the drugstore project

Stuff We Buy Ourselves: The Deodorants Our Editors and Writers Use

Photo: Courtesy Retailers

If you follow our monthly Strategist Haul, you’re familiar with the idiosyncrasies of our editors’ and writers’ shopping habits. While we think of those as the highlights, there are plenty of other, less glamorous things we buy — and love — on the regular too. So whether you’ve wondered about the work bags we tote around or the underwear we’re most loyal to, this is the Stuff We Buy Ourselves. In this edition, in honor of Drugstore Week, we’re rounding up the deodorants our editors and writers use to stay fresh smelling — for those of us who use it.

Alexis Swerdloff, Strategist editor

I’m a proud member (alongside Aubrey Plaza, Judy Greer, and former Strategist editor Simone Kitchens) of the Real Purity Club and will yammer on to anyone who will listen about how it has changed my life. I just don’t sweat anymore! It’s that simple. And it’s all-natural, to boot — apparently it’s “the drying effects of the aloe and vegetable glycerin it contains” that keeps me sweat free. My husband, too, is a convert, as are two of my best friends. Couldn’t recommend higher. Only downside is the fairly steep price.

Chloe Anello, junior writer

I’ve used Dove antiperspirants for as long as I can remember, but a couple months ago I decided to try aluminum-free deodorant. I bounced around through different brands until I found out Dove had their own aluminum-free version of my favorite cucumber and green tea scent. I’ve had it for about two weeks now and I actually really like it. It has that same fresh scent the antiperspirant does, so most importantly, I don’t feel like I smell during the day.

Karen Iorio Adelson, senior writer

I like the idea of natural deodorant, but I doubt it’d do anything to help my very sweaty and smelly self. Instead, I use regular antiperspirants with sweat-blocking aluminium (which I still manage to sweat through, so I can’t imagine what I’d be like without it). I recently switched from stick deodorant to spray because I found that even when I applied the stick deodorant to clean skin, the stick itself would end up smelling like my pits. I also like that there’s no white residue from the spray. This scent is pretty strong — not necessarily in a bad way, but I might try the coconut or “beauty finish” variety when this one runs out.

Dominique Pariso, writer

As a sweaty person, I don’t have time for aluminum-free, essential oil-infused, crystal magic deodorant. No disrespect to those who can go the au naturel route, but I need something that’s going to work and keep me dry. I made the switch to using men’s deodorant years ago because I have an on-again, off-again relationship with my razor and needed something that would work with my armpit hair when I have it. I also prefer the muskier, fresher scents of men’s deodorant (I have no interest in smelling like cucumber water or baby powder). I’ve tried a bunch, but my current favorite is Dove Men+Care. It doesn’t leave as much residue on my shirts as Old Spice and isn’t as messy to apply as Gillette.

Hilary Reid, writer

So, I have an update about the Deodorant Stones of America (a.k.a. DSA) mineral spray-on I recommended a couple years ago: a few months after the article, it just stopped working. Very disappointing! Since then, I’ve returned to Weleda Wild Rose deodorant, and am mostly satisfied. The scent is light and it works for the whole day (though if you’re going out after work, maybe reapply before leaving the office). My only complaint is that it’s extremely easy to inhale while applying and I might be slowly poisoning myself by breathing in a little every morning. Then again, it doesn’t have any synthetics, so it’s probably fine.

Anthony Rotunno, senior editor

I have been wearing Speed Stick deodorant — not antiperspirant (the brand offers both) — for about 15 years, ever since an unfortunate incident with Certain Dri in college when I started to sweat profusely from my back and other body parts after I used the extra-strength antiperspirant for a stretch. (A little visible underarm sweat is suddenly not so bad when the alternative is a visibly damp back, belly, or butt.) Following that traumatic experience, I wanted something simple, dependable, and aluminum-free — in other words, a deodorant from a brand that’s been around since the early ’60s. (While Speed Stick doesn’t contain aluminum, I should note it is not all-natural.) That it has an inoffensive smell, and is generally cheap and easy to find, makes me love it even more.

Casey Lewis, senior editor

I’ve been using Tom’s deodorant for years, not necessarily because I’m passionate about it, but more so because I never have to think about it, which must mean it’s working. I always go for the green stick, not the white one. I’m honestly not sure what the difference is — probably an ingredient that will eventually kill me — but I once made the mistake of buying the white, and instantly felt sticky and disconcertingly … wet.

