The 5 Best Men’s Deodorants

When you were an adolescent, deodorant was more than just the thing you applied to your armpits to stop you from smelling bad after gym class. It was also meant to make you smell really good – to a thirteen year-old's nose, that is. Good deodorant shouldn't also serve as cologne; rather, it should add a mild, pleasant scent (or none at all) and reduce the amount that your armpits sweat. As a man, you don't have to walk around smelling like a can of body spray to stop your armpits from sweating. Here, we've compiled five deodorants that are both subtle in scent and effective at stopping sweat and controlling body odor.

Dove Men+ Care Clean Comfort

Subtlety is Not Lost on Me

Dove's Men+ Care Clean Comfort is gentle yet effective; cheap yet of a decent quality; and almost universally agreeable in scent.
Best Overall

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We could drop a cliche here about being secure enough in your masculinity to use Dove deodorant. We could attempt to appeal to you in that cheap sort of way, but we feel there’s no need. Dove’s Men+ Care has nothing to apologize for. If anything, the flamboyantly-scented deodorants of yesteryear are the ones making the walk of shame as more subtle, neutral-scented deodorants take there place. This one is the perfect example. While its crisp, clean scent is slightly masculine, it doesn’t desperately shout “I have a Y chromosome!” to the world like other big-name brands do. Aside from its non-offensive scent, it works well – for some, even up to 48 hours. It also boasts a 1/4 moisturizer composition that should help ward off skin irritation.

Pros:

  • Pleasant, mild scent
  • Available bulk options are very cheap

Cons:

  • Residue may stain underarm shirts
  • Stick is a bit crumbly

Baxter of California Citrus and Herbal Musk

Feeling Fancy

Spending a bit extra on a high-quality deodorant is commendable, and your reward is a treat to your olfactory organs. In other words, this stuff smells good.
Best Premium Pick

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Men have been conditioned to believe that caring about cosmetic matters is off-limits. If the average dude had his way, they say, he’d also use his deodorant as chap stick, bath soap, hair conditioner, shoe shine, and car polish. But is that really true? Increasingly, men are realizing that having sensitivity to things like scent is not a weakness, but, uh, a universal human phenomenon. So why do we insist on lathering a crude, chemical-doused sweat stopper under our armpits when there are high-quality alternatives to be had? Take Baxter of California for example. Yes, it costs a lot, and no, you don’t need to spend this much on deodorant, but it’s worth some consideration. Its herbal musk & citrus scent is truly fantastic, and it’s made of botanically-based ingredients. If you feel like treating yourself, this is your pick.

Pros:

  • Contains tea tree oil and witch hazel
  • Won’t stain clothes
  • Contains no aluminum

Cons:

  • Scent may clash with cologne
  • Really, it’s expensive

Mitchum Advanced Control

Stopper of the Stench

Little needs to be said about Mitchum's Clean Control. It works perhaps better than any other over-the-counter deodorant for stopping sweat in its tracks.
Best for Heavy Sweaters

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After all of our waxing poetic, we arrive at Mitchum, which stands in direct opposition to the subtlety of Dove or the elegance of Baxter of California. Mitchum’s Advanced Control does one thing and does it well: it stops sweat. As a powerful antiperspirant/deodorant combo, is doesn’t take many words to highlight this $3 champion’s qualities. It lasts a long time, a little goes a long way, and it’s great for those of us with overactive sweat glands.

Pros:

  • Great for humid climates
  • Also available in unscented
  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • May cause rashes in some people
  • Stick falls apart over time

Schmidt’s Natural Cedwarwood + Juniper

It's Only Natural

More and more, we're realizing that some of the products we're sold are downright poisonous. This one uses only minerals and plant extracts, and it works really darn well.
Best Natural

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If you’re looking to go the natural route, Schmidt’s line of deodorants offers cruelty-free, vegan options that are free from all the nasty stuff, like propylene glycol, aluminum, phthalates, artificial fragrance and aluminum. Each deodorant is derived from a blend of minerals and plant extracts. Best of all, it’s available in a variety of scent combinations: cedarwood & juniper; bergamot & lime; lavender & sage; ylang-ylang & calendula; and an unscented variety. To apply it, you dip the provided spatula into the glass container, scoop up a dollop, rub it between your fingers and apply it onto your armpits. Though its application method is a bit strange, it seems to be one of the only natural deodorants that really works. Its proponents claim that it wards off odor for a full day with a single application, and that its scents smell exactly like the ingredients of their namesakes.

Pros:

  • Little goes a long way
  • Fantastic aroma blends
  • Well-priced compared to other natural deodorants

Cons:

  • Application process is a bit odd
  • Doesn’t spread evenly until it’s warm

Arm & Hammer Essentials Fresh

Keep it Simple

It's not rocket science. It's deodorant. If you don't care much to spend your mental energy thinking about deodorant, skip the rest and go Arm & Hammer.
Best No-Nonsense

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Arm & Hammer boils down its stench-stopping strategy to two main ingredients: baking soda and herbal extracts. Baking soda’s antibacterial properties help mitigate the growth of bacteria that occurs throughout the course of the day. Those bacteria, in fact, are the ones that are responsible for BO. Naturally, hindering their growth results in a less-smelly underarm region. Then, the herbal extracts, like coriander, rosemary, and lavandin create a fresh, clean scent that lingers without overpowering. Though this deodorant isn’t flashy or sexy, its simple ingredients function well. That’s why it has such a loyal camp of folks who swear by it.

Pros:

  • Paraben-free
  • Absolutely no aluminum
  • Also smells good on women

Cons:

  • May cause skin to peel
  • Makes some people itchy

Frequently Asked Questions

Difference between anti-perspirant and deodorant?

Though you might not have known that there’s a difference, anti-perspirant and deodorant function differently. Deodorant neutralizes and masks odor, while anti-perspirant blocks your pores so that they don’t sweat as much. By sweating less, you end up smelling less, too, because sweat provides the perfect environment for odor-causing bacteria to multiply. Often, deodorant is used as an all-encompassing blanket term for both deodorant and anti-perspirant. This is because they are often combined in the same product. However, in recent years, some have shied away from anti-perspirants in lieu of reports that the aluminum that they often use could be dangerous.

What’s the deal with aluminum? Is it as bad for you as they say?

There are theories that aluminum-containing anti-perspirants could be linked to breast cancer, though the science has not proven this to be true. The thinking goes that the aluminum is absorbed by the tissue surrounding the armpit, and that buildup of aluminum could, over time, mimic estrogen in the bloodstream. This could theoretically promote the growth of cancer cells. While the line of reasoning makes sense, there’s nothing to prove that such is the case. If you have healthy kidneys, they should be able to absorb and filter our the aluminum. Those with kidney problems, on the other hand, definitely should avoid aluminum-containing anti-perspirants. In summary, the science hasn’t verified a link between cancer and the aluminum contained in anti-perspirant, but perhaps it’s best to err on the side of caution.