The 16 Best Deodorants for Women

outlast deodorant by secret
The 16 Best Deodorants for Women Who RunRunners World; Courtesy Secret

For many women runners, swiping on deodorant is a crucial part of the pre-run routine, and no list of race essentials is complete without a stick, spray, or tub of the stuff. But it’s easy to get stuck on one brand and scent for so long that you lose sight of how well it’s actually keeping you fresh during those sweaty summer runs when you need it most.

That's why we put a list of new-to-us sweat-fighting products through the paces to find the best deodorants and antiperspirants for women who run—whether that means they’re more natural, more effective, longer lasting, or just more reminiscent of aloe, rose, cucumber, and sandalwood (though hopefully not all at once) than your average stick. Read on for full reviews of our picks for best deodorants for women, plus buying advice.

Best Deodorants for Women Who Run

What Do Deodorants and Antiperspirants Do?

Running hard means sweating hard, particularly for those of us who live in the southern half of the U.S. But sweat in and of itself isn’t what causes B.O.—body odor kicks in when bacteria from your body starts breaking down accumulated sweat from your apocrine glands, which are clustered in areas with hair, like the armpits.

Deodorant’s job is to prevent body odor before it even happens by killing that bacteria. Antiperspirant’s job is to take it back one step further and prevent body odor by blocking your sweat glands through the use of aluminum. Antiperspirants that claim “clinical strength” have a higher concentration of the active ingredient aluminum zirconium tricholorohydrex to block sweat for up to 24 hours, though effectiveness can vary based on when you put it on. The majority of women don’t need that level of protection, though, and can get plenty of odor protection from a basic deodorant or standard antiperspirant.

How We Tested

Every deodorant on this list has been evaluated and vetted by our team of test editors. We researched the market, surveyed user reviews, spoke with product managers and designers, and used our own experience sweating through our summer mileage to determine the best of the best. We then compiled our final picks for the best deodorants for women and evaluated them all on scent, ease of use, comfort, longevity, effectiveness, and value to come up with this list of the best options to spray, glide, roll, and smear into your pits. If a deodorant can pass the runner test, it's worthy of high praise indeed. Here are the standouts.

Looking for some more masculine scents? Check out our Best Deodorants for Men here.


Secret Clinical Strength

Clinical-strength antiperspirants are essentially the “nuclear option” when it comes to sweat protection. Here’s how they work: If you apply the products at bedtime, they’re designed to settle into your pores and block sweat for up to 24 hours (and, in some cases, even longer).

The claim is that they’re more effective because of a higher concentration of the active ingredient aluminum—for example, this bar of Secret Clinical Strength has 25 percent more aluminum than a standard Secret antiperspirant, and boasts its power to protect pits for up to 48 hours. “Forty-eight hours” is a bit bold, but we did find this standard roll-on bar to be the most effective bar we tested.

Photo editor Kristen Parker said it reduced her sweating all day, didn’t need to be reapplied after a workout, and caused no adverse reactions. “It’s not a magic cure to stop all sweating, but it does provide me with strong enough protection for daily use,” Parker said. As for the bar’s smell, we found it to be clean and fresh, without being overpowering.


Degree Clinical Protection Summer Strength

Like the Secret Clinical Strength, this Degree Summer Strength roll-on stick aims to provide 24 to 48 hours of protection if you put it on right before bed. While we found it had to be reapplied every 12 hours to maintain the same level of odor protection, within those long time windows it was effective in combating stress sweat and sweat from our workouts. Testers with sensitive skin had no reactions to this powerful antiperspirant and liked the fresh, fruity scent for summer use.

Our only complaint is that it left marks on clothes if we weren’t careful when we were applying. “This is a perfect deodorant for anyone who loves exercising outside on those hot summer days when most people would just hide inside an air-conditioned gym,” said our tester.


Schmidt’s Rose and Vanilla Stick

Natural deodorants get a bad rap for not holding up their end of the anti-smell bargain. But while that might be true for runners who need more long-term odor control, for those who don’t need as much, the ingredients and scents of natural deodorants are often preferable. That’s definitely the case with the Schmidt’s Rose and Vanilla Stick—everyone who tried it praised how well the two scents worked together and left their pits smelling like some type of hip, modern cafe that overlooks a rose garden and serves great cookies.

