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The Best Deodorant for Women

Updated


We sniffed, sweated, swiped, sprayed and showered our way through 17 different types of deodorant for women over several weeks. Ultimately, we determined that Degree – MotionSense is the best antiperspirant deodorant for keeping women fresh, dry and smelling nice. Our other winners are: Secret – Clinical Strength Soft Solid for best clinical strength deodorant, Native – Women for best natural deodorant and Degree – MotionSense Dry Spray for best spray deodorant.

Our Top Choices

Best Overall


Degree

MotionSense

See Price at Amazon

Best Clinical Strength


Secret

See Price at Amazon

Best Natural


Native

Women

See Price at Amazon

Best Dry Spray


Degree

MotionSense

See Price at Amazon

We sniffed, sweated, swiped, sprayed and showered our way through 17 different types of deodorant for women over several weeks. Ultimately, we determined that Degree – MotionSense is the best antiperspirant deodorant for keeping women fresh, dry and smelling nice. Our other winners are: Secret – Clinical Strength Soft Solid for best clinical strength deodorant, Native – Women for best natural deodorant and Degree – MotionSense Dry Spray for best spray deodorant.

Table of contents

How we selected finalists to test

We began our research by reading consumer reviews of the best deodorants available from major retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart. We examined types of products available, online ratings, user comments and bestselling options. We also read a wide range of related health and beauty articles and blogs on the topic.

We identified four major deodorant categories:  antiperspirant, clinical strength, natural and spray.  However, it is possible for a single deodorant to be classified into more than one of these categories. For example, a spray can also be either a natural product or an antiperspirant, and clinical strength products are all antiperspirants, as well. We then narrowed our search down to four or five well-loved products in each major category — 17 finalists in total — and put them through side-by-side product testing.

Compare the best deodorant for women

ProductPriceTypeOdor Control
(1 to 10)
Wetness Control
(1 to 10)
Ease of Application
(1 to 10)
1. Degree - MotionSense$Antiperspirant8.389
2. Secret - Clinical Strength$$$Clinical strength77.77.5
3. Native - Women$$$Natural668.5
4. Degree - MotionSense Dry Spray$$Spray6.777
5. Donna Karan - Cashmere Mist$$$$Antiperspirant8.77.77
6. Secret - Outlast$Antiperspirant888
7. Dove - Advanced Care$Antiperspirant7.77.79
8. Degree - Women Clinical Protection$$$Clinical strength77.37
9. Dove - Clinical Protection$$Clinical strength77.37
10. Dove - Dry Spray$$Spray6.45.36
11. Secret - Original$Spray6.35.73
12. Secret - Fresh Clear Gel$Antiperspirant6.353
13. Suave - 24-Hour Protection$$Spray54.73
14. Certain DRI - Prescription Strength$$Clinical strength4.75.32
15. Green Tidings - All Natural$$$Natural4.743
16. Schmidt's - Natural$$Natural4.742
17. Bali Secrets - Natural$$$Natural2.72.32

Types of deodorant

If you’ve ever wondered why the human body stinks and sweats, Science Daily explains that “the smell is caused by bacteria on the skin breaking down naturally secreted molecules contained within sweat.” You could try to cover up the smell, stop the sweat or do a combination of both, but you need an effective deodorant and/or antiperspirant.

Deodorants fight body odor-related bacteria and cover up the smell. Antiperspirants limit or completely stop underarm sweating.

The difference between men’s and women’s deodorants is mostly in how they are marketed. The actual active ingredients are almost identical. Certain fragrances appeal more to men, but if you prefer the scent, packaging or price point of a men’s deodorant, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try.

No matter what type of deodorant you choose, keep in mind that deodorant is body-specific. People may react differently to the same product, and what works well for one person might not work at all for someone else.

Antiperspirant health concerns

Antiperspirants have been criticized in recent years for their active ingredients — specifically aluminum compounds — that  temporarily restrict the release of moisture from the sweat glands in the underarms.  These aluminum compounds are purported to be linked to breast cancer. Even though there is no scientific evidence to support these claims, many people switched from using antiperspirant deodorants to natural, aluminum-free products or stopped using deodorant altogether.

Some studies also suggest a possible link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease. Overall, however, research is inconclusive.

