Best deodorants for women 2020

10 June 2020

Best deodorants and antiperspirants for women 2020

Whether you're looking for an antiperspirant to stop excessive sweating or a deodorant that smells nice, here's our roundup of the very best deodorants for women to keep your pits from, well, being the pits.

Deodorant is a bit like wifi (bear with us) – you don't tend to think much about it or how it works until it doesn't. While sweat production isn't a bad thing – it's what stops us from overheating – the smell and dampness are generally not considered so positively.

And while you may be of the 'whatever's on offer' school of thought, sometimes a change in lifestyle, like more exercising, or just hormones may mean your usual brand isn't doing for you what it used to.

And what do you want it to do? Maybe you're sweating buckets or looking to switch to something more eco-friendly? Or perhaps you want something a bit more pleasing on the nostrils? If the sweat and toil of being a parent will teach you anything, it's what makes a great deodorant – so we took the advice of Mumsnet users, especially on our Style and Beauty forum, and rounded it all up for you in one place. You're welcome.

Here's our list of the best deodorants for women:

1. Best roll-on deodorant for women: Mitchum Roll-On Unperfumed Antiperspirant
Mitchum

Mitchum is an oft-recommended brand on Mumsnet and elsewhere. This dermatologically-tested antiperspirant boasts ultra-powerful sweat and odour control for 48 hours and comes in a range of subtle 'fresh' scents, as well as this popular fragrance-free version.

What Mumsnet users say:

“Mitchum Roll-On. Been using it for a scary 32 years now – how's that for customer loyalty?”

“Another vote for Mitchum. Effective and unscented, so it doesn't clash with perfume.”

RRP: £3.30, 100ml
Antiperspirant: Y

2. Best spray deodorant for women: Sanex Dermo Sensitive
Sanex deodorant

This antiperspirant is perfect for those who prefer the freshness of a spray, but don't want it to be harsh on the skin.

What Mumsnet users say:

“Roll on deodorants always make me feel sweaty and I'm not a person who sweats much at all. I really Like Sanex Dermo Sensitive – the one with the peach lid. I think it smells gorgeous, soft and powdery, but not so strong that it competes with perfume you might be wearing. I think it's pretty effective too, and it doesn't shed white powdery particles everywhere when you spray it like some deodorants do.”

“I use Sanex. It’s the best one I've tried.”

RRP: £3.20, 250ml
Antiperspirant: Y

3. Best deodorant for excessive sweating: Perspirex Extra-Effective Antiperspirant Roll-on
Perspirex deodorant

Tried the main antiperspirant brands and still sweating the proverbial pig? This clinically-proven formula could be what you need. Retailing at £8 a pop, Perspirex isn't cheap but it will last you a good while -you only need one application every three to five days, hopefully making regular sweat-patch checks a thing of the past.

It does include an 'active skincare system' to help reduce skin irritation but bear in mind that this is strong stuff and some Mumsnet users have said it can sting. If it does irritate your skin, you should stop using it.

What Mumsnet users say:

“I really recommend Perspirex. You apply it at night. It stings like hell, but the results are worth it and you only need to use it two to three times per week.”

RRP: From £8, 20ml
Antiperspirant: Y

4. Best natural deodorant: Malin+Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant
Malin+Goetz deodorant

If you're after a deodorant that is kind on skin and the environment, then Malin+Goetz could be the one. Made from natural ingredients, it's aluminium-free and uses minimal, recyclable packaging. The eucalyptus makes the deodorant antibacterial, which helps it to reduce odour and keep you feeling fresh.

What Mumsnet users say:

“I love the Malin + Goetz eucalyptus one.”

Antiperspirant: N
RRP: From £12, 25ml

5. Best deodorant bar: Lush Aromaco Solid Deodorant
Lush deodorant bar

If you want to go one step further in terms of an eco-friendly deodorant, you might want to consider a deodorant bar or solid deodorant, free from any plastic packaging. This is essentially a roll-on stick without the case. The Aromaco contains soothing antibacterial chamomile vinegar and witch hazel infusion, which can limit sweat production by reducing pore size. It’s also a cruelty-free and vegan. And if your feet are the root of your odour issues, Lush also does a foot deodorant powder (£8 for 60g).

What Mumsnet users say:

“I’ve recently started using Lush’s Aramaco deodorant because I wanted to try something plastic-free. It takes a bit of getting used to, but now I really like it. And the bar lasts for ages so I think it’s worked out cheaper in the long run.”

“Lush T for Toes is brilliant for honky feet.”

Antiperspirant: N
RRP: £6.50/100g

6. Best women's deodorant for sports: Sure Women Maximum Protection Sport Deodorant Cream
Sure deodorant

Designed specifically to cope with the impact sport has on sweating and odour, this Sure Maximum Deodorant Cream offers powerful 48-hour protection against sweat and odour using a 'body-responsive TRIsolid formula'. It also has a nice, fresh citrusy smell.

