When my mom told me I could grow boobs from touching the receipts at grocery stores, I went into a mild panic.
She’s always had a flair for the dramatic, so I knew to dig a little deeper.
But what she told me was shocking (though—to be clear—you won’t grow boobs from the receipts at grocery stores).
So for years, I’ve been on the lookout for new grooming and hygiene products I can feel safe using. When I heard about Helmm, a natural men’s deodorant line with recyclable, BPA-free refill cartridges, I was eager to try them.
What Is Helmm?
Helmm got their start back in 2017 after two guys, Zach and Taylor, decided they were fed up with how wasteful deodorant brands were with their packaging.
Plus, the branding was so heavy, they felt ridiculous even buying it. Names like “Deep Provocation”? Seriously, what does that even mean?
So they created Helmm.
The brand features four masculine scents in an aluminum-free deodorant and an antiperspirant. They’re also working on putting out a “sport” deodorant with more sweat-fighting properties without added aluminum.
The deodorants come in plastic cartridges that you pop into a handsome stainless steel and leather applicator.
Once you have the applicator, you can set up a recurring subscription and automatically get refills of your favorite scent (or switch it up whenever you want).
Overall, the process reduces the amount of plastic waste by 60% when compared to other national deodorant brands.
3 Things to Consider Before Buying Helmm
1. Do you know what’s in your current deodorant?
There are a lot of gigantic sciency words on the back of every deodorant. Helmm included. Most of them sound terrifying (to me, anyway). I’ve spent a lot of time researching what’s harmful, and what’s proven safe.
The product I’m currently using is from a major national brand (they’re famous for their baking soda—I’ll call them “Leg & Screwdriver”). It’s the most natural, chemical-free deodorant I could find in the supermarket.
When I went to buy, the biggest chemical on my “hit-list” was propylene glycol (PG). But every deodorant had it. So I had to pick something I didn’t want. That sucked.
Helmm, I’m happy to say, doesn’t have PG, and it’s also paraben, phthalate, talc, triclosan, and sulfate-free. Boom.
2. How often do you like to try new deodorants?
Helmm has four unique fragrances. If you’re the kind of guy who likes to try something new every time you need to re-up, you may run out of novelty here.
So if you’re constantly on the hunt for new fragrances and can’t seem to settle on one scent for more than a month, Helmm might not be your thing.
3. How does automated deodorant sound?
Would you enjoy having your deodorant delivered as a subscription?
On the one hand, you never have to worry about buying deodorant at the store. On the other, you may find yourself with too much or too little. It may take some dialing in until you hit the perfect delivery stride.
Helmm Unboxing & Review
I picked up two cartridges to explore Helmm’s offerings: natural deodorant in Hudson, and the antiperspirant in Nightmarket.
There are two other fragrances, Coastline and Trailblazer, which I haven’t tried yet, though they both fit more into the fresh category.
If you’re not sure which scent you’d like to pick, Helmm can send along a sample card with all four fragrances on it. It’s not perfect, because the smell differs a little when it’s on your body, but it should give you an idea of which scent you prefer.
According to their site, Helmm had these fragrances designed by a French perfumer (oo la la) and they’re meant to both stand on their own, but blend well with cologne.
Hudson is a very fresh and clean scent, which is always my preference for deodorant. Nightmarket fits more into the warm, spicy oriental category of fragrances. I’m not a big fan of those notes for my deodorant as they just don’t age well through the day on my body.
That said, both fragrances hit an excellent balance where they lasted throughout the day, but weren’t too strong.
The Hudson deodorant was noticeable until about 4pm for me. I put it on usually around 6am, so that’s a good ten hours. I’ve also been doing 200 pushups a day throughout the day, so I’m sure that added manliness cuts down the duration.
I’ve had no problems with stinky pits in the evening, but the scent is dissipated by nighttime. If you struggle more with B.O., give the anti-perspirant a shot. The fragrance is stronger and will last into the evening.
I’m not a sweaty guy, and I’ve never had a problem with pit-rings, so I don’t use antiperspirants.
For dudes who struggle with underarm sweat, I know how difficult it can be to find a product that works.
It doesn’t matter how cool the container is, or how great the subscription service is—if it doesn’t keep the sweat away, there’s no point in buying.
I read through the 250+ reviews on the Helmm website to get a glimpse of how the anti-perspirant was working for other gents.
There was a single reviewer that said he was still struggling with sweat, but there were about 50 others who said the formulation worked like a charm. So while you won’t know for sure how effective Helmm is for your body, there’s a good chance you’ll knock out any unsightly sweat-stains.
