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Best deodorant for women 2023: Smell fresh and sweat less from just £3

Say goodbye to problematic pits with these tried and tested deodorants for women

The state of our underarms is a hot topic. Although sweating is an entirely natural bodily process, it’s hard not to worry about bad smells, perspiration stains, or simply feeling damp and uncomfortable when you’re running for the train or airing out your armpits in the heat of summer.

Finding the best deodorant for you depends on various factors, from how much and how easily you sweat to the kind of application you prefer. Do you go for a roll-on, a spray, a cream stick or a salt crystal? Are you keen to mask potential smells or stop the sweat entirely?

We’ve researched and tested some of the best deodorants for every kind of armpit. Read on for our guide to choosing your new favourite deodorant, or skip ahead for our top choices.

Best deodorants for women: At a glance

  • Best deodorant to combat sweat: Sure Women Maximum Protect Antiperspirant | Buy now
  • Best allergen-free deodorant: Nuud Natural Deodorant | Buy now
  • Best natural deodorant: Salt of the Earth crystal deodorant | Buy now
  • Best budget deodorant for sensitive skin: Dove Roll-On Antiperspirant | Buy now
  • Best deodorant for sweat stains: Nivea Black & White Antiperspirant Spray | Buy now
  • Best luxury deodorant: Clarins Roll-On Deodorant | Buy now

How to choose the best deodorant for you

What’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant?

Sweat doesn’t smell on its own – it’s actually bacteria feeding on sweat that generates body odour. Deodorant reduces the smell of that body odour by killing off the bacteria, while antiperspirant goes a step further: it prevents the production of sweat altogether, using aluminium salts that temporarily block your pores to keep your skin dry.

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What ingredients can I find in antiperspirant and deodorant?

Aluminium compounds are the active ingredient in most antiperspirants. They prevent sweat from being produced by blocking pores. There is speculation about the links between aluminium and various health issues, and although the jury’s still out as far as a definitive scientific answer is concerned, many people now opt for aluminium-free and natural deodorants instead.

Antibacterial ingredients are what reduce body odour. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and alcohol are typically found in traditional deodorants: they both have deodorising properties and combat moisture, but they can be irritating to sensitive skin and cause it to dry out. Natural deodorants use ingredients like aloe vera, coconut oil and tea tree oil.

Fragrances are used in most deodorants to replace the smell of sweat, and could be blends of essential oils, herbs or spices. Generally speaking, stronger-scented products are more likely to cause skin irritations.

Potassium alum is a natural mineral salt, often used as an alternative to aluminium compounds. Its antimicrobial properties allow it to neutralise odour, but not to plug up sweat glands. You’ll find this ingredient in most natural deodorants but not in antiperspirant.

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The best deodorants for women

1. Sure Women Maximum Protect Cream Stick Antiperspirant: Best deodorant to combat sweat

Price: £5 | Buy now from Boots

If you need industrial-strength protection, Sure has you covered. This antiperspirant cream is truly hardcore: turn the base wheel for two clicks, apply the cream, wait for it to dry and then forget about it for a maximum of 96 hours (although there’s nothing stopping you from applying it daily).

Sure’s Maximum Protection will keep you both sweat and odour free, leaving only a fresh and soothing scent in its place. Sure has a few different scents in this deodorant range – Sensitive has a ‘green’ scent, while Sport Strength is ‘vibrant and citrusy’ – and all of them are packed with moisturising ingredients so your skin doesn’t feel sore or irritated. One worthwhile tip is to wait until the cream is totally dry before getting dressed, otherwise it can leave white stains on your clothes.

Key features – Type: cream stick; Size: 45ml; Active Ingredients: aluminium salts

Buy now from Boots

2. Nuud Natural Deodorant: Best allergen free and vegan deodorant

Price: £13 | Buy now from Amazon

Leading the way in prettily packaged natural deodorants is Nuud Natural Deodorant, which uses micro silver to neutralise bacteria. It’s full of natural ingredients like coconut and almond oils, mineral clay and carnauba wax, and is described as an ‘anti-odorant’ because it doesn’t contain any fragrance like typical deodorants. You’ll still sweat, but you won’t smell – of anything at all.