Available in both a stick and (a less-convenient) little tub, the deodorant goes on slightly sticky (the brand recommends “softening” it first by holding it against your skin for a few seconds) but quickly rubs in, where it left no marks on our clothes. We set our expectations low for longevity, but ultimately the plant- and mineral-derived deodorant held up—after application, the Rose and Vanilla Stick provided hours of protection from odor, even during and after our runs. “Consider me a convert—I will be buying Schmidt’s in the future,” said test editor Adrienne Donica, a former natural deodorant skeptic.


Dove 0% Aluminum

Although aluminum is the only effective ingredient in antiperspirants that slows sweat by forming little plugs in your pores, it’s also deodorant’s most controversial ingredient. Several very limited studies have shown a link to the aluminum in deodorant and an increase in breast cancer risk, though both the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society have found the results backing those claims to be inconclusive and flawed. Runners who are nevertheless concerned about aluminum and other ingredients now have more options, including natural deodorants and Dove 0%, which is alcohol- and aluminum-free.

We found the Cucumber & Green Tea-scented roll-on stick to be clean-feeling, refreshing, and effective. “Before this deodorant I was using a natural deodorant because of health safety reasons,” said senior designer Eleni Dimou. “After using this Dove 0%, I immediately noticed a difference and overall felt more refreshed and clean without having to worry about it being visible on my body or clothes. It is way more effective and costs much less than most natural deodorants.”


Ursa Major Base Layer Deodorant

The effectiveness of this natural roll-on came as a jolt to our testers—particularly because it smells like nothing at all. “I generally don’t like natural deodorants, since I find they just don’t work that well and often have really strong scents to them,” said associate features editor Taylor Rojek. “But I was pleasantly surprised by this one—it outperformed many others I tried.”

Although the round roll-on bar feels wet against underarms upon application, it dries quickly and doesn’t leave streaks on clothing. This would be a good option for runners with scent allergies or sensitive skin, as it’s baking soda- and aluminum-free. However, some runners who tested felt like they needed to reapply more often than they would have with a non-natural deodorant.


Native Deodorant Coconut and Vanilla

Native’s natural stick gets bonus points for evoking (but not overwhelming the nervous system with) the warm scent of coconut and vanilla, which smells a little tropical and also a little like running past a bakery on the last few miles of your long run. The deodorant goes on a little sandy and leaves the occasional mark on clothes, but it rubs off easily and never feels sticky.

Runners with sensitive skin liked the natural aluminum-free, paraben-free formula, and the fact that it held up longer than expected and didn’t need to be reapplied throughout the day. If beachy coconut isn’t your thing, you can choose from almost a dozen other scents, including seasonals and even a custom blend tailored to your body.


Dr. Sweat Clinical Strength Antiperspirant Pads

Dr. Sweat claims its clinical-strength deodorant wipes don’t just reduce your underarm sweat for a weekend—they keep you significantly drier all week long. I was so skeptical of this claim that I recruited my (far stinkier) significant other to help test them because I knew my thoroughly average glands couldn’t produce the “excessive sweating in armpits” that the wipes are designed to treat.

The first thing we noticed is that the wipes are expensive—$20 for 10 pads, or a few dollars less if you set up an ongoing subscription. However, assuming the product performed as promised, each container could potentially last two and a half months, justifying the investment. The Dr. Sweat application process was simple enough: Each pre-soaked wipe rubbed easily into both pits with no irritation or fragrance. From there, we were both wowed—the wipes really did eliminate underarm sweat for days. And not just running and workout sweat, but nervous sweat, night sweat, and the 24-hour general body sweat that comes from living in Texas.

This product might actually be too powerful for most runners, unless you have clinically diagnosed hyperhidrosis. That said, if you want to stay as dry as possible without having to think about antiperspirant for a week, this is the best option out there.


Tom’s of Maine Natural Strength Deodorant

Tom’s of Maine is the closest thing there is to a household name in the natural deodorant world, with good reason: It’s an effective sweat solution for those of us who need some protection, but don’t require the more powerful aluminum stuff. For people with sensitive skin, natural deodorants like Tom's that use baking soda to absorb sweat can sometimes cause irritation and rashes. But for those of us without skin-sensitivity issues, Tom’s is an effective way to stop stink and replace it with something pleasant and natural (the Coconut Lavender and Honeysuckle Rose scents are my particular favorites).

I would argue that this stick doesn’t actually last 48 hours—our testers reported reapplying throughout the day, especially after a run—but it’s a solid option for the runner who like a natural, animal-friendly product that smells great and is available at any major store.