A growing movement to go without deodorant has pros and cons. The cons are pretty obvious, but people who stop wearing deodorant claim that your body gradually adjusts and stops secreting excessive odor and sweat.

You’d certainly save money by not using deodorant, and by reducing your use of plastics, you would help the environment as well. Of course, you could also smell nice and be eco-friendly by looking into plastic-free deodorant options.

Important features to consider

As reported by The Washington Post, deodorant is an $18 billion-a-year industry. There is an overwhelming range of products on the market, and you should consider several important features before purchasing the one that’s right for you.

Odor control

For most people, controlling body odor is key. While aluminum compounds reduce sweat, other deodorant ingredients specifically fight odor-causing bacteria. Antibacterial ingredients — like alcohol or triclosan — are both effective options. Artificial and natural fragrances are also used to mask unpleasant smells.

Wetness control

If you’re concerned about controlling underarm moisture from sweat, we’d recommend a product containing an aluminum-based antiperspirant. These ingredients are listed under “Active Ingredient” on product labels and include aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GLY, aluminum chlorohydrate and aluminum zirconium octachlorohydrex.

You’ll also find a percentage of how much of the ingredient is used in the product. This amount varies. Clinical-strength deodorants offer the highest amount of active antiperspirant ingredients and, therefore, the highest level of wetness protection.

A couple of the clinical strength products we tested, for example, contain 20 percent of the active ingredient aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GLY, which is the maximum amount allowed by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for over-the-counter sale. All active ingredients found in antiperspirants are regulated by the FDA for safety. For comparison purposes, other antiperspirant deodorant solids that we tested range from 15.2 percent to 19.3 percent.

If you perspire heavily, a higher percentage of active ingredients will be more effective for controlling underarm moisture. The level of concentration is the key differentiator in antiperspirant effectiveness. Prescription-strength products, which are even stronger than clinical-strength ones, may also be of interest; consult your doctor to explore this option.

Natural ingredients

Many natural deodorants promote the use of mineral salts to provide odor and wetness control. These ingredients have not been scientifically proven to be effective; however, some individuals find them helpful. When it comes to effective control of body odor and wetness, we found that natural products simply aren’t as effective as antiperspirant deodorants.

Initial scent

The fragrance of the deodorant upon application should be considered. Do you like the way it smells and the way it interacts with your natural fragrance? Because this is a personal preference, it might be helpful if a particular product line has a variety of different scents from which to choose. You can then experiment with various scent options without risking any lapse in protection.

Application

The delivery method varies and includes solids, gels, roll-ons, sprays or creams. The style and shape of the applicator, along with texture of the product, can have an impact on personal comfort.

solid stick deodorants

Solids: A solid or stick deodorant is one common option. These deodorants are swiped onto the skin and go on the driest of any deodorant product but can leave small amounts of white residue on clothing. They generally come in small, plastic containers that can be tucked into a purse, glove compartment or office desk drawer for use away from home.

gel and soft solid types

Gels: These come in a similar style bottle to solids but are softer and wetter in consistency. To apply, you twist the bottom of the bottle to push gel through slits in the plastic top. Gels feel wet and often cold upon application, but because most gels are clear in color, they leave little to no residue on clothing.

two roll on deodorant brands

Roll-ons: Liquid deodorants are rolled on to the skin through a roller-ball top. They go on very wet, so users can easily feel exactly which areas have been covered. Most are clear in color and tend to leave little, if any, residue on clothing.

spray type deodorant

Sprays: Most deodorant sprays come in aerosol containers. This type of deodorant goes on quickly and easily but tends to waste product by spraying beyond the targeted armpit and into the surrounding air. Aerosol deodorants can cause frostbite-like burns if held closer than six inches to the skin upon application. Although aerosols no longer contain ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), they do contribute to asthma-inducing smog and global warming. On the other hand, they leave little to no residue on clothing.

Creams: These are less common and tend to be natural, aluminum-free products. Creams don’t need extra ingredients to solidify them so the whipped consistency is more concentrated in fragrance than stick deodorants. Creams are  applied with your fingers and are more messy and less convenient than other forms.

When applying the various forms of deodorants, the most noticeable differences are whether it feels wet when you first put it on, how long it takes to dry and your own tolerance for this sensation. If you don’t like the wetness of roll-on liquids, gels or sprays, you’ll probably be better off with a solid.

