It’s Official: These Are the 13 Best Deodorants

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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 Kosasport Chemistry Deodorant

4.8
Kosas

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

Native Coconut & Vanilla Deodorant
Courtesy of Walmart.

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.

Native Deodorant

Byrdie / Jenna Igneri

Best for Sensitive Skin: Nécessaire The Deodorant

4.6
Nécessaire The Deodorant

Courtesy of Nécessaire

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.

Nécessaire The Deodorant

Byrdie / Jenna Igneri

Best Budget: Schmidt's Deodorant Stick

Schmidt's Natural Deodorant

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 Aluminum-Free Deodorant

4.8
Kopari Coconut Deodorant

Courtesy of Amazon

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.

Kopari Coconut Deodorant

Byrdie / Jenna Igneri

Best Customizable: Nala Personalized Deodorant

Nala Personalized Deodorant

Courtesy of Nala

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

Secret Invisible Spray Antiperspirant and Deodorant for Women

 Courtesy of Amazon

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

Corpus The Botanist Natural Deodorant

Courtesy of Corpus Naturals 

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

Dr. Sweat Clinical Strength Antiperspirant

Courtesy of Amazon

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

Pacifica Underarm Deodorant Wipes

Courtesy of Amazon

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

4.8
Secret Essential Oils Invisible Solid Antiperspirant and Deodorant

Courtesy of Target

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

Dove Dry Serum Antiperspirant Deodorant

Courtesy of Walmart

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

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.

What to Look For in a Deodorant

Aluminum vs. No Aluminum

Figure out whether you want to stop sweat altogether, or eliminate odor, as your answer could determine your perfect formula. According to New York City-based dermatologist Michele Green, true deodorants don't contain aluminum, nor do they prevent sweating. Deodorants are designed to prevent odor, so while you'll still break a sweat when using them, you won't smell.

Antiperspirants, on the other hand, prevent sweating and contain the ingredient. While many express safety concerns over aluminum in a formulation, board-certified dermatologist Alicia Zalka notes that "to date, there have been no clear-cut medical studies that have proved a cause and effect link." Green states that an aluminum-based formula is safe for people in good health to use, though if the ingredient causes irritation on your underarm skin, then opt for an aluminum-free version.

Natural vs. Traditional

Determine whether you want to use a formula that contains naturally derived ingredients (like essential oils and plant-based elements), or if you prefer a more traditional formula, a la Secret or Degree. If you're switching to a natural formula, keep in mind that there may be a transitional period. Seattle-based dermatologist Carly Roman notes that it usually takes a few weeks for your skin to adjust, but using an antibacterial soap in the shower to clean your underarms can help with the transition. "This will help reduce the major contributor (bacteria) to body odor allowing the natural deodorant to seem more effective," she says.

Format

Along with the conventional roll-up sticks that we're all familiar with, today you'll find deodorants and antiperspirants in a variety of formats, including rollerballs, wipes, and sprays. The best option for you is totally a matter of personal preference.

FAQ
  • Should I use a scented or unscented deodorant?

    Ultimately, the scent doesn't impact the overall performance of a deodorant or antiperspirant. So whether you choose to go with a scented or non-scented option is up to you.

  • Are certain deodorants more prone to staining my clothes?

    Pay close attention to the ingredients listed on your formula of choice. Both deodorant and antiperspirant can contain ingredients that create yellow stains on once-pristine white shirts: Aluminum has a reputation for doing just that, as does coconut oil. While both ingredients can easily be removed with household remedies, you may want to eschew them altogether if that's of concern.

  • How often should I apply antiperspirant?

    Dermatologist Dr. Ellen Marmur recommends applying antiperspirant once daily, ideally at night, as your sweat glands are less active then, and you give the product more time to absorb into your skin. If you're applying after you shower, make sure your skin isn't damp before you sweep it on. "It's best if you apply it after you've toweled off and your underarms have dried completely," she says. "The main point is that your skin is clean and dry."

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Mandriota SJ. A case-control study adds a new piece to the aluminium/breast cancer puzzleEBioMedicine. 2017;22:22-23.

  2. Natsch A. What makes us smell: the biochemistry of body odour and the design of new deodorant ingredientsChimia (Aarau). 2015;69(7-8):414-420.

  3. Liu R, Guo X, Cheng M, et al. Effects of chemical refinement on the quality of coconut oilJ Food Sci Technol. 2019;56(6):3109-3116.

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