Let Her Sweat and Smell Nice While Doing It
November 25, 2014 8:19 AM   Subscribe

Asking for my wife: Are there any deodorants for women that are NOT also antiperspirants? Looking for a recommendation for just deodorant for women. Why is it that men get this option and women don't?
posted by bluejayway to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (35 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I use Arm & Hammer Essentials. It's not marketed for women, but the "Fresh" scent is pleasant and not especially masculine. Or sometimes I use unscented.
posted by Kriesa at 8:24 AM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

I keep Weleda deodorant in my handbag to periodically de-stank. It's basically just alcohol flavoured with a very pleasant citrus smell, and it's surprisingly effective at neutralising the sweat smell, but it's definitely not an antiperspirant. I could see the citrus oils and alcohol being irritating for some, tho.
posted by nerdfish at 8:24 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Kiss My Face.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 8:24 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Jason deodorants are not also antiperspirants, as far as I can tell. They're usually available even at grocery stores, but sometimes in a segregated "Natural Products" shelf.
posted by jaguar at 8:24 AM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Is there a reason why she can't use a "men's" deodorant? The drug stores don't check, you know :)

The Tom's of Maine deodorants work pretty well for us and come in both "women's" and "men's" scents. I think they do sell some antiperspirants, but most are just straight deodorant.
posted by Betelgeuse at 8:25 AM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]

Tom's of Maine as well.
posted by oceano at 8:26 AM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]

Sephora carries the (not cheap!) Lavanilla brand. They are feminine and pretty smelling, and they work.
posted by AmandaA at 8:26 AM on November 25, 2014

There are lots of options. I've used Tom's, Jason's, Crystal (this one needs to be dampened before it really goes on), Kiss My Face, and probably some others I'm forgetting. Right now I'm using Lavanila and enjoying it very much. They're generally with the other deodorants. Selection is better at hippie-ish stores like Whole Foods and drugstores than grocery stores.
posted by mchorn at 8:28 AM on November 25, 2014

A few perfumes have deodorant versions, even for women. For example: Elizabeth Arden Red Door deodorant cream.
posted by monopas at 8:29 AM on November 25, 2014

I also use the Arm and Hammer Fresh scent and I like it. I've used Speed Stick in the past and really liked it even though it definitely had a man-smell about it. I still liked it.

As for why men get the option and women don't? Probably because it's more acceptable for men to smell like a body than for women to smell like anything but flowers and powder and perfume in our culture. Sad but true.
posted by sockermom at 8:32 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

I didn't have any luck with Tom's keeping me non-stinky but have had great success with the Kiss My Face lavender scent.
posted by SeedStitch at 8:32 AM on November 25, 2014

I use plain tea tree oil. It's worked great.
posted by Vaike at 8:34 AM on November 25, 2014

Speaking for more than one friend who have tried it: Toms of Maine didn't exactly work. In fact, some would say it should be called an odorant, not a deodorant.
posted by General Tonic at 8:38 AM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]

Burt's Bees
posted by neushoorn at 8:53 AM on November 25, 2014

Trader Joe's has a nice lightly scented deodorant under their house brand. They also carry Tom's.
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:56 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I (a girl-type) use Tom's of Maine original unscented (not the long-lasting, which is what's easier to find in the drug store, but which is irritating to me--it contains zinc, which may be problematic).

I hope that it does not act as an "odorant"!
posted by leahwrenn at 9:01 AM on November 25, 2014

If it matters, Arm and Hammer has triclosan in it, which is pretty nasty stuff. I had been using LaVanila for years, but it's expensive, and sometimes causes a rash. Most recently I've started using the Old Spice "wild" series, which aren't Axe-level smelly, at least. Hawkridge smells somewhat like vanilla-spice, and Wolfthorn smells fruity. I have never had luck with health-store deodorants.
posted by another zebra at 9:04 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

There's Schmidts. I loved the scent of the ylang-ylang one. Heavenly! Some people get a rash from it, though, and unfortunately I am one of them. But... Schmidt's!
posted by mochapickle at 9:08 AM on November 25, 2014

I make my own, and add essential oils to it for nice smell. Mix 1/4th cup baking soda and 1/4th cup cornstarch with a fork, then add in ~4tbsp of coconut oil, plus a few drops of lemongrass essential oil or neroli. There are plenty of variations of this recipe online, including some with beeswax which make it a bit more solid. As it is, coconut oil liquifies at about seventy degrees, which means in summertime my deodorant's a liquid and in the winter it's a solid. If I use a tiny amount--like, a fingernail's worth--it works great. If I use more, it leaves sweat marks on my shirts.
posted by tapir-whorf at 9:21 AM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]

I use either Tom's of Maine (I like calendula) or a home-made batch (on preview, exactly the recipe above)... But really the secret is frequent bathing/laundry.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 9:26 AM on November 25, 2014

