We’re all creatures of habit. That’s particularly true for men – if you don’t believe us, just ask any woman.
Guys start using deodorant in their pre-teen or teenage years. And as long as they think it’s working for them, they’re likely to keep using the same product for decades. After all, there are more important things to deal with in life than the deodorant you slap on after a shower.
There’s a lot to be said for loyalty, but it’s not the best quality to bring to your relationship with a deodorant, particularly if you’ve been using the same spray or stick since you were young. There are many more brands to choose from now than there were then, and we know a lot more about deodorants than we used to.
The Groom+Style team for art of skin care has learned a lot, too, while putting together our reviews of the top 5 best deodorants for men. And it’s stuff you really ought to know before reaching for your usual brand on the drugstore shelf.
Your Favorite Deodorant May Not Be The Best Choice
In the years since you settled on your preferred brand, scientists have discovered important information about the materials used in many underarm products – and the long-lasting effects they can have on your health. A number of newer, natural deodorants work just as well without a scent that “drowns out” your cologne. And dermatologists warn that skin can build up a resistance to the ingredients in a deodorant, causing it to lose its effectiveness. Many experts suggest changing things up every year or so.
With all of those factors in mind, it might be time to consider a new brand instead of an old favorite.
Deodorant or Antiperspirant?
It’s a common misconception that they’re interchangeable, but deodorants and antiperspirants contain very different ingredients and perform very different functions. To put it briefly, antiperspirants stop you from sweating profusely while deodorants simply cover up the smell. There are many scented antiperspirants, but they won’t fight odors as well as deodorants created for that specific purpose.
Some products combine an antiperspirant with a deodorant, but slapping them on before heading off to work doesn’t work as well as you might expect. Antiperspirants are designed to be applied to dry skin so they can sink into skin pores and plug sweat ducts. That’s unlikely to happen right after you’ve climbed out of the shower and your armpits are still moist.
Naturally, you’re going to apply deodorant before heading off to work, or after a workout and shower. But the best time to use an antiperspirant is at night so it can seep in properly. That’s why most combination deodorants/antiperspirants won’t be as effective as you hope they’ll be.
Use the best deodorants and antiperspirants for their designed purposes and you’ll smell like a rose (or whatever fragrance you prefer). Before you run out to buy some antiperspirant, though, read on.
Deodorants and Antiperspirants: Health Considerations
A lot has been written about the supposed dangers of ingredients used in deodorants and antiperspirants. They’re definitely something to be aware of, but they’re not a reason to leave your armpits untouched and smelly. That’s especially true for deodorants.
What You Should Know about Deodorants
A few deodorant brands do use parabens as a preservative or phthalates to help the product roll on smoothly, and each of those chemicals is considered to have a possible link to cancer, particularly breast cancer. However, a large number of brands don’t use those ingredients, parabens and phthalates are quickly passed out of the body, and suspected health dangers from either substance are far from proven fact.
What You Should Know about Antiperspirants
Antiperspirants are a different matter. Their primary ingredients are various compounds of aluminum, which has not only been linked to breast cancer but to other serious diseases like Alzheimer’s. The question of whether they’re dangerous to use is very much up in the air, since no studies of antiperspirant use (and there have been a number) prove an actual connection. Even so, aluminum does accumulate in the body over time, making the long-term use of antiperspirants a trickier issue than daily application of a deodorant.
One other note that may help you choose a product: the government regulates deodorant as a cosmetic, but regulates antiperspirants as an over-the-counter drug.
All-natural products are obvious alternatives, but do they work? Groom+Style has found that to be a complicated question because they’re different products and work in different ways. The bottom line is that most natural deodorants for men do indeed work, but most have to be applied more frequently during the day, and only work on perfectly-clean armpits. If you’re looking for an effective, natural antiperspirant – good luck. No natural ingredients will actually plug up your sweat ducts.
What Else Matters When Choosing A Deodorant?
Obviously, the smell (or lack of one) matters. A lot. But purchasing a deodorant based simply on the name or description of its scent isn’t the greatest idea, since the smell may clash with or overpower your preferred cologne (if you wear one). It’s better to wear your cologne to the store and sniff the product, so you can be sure you’re making a choice you won’t regret.
