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The most effective deodorants and antiperspirants for sweat, odor and more — from $4

Plus, a derm answers: Do we really need to steer clear of aluminum?
Woman putting on deodorant
Kara Birnbaum/ TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

Applying deodorant is one of those not-skippable parts of any daily routine. But as essential as it is, it’s not always the easiest product to shop for — glance down the deodorant aisle in any store and you'll likely see it teeming with options.

There's a slew of deodorant formulas, from gels and creams to sprays and the traditional sticks — not to mention countless scents to sniff through. So what should you look for? We chatted with a board-certified dermatologist to get the scoop on how to shop for the best deodorants and antiperspirants to keep you dry and fresh, regardless of season. Plus, she helps us get to the bottom of some deodorant fact versus fiction (like, do we really need to avoid aluminum?).

Keep scrolling to get our expert's breakdown of how deodorants work and what to look for, or use the links below to jump to a certain category and view our top picks.

What to look for | Best overall | Best for sweat | Best for odor | Best mineral aluminum | Best gel | Best for sensitive skin | Best for discoloration | Best aluminum-free | Best sprays | Best overall natural | Best natural for sweat | Best natural for odor | Best wipes | Best aluminum-free wipes | Shopping by skin type | Deodorant FAQs | How we chose | Meet our expert

What to look for in a deodorant or antiperspirant

Although it’s one of the more basic items in your skin care cabinet, you’ll still want to make sure you’re grabbing something that works for your skin type and needs — while also avoiding any possibly irritating ingredients or allergic reactions.

Dr. Quynh-Giao Sartor, a board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Houston, gives us a better understanding of common deodorant and antiperspirant ingredients and how to shop for different skin concerns. Use the shopping tips below as your starting point.

  1. First, decide between an antiperspirant or deodorant. Sartor says that antiperspirants help reduce sweating — so these may be a good choice if you experience hyperhidrosis, also known as excessive sweating. If extra sweat isn’t a concern for you, choosing the right deodorant will do the trick. Sartor explains that deodorants help neutralize any odor that results from bacteria breakdown of sweat on the skin. (Note: Some products on our list are considered a blend of both antiperspirant and deodorant.)

  2. Understand the labels. Antiperspirants contain mineral salts, and Sartor tells us that these most commonly include aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum zirconium. If your antiperspirant is prescription-strength, Sartor says it may include anticholinergic agents like glycopyrrolate or even botulinum toxin (Botox). On the other hand, deodorants usually include an odor-neutralizing agent like baking soda or an antibacterial agent like benzoyl peroxide, triclosan or clindamycin.

  3. Creams vs. gels vs. sticks vs. sprays. While this part comes down to personal preference, Sartor says she prefers solid sticks for ease of use, but any form can work. “Keep in mind that many creams, gels and sprays contain alcohol, which is an excellent deodorant (kills bacteria) but can irritate skin and stimulate sweat production,” she adds.

Deodorant label promises

During our shopping, we noticed some products with pretty bold claims. For example, some claim to block hair growth, while others say they work for up to an entire week. We asked Sartor for her thoughts on these seemingly overachieving deodorants.

"Deodorants are intended to help eliminate bacterial overgrowth and skin odor and have not been found to affect hair growth; I would approach any product with this claim cautiously,” she says. And as for those super long-lasting claims? “This is not widely accepted,” she says, adding, “I would again approach any product with this claim cautiously.”

With that in mind, here's our list of the best deodorants and antiperspirants to swipe or spray on this year.

Best deodorant overall

Dove Invisible Solid Antiperspirant, Sensitive Skin

Formula: Solid stick | Size: 2.6 oz.

Dove is a trusted name in skin care, including its deodorants (it graces our list more than once, after all). And Sartor points to this Dove pick as an excellent choice for deodorants/antiperspirants that does contain aluminum. So if you’re looking to minimize sweat and go with a faithful form (solid stick), this is a good choice. Plus, you can even get a pack of six for $24 on Amazon (see above), and that should last you quite a while.

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Does better with sweat than odor, may stain dark clothing

Best antiperspirants for sweat

Women's Deodorant by Mitchum

Formula: Clear gel | Size: 3.5 oz.

If you’d like to get serious about sweat, you may want to glide this gel on for size. It’s both an antiperspirant and deodorant, with an alcohol-free formula created to be long-lasting. The brand also promises to apply invisibly without any worry about white marks. With just under 18,000 verified five-star Amazon ratings, many swooning reviewers are backing it up. Bonus: Several reviewers with menopause say this works wonders during hot flashes.

