Effective, even on the hottest of days. Long-lasting. Mild, pleasant scent. Gentle on sensitive skin. Doesn't leave residue on clothes. Roll-on application. Alcohol-free.
Takes a long time to dry.
Long-lasting coverage. Great protection. Green tea has anti-bacterial properties that eliminates the need for harsh alcohol. Leaves no white residue on clothing.
Make sure it dries before dressing.
Doesn't leave underarms sticky. Clean, invigorating scent. Notes of bergamot, cardamom, pineapple, papaya, amber, and green tea.
Some reviewers say they need to use an additional anti-perspirant with this product.
Performs throughout sweaty situations from southern summer sun to high-impact exercise classes. Long-lasting protection. Natural lavender scent. Contains all-natural, organic ingredients. Free of aluminum, parabens, toxins, and cruelty.
Gave some reviewers a dark rash. Takes longer to apply than other products. Use body heat to soften product, swipe, then dry before dressing.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
When it comes to body odor, the old maxim that men perspire and women glow holds no water. Women are just as prone to sweating as men, and, unfortunately, with sweat generally comes odor. That’s why a daily swipe of deodorant is part of the grooming routine of most women.
But things can get a little murky when it comes time to choose that deodorant. There are so many brands and types on drugstore shelves; how do you know which one is right for you?
Luckily, BestReviews is here to help. Our mission is to make your shopping easier. Toward that end we’ve created this unbiased, helpful guide to buying women’s deodorant. If you’re in a hurry, check out our five recommendations, but if you’d like to learn more about choosing and using deodorant in general, read on.
There are sweat glands all over your body, not just your armpits. You have two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine.
Eccrine sweat glands cover most of your body. These glands secrete a mixture of water and salt to help cool you down through evaporation. Eccrine sweat doesn’t cause body odor.
Apocrine sweat glands are mostly found in your armpits, groin, and scalp. These glands become active at puberty. The sweat produced by these glands is thicker than eccrine sweat, and it is also basically odorless. But apocrine sweat contains fats and proteins that bacteria love to feast on. The products of these bacteria are what cause the smell typically labeled “body odor.”
Alcohol and salts
Deodorant helps prevent body odor by targeting the odor-causing bacteria. The alcohol and salts found in most deodorants make your armpits too salty and acidic for the bacteria to thrive. Some deodorants also contain chemicals – triclosan is a common one – that go even further by killing off bacterial growth. Deodorants do not prevent you from sweating, however.
Many but not all deodorant products contain antiperspirant. This prevents body odor by reducing your ability to sweat. Most antiperspirants contain aluminum salts that react with sweat to create small plugs in the sweat ducts. No sweat means nothing for bacteria to live on, and thus no bad smell. These plugs eventually wash away on their own, which is why you need to reapply antiperspirant daily for the best results.
And of course, the fairly strong scents found in most deodorants help cover up any odor that might still manage to sneak through.
Gentle, effective, and smells great
While this deodorant/antiperspirant is undeniably pricey, it’s also very easy on your skin – no alcohol to dry or irritate your armpits after shaving. It won’t leave any marks on your skin or clothing, and the wonderful, light fragrance is an added bonus.
Deodorant comes in five basic forms: stick, spray, gel, roll-on, and cream. No one form is necessarily better than the others. The right one for you mostly comes down to preference.
Also called solid, stick deodorants are the most popular type. While older formulations tended to leave white marks on clothes, today there are many stick deodorants that dry clear.
Scented or unscented
Sensitive skin, extra-strength, moisturizing formulations
Not cold, wet, sticky on skin
No drying time
These deodorants have fallen out of favor over the past few decades but are still available, although most sprays are marketed to men, not women.
Can feel cold and sticky
Takes time to dry
Unpleasant aerosol cloud
No pulling or tugging (Good choice for women who don’t shave underarms.)
Gel deodorants ooze up out of the applicator when you turn the dial on the bottom.
Applies and dries clear
Can be sticky at first
Can dry skin (causing itch or irritation)
These deodorants are popular forms in which a liquid dispenses as the applicator ball rolls over your skin.
No white marks (“invisible” formula)
Can feel cold and sticky at first
Cream deodorants are the least common form. These come in jars and tubes.
Gentle on sensitive skin
Applied with fingers
Can feel sticky at first
Natural deodorants use baking soda, salt crystals, or essential oils to combat sweat and odor.
No aluminum salts, parabens, or other chemicals
Come in stick, spray, cream, and solid “crystal” forms
Scented or unscented
Not necessarily hypoallergenic (Essential oils can cause itching, irritation, or skin rashes.)
Most deodorants have fragrance, so choose one that complements your perfume or just smells nice. Also check any reactions to your skin before you buy one.
Deodorant fights odor-causing bacteria, while antiperspirant combats wetness. If you sweat a lot, having both as ingredients in your deodarant is a good idea.
If you exercise heavily or sweat a lot, consider a clinical-strength deodorant. These OTC products have higher levels of active ingredients than their regular counterparts.
There are deodorants for women that cost from $5 to $20 and more, but there’s no reason to spend more than a few dollars.
While you can certainly spend more – there are designer, specialty, and natural products that cost more than $20 – most women can find an effective deodorant at the drugstore that costs about $5.
Cover your entire underarm area. Many women just swipe the deodorant up and down a couple of times without coming in contact all of the skin in their armpits.
Apply deodorant at bedtime. Because you generally sweat the least while you sleep, a bedtime application of product gives it time to block your sweat glands, thus increasing its effectiveness.
Don’t apply deodorant when you’re wet or already sweaty. This prevents the product from drying and forming plugs in your sweat glands. If you put on deodorant after your shower, as most women do, make sure your armpits are completely dry before swiping on your product.
Let your deodorant dry completely before getting dressed. Otherwise, you risk getting white or wet marks on your clothes. Apply deodorant before brushing your teeth. The product should be dry by the time you finish.
Reapply deodorant as needed. Most women need to apply deodorant daily, but a few require an additional application toward the end of the day. Some people simply sweat more than others.
Don’t apply deodorant right after shaving your armpits. To avoid irritating the skin, either skip deodorant application that day or apply it later.
Q. I’ve heard that the aluminum salts in antiperspirants can cause cancer. Is that true?
A. While there was concern for many years that the aluminum salts used in the antiperspirant portion of your deodorant might cause breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute, there is no definitive proof of this. Most cancer researchers today don’t believe there is a link between antiperspirant use and breast cancer.
Another health concern sometimes linked to the use of aluminum salts in antiperspirants is Alzheimer’s disease. This fear was based on research from the 1960s and since shown to be faulty. Current research has ruled this link out.
If you are concerned about possible health effects, you can ease your mind by sticking with a deodorant-only product – without antiperspirant – or switching to a natural deodorant.
Q. Is there any real difference between men’s and women’s deodorants?
A. For the most part, there is no difference when it comes to the basic ingredients. The primary differences between men’s and women’s deodorants are the fragrances, the packaging, and the marketing. If you really like the scent of a “men’s” deodorant, feel free to use it.
Q. I sweat excessively. Are there any deodorants/antiperspirants that can help?
A. If you perspire so excessively that you soak through your clothing on a regular basis, give your doctor a call. Some people have a condition called hyperhidrosis, which is just a fancy term for heavy sweating. Your doctor can prescribe a prescription-strength product or recommend other forms of treatment, including Botox injections, electrical current, and miraDry, which uses noninvasive microwaves to eliminate sweat glands in the underarm area.
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