It hit me one day out of the blue. I stunk. Not terribly, mind you. I'm a pretty fastidious groomer—it's something of an occupational hazard. I'm never without a new soap, cologne or moisturizer. But deodorant isn't something I experiment with much. Who does, really? You find one that works, you apply it mindlessly every morning and you replace it with an identical stick when it runs out. Until one day, you raise your arm to scratch the back of your head while typing at your desk, and the hostile funk of body odor hits your nose.
That's what happened to me. "Shit," I thought. "Did I forget to put on deodorant?" Of course not. But it's not uncommon for grooming products to suddenly stop working for you. Blame it on changing body chemistry or simply seasonal changes. Maybe you were getting by with deodorant over the winter, but need a stronger antiperspirant when the weather shifts and you find yourself sweating more.
"Deodorants are more water based with fragrance to help prevent smell," says Dr. Terence Keaney, a board certified dermatologist. "Whereas an antiperspirant is specifically designed to reduce sweat because it usually has an aluminum-based formula which blocks sweat release on the skin surface."
Personally, I had been staying clear of antiperspirants because I wanted to protect my clothes. I didn't want those cake-y, grimy yellow stains on my light colored shirts. The doctor assured me that there are ways to stay dry, smell fresh and keep my clothes in peak condition. First, a warning not to go overboard when swiping under your arms. "Too much product leaves too much residue, soiling your clothes and increasing the chance for skin irritation," he says. "Ideally, you should only apply one or two swipes to clean, dry pits after a shower." Second, is finding an antiperspirant that has been engineered not to stain clothing, despite being packed with the effective ingredients required to prevent sweating. And thankfully, there are many great ones these days.
Currently, I'm using Dove Men+Care's new Stain Defense dry spray, which boasts a patented and proprietary new ingredient—a masking oil—which not only helps shield the appearance of white marks on dark clothes but prevents the formation of those dreaded yellow stains. Herewith, a handful of options to keep you dry, smelling good and feeling confident all summer long.
Stain Defense Cool Dry Spray
This cooling spray is dry on contact and promises 48 hour protection against wetness and body odor without stains. We've found it lives up to that promise.
$5.49 by Dove Men+Care
Pit Boss Antiperspirant & Deodorant
Glides on easily without any residue and has a clean, masculine scent. The formula is vegan and free of parabens and alcohol but extremely long lasting.
$18 by Jack Black
This aluminum-free deodorant is formulated to reduce moisture by 25%. It has a nice shower-fresh scent, but we found it doesn't last as long as your standard antiperspirant.
$15.11 by Clean for Men
A modern update from an old drugstore standby. It goes on clear and is immediately dry on the skin. There's no staining of clothes and the fragrance is sporty and familiar.
$4.99 by Old Spice
Alcohol Free Antiperspirant Deodorant
A favorite of athletes, this quick-absorbing roll-on features an ultra-mild formula that neutralizes bacteria all day and won't gunk up or leave behind nasty residue.
$22 by Recipe for Men