SOMETHING TO NOTE: May flake on clothing when it dries, scent may be too strong for some

Carpe Antiperspirant Underarm Lotion Stick

Formula: Lotion | Size: 1.69 oz.

This one can sound a bit confusing. It’s lotion? It’s a stick? It’s actually both. Sartor tells us Carpe is an excellent line of pure antiperspirants that target hyperhidrosis (excessive sweat). She says that the brand’s lotion, in particular, is an excellent pick that contains aluminum.

We have quite a number of sweaty editors on our staff, so we were excited to take this for a spin. After using Carpe for several weeks per instructions, we found this quite effective at stopping sweat for several hours, and one staffer reported "fewer embarrassing pit stains" (read: asking her friends for fewer "pit checks"). That said, applying the right amount of product and letting it dry for a minute or two took some getting used to.

The deodorant is available in eight scents, including unscented and the popular Fresh Powder, though one of our testers notes that the fragrance-free one has a slightly medicinal smell. It also comes with a moneyback guarantee. If you’re impressed with what the brand can do for underarm sweat, you may want to explore the rest of its available products. There are also options for managing sweat all over the body (face, feet, hands and more).

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Best for those who have a bigger issue with excess sweat than odor

Best deodorant for odor

Secret Outlast Completely Clean Invisible Solid

Formula: Clear solid | Size: 2.6 oz.

This deodorant includes a special surfactant additive that allows the main active ingredient, aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly (19%), to work harder and faster, keeping you extra-dry. An invisible solid, it's said to provide up to 48 hours of protection. Reviewers on average report being very happy with this clear solid's performance, saying it doesn't leave any residue or build-up, the scent isn't too overpowering, and it's quite responsive to stress and humidity. Plus, a few users with sensitive skin say they haven't had any issues.

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Extremely heavy sweaters or those who prefer fragrance-free products would probably do best with another option

Best mineral aluminum deodorant

Crystal Mineral Deodorant Roll-On (Unscented)

Formula: Roll-on | Size: 2.25 oz.

This highly rated roll-on (over 23,000 Amazon ratings!), made of natural mineral aluminum salts, is a surprising find. It’s just under $5 at most places, vegan, cruelty-free and free from fragrance — though the brand also offers some tempting scents, if you’re interested.

The brand promises that it dries fast and clear, and the majority of its reviewers on Amazon and Walgreens highly recommend it for just that. One explains, "I always have a problem with white streaks on my clothes from my deodorant, as my work uniform is a black dress, and once I started using this I saw no more white streak on my clothes! I also have such sensitive skin, and it didn't irritate at all. 100% recommend this product."

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Users advise to apply to clean, dry armpits; will need to reapply a few times if you're sweating heavily

Best gel deodorant

Almay Sensitive Skin

Formula: Clear gel | Size: 2.25 oz.

Sartor also recommends this gel option by Almay, saying it’s a strong choice that does contain aluminum. It’s a clear gel, so you don't have to fret about your black clothing getting white streaks. Free from fragrance, it’s an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin.

"No scent" can feel risky, we know. But lots of happy reviewers say this option is still highly effective, with some noting it’s a nice choice for those with skin allergies. At just $4, it’s also a budget-friendly pick.

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Takes a while to dry, may leave a few white flakes on clothing

Best deodorant for sensitive skin

Vanicream Aluminum-Free Gel Deodorant

Formula: Clear gel | Size: 2 oz.

Like we mentioned, Vanicream is a trusted skin care name that's famous for being kind to sensitive skin. This gel formula, which is dermatologist-formulated, uses only five ingredients, and aluminum isn’t one of them.

It’s also free from fragrance, dyes, parabens, alcohol and more. So if you’re a sensitive skin type looking for a nice gel without any scent, you can finish shopping now. As one user notes, "this product is truly fragrance-free and unscented. While it does not prevent me from sweating as it is not an antiperspirant, it does keep my sweat from smelling bad or turning to body odor."

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Some say it's a bit tricky to apply

Best deodorant for discoloration

Saltair 5% AHA Serum Deodorant

Formula: Serum via roll-on | Size: 1.7 oz.