If you want to avoid residue, you may prefer a roll-on, gel or spray. Individuals seeking the purest, most natural ingredients may want to explore creams.

Finally, note that clinical-strength products instruct application only at bedtime, and not immediately after showering, which might take some adjustment if you’re f used to applying deodorant at your convenience. The bedtime application is recommended, because as body temperatures cool at night, people sweat less. This allows the product to properly soak in overnight. The antiperspirant benefits of these products don’t wash off as quickly as the deodorant components do when you’re showering.

Longevity: The length of time that a deodorant provides effective odor and wetness control might be an another important factor to consider. The longevity of each product will vary significantly based on the individual, activity level, timing of bathing, the weather and more.

Residue: We all know how annoying it is to find white deodorant streaks on our dark clothing. Some deodorants also leave residue on lighter colored fabrics, and antiperspirants are often blamed for leaving yellowish marks on clothing over time. Certain common antiperspirants, such as aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GLY, react with sweat and cause such yellowing.

Cost: Deodorant prices range significantly, from under $5 to over $25. Because it is a product that you’ll purchase regularly, cost may be a factor when making your decision. Be sure to look at the net weight of product contained when price shopping; some of the containers are significantly larger than others. Also, consider product waste when using aerosol sprays. Although they contain more product than other deodorants by net weight, you lose some to the surrounding air when applying.

How we tested

Our 17 finalists were put to the test under a variety of conditions over a period of several weeks. During the testing period, the weather was pleasantly mild — typically in the low- to mid-60s during the day, and lower 50s at night.

Odor

Underarm odor was evaluated on a rating system of one (smells bad) to 10 (smells good). Scores were assigned at 3 different stages: initial scent upon application, over time (8 hours later) and after sweating under standardized conditions (always the same workout). These 3 scores were then averaged to create an overall odor control rating.

Our top performers that kept us smelling nice were antiperspirant deodorants Donna Karan – Cashmere Mist and Degree – MotionSense.

Wetness

Underarm moisture was evaluated on a similar rating system of one (wet) to 10 (dry). Scores were assigned at the same 3 stages as above: initial wetness upon application, over time (8 hours later) and after sweating under standardized conditions (always the same workout). Similarly, these 3 scores were then averaged to create an overall wetness control rating.

Our top performers for keeping sweaty underarms dry were antiperspirant deodorants Degree – MotionSense and Secret – Outlast Invisible Solid.

Application

We evaluated deodorant application on a scale of one (poor) to 10 (excellent). This included comfort of the applicator shape, product smoothness, wetness of product upon application and any application-related restrictions. Of note, clinical strength deodorants had several restrictions: use before bedtime, apply only two clicks and don’t use immediately after showering.

This process resulted in our top choices for comfortable application being Degree – MotionSense and Dove – Advanced Care.

Residue

We tested all products for noticeable clothing residue by placing a couple of swipes or sprays on both white and black t-shirt fabric. We then examined these to see if any obvious residue remained, such as yellow on white or white on dark. In general, all roll-ons, gels and sprays left the least amount of noticeable residue.

Antiperspirant deodorants all left some residue and were about the same for each one. The softer, clinical-strength solids left the most residue when placed directly on fabric, but our tester noted that this consistency could easily be rubbed in upon actual skin application. A couple of the natural deodorants left significant, chunky residue, which our tester also noticed sticking to her underarms and clothing throughout the day.

Best overall: Degree – MotionSense

Degree - Motionsense stick

Our top choice of antiperspirant deodorant, as well as our selection for best deodorant for women overall, is Degree – MotionSense. This product combines a strong, sweat-stopping antiperspirant with a pleasantly scented deodorant, providing both excellent moisture and odor control throughout the day. We love the silky texture, well-designed applicator and relatively low cost. While Degree is a good option for all women, it is a particularly great choice for women with active lifestyles.

Degree swipes on very smoothly with a nicely shaped solid stick applicator and perfect consistency of product texture — soft enough to go on without any trouble or discomfort, but firm enough to not disintegrate into excessive residue that leaves a mess on your clothing. With a net weight of 2.6 ounces (74 grams), Degree has a pleasant bottle shape and a comfortable grip.