For optimum use and sweat protection, Sure recommends applying this at night when your sweat glands are less active.

What Mumsnet users say:

“Sure Maximum is the bee's knees! It's been extensively road-tested by my best friend who does 12-hour shifts in a boiling hot care home, my mother visiting Singapore and Australia and my mate who runs marathons. 100% success rate.”

“Sure Maximum Protection bought in bulk from Amazon to make it cheaper.”

RRP: £4.99, 100ml
Antiperspirant: Y

7. Best invisible deodorant: Nivea Antiperspirant Deodorant Spray, Black & White Original
Nivea deodorant

We've all been there – white marks and yellow stains on our black and white tops. Well, Nivea's Black & White deodorant could well be the answer. It’s designed specifically to protect your clothes (Mumsnet users' reports are that it works) and also does a great job as an antiperspirant. It offers 48-hour protection, is gentle on the skin and is lightly fragranced.

What Mumsnet users say:

“Nivea Invisible Black & White is really good for preventing marks.”

“I use Nivea Black & White Invisible Original antiperspirant deodorant roll-on under my arms. When that dries I spray on the matching Nivea Black & White antiperspirant deodorant spray under my arms and under my breasts. It may be over the top, but I never get sweaty in those two areas throughout a physically hard-working day!”

Antiperspirant: Y
RRP: £2.30, 150ml

8. Best men's deodorant for women: Right Guard Xtreme Invisible 72H Antiperspirant
Right Guard deodorant

Some women prefer using deodorant marketed at men as they find it more effective. Research into this has been that often ingredients are not that different, but stronger antiperspirants for men can sometimes be cheaper than women's. They also have different fragrances and are sometimes more likely to be unscented.

A men's deodorant that Mumsnet users recommend is Right Guard and this Xtreme version offers a reassuring 72-hours protection. Win.

What Mumsnet users say:

“I use men's Right Guard spray. I am a sweaty Betty and find men's deodorant works way better. Minimal sweat and no smell.”

Antiperspirant: Y
RRP: £2.30, 150ml

9. Best deodorant for fragrance: Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Deodorant Stick
Donna Karen deodorant

If you can't be bothered using perfume and an antiperspirant, this DKNY treat could be for you. The scent notes include real cashmere essence and Moroccan jasmine with lily, bergamot and sandalwood, as well as amber and musk.

Antiperspirant: Y
RRP: £19, 50ml

10. Best budget deodorant for fragrance: Dove Go Fresh
Dove Go Fresh

If you want a nice fragrance but are on a lower budget, the Dove Go Fresh range also gets a good rep on Mumsnet, from Grapefruit and Lemongrass to Cucumber and Green Tea.

What Mumsnet users say:

“I use the Dove green tea and cucumber one. It's lovely and smells fresh all day.”

Antiperspirant: Y
RRP: £3.99, 150ml

11. Best crystal deodorant: PitRok Crystal Roll-On Deodorant for Women
Pitrock

Another natural option, this crystal deodorant contains pure mineral salts, as well as aloe vera and grapefruit seed extract, to offer 24-hour protection against body odour. It’s paraben-free, cruelty-free, and suitable for vegans and those with sensitive skin. While not specifically aimed at preventing sweat, some women swear by crystal deodorants.

What Mumsnet users say:

“PitRok solid crystal. I tried the spray which I didn't like – it felt like all the fine droplets were falling as powder. I'm using the gold roll-on at the moment. It works on a menopausal healthcare provider who works in hideously hot clinics in a sweaty NHS polycotton tunic, apron and gloves.”

Antiperspirant: N
RRP: £5, 50ml

How does crystal deodorant work?

Crystal deodorant is a type of alternative deodorant made of natural mineral salt called potassium alum, which has antimicrobial properties. It stops the growth of odour-causing bacteria but, like other deodorants, won't actually prevent sweat production. Like other non-antiperspirants, it works on the consideration that it's good for your body to sweat, but understandably not so good for you if that sweat smells.

Often seen as aluminium-free, potassium alum does have aluminium in it, although arguably of a lesser quantity than antiperspirants.

It's worth noting that some women have had side effects from switching to a crystal deodorant – such as skin irritation (especially on broken skin). This can calm down once your body gets used to it, but of course, if it continues, or you're worried, do stop using it.

“I switched from antiperspirant to crystal rock deodorant a few years ago and have never looked back. It takes a couple of weeks to clear the backlog of nasties from your pores. I wash every morning, apply rock and wait for it to dry. It doesn’t stop sweat but the sweat doesn’t smell at all. After years of battling it's such a relief and far better for you, not backing up toxins in your pores.”

Things to consider when choosing deodorant

Deodorant vs antiperspirant?

Often used interchangeably, there is, in fact, a difference between deodorants and antiperspirants.