In my experience, selection for women's deodorant at "regular" grocery and drug stores is going to be pretty limited. I can only ever find Tom's of Maine which I like (particularly the lavender scent). If you go to Whole Foods or similar, there will be a bigger selection of natural brands, like Kiss My Face, Jason, etc. that others have mentioned.s. Tom's of Maine is the ONLY one I can ever find in CVS where I normally buy deodorant myself. I'm not sure why this is so, but my guess is to perpetuate the belief that "women don't sweat - we glow!"
posted by Shadow Boxer at 9:41 AM on November 25, 2014

I use Adidas Cotton-tech. Works great.
posted by girlpublisher at 9:41 AM on November 25, 2014

2nding tapir-whorf's suggestion for the coconut oil + baking soda combination. I think baking soda acts as an antiperspirant (?) but if it does, the effect is mild. Also, I find that I smell far, far better on days when I use my DIY deodorant. When I do sweat, the smell seems neutralized by the baking soda and the resulting scent isn't unpleasant--in contrast to the days when I use Secret (which, when I sweat, brings about a nasty chemical/sour smell).

tl;dr I'll never prefer store-bought deodorant to this coconut oil magic.
posted by magdalemon at 9:41 AM on November 25, 2014

Seconding Schmidt's (the Bergamot + Lime scent is my favorite) -- the grittiness of the baking soda can cause a bit of skin irritation if you apply it immediately after shaving, but I've never found another aluminum- and triclosan-free product that works half as well. Just scoop out a pea-sized nublet, swipe it under your arm so it sticks in place, wait for 10-15 seconds with your arms resting at your sides so it softens up, and finish applying.

Meow Meow Tweet Tweet, North Coast Organics, Puur Body, and a zillion other Etsy sellers make cream deodorants as well; the latter two companies offer their deodorants in roll-up stick form rather than in jars. The basic set of ingredients is similar to tapir-whorf's recipe: coconut oil, shea butter, baking soda and/or arrowroot starch, essential oils, and a bit of wax to firm it up.

If a dry powder deodorant would work, The Greeench by LUSH is an excellent choice; dabbing a bit of plain coconut oil under your arms before applying will help it to stick.
posted by divined by radio at 9:42 AM on November 25, 2014

Super + to Jason deodorant. I especially like the tea tree oil one. Very fresh and clean smelling.
posted by waitangi at 10:34 AM on November 25, 2014

nthing Tom's. Also it's cruelty-free and vegan.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 11:03 AM on November 25, 2014

I like Tom's, and it keeps me from smelling. Apparently it doesn't work well for some-maybe that has to do with diet or personal chemistry? Also I think if you are super sweaty and don't shower, it may not work as well as other brands as covering up B.O. But as long as you shower regularly and wear clean clothes, it should be fine. The scents are nice too.
posted by bearette at 11:50 AM on November 25, 2014

I am another person in the camp of Tom's didn't work for me.
Duross & Langel is a local fancy soaps place that uses some kind of vegetable protein as the deodorizer in their deodorant. All their scents in the deodorant line are pretty neutral.
posted by tangaroo at 12:24 PM on November 25, 2014

I sought out the same and, after trying A LOT, found Tom's of Maine to be the ticket. I didn't stink, game over.
posted by Foam Pants at 12:43 PM on November 25, 2014

Baking soda.
A little bit of powder and that's all you need. It's super cheap and effective. I've been using it for the past 5 months and I'm never going back.
posted by divina_y_humilde at 2:24 PM on November 25, 2014

Nthing homemade with coconut oil and baking soda. Just don't forget to add a little bit of whatever moisturing ingredient the recipes suggest (shea butter?), because it can be a bit drying if you don't. It works serious anti-smell wonders!
posted by kinddieserzeit at 3:18 PM on November 25, 2014

I will nth the DIY coconut baking soda recommendations, and will add the suggestion to save your old push up deodorant containers, and pour the melted homemade stuff into them. All the convenience, none of the Toms odorant effect. Protip: either apply a few minutes before putting on your black shirts, or gently wipe off the excess with a washcloth or tissue before getting dressed, to avoid baking soda marks.
posted by instamatic at 5:59 PM on November 25, 2014

When I was undergoing radiation for breast cancer, I was asked to refrain from using anti-perspirant (aluminum). I started using Tom's and have never stopped. I sweat a little but I don't smell and also the best thing is that the awful irritation caused by all anti-perspirants went away and has never come back.

I like the calendula and the lemongrass scents.
posted by janey47 at 6:31 PM on November 25, 2014

I just switched to using a men's unscented deoderant after a friend clued me in to how much better it works than your average women's formula. It's amazing. It really is much better. I just tried a couple brands and I liked the second one so am sticking with it.
posted by Miko at 10:13 PM on November 25, 2014

Soapwalla Deodorant is one of the most magical products I have ever tried. I love the scent, it lasts all day, and it's made from organic ingredients. It's slightly pricey but a jar will last a very long time and it's worth every penny.
posted by Fuego at 4:39 PM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

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