Lume is a deodorant brand targeted to women that claims it’s “clinically proven to control odor for 72 hours.” The brand also claims to be healthier than commercial alternatives, stating that their deodorant is “naturally derived” using “skin safe synthetics” and contains no aluminum.
In this article we’ll review the ingredients in Lume based on medical research, as well as highlight some questions we have with the research they funded, and explain whether we believe Lume is truly superior to drugstore alternatives or if it’s mostly a marketing play.
Questionable Research Claims
Lume worked with a private, for-profit consulting firm called Princeton Consumer Research to test the effectiveness of their products.
This is the research that gives them the “clinically proven” backing, but private research firms do not produce clinical research in any medically-relevant sense of the term. When we reference clinical studies in our research reviews, we’re highlighting medical research that’s published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. There is a set of standards for research to be included in such publications, and the process involves much less bias than private research.
You almost never hear of companies hiring private research firms to test their products and the results being negative, because although a private research firm would never admit it, they have a direct monetary incentive to produce research suggesting the products are superior to alternatives.
We’re not suggesting Lume is unethical for hiring a private research firm, and we believe that this effort is better than nothing. That being said, we always suggest that consumers be very wary of company-funded private research proving their products work, and only trust the research fully if it’s published in a respected medical journal (which Lume’s research is not).
Lume has a “Clinical Testing” page on their site but doesn’t actually link out to the Princeton Consumer Research study, or share the methodology. They’re basically saying “trust us, our products are superior to competitors”. We find this to be a very amateur and unscientific approach, and gives no credit to the intelligence of their consumers who may want to review the actual research.
Based on the lacking data, we do not have any reason to agree that Lume deodorant is superior in regards to odor-blocking than popular alternatives like Native and Schmidts.
Lume sells a variety of scented deodorants, but we’ll be reviewing the unscented one as we always recommend that consumers avoid consumer products with fragrance, which is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of chemicals. Medical research has suggested that the long-term safety of fragrance in consumer products is questionable.
Lume’s ingredients do appear relatively non-toxic, and they are free of aluminium, phthalates and talc.
We don’t find any of the ingredients in Lume unscented deodorant to be toxic or potentially sensitizing, so we would recommend this product over most commercial deodorants.
Lume uses Maranta Arundinacea Root (Arrowroot) Powder as a natural deodorizer and a talc alternative that’s much safer.
Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate is a non-toxic emollient compound which is used to soothe and soften skin. This ingredient is the largest in Lume by weight, as it’s listed first on the ingredients panel.
Lume utilizes Panthenol, which is derived from Vitamin B5, as a natural moisturizing compound.
As we highlighted in our Dr. Squatch review article, many commercial deodorants you’d find in a drugstore contain several ingredients that may be harmful to health.
A recent medical review published in a French dermatology journal found that antiseptics, aluminium compounds, and fragrances found in deodorants may be damaging to human health over the long-term, so it’s great that Lume contains none of these ingredients.
Other Lume Products
Lume also sells other personal care products, like soap and body butter. These products follow the same trend as their deodorant: clean ingredients with fragrance added to the scented versions. For this reason, we recommend Lume’s unscented soap but not their scented soaps.
The unscented soap sold by Lume only contains 9 ingredients, all of which we’ve reviewed and found to be safe and non-toxic. It appears the brand has made a conscious effort to use non-toxic alternatives to common personal care products ingredients which we appreciate.
The main active ingredients in Lume’s unscented soap are sodium salts derived from palm oil, which are effective for lathering and cleaning. The soap contains no harsh ingredients which are likely to damage our sensitive skin microbiome.
We recommend Lume’s unscented soap over Dr. Squatch soaps which we previously reviewed, because those all contain fragrance.
Lume’s Body Butter has an active ingredient of mandelic acid, which has been shown in medical research to aid in acne reduction and improving skin quality parameters like improving skin thickness and elasticity.
The body butter contains various herbal ingredients such as shea seed butter for moisturizing and Calendula officinalis (Marigold) flower extract for its anti-inflammatory effect.
Like the other Lume products we’ve reviewed, the unscented version of the body butter contains no ingredients we found to be toxic or unsafe at all, so we would recommend this as a moisturizer to health-conscious consumers.