If you have a sensitivity to fragrances, be aware that “unscented” deodorants still have artificial fragrances that are used to mask their smell. A “fragrance-free” product is what you’ll need. And if you have sensitive skin, you’ll have to check the ingredient list to see if there’s one that you know your skin won’t tolerate, go through a trial-and-error process, or go with one of the many natural deodorants available for men. One more piece of advice: “clinical-strength” products do actually work better but they’re also more likely to cause you to break out, and may also be more likely to stain your shirt.
The other major factors to consider are also obvious. How long an application will last, and whether the deodorant is roll-on, stick, gel or spray (the latter is better for those with lots of underarm hair), will determine how it fits with your preferences and lifestyle.
Let’s sniff out Groom+Style’s top 5 best deodorants for men, after ending this section with a bonus secret: the active ingredients in most companies’ men’s and women’s deodorants are exactly the same. The primary difference is in the scents they use.
1. Ursa Major No B.S. Natural Deodorant For Men, Unscented
The review team decided to follow the trend when choosing a deodorant to top our rankings. All-natural deodorants are rapidly gaining in market share, as customers search for products without ingredients that could cause health issues. And Groom+Style believes that Ursa Major’s “No B.S.” is the best in show.
The natural ingredients in “No B.S.” include hops (the same natural fungus used to ferment beer) to fight odor, aloe and shea butter to soothe the skin, chamomile to treat inflammation, kaolin clay to absorb excess moisture, and 16 other herbal extracts and natural substances. The baking soda commonly used as an active ingredient in all-natural deodorants isn’t one of them because it causes many people to develop rashes.
What else won’t you find in this Ursa Major deodorant? There’s no aluminum, parabens, sulfates, PEGs, artificial fragrances or colors, chemicals – all of the things which could potentially lead to irritation or longer-term health problems. “No B.S.” is the most benign natural deodorant for men we’ve found; it doesn’t cause rashes or breakouts while staying effective for a full 8-12 hours at a time as long as you apply it liberally.
Ursa Major is a crunchy-granola producer in Vermont that creates great organic and all-natural products, at premium prices. This deodorant is unscented, but the company offers herb-scented options as well.
As long as you don’t have a problem with excessive perspiration, you’ll be amazed at how well all-natural “No B.S.” works to eliminate underarm odor, virtually all day long. It’s the most expensive natural deodorant on our list, but worth the price.
Facts and figures for Ursa Major No B.S. Deodorant, Unscented:
SUMMARY: For the person who wants the best-performing, all-natural deodorant without baking soda.
PROS: High-quality, all-natural without aluminum, alcohol, parabens or other potentially harmful ingredients, no baking soda, long-lasting.
CONS: Very expensive, not the best choice for excessive perspiration.
2. Herban Cowboy Forest Deodorant, Maximum Protection
The primary active ingredient in this 100% vegan deodorant is the same one you use to keep your refrigerator (and perhaps your breath) smelling fresh: baking soda. It works well to absorb sweat and odors created by the bacteria living under your arms. And while some people find that baking powder causes underarm irritation it’s not a problem for most users, and it can effectively treat inflammation and infection for those folks. There’s no aluminum and some of the natural ingredients include aloe and rosemary, parsley and sage extracts.
The Herban Cowboy forest scent is what you might call “masculine” with a spicy, woodsy smell, but it’s not overpowering. It’s also sold in a “Dusk” musky scent and a “Wild” apricot scent, along with unscented and all-natural options, and the price is substantially lower than that of “No B.S.”
The Groom+Style team didn’t have any problems with irritation from this smooth-feeling stick deodorant, and it lasts about 6-8 hours per application. We liked it.
Herban Cowboy is a terrific “almost all-natural” (fragrances aren’t natural) deodorant that works very well, at a price close to drugstore brands.
Details for Herban Cowboy Forest Deodorant, Maximum Protection:
SUMMARY: For the person who wants a vegan deodorant with a manly scent, at a good price.
PROS: Good quality, lasts up to eight hours, vegan, nice scents, reasonable price.
CONS: Baking soda irritates some users, may require reapplications during the day, not 100% natural.
3. Mennen Speed Stick Power Antiperspirant Deodorant
You’ve probably figured out that we’re not partial to antiperspirants or deodorant/antiperspirant combinations, particularly if they’re sold at the drugstore. That’s what many people want, however, and this version of the venerable Speed Stick is their best choice.
