How a Deodorant Works

Ever wondered what is in the deodorant that prevents you from developing a humiliating odor? From an obvious stench or a subtle smell that only comes when you raise your arms or remove your socks, it’s something we spend a lot of money trying to cover up.

But how does it work? It’s important to understand so that your buying choices are based on not just your preferences, but also what’s right for your body. How guide on how deodorant works is here to help.

What is in deodorant?

Deodorants are mainly cosmetic items which mask odors that normally develop through bacteria in our sweat.

Although most deodorants also have chemicals that prevent or significantly minimize sweating, the main ingredient of deodorants is an aluminium-based compound which can either be aluminium chloride or aluminium chlorohydrate. These chemicals are the reason behind why deodorant works as short-term blockage for sweat ducts and prevent sweat from emerging on the skin’s surface.

Depending on the brand you use, your deodorant may also have  phthalates (which is how deodorant works as an antiperspirant), triclosan (how deodorant works as an antibacterial), and/or propylene glycol (how deodorant works as a liquid that can absorb extra water and maintain moisture). Sprayed deodorants also contain butane and propane, both of which may cause issues when inhaled.

Although evidence is inconclusive, all of these chemicals have been raised to cause certain health issues but are all, so far, FDA-approved and are deemed non-hazardous to humans.

While most deodorants are alcohol-based to help fight bacterial build-up in sweat (which in turn ferment and cause the unwanted odor), some also come with perfume fragrances and other natural oils to mask the smell of perspiration without necessarily preventing it.


Which is the Best Deodorant for Men?
But which deodorants actually work? Which do the job that they claim they do and leave us smelling as good as we look? Ultimately you need to know: What is the best deodorant for men?

Finding an effective deodorant should not be a struggle, nor should it be a trial-and-error quest through the shelves at the supermarket. You want to find one, and be able to rely on it.

We have put together an all-inclusive guide to the best deodorant for men so that you can make that choice in confidence.

Types of Deodorant

Deodorants come in a variety of forms, and while we are not going to debate if certain types are better than others, people may well have their own preferences.

Besides the gel deodorants listed in our table above, there are two other types: Spray deodorant, and Roll-on.

Many choose gel deodorants because they offer a happy medium between wet and dry. While some may not like the wet feeling under the arms that roll-on deodorants create upon application, a lot of people feel uncomfortable with the imposing nature of sprays as well as the damage they create for the environment.

While many sprays and roll-ons tend to be exclusively deodorants, a great advantage of having a gel is that many of them act as both a deodorant and antiperspirant. If you are unsure what the difference is, then you can check out our guide here.

Reviews of the Top 5 Best Deodorant for Men


  1. Degree Cool Comfort

Degree’s Cool Comfort is one of the best gel deodorants on the market, and what’s more it works as an antiperspirant as well, giving you more value for money.

What’s especially worth paying attention to with this deodorant is that it is designed for sensitive skin. Persistent use of deodorants and antiperspirants can leave your armpits with a rash, even for those of us who don’t think of ourselves as having sensitive skin. The Degree Cool Comfort deodorant however won’t cause this, making it a great choice for all skin types.

Buy it at


  1. John Varvatos

Before I explain why this is in my Top 5, let me just warn you that this is expensive. There, I said it.

Now I’ve gotten that out the way, allow me to tell why it is completely worth the extra expense. At 2.6 ounces, you get more bang for your buck than with any other deodorant. It smells great (and as classy as its packaging suggests), is long-lasting, and it doesn’t leave the white marks that a lot of other deodorants leave.

Buy it at


  1. Arrid XX

An unscented brand might not be for everyone, but there are plenty of people who will testify to the effectiveness and power of Arrid’s deodorant. In fact, if you’re already carrying the scent of cologne and laundry detergent, then it’ll make the potential combination less bizarre.

The lack of scent, however, does not mean a lack of effect as Arrid XX is as long-lasting as the best of them. The majority of reviews online are from customers who trust this product enough to have been using it for years. It’s certainly not difficult to see why.

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  1. Old Spice Game Day

The product in our best deodorant for men search with potentially the best name comes in the form of Old Spice Game Day. While I’m not usually one to fall for slogans or copy gimmickry, its claims to contain “the model-pleasing scent of victory” and the ability to “increase awesomeabilityness” certainly made me grin.