We tried the Sexy Intrigue scent, which blends jasmine, rose, amber and vanilla, achieving a light, feminine, seductive result. The Degree MotionSense product line also comes in a variety of other appealing fragrances that includes Fresh Energy, Shower Clean and Daisy Fresh.

Best Overall: Degree - MotionSense

Degree - MotionSense will protect you from unpleasant body odors and sweaty underarms and will keep you feeling clean and confident all day long.

Degree offers excellent odor- and wetness- control and performs well even under heavy sweating conditions. This is likely due to the active ingredient aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GLY, which is notable at 19.2 percent. This is only 0.8 percent less than the clinical-strength deodorants we tested that had this same ingredient. In other words, you are receiving nearly the same antiperspirant protection that clinical-strength deodorants offer for less than half the price.

Also, unlike clinical strength deodorants, there are no restrictions to when and how much to apply, or how often you can use it. Degree can be applied liberally or reapplied any time you need extra protection, such as before hitting the gym or after showering.

Degree may be particularly helpful for active individuals. The company explains that their MotionSense technology involves unique microcapsules that sit on the surface of your skin. When friction from movement breaks these up, additional fragrance is released. In other words, the more you move, the more it protects you from unpleasant body odor.

In terms of cost, Degree is one of the most reasonably priced products of all 17 finalists.

While a couple of our other antiperspirant deodorant finalists, Donna Karan – Cashmere Mist and Secret – Outlast Invisible Solid, were also strong competitors, Degree – MotionSense was outstanding overall in its odor- and wetness-control, smooth texture, comfortable applicator and nice fragrance.

Key takeaways:

  • Degree – MotionSense provides excellent odor and wetness protection.
  • This product performs well for both daily living situations and for strenuous exercise.
  • Degree contains the highest level of active antiperspirant ingredient, aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GLY (19.2 percent), of the non-clinical-strength deodorants we tested.
  • We love the Sexy Intrigue fragrance, but there are several other options to try!

Best clinical-strength: Secret

Secret - Clinical Strength soft solid

We’re not convinced that clinical-strength deodorants are worth the extra cost and application hassle for their slight advantage in antiperspirant protection. However, if you struggle with excessive perspiration, you may appreciate that advantage. Secret – Clinical Strength Soft Solid performed well in both the odor and wetness control categories. It also has a nice floral scent and the smoothest applicator of all clinical-strength products we tested.

Although clinical-strength products are fairly comfortable to apply, application directions are too restrictive for little, if any, performance benefit. Instructions require bedtime application, not applying directly after a shower and using a mere two clicks of product. Also, the softer style solid generally felt wetter initially than a traditional solid, which we didn’t care for.

The product directions for Secret – Clinical Strength Soft Solid state to apply two clicks of product to underarms at bedtime, which is funneled out through slits across the top of the deodorant stick. This was also the case with Degree – Women Clinical Protection and Dove – Clinical Protection, though the shape of the openings on Secret helped the product go on a little more evenly.

Best Sweat-Stopper: Secret - Clinical Strength

If you sweat heavily, and regular antiperspirants aren't doing the job, Secret - Clinical Strength Soft Solid has the highest level of wetness protection without a prescription.

Secret’s fragrance, Clean Lavender, is light and pleasant. However, upon showering the next morning, the deodorant portion of the product washed off. That said, no particularly bad odor was noted that day, and wetness was well controlled even during a workout.

The active ingredient in Secret is aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex GLY (20.0 percent), which is similar to the active ingredient aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GYL (20.0 percent ) in Degree – Clinical Strength and Dove – Clinical Strength.

Both of these active ingredients, along with all aluminum compounds found in antiperspirants, are regulated by the FDA. Twenty percent of both aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex GYL and aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GYL is the maximum allowable amount for over-the-counter sale. Without a prescription, you will not find a stronger antiperspirant.

Not only are these ingredients effective for underarm moisture control, they have also been shown to cause less skin irritation than other aluminum-based antiperspirants like aluminum chloride and aluminum chlorohydrate.

Although it is the most expensive of the four clinical strength options tested, it is also the largest container, with a net weight of 2.6 ounces (73 grams).

Key takeaways:

  • The product provides effective odor and wetness control, though the deodorant scent may be washed off sooner than you’d like, depending on when you shower.
  • As with all clinical-strength deodorants, a very small amount of Secret should be applied at bedtime only.
  • Secret – Clinical Strength is more expensive than other options, but you get more deodorant.

