“What’s up, fellas—use any good deodorant lately?” is a bit of small talk I think we don’t hear enough these days. The best men’s deodorant is something we don’t really chat or think about, despite (hopefully) using it every day. Most of us layfolk just slather it under our arms in the pre-coffee, post-shower morning haze, and hope it lasts until we get home from work. But gentlemen, that changes today—it’s time to reevaluate your deo of choice.
“Before deodorant was introduced in the late 1800s, women used a combination of regular washing and copious amounts of perfume to combat body odor,” explains the Tom’s of Maine’s website. “At the time, body odor was not considered an issue for men as it was viewed as masculine.” Well, boys, times have changed. While smelling like a decaying flounder used to mean you could, I dunno, wrestle bears or something, these days, it just means your Hinge date is going to be texting their friend to call them with a faux “emergency” moments after your Olive Garden breadsticks arrive. (Though, more breadsticks for you, I guess.)
For me, deodorant has always been a little like toothpaste: I need to re-up, so I head to the pharmacy aisle and grab one that looks… fine. They all kind of look the same and do the same things, or so I thought—until I realized that my underarms deserve better than the slop I was constantly shoving up there. (I also started Googling all of the gnarly ingredients that certain low-quality deodorant brands are tossing in their sticks, and I now know it’s worth it to do your research.) So, we called up our man-friends (who also happen to be underwear experts) and army-crawled our way through the mud, barbed wire, parabens, and aluminum to bring you the best men’s deodorant, according to men.
The best natural deodorant for men
We’ve all had a friend show us their natural deodorant and tell us how great it works while shaming us for using our drugstore brand. Then, we get close to them, and we’re like, oh god, it doesn’t work at all. This happened to me early on in my deodorant-conscious days, and pretty much ruined natty deo for me. However, there are actually lots of all-natural men’s deodorant brands out there that do work, and work well.
Native is a hot brand right now that’s been lauded by deo-influencers for its efficacy and cruelty-free formula. It comes in a wide array of scents, and according to a gazillion happy reviewers, this stuff actually works.
Tom’s of Maine has been doing “all-natural” since before your folks knocked boots to a Van Morrison album, so you know its products slap. Its natural deodorant is another popular pick thanks to its tried-and-true formula.
Meanwhile, in the more lumbersexual category, Bravo Sierra’s (surprisingly trendy) aluminum-free men’s deodorant is made with probiotics that kill odor-causing bacteria at the source, and is even field-tested by the U.S. military (and it obviously passed with flying colors). Meanwhile, Salt & Stone’s aesthetically pleasing, all-natural scent is a blend of “Australian sandalwood, cedar, vetiver, and amber.” (Yes, we’re talking santal, baby.)
Finally, Agent Nateur (French-sounding—nice) makes a highly rated natural deodorant that pampers your pits with coconut oil, avocado butter, and a “proprietary blend of essential oils”; reviewers note that it lasts through hot yoga and “even beats out other antiperspirants I used that had toxic chemicals.” Tight.
The best luxury deodorant for men
They’re your armpits, people, and they deserve your respect. (I.e., don’t treat them like… armpits.) They deserve as much luxury as possible—after all, you only have two. Plus, walking around town with luxe deo on your pits is a classy move, Brad. Next thing you know you’ll be buying separate display bowls for your fruits and alliums.
Now, if you want to smell like a guy who wears a leather jacket, Bad Boy Deodorant Spray by Carolina Herrera is the move. It’s described as “a fragrant expression of duality, representing the bold nature of the modern man.”
Then there’s Le Labo, which is perhaps too sexy for its own good—making it the frequent subject of memes—but the brand’s delicious-smelling, residue-free deodorant only affirm its powers.
Clinique’s antiperspirant deodorant for men is also killer-smelling, très fresh, and one review mentioned it was the, “best deodorant for men [they’ve] EVER used.”
Is it Ralph tho? Sure you can always lean on Ralph Lauren when you’re trying to look sharp, but did you know that the American fashion icon has you covered when you’re trying to smell great, too? Much like its bold name, this alcohol-free deodorant has an equally intense blend of scents, including iced mango, silver armoise, and patchouli noir (is it just us, or do those also kind of sound like vape flavors?).
Finally, L’Occitane’s Eau des Baux deo gets top marks for its alcohol- and paraben-free formula and scent of “fresh cypress and mellow incense”—plus, you’ll enjoy explaining how to pronounce it to people on the subway.