Helmm deodorants come in two stages (much like a rocket, except not similar at all). There’s the applicator and the recyclable cartridges.
The applicator is a sleek, handsome nickel-plated cylinder with a Horween leather grip. Like many other deodorants, just twist the bottom to access more product.
Loading the applicator is easy and intuitive. Just pop a cartridge in the top and you’re good to go. If you want to switch up your scent (or bounce between deodorant and antiperspirant) just squeeze the sides of the cartridge.
I’m a creature of habit, so I haven’t been switching between my two fragrances, but I love that when I’m finished with my current cartridge, I can just pop it out, recycle it, and quickly slap another stick of deodorant in.
The one downside I can see with the applicator is that it’s fairly heavy and not very compact or slim. I enjoy this feature for the day-to-day—the heft lends a certain man-factor. But it’s not as practical if you have to pack tight for a trip.
I can’t see myself bringing the full applicator along with me when traveling. My other deodorant (Leg & Screwdriver, remember?) also holds 2.5oz of product, and while it’s taller than the Helmm applicator, it’s also thinner so it fits easily into the odd spaces in my bag.
My solution? I threw my old deodorant into a Dopp kit for travel, but I’ll continue using Helmm on the daily.
If you’re just getting started and don’t have the applicator, you can save a nice chunk of change by signing up for the subscription service.
You have the choice of going six, seven, or eight weeks between refills (they say seven is the most common). I’ve never measured how long it takes to go through a deodorant, so I can’t really chime in with my two-cents, but I’d probably risk it and choose the eight-week option.
The good news is that you can always bump up your subscription, and if you find you’re almost out, there’s a rush-option so you can pick up a new cartridge on the fly.
If you can’t wait, Helmm is now stocked in Saks Fifth Avenue, so chances are you can jump in your car and take a quick trip to the mall.
The subscription management portal is simple and easy to use. Helmm has nice detailed write-ups on each of their scents, but there’s only one way to really know if you like a certain smell: your nose. It’s a downside that all digital-native brands face, but because they offer the scent-card, you can have a good idea of what you’re getting.
What Do Other Reviewers Say About Helmm?
With over 250 reviews on their own site, a 4.8 average is solid. As I said earlier, most folks focused on the sweat-blocking ability were pleased (the one guy who wasn’t gave them a 4-star rating anyway).
But what about the 1-star reviews? Well, one gentleman wasn’t a fan of their e-mail campaigns and the other simply said it wasn’t for him. Fair enough.
Many of the other 248 reviewers were happy with the fragrances (Nightmarket, which I didn’t like much, was popular in the reviews).
The look and feel of the applicator was another big plus for many buyers.
My Thoughts Overall On Helmm
What I Like
The Hudson fragrance is clean and simple. The scent lasts for about eight hours, and isn’t too strong when I first apply.
I like the easy-exchange cartridges—everything is recyclable for minimum environmental impact.
The applicator is handsome and hefty.
All products are free of harmful chemicals that seem to be in most drugstore deodorants.
What I Don’t Like
The size of the applicator makes the deodorant limited for travel-use.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the Night Market scent, but Hudson was a much better fit for me.
Who is Helmm for?
Helmm is for guys who want masculine deodorants that are free from harmful chemicals. And if you’re a creature of habit like me, you’ll enjoy their subscription service.
After years of being forced to settle for deodorants that are mostly free from questionable chemicals, I’m happy that I’ve found Helmm.
I tried two out of four fragrances: one I liked, the other not so much. But smell is subjective, and I found plenty of evidence online that other guys loved the Nightmarket scent.
While tons of brands have removed parabens, phthalates, and sulfates, Helmm has gone the extra mile. Their non-BPA promise is more than my old brand can give me. Not only that, my old brand contains propylene glycol (even though there’s no proven side-effects from PG on skin, there’s evidence it can cause serious damage when inhaled). That always made me uneasy.
So when Helmm says they’re free from harmful chemicals, they mean it. Plus, their subscription model is easy to use, so I’ll automatically get a new cartridge every few months without even thinking about it.
Helmm does deodorant differently. When you sign up for their subscription, you get a handsome applicator and deodorant "charges" regularly so you don't have to throw away a big piece of plastic every time you run out.
Is Helmm good?
Yes, Helmm is good. I like the harmful chemical-free aspect, and the applicator is a nice addition to my Dopp kit.
How long does a Helmm cartridge last?
Depending on how much you apply, a single refill should last between 6-9 weeks.
Does Helmm really work?
Helmm lasts a full eight hours before the fragrance is gone. And the anti-perspirant keeps most guys dry throughout the day.