Deodorants are cosmetic products that mask body odour. Antiperspirants, actually prevent sweating (hence the name). They do this by blocking the sweat ducts. As a by-product, and due to other ingredients, antiperspirants can help with body odour, which means that they may also serve as deodorants.

Which one you go for comes down to what you need it to do. If sweating is an issue for you, an antiperspirant would probably be best. However, if it's not, a deodorant may be more than enough.

Aluminium-free?

The presence of aluminium in your deodorant might be a factor for you. All antiperspirants contain aluminium, as this active ingredient enables them to do their job of stopping sweat production.

Without aluminium, deodorants don't really stop you sweating. However, there is some evidence that particular natural deodorant ingredients, such as astringents like witch hazel and tannins, dry out the underarms and reduce pore size, which will stop your underarms from feeling so sweaty.

Is aluminium harmful? There seems to be little evidence that it is, in terms of the amount present in antiperspirants.

However, there has been past research into links between aluminium in antiperspirants and both breast cancer and Alzheimer's. There was a study in the early 2000s which linked aluminium and breast cancer, however this later study disputes those findings. Both Cancer Research UK and Alzheimer's Association state that there is no good evidence for these claims.

Roll-on versus spray deodorant?

This is mostly down to personal preference. Roll-ons can often feel gentler on the skin, but some find the wet feeling makes them feel sweaty, and don't like waiting for them to dry. If you're in this camp, opt for a spray. It should be noted that strong sprays can be asthma triggers if that is relevant for you or your family.

Which is better for the environment? There are eco pros and cons for both. The aerosol cans used for sprays can get a bad rep – and indeed the compressed gases they use do contribute to CO2 emissions. They do not, however, directly damage the ozone layer anymore – CFCs used to manufacture aerosols have been banned since 1995.

The good news is that aerosol cans are recyclable, although they do have to be dry and clean to be processed. Most roll-ons, however, are not currently recycled due to the two types of plastic they are often made of (the thicker outer layer and a thinner inner layer).

If the environment is a consideration in your purchase of deodorant, opt for natural deodorant or plastic-free deodorant bar.

Deodorant FAQs

How can I stop excessive sweating?

Rather than just relying on antiperspirants, here are some other things you could try:

  • wear loose-fitting clothes
  • wear socks that absorb moisture and change them at least twice a day if you can
  • wear leather shoes and ideally wear different shoes day-to-day

You can also visit your pharmacist to see what they suggest. There are more clinical products on the market, like Secret Clinical Strength that may help.

Excessive sweating is, in fact, a condition called hyperhidrosis. This is common and usually nothing to worry about, however, there is a chance that the sweating could be a symptom of another condition. If it's lasted over six months and prevents you from going about your daily life, do see your GP.

Is it safe to use deodorant during pregnancy?

As far as we know, yes. While there are some reports on the potential risk of certain chemicals during pregnancy, there is very little evidence to suggest that beauty products, such as deodorants, are harmful to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Some women may choose to avoid stronger products during this time, however, a lot of Mumsnet users have reported not changing their beauty habits.

One thing to be aware of is that some products (not usually deodorants) do contain vitamin A, which does have a link with affecting baby development. Therefore, the advice is to avoid vitamin-A products such as retinol used in anti-ageing serums and creams.

How to get rid of deodorant stains

To prevent deodorant stains, try switching to the invisible (or natural) deodorants above. But if it's too late, try these hacks:

  • Before the stain sets in, use a wet wipe to wipe off the deodorant and then wash as normal.
  • If the stain has set in or remains after washing, try white vinegar. Put the vinegar onto the stain and let absorb. Use a toothbrush to gently scrub the area and leave overnight. Wash as normal the next day. If the stain is still there, try the method again.

What age should a child start using deodorant?

There's no set age that children 'should' start wearing deodorant, it pretty much comes down to when they start developing body odour, and require it. Body odour and an increase in sweating tend to occur pre-puberty, so between ages eight and ten. If you do notice a change, it could be worth talking them through some personal hygiene basics (washing armpits with soap, fresh clothes) before starting them straight on deodorant.

“My daughter doesn't need deodorant yet but I keep checking her school shirts for signs of smelliness just in case!”

Best deodorants for children

Dove Invisible Care Antiperspirant Deodorant

Dove is a good brand to start with, and this one is also good for underarm irritation, perhaps for teen girls who are beginning to shave.

“DS has very sensitive skin and reacts to everything except Dove.”

Natural Deodorant Spray by Salt of the Earth

“My DS uses a deodorant when playing football – the latest is Salt of the Earth as it is reasonably priced, lasts months and months and is totally fragrance-free”

Bionsen Roll-On Deodorant

“I buy my teens Bionsen as it's aluminium-free and unperfumed. I also think teens should use a product that doesn't block their pores and stop them sweating.”