The best drugstore deodorant
We get it: You’re not trying to shell out a ton of cash on deodorant, and you’re pretty happy with your current stick. That’s cool, but if you’re going to go the affordable, drugstore route, why not go with the best options?
Dove’s Men+Care has been my personal go-to after years of being shamed in locker rooms for using a stick from a brand that shall not be named. (Think: hatchet.) It has 48-hour protection, which is overkill (in a good way!), and smells great (opting for unpretentious scent names like “Clean Comfort” and “Extra Fresh”).
The other timeless drugstore deodorant is Old Spice, which your father was likely wearing in spades when he met your mom. The product description literally says, “Even if you stood in the blast radius of a nuclear bomb, this stuff would not stop working.” It’s a classic for a reason, folks.
The best sports deodorant
For the active bros out there, sports deodorant is a must-have. Before I switched to Gatorskin Tires, I took my bike out for a spin, and figured deodorant was unnecessary, especially since I wasn’t going to see anyone and I’d be showering as soon as I got back. Of course, I got a flat tire a few miles from home, and had to lug my bike home on the subway, stinking up the place like a ripe compost bucket. If I were wearing Degree UltraClear, with its long-lasting sweat protection, I wouldn’t have gotten so many dirty (smelly?) looks. Degree’s formula works harder the more your body temp rises, so it’s great for active lifestyles (or at least days).
Or, perhaps if I’d sufficiently slathered myself in Sport Luxe Healthy Deodorant by Lavanila, powered by “Smartsport Technology combined with beta glucan technology to go above and beyond regular deodorant,” according to the brand, those eighth-graders wouldn’t have bullied me so much.
The best antiperspirant deodorant for men
We’re people; we sweat. Some, though, more than others. Like, a lot more. I had a friend in college who used to leave the dorm with paper towels in his pocket so he could dab at his pits throughout the day… and that was after using some prescription-strength roll-on. Even if your pituitary gland isn’t a wreck, we’ve all been there. You leave the house to go to work looking like a million bucks, but by the time you arrive, you’re drenched in pit sweat and your backpack and shirt have fused together. Enough is enough.
Invest in the Certain Dri Prescription Strength Clinical Antiperspirant, which over 17,000 formerly sweat-drenched folks on Amazon say does not fuck around…
It’s truly as powerful as an antiperspirant gets, and is literally a doctor-recommended treatment for hyperhidrosis (aka excessive sweating). It’s so loaded with sweat-fighters that you actually apply it at night, before you go to bed.
If you don’t need the maximum legal amount of aluminum allowed in your stick, go with Mitchum’s scentless antiperspirant, which leaves no residue, keeping your shirts (and/or high-waisted kilts) safe.
Other great options include Pit Boss by Jack Black, which—thankfully—isn’t associated with the actor, just long-lasting odor-protection and vitamin E. It’s the perfect bridge between old-school man grooming and a modern knack for thoughtful ingredients.
Tired of solid deodorant? Maybe a cream is more your speed—like legendary skincare house Kiehl’s Superbly Efficient Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant Cream, perhaps. It leaves your skin feeling soft, soothed, and conditioned, and protects against sweat and odor for 24 hours.
The best spray deodorant
Sometimes, chalky white deodorant or gloopy liquid deodorant isn’t the move—say, you don’t want to stain a new shirt, dress, or hot-dog costume. We’ve been there. That’s where spray deodorant for men comes in. It’s easy, you never have to worry about missing a spot, and there’s a certain amount of fun that comes with fumigating your pits in the morning. OffCourt is a brand that’s been shaking things up in the deo scene for a while now, and its aluminum-free spray is packed with powerful prebiotics to kill pit stank and rip out its roots. Think AXE, but, like, not douchey. (We also have a full review of this magical stuff here.)
Degree, the steady ship that it is, uses a MotionSense formula to detect when your body temperature is heating up and you need a little extra protection from odor. Plus, it has a bunch of fun scents, including coconut and mint—my roommate’s personal fave.
Montblanc’s Legend Body Spray is “the incarnation of a resolutely masculine fragrance, both modern and timeless, with depth, modernity, and the right amount of discreet mystery.” Write that down so you can talk about it at parties. Reviews describe it as “amazing” and “masculine” with a “modern classy feel.” People love being asked to smell other peoples’ armpits—that’s a VICE Guarantee.
Pits out, thighs out—that’s all we know.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.
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