10 best all-body deodorant balms, according to dermatologists

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While traditional deodorants target odor and sweat in the armpits, the new odor protectants on the block — namely, deodorant balms — cater to all your bits. Whole-body deodorants and deodorant balms are one of the most popular trends in skin care right now, and it’s not hard to see their appeal. Athletes, those prone to sweat or anyone needing odor protection anytime, anywhere can appreciate a hygiene and grooming product that gets the job done. As such, we asked three top dermatologists, a cosmetic chemist and a jiu-jitsu pro to recommend the best deodorant balms for staying odor-free all over — and to provide some insight into the booming deodorizing category.

Click here to skip to see which deodorant balms are worth trying, or scroll down to learn all about the emerging category.

What is deodorant balm?

Deodorant balms are a popular format of whole-body deodorants. Its balmy texture differs from that of spray-on or stick deodorants, and deodorant balms are oftentimes formulated for use anywhere you sweat. They apply similarly to a lotion, and can help neutralize odors wherever sweat may be a problem. That means they’ve got your underboob, thighs, privates and more covered. So, how are whole-body deodorants different from their pit-focused counterparts?

What is whole-body deodorant?

“Conventional antiperspirants and deodorants are specifically formulated to address both odor and sweat in the armpit area, but whole-body deodorants are formulated to be used anywhere on the body. They are more focused on deodorizing than sweat or wetness control,” Melissa Christenson, a cosmetic chemist and the co-founder and head of product development at Hume Supernatural, explains.

How does deodorant balm work?

Deodorant balms and other types of whole-body deodorants work somewhat differently from other kinds. To understand how they work, it’s crucial to get a grasp on glands. “We have several types of sweat glands,” says Mary L. Stevenson, New York City-based board-certified dermatologist and Mohs micrographic surgeon. “While eccrine sweat glands are connected to the surface of the skin and are present all over the entire body and responsible for most of our sweat, apocrine sweat glands, on the other hand, become dominant at puberty and are connected to the hair follicle and therefore are found in places like axillae [or armpits] and the groin. Deodorants prevent body odor while antiperspirants prevent sweating and therefore also odor.”

She continues: “Much of the smell that occurs in areas like the armpits and the groin doesn’t come from the sweat itself, which is technically odorless, but from the byproducts of digestion that lead to smell. Many [antibacterial] deodorants contain ingredients that aim to combat bacteria that cause our sweat to smell.”

She adds that the primary ingredient in antiperspirants tends to be aluminum salts, which clog glands to stop the release of sweat. “Unlike traditional deodorants used for the armpits, whole-body deodorants [and deodorant balms], which are becoming a trend, are designed to be used in many places of the body — including armpits, folds and areas of friction like groin folds and under the breasts and feet,” Stevenson says. Common ingredients in these whole-body formulations include sodium bicarbonate and starch powders to absorb sweat, along with oils like tea tree and peppermint to mask odors.

Who is deodorant balm for?

While whole-body deodorants and deodorant balms can help anyone mask odor, athletes, in particular, gravitate toward them. Becky Williams, a jiu-jitsu athlete and the founder of Mil Usos, which provides face and body care for athletes, has long recognized the need for easy-to-apply, multitasking odor protection.

“I have trained jiu-jitsu for nine years, and it would seem that the athlete’s greatest joy in life is to purposefully do things that make them smell as pungent as humanly possible, ” Williams jokes. “Jiu-jitsu is like wrestling. You are on the ground, using your own body to smash, pin and control the opponent’s body into submission. It’s a full-contact sport — there’s no hiding anything from anyone. Needless to say, it becomes embarrassingly obvious both to you and your opponents that your body smells in more places than just your armpits.”

But it’s not just contact sports that call for whole-body deodorant. “Even other solo sports, like running or biking — anything that causes you to work up a sweat for a prolonged period of time — is going to translate into more than just isolated armpit odor,” Williams says.

“The groin contains apocrine sweat glands, and that area is often covered in multiple layers of fabric from underwear, base layers, pants or other specialty gear, so the whole area is basically an incubator for body odor,” she continues. “ In a similar way, your feet sweat into your shoes for hours before they are exposed to fresh air. We’ve all felt the embarrassment of smelling a little too potent in sensitive areas, but for athletes, it’s even worse because our training produces high amounts of sweat upon which odor-causing bacteria thrive.”

Hence, whole-body deodorants were born of necessity, and more options are hitting the shelves at nearly every big-box retailer. A little ingredient savviness is key when selecting the best deodorant balm for you.

How to pick a whole-body deodorant

“When looking for a whole-body deodorant, it’s important to consider gentle ingredients that are suitable for sensitive skin,” says Dr. Kemi Fabusiwa, a London-based medical doctor who focuses on dermatology. “Opt for products that are free from harsh chemicals and choose a product that is not heavily fragranced as that has the potential to irritate the skin.”

Dr. DiAnne Davis, a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon based in Texas, adds,“You want to consider an option that is going to be gentle to use on any of the external surfaces of the body. An option that is made without aluminum salts, parabens or baking soda is ideal to consider to minimize any irritation. Because this product will be applied on different parts of the body, an option that doesn’t leave a white residue is also practical.”

How to apply deodorant balm

After you’ve chosen your whole-body deodorant, application is pretty simple— but don’t undertake it while the skin is damp. “Whole-body deodorants are best applied to clean, dry skin,” says Christenson. “If water is listed on the ingredients of a product, you can expect that it will be a bit wet feeling on application, so you will need to let it dry well before getting dressed.” She adds: “While whole-body deodorants are also designed for use in sensitive areas like privates, it’s important to remember that usage is for external areas only, and that these areas can be more sensitive than other parts of the body. Fragrance-free is a good choice if below the belt is the primary area of usage.”

