There’s a very short list of traits that are less attractive than excessive perspiration — and the consequent body odor that comes with it. No matter how handsome, well-dressed, or well-spoken one might be, it’s exceedingly difficult to look past a greasy sheen and fresh pit stains. Fortunately, science has long provided a simple and easy solution to this problem — dating all the way back to 1903 with “Everdry” — in the form of antiperspirants.
Selecting the right antiperspirant for you, however, isn’t quite as easy, as standing before the sea of products in a fully-stocked cosmetics and grooming aisle of your local grocery store can start to feel overwhelming, fast. To help keep your sweat in check, we’ve scoured drug stores and the interwebs to narrow down your search and present you with the 10 best antiperspirants for men.
Smell Vs Sweat
Understanding The Difference Between Antiperspirants & Deodorant
In a nutshell, deodorants — as the name implies — simply protect against odors, while antiperspirants, on the other hand, help to control and prevent perspiration by plugging up your sweat glands. By blocking sweat glands, antiperspirants also mitigate odor-causing bacteria, thereby lessening body odor.
A Simple Explanation Of How It Works
To get the most out of an antiperspirant, it helps to have a basic understanding of how the stuff works. Antiperspirants contain a varying percentage of aluminum chloride, albeit in a microscopic form. When applied to the armpits (or skin in general), this active ingredient uses small amounts of humidity/moisture in the air (and on your body) to pull the aluminum into your pores where it acts as a plug of sorts, thereby preventing the area of application from perspiring.
Your body also possesses a feedback system that’s able to detect when sweat ducts are plugged. When sensed, the body will cut off the flow of perspiration to that given area which prolongs the effect of antiperspirants — in some cases for as much as 36-48 hours, though closer to 24 is more typical.
Choices For When OTC Antiperspirant Isn’t Enough
If a regular antiperspirant isn’t cutting it, there are a number of more severe measures that can be taken. This includes prescription-grade antiperspirants and other medications, botox injections, and a number of both invasive and non-invasive medical procedures like miraDry and Iontophoresis (essentially a mild form of electroshock therapy in specific areas). As a rule of thumb, it’s always advised to start with the least severe option first and then working your way up to increasingly powerful methods as needed.
How To Properly Apply An Antiperspirant
Believe it or not, there’s objectively a right and wrong way to apply an antiperspirant. By applying a uniform coat— usually two or three swipes — across the entire armpit (or whatever other) area, you plug up the surface, preventing perspiration. Applying an antiperspirant slowly also allows it to work most effectively.
Antiperspirants also require that the area of application be dry in order to be effective. The natural moisture of your dry skin is sufficient to activate the aluminum. If applied to sweaty or wet skin, the aluminum is much less effective at being absorbed into the pores. You also want to give an antiperspirant — especially of the spray or roll-on variety — time to dry after application before getting dressed, as your clothes can wipe-off freshly-applied antiperspirants, greatly lessening its efficacy.
When To Apply An Antiperspirant
The Right Time To Maximize Efficacy
In order to properly do its job, an antiperspirant needs time to seep into your pores, and the more time it’s given, the more effective it will be at blocking your sweat glands. By applying an antiperspirant in the morning, it has much less time to penetrate your pores before your body starts sweating which mitigates an antiperspirant’s effectiveness. Antiperspirants work best when applied to cool, dry skin. When you sleep, your body temperature is significantly lower than when you’re awake. By applying an antiperspirant at night when your skin is most receptive to the aluminum, it gives it the best chance of working.
What To Look For
Elements To Consider When Buying An Antiperspirant
Though pretty much all antiperspirants function in the same way, there are a number of factors that make each antiperspirant offering unique. This includes the duration of efficacy, aluminum content percentage, and types of scents or perfumes used, as well as application type, such as stick, spray, or roll-on. The best way to find the product that’s right for you is to consider your particular needs and personal preference for smell — or lack of smell, as they do offer unscented antiperspirants – and then using that as a jumping-off point. To determine how strong a particular antiperspirant formula is, you can check the active ingredient (aluminum) percentage.
Tom’s of Maine North Woods Stick
Tom’s of Maine’s North Woods stick isn’t your average antiperspirant, containing recycled and sustainably sourced aluminum. And despite being a natural deodorant and free of petrochemicals or artificial fragrances, this antiperspirant offers a delightful and all-natural masculine scent. 100% cruelty-free, this non-irritating or rash-inducing offering works at fighting sweat and odor for an impressive 48 hours.
