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Is this the world’s best natural deodorant? It’s even military-approved

This natural deodorant made for soviet soldiers is a game-changer.

There are few better people to road test a deodorant’s effectiveness than a soldier in active combat. With the threat of attack, nil laundry facilities and limited access to showers, building up a pretty ripe stink is a guaranteed hazard of the job.

So when a friend suggested I try Lavilin, a natural deodorant which had been developed during World War II for the soviet army, my interest was piqued.

Now I consider myself somewhat of a natural deodorant connoisseur. I’ve tried dozens of pit pastes, crystal roll-ons and sprays in my search for the most tenacious deodoriser on the market. I wouldn’t consider my body odour to be particularly offensive, but if I’m going to invest in a natural deodorant, I want to be sure I won’t clear a room if I decide to sport a polyester-blend in January.

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And while many brands claim to keep the stink away for up to two days, none had been bold enough to boast their deodorant could still be effective seven days after initial application.

Founded by biochemist Ziska Hlavin and commercialised in 1974, the Israeli deodorant brand has garnered a cult following in the US, Russia and Europe.

Since launching in Australia in 2017 to little fanfare, the products – which are aluminium, paraben and phthalate-free – have quietly been attracting a very solid fanbase. The brand’s local website now has hundreds of four and five-star reviews, with customers raving about the product’s tenacity. The website also cites a study by the Institute of Skin Research in Tel Aviv, backing up its effectiveness. “A single application of Lavilin 002 is effective for 6.28 days on average,” the website states.

So with a slight degree of scepticism, I tried two sample packs given to me by a girlfriend (who is a complete convert).

You can buy a trial sachet for $4, which will give you two applications (or 14 days of sweet-smelling underarms) while a tub – which the website claims will last you a whole year – will set you back $34.95. The formulation contains a probiotic as well as zinc oxide, arnica, calendula and chamomile. It does contain talc, an ingredient which I usually avoid, however much of the controversy around talc has been associated with damage to lungs from inhaling particles.

Considering the product is a cream and confined to the underarms, I’m willing to make an exception on this occasion.

The directions are very specific – if possible, spend the weekend deo-free (and for the sake of others, stay home). This allows any other products which have built up to be completely gone prior to applying.

On Sunday night, apply a raindrop-sized amount to the centre of each underarm after a warm shower, and spend the next week enjoying fresh smelling ‘pits.

The first time I applied the deodorant, I didn’t notice any B.O until about day three. And while I hardly came near to recreating the conditions of direct combat, I did take a few long, brisk walks which broke a slight sweat.

The second time I applied it, though, on Thursday, I stuck it out for six days, each day asking my four-year-old son – without doubt my toughest and most honest critic – if mummy smelled yucky. It wasn’t until the morning of day five, when my question was met with a scrunched-up face, that I decided it was time to reapply.

By the time I’d made my way through the second sample pack I was remaining deo-free for six days without issue.

I’ll admit the desire to slather something under my arms every morning was hard to resist, and if you’re used to wearing an aluminium-containing anti-perspirant it might take a while to get used to.

While the only wars I’m in these days centre around things like whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher, knowing that I’ve got one less task in the morning feels like a victory.

You can find the deodorant here.