To apply, rub a pea sized amount of the densely concentrated Nuud cream into your skin. It should last upwards of a few days which is great news from an economical standpoint, but it does mean a shift in your showering routine as you have to stop yourself from washing your armpits, which reduces the effectiveness. It’s also worth knowing that Nuud does have something of a learning curve. It can take a few weeks for your skin to rid itself of the toxin buildup that’s occurred when using other deodorants, and some customers report smelling stronger until their skin got used to Nuud.

All of Nuud’s packaging is recyclable: the deodorant arrives in a cardboard box and the tubes themselves are bioplastic (meaning no oil is used in production) and made from sugarcane.

Key features – Type: cream in tube; Size: 20ml; Active Ingredients: micro silver

3. Salt of the Earth Natural Unscented Stick Deodorant: Best natural deodorant

Price: £4 | Buy now from Holland & Barrett

It might feel a little bizarre rubbing a stone under your arms, but crystal deodorant is popular for a reason. It’s made entirely from potassium alum, a natural mineral salt that in some countries has been used to neutralise bad body smells for centuries. If applied to wet skin, it leaves behind a thin layer of salt that prevents bacteria from forming: there’s no smell, no stickiness and no white marks to contend with. As with Nuud, your body may need to detox a little before crystal deodorant gives its best results.

Salt of the Earth has a range of different natural deodorants with an environmental theme. You can get the crystal deodorant in a plastic casing for easy use or simply the crystal itself (users suggest storing it in a linen bag). There’s also a balm version in a glass pot, and a spray bottle with refills to avoid using more plastic.

Because it’s not in liquid form, crystal stone deodorant is a great choice for regular travellers who never have enough room in their ziploc bag of liquids. Be prepared to explain what it is to a few curious people though.

Key features – Type: crystal stone; Size: 90g; Active Ingredients: potassium alum

Buy now from Holland & Barrett

4. Dove Roll-On Antiperspirant Deodorant: Best budget deodorant

Price: £3 | Buy now from Chemist Direct

Underarm skin can be really sensitive, as the relative dampness of the area means it’s more susceptible to irritation. Dove roll-on deodorant is a firm favourite of ours: it includes moisturising cream and Vitamin E to help soothe sensitive armpits, is alcohol free to reduce any dryness, has a fresh scent not unlike a bar of Dove soap, and glides on really easily.

Because Dove roll-on is an antiperspirant it’ll help prevent sweating, but it does include aluminium as one of its ingredients. If you’d prefer to avoid it, Dove also has a range of deodorants with 0% aluminium. In fact, as a company Dove is really transparent and its website has a regularly updated list of ingredients it’s using or phasing out.

Key features – Type: roll-on; Size: 50ml; Active Ingredients: aluminium salts

Buy now from Chemist Direct

5. Nivea Black & White Antiperspirant Deodorant Spray: Best deodorant for sweat stains

Price: £4 | Buy now from Superdrug

No matter what you do, some deodorants still clump. Plus, when white powder marks that seem to magically appear on your favourite clothes, it’s no surprise that you reach for an ‘invisible’ deodorant every now and again.

Nivea Black and White is an antiperspirant spray in aerosol form that eliminates any chance of staining. The clue’s in the name: black clothes stay black and white clothes stay white. The spray has a subtle, fresh scent that’s not overpowering and, most importantly, its antiperspirant properties are extremely effective.

Key features – Type: aerosol spray; Size: 250ml; Active Ingredients: aluminium salts

Buy now from Superdrug

6. Clarins Roll-On Deodorant: Best luxury deodorant

Price: £20 | Buy now from Boots

For those who like to manage sweat in style, there are a surprising number of luxury deodorants around. Dedicated customers swear by the roll-on deodorant from luxury skincare brand Clarins: as an antiperspirant, it’s effective at keeping sweat and odours at bay while also being gentle on the skin, and a single application lasts all day with no issue. Particular praise goes to the delicate, feminine rose scent, which is equally long-lasting.

The one downside some customers mention is the liquid beneath the rollerball can leak if the bottle isn’t kept upright, so perhaps don’t take this deodorant travelling.

Key features – Type: roll-on; Size: 50ml; Active Ingredients: aluminium

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