Best Deodorants & Antiperspirants
For most of us, putting on deodorant or antiperspirant can be a bit of a mindless step in our morning routines. But when it comes to smelling so fresh and so clean, whether you’re getting the best protection from your deodorant may be another story.
No Pong · includes 2 listings
For as little as $5.95, No Pong offers a natural deodorant that effectively absorbs sweat. This winner in the fight against body odour has been called a ‘little pot of gold’ and ‘little pot of glory’ by reviewers.
Works a treat to eliminate smell
No aluminium salts
Can sometimes cause reactions
- Value for Money4.1 (146)
- Causes Irritation Yes (42) · No (116)
For $8.50, MooGoo provides a roll-on deodorant that’s natural and aluminium free. Somewhat surprisingly, it contains no cow milk - and uses milk of magnesia instead.
Effective natural formulation
Doesn't clog pores
Suitable for sensitive skin
Can leave white marks on clothes
- Value for Money3.2 (10)
- Causes Irritation Yes (1) · No (10)
Fresca Natural Deodorant is completely aluminium-free, made from aerated salt and essential oils. It was the winner of the Australian Non-Toxic Awards 2019, and reviewers can attest to its popularity.
Keeps you smelling fresh
Free of harsh chemicals
Doesn't block sweat glands
Available in 7 scents
- Value for Money4.3 (8)
- Causes Irritation Yes (0) · No (7)
Lavilin Underarm Deodorant Cream · includes 3 listings
Latest review: I've been using Lavilin for over 2 years now and apply every 6-8 days. It's amazing. I can't imagine ever going back. The only downside for me has been having to ditch a few old items of clothing
- Value for Money3.8 (35)
- Causes Irritation Yes (1) · No (38)
Made with its signature clean and fresh soapy scent, Dove Original Deodorant helps keep odour away, while feeling soft on skin.
Keeps underarm smell away
Pleasant soapy scent
Goes on dry when applied
Can leave white residue on clothing
- Value for Money4.0 (3)
- Causes Irritation Yes (0) · No (3)
Deodorant vs antiperspirant
While most of us know what deodorant is used for (a way to show that unwanted guest with the initials B.O. the back door), you may not know how deodorants and antiperspirants are different. In a nutshell, while deodorants reduce odour, antiperspirants eliminate sweat and odour altogether.
These aim to reduce the number of odour-causing bacteria that form when you sweat. They do this by adding a layer of product on top of the bacteria, to mask the smell. Deodorant contains antibacterial ingredients and usually fragrance, to assist with achieving a more pleasant smell.
Deodorant can be better than antiperspirant if your main aim is to stop odour caused by sweating.
Antiperspirants prevent you from sweating altogether, by blocking sweat glands and pores with aluminium compounds, which include other chemicals like zinc.
This keeps you dry, and eliminates the bad-smelling bacteria that shows up when you sweat. Antiperspirants, like deodorants, often contain fragrances.
Types of deodorants
Sprays release a misty spray from an aerosol can, which you direct towards your armpit to apply. This is usually the preferred type of deodorant for most people.
- Dries quickly on skin, making them a convenient option for busy days.
- Available in a wide variety of fragrances, allowing you to create a signature scent without the price tag of a perfume.
- Often use harsh chemicals.
- Puts chemicals in the air that can trigger allergies and asthma symptoms.
- Less accurate application method, as more spray can end up in the air than on your underarms.
These are applied using a rolling ball. When you roll the ball onto your armpit, it releases a thin layer of liquid or gel deodorant or antiperspirant.
- Considered more effective than spray deodorants, as direct application onto the skin means better coverage.
- Compact packaging options mean you can easily pop a bottle of roll-on into a gym bag or handbag.
- Goes on wet, due to the liquid or gel content. You might have to wait a few minutes for it to dry, or wet marks or white stains can appear on clothing.
In terms of packaging, these look similar to roll-on deodorants, but their shape is usually less circular and more oval and wide.
Deodorant sticks are made with a solid deodorant inside them. They’re kind of like a soap in deodorant foam, with a creamy texture that you rub onto your skin. This forms a layer that is meant to keep sweat at bay.
- No drying time required, as stick deodorants have a naturally dry formulation.
- Compact design makes them easy to carry around with you during the day.
- Can block pores, especially if the solid deodorant has a thick consistency.
- Non-sticky texture means that some stick deodorants don’t adhere properly to the skin.
These come packaged in plenty of creative forms. You can get natural deodorants in a spray bottle, but these are less common. Roll-ons, stick deodorants and the types of deodorants outlined below are more common when it comes to natural deodorants.
Powder deodorants look similar to a little bottle of talc powder, with little holes at the top like buttonholes. You tap some powder onto an outstretched hand, then pat it under your arms.