If you're a skin care fanatic, you've probably heard of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic and lactic acids, which help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and improve the skin's texture. This roll-on deodorant serum from Saltair takes AHAs' skin-brightening and toning effect to your pits.

In addition to lactic acid, the formula also uses mandelic and polyhydroxy acids for a powerful (yet sensitive-skin-friendly) blend that exfoliates the skin, fights body odor and minimizes the appearance of ingrowns.

Shop TODAY associate editor Fran Sales (a long-time natural solid deodorant user), was gifted the Santal Bloom-scented version of this deodorant (currently out of stock), and while it doesn't stop sweat for as long as an aluminum-based option, she has zero body odor. Plus, "My underarms definitely look brighter; As someone with black hair, I'm not as embarrassed to wear tank tops anymore!" she reports.

If you prefer a solid, we recommend Saltair's BHA-powered Skincare Deodorant.

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Roll-on can be tricky to use at first, does not stop sweat as well as odor

Best aluminum-free deodorants

Secret Aluminum-Free Deodorant - Lavender

Formula: Solid stick | Size: 2.4 oz.

Secret lands on our list multiple times for good reason — scores of reviewers say they rely on the brand to keep them fresh and dry.

I use this aluminum-free pick by the brand regularly. I love the lavender scent, though many other fun scents are also available, like White Peach, Cherry Blossom and Coconut (I need to try them all!). Though it’s marketed for sensitive skin, keep in mind that it does contain alcohol and fragrance, which can be irritating to some sensitive skin types.

SOMETHING TO NOTE: No unscented version as of this writing, not meant to be an antiperspirant

Lume Lavender Sage Cream Deodorant Stick

Formula: Solid stick | Size: 2.6 oz.

If you’re not one to shy away from fragrance, this lavender sage-scented stick by Lume may pique your interest. It’s a water-based cream formula that, while it does contain fragrance, doesn’t contain aluminum, baking soda or parabens. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free.

It boasts 72 hours of odor control, and what that might be hard to believe, the brand backs this up with clinical testing (and several reviewers who've tested the 72-hour claim themselves report that it works). The brand also says that their deodorant is formulated to stop odor in its tracks rather than neutralizing it after it happens.

Lume also recently updated this bestseller's formula, using skin-safe synthetic fragrances instead of natural ones that aren't as longer-lasting and have higher allergen potentials, according to the brand.

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Not for those who are very sensitive to scents

Best spray deodorants

Dove Advanced Care Dry Spray Antiperspirant

Formula: Spray | Size: 3.8 oz.

You won't need to worry about fanning your underarms with Dove's spray-on deodorant; it's said to go on dry instantly (and several reviewers can vouch for this). It will keep you feeling cool and fresh for up to 48 hours — a promise that's backed up by several five-star reviews on Amazon.

One user is prone to excessive sweating in the summer shared: "I am very prone to body odor. ... I was very wary of spray deodorant, but I find that it is very comfortable upon application and does not feel dry or chalky at all. It smells amazing and keeps me way drier than any other deodorant I’ve tried. It keeps me odor-free for around 30 hours if I haven’t been sweating. If I have been sweating, it lasts a good 18 hours or so."

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Spray top can be tricky to operate for those with small hands or mobility issues

Degree Advanced MotionSense Dry Spray

Formula: Spray | Size: 3.8 oz.

Degree's deodorant spray features its propriety MotionSense formula, which is said to deliver encapsulated bursts of floral fragrance as you move. The microcapsules sit on the surface of your skin, then when you're active, they burst to release fragrance. Simply shake, spray and go.

Reviewers like that this product works well in hot climates, and that it doesn't leave any residue on their clothes. While some are mixed on the baby powder-like scent, many say it's pleasant (some even say it's "wonderful").

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Spray top can be tricky to operate for those with mobility issues; leaves a cloud of spray in the air for a while after use

Best natural deodorant overall

Native Coconut & Vanilla Deodorant

Formula: Solid stick | Size: 2.65 oz.

Native's deodorant is tried and true to many of us for a reason. It's free of aluminum, parabens, dyes, sulfates, artificial colors, preservatives and phthalates. Coconut oil and shea butter combine to provide moisture and hydration for dry underarm skin.

Best of all, this option is not only sensitive skin-safe, but it's also effective enough for both women and men, with one self-professed "big stinky man," who's allergic to most antiperspirants, sharing, " It reduces oder, it's soft enough that it goes on smooth but hard enough that you don't use it up in two weeks. It lasts all day long. ... This is a great natural deodorant for men, which is a rare thing in this world."

