There’s no nice way to say it: humans are sweaty creatures. And while you’re mostly dealing with water here, some parts of your body (like, say, your armpits) also secrete proteins and fatty acids. These things are harmless but annoying; when they react to bacteria on the body, you get a little thing called trans-3-Methyl-2-hexenoic acid — a.k.a. body odor.
You already know what to do, of course. But before you reach for the same old stick you’ve been using since the first day of middle school, you might want to consider your other options. There are lots of ingredients and methods of application to consider. When it comes to something as essential as deodorant, it’s worth sweating the small stuff.
Made entirely from naturally derived ingredients, such as hops, aloe vera and eucalyptus, this stick from Vermont’s Ursa Major fights odor and wetness without unwanted chemicals or irritants. For an even gentler option, check out the brand’s fragrance-free Base Layer Deodorant. Both options are available in 1.65- and 2.6-ounce canisters.
Baxter of California’s deodorant is effective at beating body odor but don’t fool yourself. You’re paying a premium, not for the scent it takes away, but for what it offers: an addicting combination of citrus and musk. It’s crisp, fresh and smells good enough to convince you to skip the cologne.
From one of the most respected names in skincare comes this unscented antiperspirant designed for one thing and one thing only: to keep your pits dry. Good thing it works.
There are three things you need to know about Aesop’s ultra-premium deodorant spray: it’s expensive, it has alcohol and it’s heavily fragranced, with a bevy of essential oils that give it a woody, almost spicy aroma. If all that tracks for you, it’s a unique option with a ton of character. Plus, it's packed in a 1.7 oz bottle and proves powerful enough to sub in for fragrance.
Need something with a little more oomph? This is the most powerful over-the-counter antiperspirant you’ll find at the drugstore, delivering up to 72 hours of protection thanks to the same active ingredient in the prescription stuff: aluminum chloride.
Though more popular in Europe, the French drugstore brand Vichy deserves a shout here. Its roll-on, alcohol-free Dry Touch Deodorant goes on easy and features the brand’s signature mineralized water, sourced from France’s Auvergne region, to help protect your skin against aggressors.
It works. It’s cheap. It smells like dads (in a sort of endearing way). It’s not the best option on this list, but if you’re on a budget and favor function over flair, it’s tough to beat Old Spice’s High Endurance line.
Same deal as Old Spice — cheap, available — only without the dad smell. This one is a pure utility player. And every grooming routine could use a few more of those.
OffCourt's aerosol deodorant addresses stench-causing bacterias by encouraging the growth of good ones. Yes, this option is prebiotic, but it doesn't just mask your musk. It smells fresh and complex despite coming from a can.
Refillable deodorants have emerged in recent years to combat single-use plastic and take the effort out of buying — most brands follow the same subscription models made famous by Dollar Shave Club. Sound like something you might want to try? Check out Myro, which is cheaper than competitors like Helmm and By Humankind while offering more scents and case color options.
Free of aluminum, baking soda and parabens, Bravo Sierra’s woodsy-smelling deodorant uses cassava plant extract to battle nasty perspiration. And while the product is notable in its own right, the company actively supports US service members and their families by donating five percent of all sales to Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs.
Lumin addresses deadly B.O. with a natural mineral blend, meaning this stick neutralizes and detoxifies the area without aluminum or alcohol.
For just five bucks, Harry's offers an odor and sweat controlling antiperspirant that's free from aluminum, scented with a musk they've named "Stone" and easily available at most big box stores — like Target, for example.
Bevel's line of body and grooming goods cater specifically to Black men, covering shaving creams for ingrowns and aluminum-free deodorants that penetrate coarse or curly armpit hair.
Hawthorne's site offers a quiz for interested users. In it you're asked to describe your skin, hair, grooming habits and go-to hobbies. From your answers, Hawthorne compiles a complete grooming routine: a custom fragrance, a few targeted formulas and, of course, deodorant. You can order the deodorant on its own, but it compliments the complete kit quite well.