Best natural: Native – Women

Native - Coconut & Vanilla

Our foray into natural deodorant product testing had us feeling a little dubious, but Native quickly caught our attention as being vastly superior to other natural deodorant products. Its sweet, tropical scent and smooth consistency stood out among deodorants, particularly within this category. Native is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to avoid aluminum-based antiperspirants and still maintain effective deodorant protection.

First of all, we noted that it has a significant following online, with over 3,000 highly favorable reviews for each scent offered at Target. Native is free of aluminum, dyes, parabens, sulfates, and the company never experiments on animals.

Native excelled at smoothness of application. The texture felt surprisingly similar to our favorite deodorant overall, Degree – MotionSense. Other natural deodorants were either too chunky, too hard or too wet. Native, on the other hand, was just right.

Best Natural Deodorant: Native - Women

Eco-friendly, aluminum-free and tropically-scented, Native - Women goes on very smoothly and protects you from body odors all day long.

We really liked the sweet, tropical Coconut & Vanilla scent, but a few other fragrances are also appealing, such as Lavender & Rose, Eucalyptus & Mint and Jasmine & Cedar. Relative to other natural deodorants tested, Native did a decent job of protecting against body odors throughout the day. Unfortunately, it didn’t hold up too well to a vigorous workout and was in large part just sweated off.

Of course, one of the best natural ways to stay smelling nice is to shower regularly. Check out our reviews for the best shower head.

If you want to stick with natural ingredients — that, in this case, include coconut oil and shea butter — and don’t have a problem with reapplying it as needed, this eco-friendly product might be the one for you.

Key takeaways:

  • Native – Women is an excellent choice if you want to avoid aluminum-based antiperspirants and still maintain effective deodorant protection.
  • Not only is it aluminum free, it also has no dyes, parabens, sulfates, and the company never tests on animals.
  • Although it doesn’t quite hold up to a vigorous workout, it can be easily applied throughout the day.

Best spray: Degree – MotionSense

Degree - Motionsense dry spray

Degree – MotionSense Dry Spray is packaged in a well-designed bottle, offers a fun, sporty scent and provides good wetness and odor protection. If you’re a fan of aerosols, you might want to give it a try.

While we wouldn’t say it goes on instantly dry as indicated, it didn’t seem any wetter than most typical solid sticks and dried quickly. Although Degree – Dry Spray certainly protected against odor and moisture, it generally wasn’t as effective under sweat-inducing conditions as solid antiperspirant deodorants. This was true of the other spray products we tested. Degree claims a 48-hour antiperspirant, but we needed to re-apply it after working out.

Degree – Dry Spray’s bottle is easy to grip, but unlike most deodorants, it doesn’t have a pop-off top. Instead, the sprayer has a built-in lock feature that can be used, for example, when traveling. Generally, we found the quicker access of the capless style to be convenient and, one less thing to lose!

Best Dry Spray: Degree - MotionSense

The most effective spray deodorant we tested, Degree provides good odor and wetness protection. You’ll enjoy its sporty Active Shield fragrance as you hit your daily workout!

Degree sprays on smoothly and evenly. However, when our tester followed its labeling instructions and sprayed it six inches from her skin, a fair amount of product sprayed the surrounding air space, just as the other sprays did.

One major benefit of a spray deodorant is that they leave less noticeable residue on either dark or white clothing. This was the case with all four spray products tested, and they were all comparable on the small amount of residue left behind.

The active ingredient in Degree – MotionSense Dry Spray is aluminum chlorohydrate (23.3 percent), a common ingredient in antiperspirants that has been used for decades. Aluminum in this form can be irritating to the skin, cause acne and aggravate razor burn in some individuals. Fortunately, we didn’t notice any issues and were comforted that the FDA considers aluminum chlorohydrate to be safe in concentrations up to 25 percent.

Key takeaways:

  • Degree – MotionSense Dry Spray offers good odor and wetness control under most conditions.
  • It sprays evenly and leaves little noticeable residue on clothing.
  • The bottle style is easy to grip, and its built-in lock feature is convenient when you’re traveling.

