” inside it, twisting to lock into place.
From first whiff, I liked the fragrance, a strong citrus highlighted by the floral sunflower. The more musky juniper is present but not as strong to my nose—a good thing, in my opinion. Myro’s formula glides on like a cross between a solid and a roll-on, which is to say it needs a minute to dry before you begin dressing. It’s mostly clear and doesn’t seem to stain clothing. I noticed it could leave a bit of white residue in skin creases, but it’s not any messier than a typical deodorant.
The literature included with Myro says it can take up to four weeks for your body to transition from traditional deodorant to its formula, and in the meantime you may need to apply it twice a day. Keeping this in mind, I made it a practice to put it on in the morning and just before workouts.
Does Myro deodorant work?
I really wanted to be able to say a resounding “yes.” I enjoyed the scent fresh out of the container and I felt somehow virtuous to not be dousing my skin with chemical ingredients. I liked how clean my armpits felt when I showered—no waxy buildup to scrub off from conventional antiperspirant, which I didn’t realize was a thing before starting this experiment.
But I’m over a month in and nearly at the end of my stick of Myro, and I miss my Dove spray.
To be clear, it could be my paranoia about smelling bad more than a failing of Myro. I told people about the test and offered them carte blanche to tell me if I stunk. No one did. But every so often, when performing a quick nose-to-pit whiff test, I’d sniff out a stanky smell… and that was enough to make me worry I might always smell rank while using Myro. I took to washing my armpits at least once a day in addition to my post-workout shower. All of which, of course, required me to use more Myro—to the point where the product created a film that peeled and flaked off my skin, making me briefly worry I’d developed a new skin allergy. (I hadn’t.)
I will also say that I have pretty low expectations for natural deodorants, so in a way, I was impressed by Myro. It wasn’t messy, gloppy, or chalky, nor did it sting when applied to freshly shaved skin—all complaints I’ve heard about similar products from others. I knew Myro wouldn’t work as well as the traditional antiperspirants I’d been using for preventing wetness, and I was okay with that. (Stopping up your pores so they can’t do their normal function is a little creepy, if you think about it.)
It was late August when I began using Myro—still tank-top weather in New York City. In sleeveless clothing, sweaty armpits dry much more quickly. As the temps cooled, I began having to wear sleeves, which meant more sogginess whenever I sweat—and more potential for odiferous bacteria to grow, despite Myro’s natural ingredients designed to prevent that.
Should you try Myro?
I wondered if I could recommend Myro with a qualified “for casual use.” For some people who don’t exercise regularly (and who still bathe daily), it might be fine. Great, even. But for me, there is no “casual” when it comes to my sweating—and no purpose (in my mind) in using Myro on the days I don’t work out, if I’m applying the high-test stuff on the days that I do.
I will say, I’m a little disappointed in myself for going back to the other stuff—probably not unlike a person who spent a whole month “eating clean,” only to decide that eating Ben & Jerry’s is way more worth it than the feeling of virtuousness (misplaced or not) associated with not eating it. My coworker Courtney, also a runner, raves about the natural deodorant, Native, that she successfully switched to. Maybe I’d like that better?
Ultimately, for me, smelling not-bad—and not constantly fearing I might reek—is way more worth it than feeling the need (misplaced or not) to explain that the reason I might stink is because I’m using a natural deodorant.
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