Still dubious about whole-body deodorant? Ease into it with these dermatologist-approved tips. “When adding any product to your regimen it is important to avoid irritants and allergens,” says Stevenson. “If you have sensitive skin it is generally a good idea to try a small amount of product in one location for several days, I often advise my patients with sensitive skin to try new products of concern behind the ear in small quantities for five days before applying to larger areas.”

Fabusiwa adds that one should “avoid applying the product to broken or irritated skin and discontinue use if you experience any adverse effects like redness, itching or burning.”

Ready to explore whole-body odor protection? Vetted by our experts and beauty editor, here are our picks for the best deodorant balms and other types of full-body deodorants.

Overall best deodorant balms

AKT The Deodorant Balm


Developed by dancers seeking all-dryness, this aluminum-free deodorant balm puts a luxe spin on odor control. With a moisturizer-like consistency that melts quickly into the skin, it can be used on the armpits, the forehead, the chest or anywhere that’s prone to sweating. The natural deodorant’s fragrance was developed in conjunction with a perfumer, which Shaw says shows in the sophisticated scents that are subtle yet present. It’s available in five scents, including Orange Grove (petitgrain, mandarin and neroli), Halcyon Summers (mint, pomelo and tomato vine) and Shaw’s favorite, The Onsen (vetiver, lavandin and yuzu). She also recommends spending the few extra dollars on the Starter Set, which includes’ AKT’s elegant tube key for effortless and waste-free dispensing.

Mil Usos Total Cranarchy Muti-Use Balm

Mil Usos
Mil Usos

This five-in-one moisturizer can be used as a deodorant, as it neutralizes odor on the armpits, feet and below the belt. “But it’s not exclusively a deodorant; it's first and foremost a moisturizer for face and body, with a significant emphasis on the microbiome,” Williams shares. With active ingredients such as bakuchiol and bisabolol, “It is a uniquely innovative product that infuses sophisticated skin care with odor control,” says Williams.

Hume Supernatural All Body Deodorant


Christenson describes Hume’s deodorant balm as a “plant-based, nourishing and antioxidant-rich formula that contains skin-barrier supporting ingredients like prebiotic plant-based extracts and colloidal oatmeal.” She adds that it’s ideal for sensitive skin. “Instead of harsh acids which can compromise the skin microbiome, the formula deodorizes with castor oil-derived zinc ricinoleate, which neutralizes odors and works with your skin, not against it,” she says. It’s one of Underscored associate beauty editor Sophie Shaw’s favorites for its ease of application (the creamy formula sinks right in) and pleasant scents.

L’Occitane The Incredible Deodorant Recipe


The balm’s noncomedogenic formulation is enhanced with natural ingredients plucked from the French countryside, including the organic verbena that gives it a citrusy scent. It scoops up with a creamy consistency, but dries quickly with a soft and powdery finish. Free of aluminum salt, the balm has a non-greasy finish that saves clothes from stains.

More all-body deodorants

Native Whole Body Deodorant Spray


Native’s vegan deodorants “are great because they feature odor-fighting ingredients with a light, fresh scent that allows one to smell good throughout the day,” Davis notes. In addition to offering odor protection, the dermatologist says they are gentle enough to use on sensitive skin and sensitive areas. She adds that the brand’s spray-on formulation, which is aluminum-free, makes it easy to reach places that are typically hard to access.

Native also launched an aluminum- and baking soda-free whole body deodorant stick, if you prefer that format.

$14 at Amazon

Lume Whole Body Deodorant


Known as the original whole-body deodorant, Lume’s pH-optimized formula was developed by an OB/GYN in 2017. The hypoallergenic cream comes in scents ranging from Toasted Coconut to Clean Tangerine and offers odor protection for 72 hours on areas ranging from feet to armpits, and — as the brand proudly promotes — butt cracks. Mando, billed as “Lumen for men,” offers a male-centric spin on the product.

Luna Daily’s The Everywhere Spray-to-Wipe


Fabuwisa recommends Luna Daily’s TikTok-viral spray, which has a signature scent laced with jasmine and ylang-ylang. “It offers a convenient spray-to-wipe application method and contains natural ingredients like aloe vera and vitamins F, E and C to soothe and refresh the skin,” she says. “This product is gentle yet effective, making it suitable for daily use on various body areas.”

Secret Whole Body Deodorant Spray


Secret’s new whole body deodorant line includes a balm, stick and this spray, which is our favorite out of the bunch. The invisible formula is a budget-friendly, drugstore pick that is easy to spritz and walk out the door. It’s not the most long-lasting formula we’ve come across, but still a good pick for mild activity days and the spray makes it easy to reapply without overdoing it.

Ban Private Parts Deodorizing Lotion


A targeted treatment made for around the privates (remember, all deodorant is made for external use only, people!), this lightweight lotion helps neutralize odors in your most sensitive areas. It comes in a convenient travel-size bottle that is easy to store in your gym bag, backpack or purse, and the formula was derm tested to be safe for sensitive skin.

SheaMoisture Whole Body Deo Cream


Designed for melanin-rich skin, SheaMoisture’s whole-body deodorant has a coconut and hibiscus scent that channels a tropical getaway. With cornstarch for sweat absorption, the cream has been tested — and approved — by Black dermatologists and gynecologists. It’s free of aluminum, baking soda and other potential irritants.

$10 at Target

Note: The prices above reflect the retailers' listed price at the time of publication.

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