Other finalists we tested

Antiperspirant deodorants

non-winning antiperspirants

Donna Karan – Cashmere Mist

Donna Karan – Cashmere Mist smells heavenly and scored top marks for initial scent. It offers the perfect combination of cleanliness and sexy femininity, with just a hint of baby-powder undertones. It is effective as both an antiperspirant and deodorant, standing up well to both daily use and rigorous workouts.

However, it loses points in applicator comfort. The small, round shape isn’t terrible, but our tester definitely preferred the wider, more traditional shape of the other solids. Also, the cap is a twist-off style, as opposed to pop-off, which we found somewhat less convenient.

The biggest drawback is its price tag; it’s more than six times the cost of our favorite antiperspirant deodorant, Degree – MotionSense. While we find it a stretch to justify the expense, if you’re willing to shell out some big bucks, you will no doubt smell fantastic. Think of it as an antiperspirant deodorant combined with your favorite perfume.

Secret – Outlast Invisible Solid

We found that Secret – Outlast Invisible Solid also did an excellent job for both odor and wetness control and held up well to the workout. It is comfortable and smooth to put on, and the scent —  Completely Clean — smells fresh and, well, clean. Secret’s active ingredient is aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GLY (19 percent), which offers nearly the same antiperspirant protection for wetness control as our overall winner, Degree – MotionSense.

Although we slightly preferred the fragrance, texture and bottle style of Degree, Secret is a strong competitor for best antiperspirant deodorant and a smart choice for your daily antiperspirant-deodorant needs.

Dove – Advanced Care

Dove – Advanced Care did the job decently enough, but nothing particularly stood out during testing other than its lovely, smooth texture. The fragrance we tried, Revive, was subtly fruity and perfectly pleasant. The product line also offers additional scents, such as Beauty Finish and Cool Essentials. Its NutriumMoisture technology is advertised to moisturize your underarms for softer skin in just three days, but we didn’t notice any difference,

Secret – Fresh Clear Gel

A reasonably effective option for anyone who dislikes any type of white deodorant residue on their clothing is Secret – Fresh Clear Gel, which performed very well and left no visible residue on fabric. The applicator has a nice shape, and the product went on smoothly, although the gel initially felt cold and wet on the skin. The scent we tried, Boho Berry, was appropriately fruity.

This product didn’t hold up quite as well as the other antiperspirant deodorants in terms of odor and wetness protection. This may be because it uses a slightly different active ingredient, aluminum zirconium octachlorohydrex GLY (16 percent).

Clinical-Strength Deodorants

non-winning clinical strength deodorant

Degree – Women Clinical Protection

This deodorant has a nice, light scent — Shower Clean — and performed well overall on odor and wetness testing. It did leave quite a bit of residue on the materials test, but because of the soft consistency of the product, this didn’t seem like a major problem. When it came to actual wear on the skin, we didn’t notice any particularly alarming level of residue on our clothing.

Like our top deodorant contender, Degree – MotionSense, this product uses MotionSense technology: aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GLY, but with 20.0 percent instead of 19.2 percent. That doesn’t seem like much of a difference to justify paying nearly twice as much for a smaller amount (1.7 ounces vs. 2.6 ounces).

Dove – Clinical Protection

We almost couldn’t tell any difference between Dove – Clinical Protection and Degree – Women Clinical Protection. The applicator, consistency, packaging, ingredients and effectiveness of the product are virtually identical. Even the scent of Dove — Soothing Chamomile — smells similarly light and floral. One quarter of this product is composed of moisturizers to improve the feel of your underarm skin.

As with Degree – Women Clinical Protection, we felt that the slight antiperspirant protection benefit that one may receive from using Dove – Clinical Protection over a standard antiperspirant deodorant did not justify the significantly higher cost.

Certain DRI – Prescription Strength Clinical

The only roll-on of the clinical-strength deodorants tested, Certain DRI – Prescription Strength Clinical, goes on wet and once dry, provides moderately effective wetness control. Unlike the other 16 products we evaluated, Certain DRI is unscented. If you have skin sensitivities to fragrances or want to wear perfumes alongside an antiperspirant, this might be a good option for you.

We did prefer, however, the deodorant component of the other clinical-strength products we tested, because upon bedtime application and until the next morning’s shower, they gave off a pleasant, floral scent. On the plus side, Certain DRI’s clear liquid left no residue on fabric.