The product does actually work though. Bigger brands than Old Spice might pack their products full of powerful scents to compensate for their inability to prevent body odor, but Game Day has a soft scent that nullifies and prevents any smells of bacteria.

Doubled up as an antiperspirant too, it lasts all day and is great for those of you with sensitive skin too. The packaging will raise a smile or two in the morning as well.

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  1. Dove Men +Care

One of the best choices for sensitive skin, the Dove Men +Care deodorant works flawlessly.

Another deodorant that doubles up as an antiperspirant, it doesn’t irritate the skin and is smooth and moist enough to almost glide on upon application.

Dove make a bold claim by saying this offers 48-hour protection, but as long as it lasts 24 then it’s doing its job well.

Buy it at


How to Remove Deodorant Stains

Other than actually exuding body odor, having deodorant stains is probably the most embarrassing aspect of a man’s appearance. Its obvious nature and ability to ruin your favorite clothes can create a huge dilemma when it comes to selecting, or even using, a deodorant.

Our guide on how to remove deodorant stains is here to help you kick that embarrassment into touch once and for all.

Before we dig into the practical steps on how to remove deodorant stains, it might be worthwhile to understand how they come to existence to begin with.

The yellowish (on whites), sometimes almost-invisible but very much present, pit stains are actually the fabric’s reaction to the aluminium in most deodorants and antiperspirants when mixed with the salts in sweat. It doesn’t develop overnight, but constant recurrence of such exposure, backed by untargeted washing eventually leads to the problem.

What can be done?

There are several options on how to remove armpit stains, many of them are (surprisingly) often found in the home.

The effectiveness of each of these remedies will vary on certain factors like how long the stains have been there (because generally, the longer the stain has been piling on, the more difficult it would be to remove), the type of shirt you need to apply the remedy on (since some types of fabric like silk, or wool, might react differently – so it is advisable to try your chosen option on a smaller hidden portion of the shirt first), or the gravity of the discoloration on the shirt itself (if you’ve tried bleaching it and found out it worsens the stain instead of clearing it). Here is a You Tube video to guide you.

DON’T BLEACH. I know, it’s the common (almost logical) initial reaction to any kind of stain, especially for white cotton shirts, but bleach has a tendency to react to the protein in sweat, turning the yellowish color even darker and more visible. So bleaching is definitely not in the how to get rid of pit stains list.

The following are a whole host of remedies that should help you to remove those hard yellow stains from around the armpit area:

  • Sprinkle meat tenderizer on the dampened portion of the shirt where the stain is before washing as usual.
  • Soak the stained portion in a solution of two crushed aspirins on half a cup of warm water for 2-3 hours.
  • Scrub the stain with a solution of dish soap and hydrogen peroxide (in a 1:2 ratio) and then let it sit for about an hour.
  • Sponge the shirt in a liter of water with 4 tablespoons of salt dissolved in it.
  • Scrub the stain with lemon juice or ammonia (diluted in a 1:1 solution)
  • Pour vinegar directly into the stain before putting it in the wash.
  • Treat the stain with a paste made from 4 tablespoons of baking soda mixed with a quarter cup of warm water. For darker stains, let the paste sit for about two hours before washing. For really dark stains, you can try to pour vinegar after the paste has dried and then wash the shirt in plain baking soda.

Prevention is better than cure

Since not sweating on the shirt (which is the simplest way to prevent pit stains) is not really an option, and the steps on how to get rid of pit stains may not always work or fit your busy schedule, you may want to take precautionary measures.

Check your deodorant’s aluminium content and aim for the lowest possible percentage (if you can’t find one entirely without). An all-natural deodorant may be your best bet. Check out our guide to the best natural deodorants here.

Alternatively, you can let your deodorant dry up before wearing your shirt to minimize rub off on the fabric, or rub the stain-prone parts before running the wash, even if they are yet to show signs of discoloration.

How to Remove Deodorant Stains – In Conclusion…

For something that is completely natural and suffered by many, a lot of time and money is spent on taking precautions to get rid of pit stains.

Personally, I would recommend making a solution from above that you can store and keep on hand for you just to dab on your shirts prior to every wash. For those of you who are busy though, I would recommend looking into products like Raise, Deo-Go or Soilove.