Solid deodorants are most common in stick form. Some other, less common forms of packaging include solid deodorants in tubs, which you scoop out with your fingers and slather onto your underarms, or in deodorant bars, which look a bar of soap that you rub onto your underarms.
Crystal body deodorants contain one ingredient - potassium alum, also known as natural mineral salts. These have antimicrobial properties, and are known to kill underarm bacteria. While crystal deodorants contain aluminium, the molecules of alum are too large to be absorbed by skin. This means they don’t block pores, making them different to the .
Things to think about when choosing a deodorant
Allergies or Sensitivity
It’s not uncommon to experience reactions to deodorants and antiperspirants. These come in the form of mild irritation, sensitivity, or allergies.
It’s often a good idea to inspect the ingredients list of a deodorant before buying. Common irritants include chemicals used in heavy fragrances, parabens used as a preservative, propylene glycol - which gives deodorant an adhesive quality, and lanolin - a moisturising ingredient.
It’s not just chemicals that can cause reactions - natural ingredients can be the culprits, too. For example, lanolin is a waxy substance from sheep’s wool that can cause contact dermatitis, and bi-carb soda causes skin reactions in some people.
If you don’t want to worry about re-applying throughout the day, nabbing a long-lasting deodorant is the way to go. Brands make claims about the longevity of their product, such as 24-hour or 48-hour antiperspirant protection.
It can help to do independent research by reading reviews, which can either support or contradict these marketing promises of a high-longevity product.
Most people apply deodorant after showering, just before they’re about to race out the door and begin their day. If you’re often in a rush or don’t have the time to wait around for your deodorant to dry before dressing, choosing a deodorant with a quick drying time can be useful.
Some deodorant types are naturally more quick-drying, such as dry sprays, as well as stick and solid deodorants.
Most deodorants and antiperspirants have at least a small amount of fragrance in them, which can be strong or subtle on the nose.
Choosing a deodorant with a noticeable fragrance can go some way in saving you from sourcing a separate perfume. If you’re someone who appreciates respecting your signature scent, you can choose a deodorant that complements your favourite perfume. This makes it easy to layer them.
For those who experience skin irritations or allergies, choosing a fragrance-free deodorant can go some way in preventing discomfort caused by scents - especially the chemicals in synthetic scents.
Size and packaging
The packaging of a deodorant includes considering a few things. Firstly, the size of the product can aid in its convenience or hinder it. For example, a small 50mL bottle of roll-on or an aluminium tin of solid deodorant is easy to cart around in a small handbag. A large can of spray deodorant or a deodorant bar may be more tricky.
Other considerations include the transparency of packaging. Is it see-through or opaque? This can help you know how much product is left before you need to re-stock. Last but not least, the eco-friendliness of packaging is something to consider, as the use of plastic vs biodegradable packaging ingredients adds up over time in terms of environmental cost.
Is deodorant bad for you?
Aluminium in deodorant
There have been many claims that deodorant - or, to be more accurate, antiperspirants - are bad for your health.
This is because most antiperspirants contain aluminium salts. Aluminium is the active ingredient in antiperspirants that plugs up pores or reduces their size - which stops sweat being released through the sweat glands.
Aluminium is effective for this purpose, and is often used in clinical strength antiperspirants. However, there has been some scientific research to suggest that ongoing use may be a contributing factor in causing breast cancer. This research states that aluminium can leach from the skin into breast tissue.
The research is currently inconclusive, with the Cancer Council Australia refuting the link between antiperspirants with aluminium and cancer.
However, for some people, this is enough of a reason to switch to aluminium-free deodorant. The surge in popularity of natural deodorants is a testament to this.
Advocates against the use of antiperspirants state that blocking the sweat glands (the purpose of antiperspirants) means the body no longer has a natural way of cooling itself down. This causes the sweat glands to become stressed, and chemical residues and other toxins to build up under the skin.
Detoxing armpits can be a way to release these toxins.
This involves going cold turkey on your chemical deodorant, allowing toxins to freely leave the body. Odour will spike in the second week of the detox, but then should gradually decrease, until you end up after 5 weeks with no odour.
While some ex-antiperspirant users might think enduring this malodorous state of affairs for 5 weeks is not worth it, an armpit detox could be something to consider if antiperspirants have given you reactions like skin irritation, redness or allergies.
Benefits of completing an armpit detox include less smell when you sweat, and less sweating overall. It should also make it easier to switch to a natural deodorant, with less reactions.
Finding the right deodorant can be a fun discovery when you take the time to think about a few things before buying. Consider first what you value most in a good deodorant or antiperspirant - protection from odour, preventing excessive sweating, a natural ingredients list, that dry underarm feel, smelling lovely… or all of these! Along with reading reviews, weighing up these priorities can help inform your choice and leave you smelling and feeling fresh all day.