CREMO Bourbon & Oak Stick
When looking for an effective antiperspirant that is easy to apply and offers a nice masculine smell, it really is hard to beat CREMO’s Bourbon & Oak formula. This stick antiperspirant boasts aromas of smoked oak and good ‘ol fashion American bourbon. In addition to keeping you dry and smelling great, this product is lightly infused with peppermint oil that leaves skin feeling cool and refreshed upon application.
Raw Earth Organic Wildwood
This environmentally-friendly option from Raw Earth Organics takes a green approach to men’s grooming while still affording its wearer great scents and all-day sweat protection. Produced by hand in small batches in Fort Wayne, Indiana, this vegan-friendly offering utilizes magnesium hydroxide in lieu of traditional baking soda which is known to irritate skin, especially in sensitive areas. And, instead of chemicals that allow for a smooth and easy application, this item relies on the body’s natural heat. Its refreshing woodsy aroma comes from the brand using high-grade, organic essential oils, and even the container it comes in is 100% recyclable and its labels are fully biodegradable.
Duke Cannon’s Trench Warfare Sandalwood & Amber
Duke Cannon’s Trench Warfare is a charcoal-enriched deodorant and antiperspirant that was formulated to remain effective for a full 12-hours. Sold in a travel-friendly 2.75oz size with a screw-on top, this made-in-America offering boasts a masculine scent with notes of sandalwood, amber, spiced woods, and leather. The Trench Warfare lineup also includes a variety of other scented formulas, too. And, on top of never being tested on animals, a portion of the proceeds from this item is donated to charities benefitting US veterans.
Born out of extensive clinical testing, Kiehl’s Cross-Terrain antiperspirant utilizes microscopic molecules to effectively combat body odor and replace it with a pleasant natural smell. Designed to keep you dry regardless of what kind of adventure you’re on for a full 24 hours, this dry stick is powered by some incredibly potent — yet non-irritating — antiperspirant ingredients, nearly rivaling the prescription-grade stuff. And because it was tested under some extremely tough conditions, it’s sure to stand up against whatever you can throw at it.
Jack Black Pit Boss
Jack Black’s Pit Boss is a powerful deodorant and antiperspirant stick that goes on clear, as to not leave behind any white stains or marks, even on dark-colored and/or black clothes. This non-irritating formula features aluminum to plug up sweat glands, as well as cell-protecting antioxidant, Vitamin E, and soothing aloe leaf juice that also boasts anti-inflammatory properties. And, like the rest of the offerings in BJ’s lineup, Pit Boss is cruelty-free, dermatologist-tested, and free of parabens and harsh surfactants.
Lab Series Stick
While it may boast simple, nondescript packaging, there’s a lot going inside Lab Series’ antiperspirant stick. Suitable for all skin types, this fragrance-free stick does wonders at irradiating perspiration. Its non-irritating formula and easy-to-apply stick form also make it great for combatting embarrassing excessive sweating on the hands, feet, or wherever else you need it. The company’s “Auto Pilot Replenishment” subscription service makes it incredibly easy to ensure you never run out of the stuff, either.
Molton Brown re-charge black pepper
Capable of keeping sweat at bay for a full 24 hours, the re-charge black pepper stick from top-shelf London-based grooming outfit, Molton Brown is a high-end take on your typical antiperspirant. Infused with a myriad of essential oils including Andiroba tree oil, coriander, and Bergamot oils, this great-smelling formula boasts a spicy black peppercorn scent. Sold in a 2.6oz vessel with an easy-to-use twist-off cap, this British offering features attractive packaging and branding that accurately hints at the quality of the product inside.
Morris Motley Oakmoss
Morris Motley is a high-end grooming brand from Down Under that produces an array of goods that are as unique as they are high-quality. Made in Australia, sold in twin-packs, and available in the (continental) US, the Aussie brand’s Oakmoss antiperspirant keeps its wearer dry and sweat-free for a full 24 hours. And very seldom will you find a comparably-scented fragrance, as this product boasts notes of Oud, Patchouli, Cedarwood, white pepper, leather, and cocaine.
Tom Ford Oud Wood
Whether it’s feature films, fashion wear, beard oil, or fragrances, pretty much every offering from Tom Ford is of the highest quality, and this very much extends to the designer powerhouse’s Oud Wood stick. Suitable for all skin types, this high-end grooming product excels at combating odors and perspiration. And, it packs just as delightful a scent as you’d expect from a leading high-end designer label. Skip the cologne and reach for this one.
10 Best Men’s Natural Deodorants
Looking for an aluminum chloride-free alternative to keep you feeling your freshest? Then be sure to checkout our guide to the best natural deodorants for men.