Recommendations for a truly invisible deodorant?
March 26, 2013 9:28 AM   Subscribe

Woman here looking for a truly invisible deodorant that won't come off on my clothing.

Most of the so-called "invisible" (or advertised as such) ones go on clear but leave white streaks all over my clothing when I take off tight dresses, shirts, etc, leaving me scrubbing out the stains and aggravated. Any ideas?
posted by foxy_hedgehog to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (35 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
What have you tried so far?
posted by greta simone at 9:31 AM on March 26, 2013

I've had good luck with Sure -- their regular one is pretty mark-free for me, but I don't wear super-tight stuff, so you might try their clear solids.
posted by acm at 9:34 AM on March 26, 2013

I think the problem is that you are using antiperspirants instead of deodorants. Use deodorant instead.
posted by Tanizaki at 9:35 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

My go-to used to be Ban Clear (not "Invisible," "Clear") solid, but I guess it's gone. Have experimented with many, many others but not found anything comparable.

I'm using this now, and it's just OK as far as not leaving marks but the best I've found. I had to switch from the clear gel, since it was leaving a hard deposit on my clothes!
posted by JoanArkham at 9:35 AM on March 26, 2013

I love, love, love, Mitchum smart solid. It keeps my armpits dry and I definitely don't notice white deo stains on my clothes.
posted by juliplease at 9:39 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

How long do you wait between applying deodorant and putting on clothes? In my experience, it's less likely to get everywhere if you wait a couple minutes for it to dry. I've also found that the clear gels are counterproductive, because they're more liquid and likely to spread around or get absorbed into fabrics, and they dry white anyway. I have fewer problems with the white solid or semi-solid kind.

There are a few deodorants that don't stain - e.g. the "crystal" kind that looks like a clear rock - but the catch is that they're not antiperspirants, meaning you will still sweat.

By the way, aspirin dissolved in water is pretty good at getting built-up antiperspirant crud out of fabric.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:40 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Have you tried a roll on. It's a liquid instead of a paste/cream in a tube like a lot of US deodorants are. It is clear and I've never had any problems with marks on my clothes from it. It also drys super fast so I imagine there is less chance of transference.

I lived in a country that uses roll on or spray on deodorants for the most part and never even knew deodorant marks were a thing until moved to the US. I thought it was a climate problem but this question made me wonder if it's a style of deodorant problem. Anyway just an idea.
posted by wwax at 9:44 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I use Mitchum (for women) gel, and I wear a ton of dark knit shirts and the like. I haven't really noticed anything.

However, if you've got some really nice thing that you don't want to mess up, try CertainDri. I tried it after recommendations in this thread, and by gum it worked in front of 15,000 people. The only thing about that is that you have to put it on the night before. (I didn't try the AM version.) I was kind of shocked at how well it stood up to nearly 24 hours of daily activity PLUS the aforementioned dancing-under-stage-lighting-while-fat.
posted by Madamina at 9:45 AM on March 26, 2013


I've been using this stuff for years and years (really, I usually break it before I actually need to buy a new one) and have never noticed any residue.
posted by thylacine at 9:47 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have never worn scented deodorant or deodorant with antiperspirant, and I have never had problems with being too stinky or having stains in my clothes. Arm and Hammer (like the baking soda) is the best.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 9:49 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mitchum gel is the way to go.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:49 AM on March 26, 2013

I stopped having this problem when I switched from antiperspirant to deodorant. There is a surcharge for having female armpits -- they charge more for "female" deodorant, just like it costs more to get a shirt dry-cleaned, etc. -- so I wear Old Spice. You get a lot in one stick, and it smells perfumed but I would not say "manly."
posted by Houstonian at 9:49 AM on March 26, 2013

Almay Fragrance Free Anti-Antiperspirant Deodorant Roll-On

It's amazing. It never leaves marks on my clothes and is very, very effective. Only catch is that it takes a bit of time to dry--I usually use my hair drier to speed things along.
posted by whitewall at 10:00 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Seconding roll-on. I frankly don't understand why people use sticks that smear everywhere. Gross. The roll-on goes on, dries quickly, and spreads in only the thin layer you actually need. And on preview, whitewall linked to the exact product I was about to find a link for.
posted by DoubleLune at 10:01 AM on March 26, 2013

I use those crystal deodorants too. Been using them since about 1992. There are more brands of 'crystal' deodorant (sometimes called 'Thai') than just the one, but in my experience they are all pretty much the same.

The trick is that they are more effective the more you use them. As I understand it they are a kind of salt that raises the pH of your skin, making your pits an unwelcoming place for smelly bacteria to live. They take a day or two (as long as a week for some people) to do their thing, but once they reach that point they are surprisingly effective.

They need to be wet when you use them, so I use mine when I get out of the shower, then I walk around a bit to allow my pits to dry before I put my shirt on. Not that they stain shirts or anything. Guess I just like to be naked :)

They will not keep you from perspiring or course, only from smelling bad, and they are in no way perfumed which I fine unspeakably awesome. They can be used on your feet too, if you've got smelly feet.
posted by Pecinpah at 10:10 AM on March 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

Thirding Mitchum gel (and thanks to ocherdraco's link, I now know I've been using the men's version).
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:14 AM on March 26, 2013

Baking soda diluted in water. Works great, insanely cheap, contains no known or possible carcinogens, does not stain. I haven't used conventional deodorant in years and have never had a problem.