Maxine Builder, managing editor

I’ve never loved the floral, fruity, sweet scents of deodorants marketed toward women, so at some point, I went down the men’s deodorant aisle on the hunt for something a bit woodsier or herbier. That’s where I discovered Old Spice’s Fresher Collection, and I became obsessed with the Amber because it reminded me a lot of Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, one of my favorite perfumes with a savory, dark smell. Unfortunately, Old Spice has discontinued that specific scent, and I haven’t been able to find an exact dupe. But I’ve settled for their Captain deodorant, which is heavy on the bergamot and covers up my stink before I go into yoga.

Tembe Denton-Hurst, writer

As someone with an auto-inflammatory condition that affects my skin, deodorants formulated with aluminum are a no-go. Just a few swipes could trigger a flare-up (the aluminum clogs my pores), so I’ve spent years testing natural deodorants to find one that keeps body odor (mostly) at bay. After an attempt at Tom’s and a brief love affair with Schmidts, I realized my skin reacts negatively to baking soda too (a common natural deo ingredient), so I’ve graduated to the sensitive skin natural deodorants formulated without either. I’ve settled on Native’s Sensitive Skin line for my pits, and although I’m using Sweet Almond and Honey at the moment (a limited-edition scent from their Vintage collection), any of the sweet-smelling ones will do.

Jenna Milliner-Waddell, junior writer

Deodorant isn’t something I’m too picky about. My main goal is something that keeps me from sweating and smelling, and everything else — like the formula, scent, and even aluminum content — are all nonfactors for me. I’ve been using this Dove ClearTone deodorant for about a decade. My mother, who first bought this for me, picked it up because of the package’s promise to even out the skin tone in my armpits. Ten years later, I can confirm it doesn’t, but it does keep me from reeking and that’s all that matters to me. It also leaves my pits silky smooth, which is an added bonus.

Jessica Silvester, contributing editor

I felt annoyed when Molly Prentiss wrote for The Strategist about how Aesop deodorant was her signature scent. I thought it was my signature scent. (Chris Black actually wears it too.) But alas, she captured it just right: The aroma is “fresh and sort of burnt,” like you’ve slept in the woods but also on clean sheets. On the functional level, in terms of its actual deodorizing effects, what the Aesop shop clerk told Molly has been my experience, too: It doesn’t stop you from sweating, doesn’t act like an antiperspirant, but those essential oils sure do prevent my body’s odor from doing too much emanating. I actually spritz it over my favorite antiperspirant as a kind of sealant, and then I’m dry and BO-free for much of the day. It’s a very unscientific method, this solid-then-spray process of mine, and I have nothing other than my own anecdotal evidence to support it, but it’s a trick I discovered years ago after picking up Chanel No 5 deodorant spray in the airport and layering it over Old Spice. Hey, when you’re a heavy sweater, you’re willing to go a little overboard. (And I’m working on finding a more natural, aluminum-free alternative to the Axe.)

Peter Martin, senior editor

As someone with sensitive armpits, when I use the wrong deodorant I’m left with cracked, burning skin that looks and feels like a still-fiery lavascape. And nearly everything is the wrong deodorant. For a long time I swore by Old Spice Sweat Defense. The clickable soft-solids don’t irritate my skin like regular deodorant sticks, and, despite silly names involving swagger and other words that echo through man caves, they actually smell pretty good. But — and I apologize for continuing to share information that none of my co-workers deserve to be burdened with — I’ve found that soft solids tend to leave clumps in your armpit hair that don’t wash out and involve painful tugging to remove. To avoid that, last year I switched to Arm & Hammer Essentials natural deodorant. It’s occasionally irritating, but it has a nice light scent and, a plus, doesn’t have corners of the internet convinced that it causes Alzheimer’s.

Kayla Levy, intern

I’ve never been a fan of “women’s” deodorant — between the pink tax and my aversion to fruity scents, I decided long ago that I’d rather use products made with men in mind. For many years I dutifully applied Dove Men + Care Clean Comfort Deodorant, which smells like clean laundry. But, working at the Strategist has made me genuinely afraid of aluminum, so when I found a sample size of celebrity-favorite Schmidt’s in the office, I snatched it up. After using the entire travel-sized product, I went out and bought it myself. This charcoal and magnesium deodorant has the same fresh, clean scent of Dove, and I like to imagine that it’s what Justin Beiber was using before he made his own charcoal-infused line with Schmidt’s.

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Stuff We Buy Ourselves: The Deodorant Our Editors Use