FULL REVIEW: Find out why Native's deodorant stands out from many other natural options, according to one Shop TODAY writer, who's used several brands over the years.

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Leaves white marks on clothes

Best natural deodorants for sweat

Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant Sport Luxe

Formula: Solid stick | Size: 2.2 oz.

If you can imagine a natural deodorant formulated for those who exercise, this would be it. Sugar from oats and barley break down sweat molecules to prevent odor, essential oils like lemon peel oil and aloe soothe underarm skin, and a natural vanilla fragrance gives off a clean scent. The formula is not only aluminum-free, but also baking soda-free. Plus, after the brand conducted a study of 25 participants who used this product for a month, the deodorant garnered high marks for its simple application, texture and quality of ingredients.

As for whether it lives up to the "sport" in its name, many users say that it's effective at keeping sweat-related odor at bay. One reviewer added, "I love using this deodorant for working out because it doesn't turn into white residue on my underarm area the way the other aluminum-free deodorants that I have tried do."

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Not as effective with sweat as it is with odor

Milk + Honey Deodorant No. 9

Formula: Solid stick | Size: 3 oz.

This deodorant controls odor with food-grade baking soda, though the brand says it has 40% less baking soda than their extra-strength formulation — a bonus for those who are sensitive to the ingredient. Plus, naturally antimicrobial ingredients coconut oil and tea tree oil help fight bacteria-related odor.

It is also cruelty-free and lightly scented with lavender and lemon. If that scent combo makes you nervous, one reviewer assured: "Regular brands were making my body odor worse, and I was having to take two showers per day just to feel fresh. After using this for three weeks now, I feel in control again and never have to worry about BO. Bonus: the scents are wonderful."

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Not for those sensitive to essential oils

Best natural deodorants for odor

Kopari Coconut Beach Deodorant

Formula: Solid stick | Size: 2 oz.

Coconut oil is the hero ingredient in this product, acting as a powerful antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic agent. Plant-based actives like sage oil provide odor protection and allow for a smooth application, while hydrators like electrolytes, vitamins and minerals prevent irritation. Plenty of reviewers say that the scents aren't only pleasant, but they truly work for neutralizing odor. And even if you do sweat, they also say this won't stain your clothes.

One sensitive-skin user reported, "This is the first kind of deodorant I have found that actually keeps me fresh (I mean sweating hard, biking, working outdoors and still not stinking) and it lasts me months, so that helps with the sticker shock! I don't need to reapply every couple of hours, it just works."

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Might need to reapply more than once in very hot seasons

Lovefresh All-Natural Super-Strength Deodorant

Formula: Solid stick | Size: 3.7 oz.

This deodorant controls odor with extra baking soda and soothes sensitive underarm skin with shea butter. It is cruelty-free, and this particular version is lightly scented with cedar and saffron — though there are a bunch of other delicious-sounding scent blends, including patchouli and sweet orange, eucalyptus and spearmint, and more.

One glowing review is a testament to the "super strength" in this deodorant's name: "Working out in the hot summer sun, planting a landscape for a client, really put this deodorant to the test. It absolutely worked! I was so relieved to find a product that actually works. You don't need to have a heavy hand when applying either."

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Might stain clothes or go on sticky; make sure to dry completely

Best antiperspirant wipes

Dermadoctor Med E Tate Antiperspirant Wipes

Quantity: 30

The cruelty-free pads stop sweat with a single swipe, and they can be applied not just to your underarms, but also to your face, around the chest area and more. Each wipe contains high levels of aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex glycine complex (19%), the main active ingredient that blocks perspiration, while extracts of tomato, ginseng root and purslane leaf (a plant packed with vitamins and minerals) soothe the skin. And if you're skeptical that this does indeed block perspiration, the Q&A section on its product page offers proof: Several users say this lasts anywhere from several hours (in high-stress situations) to up to five days. (One of those users even says that one box lasts them months.)

One reviewer gave these wipes high marks and left a bonus piece of advice: "I cut [each] in half and put one half back in the package in a Ziplock bag to use the next day. I live in Central NY where summer days are hot and humid. Not only do I not sweat one drop where I apply these, but I don't smell either. I also use in my face as a primer to set my makeup if I have an event and I know it's going to be extra-hot. These don't disappoint! They are unscented and leave no residue on clothing."

