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Selecting a go-to deodorant can feel more complicated than it sounds. For starters, choosing how you’d like to smell all day is a personal decision. Plus, the sheer volume of deodorant options is immense, so if you find yourself paralyzed with indecision know that you’re not alone.
There is also the danger factor. A few widely-circulated articles have claimed that certain ingredients in deodorant like aluminum might cause cancer, kidney failure, or other diseases. So, it’s important to know the real level of risk (if there is any) to what you’re smearing on your pits every morning.
Other than that, the deodorant selection process comes down to just a few key points. How does it smell, how long does it last, and how will it affect my skin? While all of this is going to vary somewhat from person to person, we’ve identified a few reliable stand-by deodorants that most people can agree on.
What You Need to Know About Buying Deodorant
There are a few things to keep in mind when buying deodorant, as there are a surprisingly high number of myths about a pretty basic grooming product.
Deodorant vs. Anti-Perspirant: Deodorant only works to fight odor; anti-perspirant is the product that actually combats sweat and keeps you dry. There are some products that have formulas for both, but check the label before you buy and don’t expect your deodorant to do anything about your stickiness level.
Note: unlike body sprays, which just cover up odor with pretty scents, the best deodorants actually have odor and germ-fighting ingredients in them to not just mask smells, but to eliminate them as well.
Safety of Ingredients: Some scientific research has shown that certain compounds commonly found in deodorant, such as aluminum, parabens, and pthalates, can be absorbed by the skin and make their way into your bloodstream, but the studies showing whether this has serious negative consequences for your health are shaky and often contradictory. So far, no scientific evidence has proven these ingredients cause cancer or otherwise harm your health. That said, no one is going to blame you if you don’t want to risk it.
Priorities: Some deodorants do certain things better than others, so decide what’s most important to you, whether that’s the strength of the scent, how it feels when applied, or how long it’s going to last. Lighter deodorants may feel better against the skin, but they may not offer as much protection – and vice-versa. One less thing to worry about: all of our picks go on clear, so they won’t leave white marks on your clothing or skin.
1. Speed Stick Deodorant for Men
The old faithful of deodorants, Speed Stick is a classic for a reason. The formula promises 24-hour protection for all skin types, it won’t stain your clothes, and you can rely on it to do the job in pretty much all situations, whether that’s post-gym or just post-shower.
The clean, minty scent is masculine without being cloying, so you can be confident you’re not overwhelming sensitive noses — whether that’s your own or those of the people around you. This is the deodorant for when you’re really not trying to overthink things and you just need something that works.
PROS: Has a clean, fresh scent. This set comes with four sticks of deodorant.
CONS: A little generic which might not be for everyone.
2. Old Spice Pure Sport Deodorant
“Stamina” is priority number one for this Old Spice deodorant, which is formulated to keep you smelling fresh from your morning shower to the time you wake up the next day. It’s especially great for gym-goers, as the hard-working ingredients fight body odor, letting you feel more confident as your run or lift.
The brand’s crisp “Pure Sport” scent is always a winner, and makes for a perfectly acceptable substitute for cologne for when you don’t want to overdo it.
PROS: It doesn’t stain clothes and really works all day. This set comes with three deodorant sticks.
CONS: The formula is strong and may irritate certain skin types, especially if you have sensitive skin.
3. Art of Sport Men’s Deodorant Clear Stick
If you like to keep your grooming products on the natural side, we like Art of Sport’s clear stick deodorant, which uses botanical ingredients in its long-lasting formula. Eucalyptus, orange peel, and juniper give the deodorant its bright, fresh-from-the-shower scent, while other botanicals like matcha and arrowroot powder are used for their natural energizing and moisture-wicking properties. It’s also aluminum and paraben-free, non-irritating, pH balanced, and dermatologist-tested. Also, it works really well.
Pros: There are no potentially harmful chemical ingredients. Deodorant glides on clear and won’t leave white marks.
Cons: Effectiveness can vary.
4. Dove Men+Care Deodorant Stick
In addition to a long-lasting formula and a clean, masculine scent, Dove’s Men+Care deodorant includes moisturizing properties that goes the extra mile to protect and soothe underarm skin. Like the rest of your body, the sensitive skin under your pits is prone to feeling dry and cracked too, which is all the more reason why you want to reach for a moisturizing deodorant.
This deodorant itself is great for fighting smells, and is designed to provide up to 48 hours of odor protection. It is also specifically formulated for men.
Pros: Moisturizing properties. Formula feels soft and comfortable when applying. This set includes four sticks.
Cons: Not as strong of a formula as other options.
5. Bravo Sierra Deodorant
For a great-smelling, long-lasting deodorant that you can feel good about wearing all day, you can’t go wrong with any of Bravo Sierra’s picks. This vegan deodorant comes with a white vetiver and cedarwood scent. It uses a powder made from cassava plant root to manage your sweat throughout the day, and stays free of aluminum or baking soda. And according to the brand, “5% of all sales are directly contributed to MWR quality-of-life programs for active-duty service members, veterans, and their families.”