I keep a small travel bottle where I put some baking soda and add water. If it is too concentrated it can cause irritation in some people, but I have found as long as there is not so much baking soda that it separates out from the water, it's fine. It takes surprisingly little. If you see it separate out, add more water until it doesn't.
posted by Nattie at 10:37 AM on March 26, 2013

nthing Mitchum gel, and there's no difference between the mens' or womens' version. Secret Outlast gel works just as well. I buy whichever of those is available in unscented.
posted by erst at 10:37 AM on March 26, 2013

Response by poster: I've tried Dry Idea, both the clear stick and the roll-on. Both leave white streaks everywhere. Thanks for the suggestions! Happy to hear more.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 10:48 AM on March 26, 2013

Not up on women's antiperspirant/deodorants, but I use Right Guard spray men's antiperspirant/deodorant, and it never leaves marks on anything. Might there be something similar for women?
posted by cnc at 11:02 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

another vote for crystal deodorant. i was slightly skeptical when i started using it but was stunned at how well it works. no residue, no staining, no smell. so awesome.
posted by marshmallow peep at 11:06 AM on March 26, 2013

Instead of scrubbing try rubbing the stain on itself. (So fold over the fabric when dry and rub it.) Not sure how it works, but it works much better than a stain stick or wet wash.
posted by 26.2 at 11:25 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you're using crystal deodorant, recruit a trusted friend to give you the full report on how well it's working. I believe there are several kinds out there, and I imagine that proper use (as specified above) does play a large role.

On the flip side, my husband's hippie aunt swore it worked great for her, but her officemates staged an intervention soon after. She reeked.
posted by Madamina at 11:35 AM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

I've never found a product that doesn't mark, but unscented baby wipes clean them off beautifully.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:54 AM on March 26, 2013

I'm a girl but I use men's deodorant for this very reason. No streaks, regardless of brand.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:55 AM on March 26, 2013

Another vote for Crystal (that particular one that was linked to above, in the purple roll-up container). Note: my underarms are always hair free (sugared), which significantly helps with odour control.
posted by mayurasana at 12:33 PM on March 26, 2013

I am currently very sensitive to my own body odor (man, pregnancy has weird quirks!) and have started using a lavender hydrosol with my crystal deodorant. I guess it just helps cover up the pre-deodorant smellies. Plus, lavender has all sorts of other great benefits. Since you need to get the stone wet, I simply spray my armpits with the lavender water, then rub on the salt. It works great and seems to last longer than other combinations I've tried before.

I used to use CertainDri and found that it was actually effective at reducing perspiration. Then I decided I would rather have sweaty armpits than breast cancer. As it turned out, after I stopped using any antiperspirants at all, my body also stopped producing as much sweat. So with the crystal I don't smell, but I also am not washing yellow stains out of my white shirts.
posted by purpletangerine at 12:45 PM on March 26, 2013

I've been using the crystal for a few years now, and there a couple of caveats for its use:

- It has to be used wet. It's a salt and you need to dissolve it to transfer it properly. I wet it down before use.

- It has to be used every day. It's essentially an antimicrobial, killing the bacteria that produce the stink. Like tooth brushing, the bacteria recolonize quickly and you have to keep killing them down regularly.
posted by bonehead at 2:17 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

(and it is a deodorant only, not an anti-antiperspirant. You'll still get pit stains).
posted by bonehead at 2:18 PM on March 26, 2013

I have great success with Mitchum Gel, as well. Ditto Secret Outlast, although Secret sometime irritates my skin.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 2:23 PM on March 26, 2013

I get white streaks from roll-ons and most others I havd tried, but currently use Tom's lavender deodorant and don't get them anymore. It works too. I got it at Target, I think.
posted by apricot at 7:39 PM on March 26, 2013

Mitchum unscented Power Gel. I'm not sure if it's "mens" or unisex, because it is usually in the middle of the aisle. Since I switched to it, almost no more stains on shirts. The only thing is that it will occasionally bleach out the pits of colored shirts when worn without an undershirt. It's possible that's just from sweat and not the product. But certainly this is better than the crusty stains that non-gel deodorants leave.

Let it air dry as much as possible before putting a shirt on. I like using the hair dryer, makes me feel nice and toasty.

Also, once a week or so, splash some rubbing alcohol under the pits and let it air dry. This should kill off any nasties that the deodorant misses.
posted by gjc at 8:36 PM on March 26, 2013

I swear by OdaBan, an unscented water-like spray that leaves zero residue. I use it once every two or three days, and it completely eliminates all odor and perspiration. I'm sure it's full of dreadful chemicals, but it works.
posted by Susan PG at 9:05 PM on March 26, 2013

Ban roll-on.
posted by zizania at 9:06 PM on March 26, 2013

Arrid Extra Dry Clear Gel is great.
posted by limeonaire at 4:14 PM on March 27, 2013

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