Natural Deodorants

non-winning natural deodorant

Green Tidings – All Natural  

Green Tidings – All Natural has a pasty, almost chunky consistency. It performed better than the other natural products in terms of odor control, but it didn’t last throughout the day. The Green Tidings applicator is small and round and generally not as comfortable as a traditionally oval-shaped solid. This deodorant felt gooey and left reside on both black and white material.

On the plus side, the fragrance is different than other deodorants: it has  a strong lavender scent like you might find in a scented candle. Its main ingredients are recognizable — tapioca starch, coconut oil and baking soda — and it’s non-toxic, vegan and free of gluten, aluminum, paraben and artificial fragrance. The company also offers a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee or a full refund.

Schmidt’s – Natural

The beautiful packaging and lovely scent options of Schmidt’s – Natural made us really want to like it, but the stick was so hard and rough that it actually hurt to apply. It left the most residue — yellowish in color —  of all 17 deodorants we tested. Schmidt’s also wasn’t effective at controlling wetness and odor.

It does have a nice scent, however; we particularly liked the Bergamot & Lime fragrance. Schmidt’s is quite similar to Native – Women, but is less effective and far more painful to apply.

Bali Secrets – Natural

Despite favorable online reviews, we’re having trouble seeing the point of wearing Bali Secrets – Natural at all. First off, it was our least favorite scent of all 17 finalists — in fact, we disliked the smell of Original Essence so viscerally that we’d rather go deodorant-free. The harsh scent reminded us more of a cleaning product.

Next, the roll-on style goes on very wet and not as smoothly as you might expect. Its gritty consistency jammed up the small applicator and made easy application challenging. Any benefits it may have had for controlling odor and wetness soon wore off, and we felt sticky the entire time wearing it.

Bali Secrets is probably good for the planet — it’s made from seaweed extract and mineral salt — but that seems to be the only thing it’s good for.

Spray deodorants

non-winning spray deodorant

Secret – Original

If you’re a fan of baby powder, you’ll enjoy the scent of Secret – Original. While we didn’t love the spray mechanism of this particular aerosol product, Secret was fairly effective in controlling odor and wetness throughout the day — probably as a result of the highest active ingredient level of all our sprays, aluminum chlorohydrate (24 percent). Like the other sprays, it goes on really wet, leaves very little in the way of residue and scents the air surrounding your armpit.

Dove – Dry Spray

Dove – Dry Spray also sprays on wet but dries quickly. We liked its light scent and sleek bottle design, but overall it just didn’t hold up as well, particularly after a heavy workout. The active ingredient is aluminum chlorohydrate (20.2 percent), which is a fair amount less than the more effective spray deodorants and was probably the reason we felt more sweaty.

Suave – 24 Hour Protection

Suave – 24 Hour Protection is another product that smells like baby powder. It didn’t spray on evenly, wasted a lot to the surrounding air and was only somewhat effective at odor and wetness control. Suave’s active ingredient is also aluminum chlorohydrate (19.1 percent), likely leading to less-effective antiperspirant control.

The bottom line

After weeks of immersing ourselves in the world of women’s deodorant, we’re confident that Degree – MotionSense antiperspirant deodorant will provide excellent odor and wetness control during both daily life and sweaty exercise routines. Its light and sexy scent, smooth texture, comfortable shape and relatively high concentrate of active ingredient make this product our selection for both best antiperspirant deodorant and best deodorant overall for women.

If you perspire especially heavily and  are more concerned with the antiperspirant component of a deodorant product, Secret – Clinical Strength Soft Solid might be the way to go. Keep in mind that there are some application restrictions that may require changing up some long-time habits.

If you’d like to stick with all-natural ingredients and avoid aluminum-containing antiperspirants, try Native natural deodorant. It’s fun, tropical scent will go a long way towards masking unpleasant body odors, and the smooth texture is one of our favorites to apply.

For those who prefer a spray deodorant, we found Degree – MotionSense Dry Spray a good option. It provides good odor and wetness control under most circumstances and is packaged in a nicely designed dispenser.

Best Overall: Degree - MotionSense

Degree will stop sweat and body odor in its tracks. It's the perfect combination of low-cost, smooth texture and fresh fragrance.

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