This clean, stain-free serum uses AHAs to fight odor.

Chelsea March
August 03, 2020
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Chelsea March

Welcome to Game Changers, a weekly series in which we reveal the holy-grail beauty products we’re loving now—the ones that saved our hair, cleared our skin, and, in some way, changed our lives.

Many of us have a love-hate relationship with our natural deodorants (admit it, you probably have one (or two) that's just ‘okay’). Now, if you're a sweater like me, then you're all too familiar with the musty, pre-sweat stink that you get within 20 minutes of applying your deodorant. At that point, it’s all downhill.

I switched to clean deodorants a few years ago and have tried all sort of formulas: aerosols, sprays, roll-ons, the classic white stick we all rubbed on our underarms rigorously growing up, antiperspirants, deodorants marketed for active people, and even the crystal you find in the body aisle at Whole Foods. None of them stopped the stink. They would work when my activity was super low, but once my blood started to pump and my body started to move around, that nice floral scent would disappear. None of them stopped the stink—until I tried the Kosas Chemistry AHA Serum Deodorant.

KOSAS

Shop it! $15, sephora.com

I'll admit I was skeptical when I first tried it. However, its marketing phrase caught my attention: “made by people who smell for people who smell.” I was intrigued. Even more interesting was the fact that this was the first natural deodorant I'd seen with AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) and shikimic acid—ingredients you typically find in facial skincare products.

AHAs work as leave-on exfoliants (like glycolic acid) and can even out skin texture, and they can also change the pH balance of your skin (read: underarms), which means that icky bacteria can't survive on it and cause icky odor. Shikimic acid (another rare ingredient in deodorants) has antimicrobial and odor-reducing properties, so it totally makes sense in this innovative formula. Apart from fighting bacteria and odor, the Kosas Chemistry AHA Serum Deodorant also nourishes the skin. It has ingredients like pure aloe vera juice, which moisturizes and soothes; hyaluronic acid that hydrates, softens and smooths; and a highly bioactive peptide that conditions and firms the skin.

After reading all of the intriguing claims, I immediately rolled that serum-like formula on. Right off the bat, I loved that it is a cooling gel versus that awful white stick that gets all over everything—its transparent formula didn't stain my crisp white tee. Twenty minutes later, after cleaning my apartment, I paused for a quick pit check and was shocked when I smelled nothing.

The light floral scent from the Serene Clean version (there's a fragrance-free option, too) I used was gone but, to my surprise, stink didn’t replace it. I simply smelled nothing. Before getting too excited, I decided to work out for 45 minutes, knowing that this would be the real test and would bring an 'okay' deodorant to its knees. I gave myself a whiff and my eyes went wide, so I sniffed again. Nothing!

Kosas

Shop it! $15, sephora.com

By the end of the day, I had DM'ed Kosas' founder, Sheena Yaitanes, to praise her for changing my underarm experience I knew it. Since then, I've been using the Kosas Chemistry AHA Serum Deodorant every day and I still have no complaints about it, only raving reviews. I plan on buying multiple bottles to have in backstock so I never run out—it’s that good.