It’s definitely not all-natural, with ingredients like alcohol and polyethylene glycol. It also contains aluminum, because it’s an antiperspirant as well as a deodorant. If the possible (but not proven) health risks of those ingredients worry you, it’s best to choose another option from our Groom+Style rankings.
But this stick really works as an antiperspirant and does a good job as a deodorant, and is available just about anywhere – exactly the features that lots of folks are after. It lets you stay dry all day (or even longer) with a minimum amount of stickiness, no stains and a lot less irritation than you’d expect from the non-natural ingredient list. The fresh scent is pleasant and not overpowering, there’s an unscented version as well, and the price is definitely right.
There are no big surprises with Speed Stick Power; the brand has been around for years. We were a little surprised, though, at its effectiveness as a combination antiperspirant/deodorant.
Looking deeper at Mennen Speed Stick Power Antiperspirant Deodorant:
SUMMARY: For the person who wants an inexpensive antiperspirant/deodorant that works.
PROS: Prevents sweating all day, pleasant scene, great price, available in drugstores.
CONS: Not natural, aluminum used for antiperspirant action, alcohol also included.
4. SweatBlock Antiperspirant, Clinical Strength
Ordinary deodorants or antiperspirants are just fine for most people. Those cursed with overactive sweat glands that cause them to perspire excessively, though, need something more. SweatBlock is the best product the Groom+Style review team has found to help them.
This high-strength antiperspirant comes in packages containing eight towelettes. At night, you press one of the sheets to your underarm (which should be clean and dry), give the moisture that it applies five minutes to dry, and then go to bed. The antiperspirant sinks in overnight and works to prevent sweating for 5-7 days; during that time, you can shower as usual and use regular deodorant to control any residual order. It sounds hard to believe, but it really does work for as long as a week. It doesn’t stain shirts, either.
SweatBlock, like all effective antiperspirants, uses a form of aluminum (in this case, aluminum chloride hexahydrate) and contains other non-natural ingredients like polyethylene glycol, so it’s definitely not for those who want to avoid products with some of the open health questions we’ve previously mentioned. But you’ll find virtually the same ingredients in most other antiperspirants, and this one can control even the heaviest sweating issues.
People with hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) have a very difficult time finding a solution that works for them. Clinical-strength SweatBlock is their answer, and it’s also great for those who simply perspire heavily when under pressure or dealing with hormonal issues.
More info on SweatBlock Antiperspirant, Clinical Strength:
SUMMARY: For the person who suffers with excess sweating and needs a heavy-duty antiperspirant.
PROS: Works for up to seven days, easy to apply, reasonable price.
CONS: Only an antiperspirant and not a deodorant, contains aluminum and other ingredients possibly linked to health issues.
Here’s one more natural/vegan deodorant which is free of aluminum, phthalates, parabens, alcohol and propylene glycol. Like Herban Cowboy, it contains baking soda as an active ingredient so it may cause some users with sensitive skin to develop a skin reaction. For the majority of folks, though, it will last throughout most of a workday without problems; the only real negative is that it can stain clothing if it hasn’t been given enough time to soak in.
A big plus for Sam’s is that it’s available in a huge variety of scents (16 in all) from cedar and oak, to leather and patchouli. There’s an unscented version as well, and the deodorant’s low price makes it easy to try several scents to find your favorite.
Sam’s isn’t the very best natural deodorant for men to make the Groom+Style rankings, but it’s very effective and priced lower than our alternatives.
Specs for Sam’s Natural Deodorant Stick:
SUMMARY: For the person who wants an all-natural deodorant without paying a lot.
PROS: Vegan and all-natural with no aluminum or other problematic substances, low price, 16 scents (plus unscented).
CONS: Baking soda can cause rashes or reactions in some users, can cause stains on clothes.
In conclusion, finding the best deodorant for men is crucial for maintaining freshness and confidence throughout the day. When searching for the ideal product, consider one that not only offers long-lasting protection against sweat but also acts as an effective odor eliminator. Look for deodorants that contain active ingredients like baking soda, charcoal, or natural antimicrobial agents, as they can neutralize odor-causing bacteria.
Additionally, opt for deodorants that are dermatologist-tested and free from harsh chemicals to ensure skin health. By choosing a deodorant that combines sweat control with powerful odor-elimination properties, you can stay odor-free and feel self-assured in any situation.