Fussy deodorant review: our beauty ed wore natural deodorant for a week and here's what happened

Does this natural deodorant actually work? Our Fussy deodorant review on the deo with a huge waiting list

Fussy deodorant review image showing a hand lifting the lid on fussy deodorant on a tiled surface
(Image credit: Fussy)
Woman & Home Verdict

Natural deodorant has an unreliable rep (rightly so in most cases) But with its clever ingredients, laudable sustainability and so-nice-it's-verging-on-sexy packaging, something about Fussy deodorant kept us coming back for more.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Sustainable and refillable

  • +

    Aluminium salt free

  • +

    Looks great

  • +

    Pleasant to use

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not an antiperspirant, if that's what you want

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On being tasked with writing a Fussy deodorant review, my first thought was, sigh, and my second was, at least it's not summer. In my decade as a beauty editor, I can honestly say I've really tried with natural deodorants. I have scraped gritty herbal-smelling sticks across my sensitive post-shave pits and smeared on T-shirt staining pastes and do you know what else I've done? I have sweated. Sweated and then smelled not-great.

As someone who routinely leaves the house at 7am and returns 12+ hours later, squeezes onto the tube, takes the stairs at work, enjoys spicy ramen at lunch and post-work pilates, my deodorant must be—above all else—reliable. And frankly, no natural brand I had ever tried was. In fact, I'd describe all prior attempts at going natural as paranoia-inducing failures. 

People say Fussy is different. Riding a wave of hype from a Dragons Den appearance with cash in the bank from not one but two fiery investors, this London-based sustainable brand claims to keep you smelling as fresh as any chemical counterpart. So, in the name of research, I bravely pledged to wear Fussy for a whole week (six days longer than any previously-tested natural deo) and bring you this honest Fussy deodorant review. These are my thoughts. 

Fussy deodorant review, by our Beauty Editor

Fussy deodorant packaging

Fussy deodorant refills and case

(Image credit: Fussy)

Talking about deodorant packaging is usually as dry as your dream end-of-day armpits. Despite being in constant use my distinctly functional daily deo does not enjoy top of the dresser privilege like my skincare routine. Then Fussy arrived in its smooth-as-a-pebble and sexy-as-the-latest-iPhone powder blue case and, hello gorgeous! Something worth talking about. 

What's really great craic is Fussy's bulletproof eco-credentials. Their factory is carbon neutral, the reusable case is made of recycled plastic and the deodorant refills sit in a compostable sugarcane pulp base. One case will last you ad infinitum and comes in a set with one refill for £10. After that, you can buy three refills for £18 or £15 if you subscribe. Use it for a year and you'll reduce your carbon footprint by 81% compared to your typical plastic deodorant. 

Most gratifyingly, getting the refill secured into its case wasn't the Rubik's cube level mystery I have experienced with other zero-waste beauty, I managed it in all of ten seconds without reading the instructions. 

Fussy deodorant ingredients

We can't really get stuck into the ingredients part of this Fussy deodorant review without a brief explanation of the distinction between natural and non-natural formulas. 

In a nutshell, antiperspirants reduce the amount you sweat while deodorants make the sweat smell better. Most mainstream deodorants work as antiperspirants by blocking sweat glands with aluminium salts. This prevents the build-up that then mingles with bacteria on the skin and causes odours. Natural deodorants are formulated without aluminium salts, so don't stop sweating but use a variety of ingredients to neutralise odours and bad bacteria to help you smell sweeter. 

As well as natural fragrance (mine, Wavy Days was a bracing eucalyptus and sage blend) Fussy contains a few natural skincare ingredients typical in these deos—PH neutralising sodium bicarbonate, coconut oil, which contains antibacterial lauric acid, and tapioca to gently absorb sweat. Then we get the shining star and USP of the formula, a probiotic called Lactobacillus. This good bacteria helps overthrow the bad bacteria situation that causes bad smells. Ergo, moisture is absorbed, bacteria is neutralised and an essential oil-based long-lasting perfume prevails.  

Fussy deodorant performance

Fussy deodorant group shot

(Image credit: Fussy)

As I've learned to my cost (or perhaps the cost of whoever sat next to me on the train) most natural deodorants talk the talk a lot more successfully than they walk the walk. You can have the greenest clean beauty formula and most admirable eco-credentials, but if your deodorant causes me to spend my day in furtive armpit-sniffing fear then, sorry, you're in the bin. 

Days one and two of my Fussy deodorant review were what I'd call the bedding in period. I was pleasantly surprised by how smoothly the formula applied. I enjoyed its green, herbal scent (which reminded me of one of the best bath oils of all time, Olverum) and there was no residue on my clothes. Still, previous misadventures in funky natural deo cast a long shadow. ''Sorry if I smell, I'm testing natural deodorant'' replaced weather observations as my in-office verbal tic and the day culminated in my boyfriend conducting a full olfactory oxter investigation at my firm assistance. His conclusion? A shrug and ''smells fine to me.'' Maybe a bit of fear in his eyes too. 

So I relaxed into it a bit more. I dared to wear a synthetic top, which went well. The chic case sat proudly dresser-top, which made life about 2% easier and faster in the morning. Were my pits ever so slightly more damp? Probably, but I really had to go looking for it. On Thursday a colleague chose to sit one desk away rather than next to me blaming a cold, but she sounded croaky so I'm pretty sure it was legit. By that point I had forgotten I was wearing Fussy. All demands for honest feedback on my personal odour had been met with pure apathy, nobody had noticed anything and nobody cared. So I too stopped caring and kept using it well past the mandatory week.

Fussy deodorant review: The verdict

Nobody is more surprised than I am that I got on so well with this Fussy deodorant review. To begin my week so full of scepticism about natural deodorant and end it with one so seamlessly in my routine that I gave it less thought than which sushi set to buy for lunch is no small achievement. 

It's worth saying that this was tested during a crisp spring week rather than a sticky summer one, although it's also worth saying that I am what is technically known as a 'sweaty betty.' I.e. it does not have to be the business end of August for me to brew up some perspiration as I go about my day. 

Performance aside, Fussy deodorant looks great, is easy to use and comes from a brand that has made a genuine commitment to sustainability at every step. It does not and never will plug your sweat glands (whether that's good or bad is your call) but it did give me the absence of worry that comes from applying a product you trust then forgetting about it. Surely that's what we all want? Much like bathroom plumbing, you really only really notice your deodorant when it's not doing its job, but if you can find a way to avoid reaching that crisis point, wouldn't you stick with it? 


Fussy Deodorant  | RRP: £10 (one case, one refill)

Pick from four case colours, orange, mint green, midnight or ocean blue, then fill with your choice of refill in scents from punchy citrus Wide Eyed to tropical floral Sun Drunk. 

Fiona McKim
Beauty Editor, womanandhome.com

 As woman&home's Beauty Channel Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about brilliant finds on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair experiments and cute shih-tzus). Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013 under industry legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know (learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism). She has since covered every corner of the industry, from interviewing dermatologists and celebrities to reporting backstage at Fashion Week and judging the w&h Beauty Awards.