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Forget beauty products—deodorants fall into the category of basic grooming necessity. Much like toothpaste or body wash, it’s something you reach for daily…but not all deodorants are created equal. It’s important to first keep in mind that the word ‘deodorant’ is often used as a blanket term for both deodorants and antiperspirants (and for the record, we’re using it as such here). Still, the two are very different.
Antiperspirants contain active ingredients, such as aluminum, that actually stop you from sweating. Admittedly, there is some controversy questioning the safety of these ingredients, which is why the deodorant category has exploded lately. True deodorants won’t keep you from sweating—so you may still experience some wetness—but instead are meant to combat odor so you don’t smell.
Ultimately, which one you chose boils down to a matter of personal preference, so in order to offer up a little something for everyone, here are the best deodorants (and antiperspirants) to shop now.
Best Overall: Kosas Chemistry AHA Serum Deodorant
Byrdie Senior Editor Hallie Gould is only one of many Byrdie staffers full-on obsessed with this newbie. While yes, you will still sweat, Gould raves about how well it keeps smells at bay; per the name, it boasts a special blend of AHAs that creates a pH environment hostile to odor-causing bacteria, rather than simply masking smells. She also loves how moisturizing it is (credit the addition of hyaluronic acid and aloe vera juice), and she and other editors also appreciate the clear, serum-like formula which dries super quickly.
It comes in a fragrance-free variant, choice for those with sensitive skin, and ‘Serene Clean’ a scent that’s indeed clean and fresh.
Best Drugstore: Native Coconut & Vanilla Deodorant
A true standout in the world of natural deodorants, users consistently vouch for its efficacy. Aluminum-, paraben-, and cruelty-free, there are five scents to choose from: an unscented variety, as well as seasonal scents (you better believe there’s a pumpkin spice latte option). And if none of those float your boat, you can even create a custom fragrance.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Nécessaire The Deodorant
We’re huge fans of everything this brand offers, and this deodorant is no exception. Lactic and mandelic acids fight odor, but there’s also silica, zinc, and kaolin clay to absorb wetness. We especially love it for the sensitive skin set (truly, is there anything more annoying than underarm irritation?), given that it contains a soothing mineral complex, and is free of baking soda, aluminum, and synthetic fragrance. Speaking of fragrance, choose from eucalyptus or sandalwood scents—both equally chic—or fragrance-free.
Best Budget: Schmidt's Deodorant Signature Stick
If you’re looking to make the switch to a natural deo, but aren’t sure if you’ll like it (or just don’t want to shell out the big bucks for one), this pick is a wallet-friendly must. A go-to for Byrdie Social Media Editor Star Donaldson, it relies on magnesium hydroxide to control odor and also boasts nourishing coconut oil. Plus, it comes in a wide line-up of unique scents, as well as a baking soda-free version for those who may be sensitive to the ingredient.
Best Natural: Kopari Beauty Coconut Deodorant
Another team Byrdie fave, this also happens to be a Byrdie Eco Beauty Award- winner. A powerful duo of plant-based enzymes plus sage oil both protect against odor and break down the bacteria responsible for a yucky smell. Meanwhile, the coconut oil in the formula is moisturizing (and makes for a creamy texture that glides on beautifully), as well as naturally antimicrobial. It also contains hydrating coconut water, but no aluminum or baking soda.
Best Customizable: Nala Personalized Deodorant
There are plenty of haircare and skincare brands doing the custom thing these days, but this is the only deodorant we’ve seen get into the personalized game. We love that you get to choose not only your scent (from among three options, plus unscented) but also the strength. The natural option is free of aluminum, though FYI it does contain baking soda.
Best Spray: Degree Antiperspirant Deodorant Dry Spray
You may associate spray deodorant with something your dad used back in the 1990s, but trust us, sprays are back in a big way—and are pretty freaking awesome. In our experience, they dry insanely fast, and many of the latest iterations (like this one) are alcohol-free so there’s no stinging.
This one is choice, and especially great if you’re super active. Not only is it an antiperspirant, but it also boasts a unique MotionSense technology that releases microcapsules of fragrance as you move, so you stay smelling fresh throughout your entire workout.
Best Luxury: Corpus The Botanist Natural Deodorant
To our previous point, yes deo is a personal hygiene necessity, but if you want to turn it into a little bit of a beauty moment, treat yourself to this splurge-worthy option. The water-based formula is effective yet gentle on even the most sensitive skin, relying on diatomaceous earth and tapioca starch to keep wetness at bay, and comes in three next-level sophisticated scents (all naturally-derived). And of course, there’s the chic packaging, more elevated than any deodorant we’ve ever seen.
Best Heavy Duty: Dr. Sweat Clinical Strength Antiperspirant
This the antiperspirant for those who really want to call in the big guns, the super sweaty among us who want to stay completely and utterly dry. We repeat: This is not an everyday kind of product. It contains the highest level of sweat protection you can get without a prescription (more specifically, a 15% concentration of aluminum chloride), so much so that you’re only meant to use the swipe-on pads once every seven days.
Best Wipes: Pacifica Underarm Deodorant Wipes
Much like a face wipe is a lifesaver when it comes to cleansing your complexion on-the-go, a deodorant wipe can offer that same type of fast freshening. Stash these in your gym bag or purse; they’re infused with hydrating coconut milk and shea butter plus B.O-busting essential oils. Spoiler alert: They work great not only for your armpits, but also elsewhere on your bod when a shower isn’t in the cards.
Best Scent: Secret Antiperspirant Deodorant with Pure Essential Oils
Let’s be real—unless you’re opting for a fragrance-free option, the scent can be a major deciding factor when shopping for deodorant. Big-time player Secret thought outside the standard, powdery, showery scent box when launching their latest collection. There are six fragrances, inspired by and using essential oils in ultra-sophisticated combos that are more akin to a high-end perfume than a deodorant; think cedarwood and citrus and bergamot and orange blossom. The formula is paraben- and dye-free, though it is an antiperspirant, so you also get full-on sweat protection.
Best Texture: Dove Dry Serum Antiperspirant Deodorant
True story: We refer to this as our, ‘going out deodorant.’ As the name suggests, the silky texture goes on completely sheer and dries instantly. Like, you can put on a black silk blouse right afterward kind of instantly. In true Dove fashion, it’s made with ¼ moisturizing ingredients and is an effective antiperspirant. We also can’t get enough of the fresh rose smell—and we’re not even big rose fans.
Best Plant-Based: Briogeo B. Well Tea Tree + Eucalyptus Clean Natural Deodorant
This brand is undoubtedly known for their (awesome) hair products, but don’t miss out on their deodorant. Like their haircare offerings, it relies on a litany of natural, plant-based ingredients such as antibacterial tea tree, hydrating coconut, and eucalyptus for a fresh scent. Bonus points for the fact that it doesn’t leave behind any tell-tale residue.