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Some users advice not using on your face if you have sensitive skin

Best aluminum-free deodorant wipes

Pacifica Underarm Deodorant Wipes with Coconut Milk & Essential Oils

Quantity: 30

A wipe does wonders if you’re in a hurry after a gym session or simply sweaty from patio season. These vegan underarm wipes work like deodorant but add a boost of fresh feelings you can’t get from swiping a stick over slick armpits. Plus, they have a pleasant but subtle pineapple scent that's perfect for summer.

I love stocking up on these during hot summer months. They’re also travel-ready so that you can toss them in your beach bag or carry-on. Plus, if you’d rather avoid aluminum, these don’t have it, and that’s one less thing to sweat about (pun intended).

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Make sure the seal is airtight after every use, as they might dry out

Lume Acidified Deodorant Wipes

Quantity: 45

These versatile wipes were developed by a gynecologist and are powered by gentle exfoliator mandelic acid, an AHA that the brand says helps keep the pH on your skin low to help keep odors neutralized for longer. This also means that you can use them anywhere you sweat, from your armpits to your chest area to your undercarriage. Plus, all ingredients are skin-safe and the formulation is aluminum- and baking soda-free.

As for the 24-hour odor control the brand boasts about? That's based on Princeton Consumer Research's 2021 & 2022 odor efficacy studies. One reviewer shared, "They work great for all your parts. I use them after a long sweaty hike to wipe off the sweat and smell, on the days I can’t get back home for a shower."

SOMETHING TO NOTE: Some say the wipes rip easily and to be careful when applying

Deodorant options for different skin types

If you're still stuck choosing between an antiperspirant or deodorant, or can't decided on the type or formulation you want (spray, stick, roll-on, etc.), it’s a good idea to investigate what works best for your skin type or particular concern.

  1. Best choices for sensitive skin. For either deodorant or antiperspirant, Sartor advises her patients to look for products that are labeled "fragrance-free" or "sensitive skin" to lower the chance of an allergic reaction. Specifically, Sartor suggests that those with sensitive skin avoid a possibly irritating ingredient called cinnamic aldehyde, a chemical compound found in cinnamon.

  2. Best choices for excessive sweating. “The best products to address excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) are typically labeled as ‘clinical-strength’ antiperspirants, which contain a mineral salt such as aluminum or magnesium,” Sartor explains.

  3. Best choices for excessive odor. Sartor says for extra odor, she would try a clinical-strength antiperspirant and a deodorant first. “If the odor does not improve, it may be best to seek evaluation by a board-certified dermatologist to discuss a customized plan.”

Questions about deodorants, answered by experts

What is the difference between an antiperspirant and a deodorant?

As Sartor explains, an antiperspirant will help lower sweating or perspiration on the skin, while a deodorant helps neutralize any odor that comes from bacteria breakdown of sweat on the skin.

Is it better to use a deodorant at night or in the morning?

Since deodorants neutralize body odor, Sartor says they are best applied in the morning. On the other hand, antiperspirants are best used at night to dry surfaces. Sartor adds that skin treated with antiperspirant can be washed in the morning to minimize irritation.

What happens when you stop using deodorant or transition to a natural deodorant?

The answer here, according to Sartor, is pretty simple: Any existing odors can come back! Some also believe that since you may sweat more going rogue, you may notice a more pungent aroma than when you used deodorant.

Are deodorants better with or without aluminum?

Sartor reminds us that deodorants do not affect sweating, so they do not need to contain aluminum. You may want to consider an antiperspirant if you're an excessive sweater. These commonly contain aluminum salts, which helps manage sweat.

How we chose the best deodorants and antiperspirants

Too many choices can be a chore. We saved you the heavy lifting and sorted through popular searches on Google to find top-rated and bestselling products across a good range of categories (solids, roll-ons, creams, sprays and more). We at Shop TODAY also took a careful look through customer reviews (legit reviews, that is — no paid commentary, thank you). We did our research with different skin types and price points in mind, making sure we included options for every body and budget. Plus, we made sure to ask our expert for her unbiased choices.

Meet our expert

Dr. Quynh-Giao Sartor, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Houston. She specializes in medical dermatology and in-office cosmetic and surgical procedures. Born into a first generation Vietnamese-American family in Houston, Sartor takes a special interest in treating ethnic skin.