Ban Roll-On Powder Fresh Antiperspirant

Like most roll-ons, Ban’s Simply Clean Antiperspirant is easy to apply but goes on a little wet, which might be a turn-off to those who want to get out the door quickly. However, if you’re patient enough to let it air out a bit, the product works well at keeping your armpits feeling fresh for hours without leaving any visible marks on your running shirt.

The “Powder Fresh” scent is mellow—it isn’t as overpowering or chemical-smelling as many non-natural deodorants. It just leaves a light hint of baby powder on your skin and lets you forget about B.O. for a few hours. Buying note: You can find this one in most major stores, but it’s discounted online.


Degree UltraClear Dry Spray Black + White Pure Clean Antiperspirant Deodorant

This “dry” spray made of 20 percent aluminum goes on ultralight and doesn’t leave any marks on your running or work clothes. The floral scent, which staff photographer Lakota Gambill described as slightly chemical but also refreshing, is a bit overwhelming at first but settles into the background, where it fights odor for a claimed 48 hours. We found it to be long-lasting and effective, taking us from a morning shower through work and a run to home, without needing to be reapplied.


Each & Every Worry-Free Deodorant

One of the many new natural brands on the deodorant scene, Each & Every stands out for its particularly thorough commitment to sustainability—from its use of vegan and recycled ingredients, to its sugarcane packaging and container-reuse program. The company uses a limited number of simple ingredients, so each label reads more like a cookie recipe than a chemical inventory.

It’s also good for those with skin-sensitivity issues, thanks to a baking-soda-free and gluten-free formula with zero parabens. I tried a roll-on cylinder of Each & Every’s Lavender & Lemon scent, and was surprised by its sweet-smelling subtlety and effectiveness throughout an 85-degree trail run. No, it didn’t completely block underarm sweat like an antiperspirant would, but it did mask odors and prevent me from feeling inhuman on the drive home. On a non-running day, I put it on after showering and it lasted up to 12 hours without the need for reapplication.


Secret Outlast Invisible Solid

This antiperspirant stick goes on smooth and invisible and stays with you for a claimed 48 hours, thanks to a formula that contains 19 percent aluminum (for comparison’s sake, the Secret Clinical Strength has 20 percent). The fresh and flowery laundry detergent scent is strong but not overpowering.

After testing it over the course of a few runs, associate health and fitness editor Danielle Zickl found it to be a solid option for runners looking for a little more power from their deodorants. “It worked great for everyday use and after workouts, too,” Zickl said. “It says that it protects against odor for 48 hours. While I never went that long without reapplying it, I found that after sweaty and intense runs and strength workouts, I didn’t smell as gross as I thought I would—and could still even smell a faint hint of the deodorant.”


Lululemon Anti-Stink Deodorant Black Pepper Sandalwood

Whether you’re germ-averse or just prefer spray-on application, this Lululemon deodorant has your pits covered in natural, animal-product-free odor protection. We tried the musky black pepper sandalwood and slightly floral aloe lotus, both of which had pleasant smells that weren’t overwhelming. The spray goes on easily and dries quickly, leaving zero marks on our running clothes.

Assistant digital editor Jessica Coulon, who usually uses an aluminum deodorant, said the aloe spray worked for up to six hours, but reapplication depended on her sweat level. On running days, she had to reapply more often. Testers who used the black pepper sandalwood found it to be much more effective at blocking stink during and after workouts and didn’t need to reapply as regularly.


Tom’s of Maine Antiperspirant

If regular Tom’s isn’t powerful enough for you, check out the brand’s antiperspirant, which has the same natural ingredients as the deodorant version, plus recycled aluminum chlorohydrate. It also has charcoal to operate as an odor neutralizer.

How exactly does that work, you might be asking? Charcoal derived from natural ingredients, like coconut shells—or in this case, peat—is processed at high temperatures so that it has more surface area, which creates tiny pores that can trap dirt, bacteria, and chemicals. The smell is pretty mild—but the drying effect is noticeable. It glides on without feeling sticky or greasy, and blocks most pit sweat during and after a run. Plus, you still get the natural moisturizing and fragrance benefits of plant-based ingredients, like coconut and olive leaves, among others.


Lady Speed Stick Antiperspirant

This antiperspirant felt like a throwback to me, as I hadn’t used it since the late '90s—around the time the word “Lady” seemed to be undergoing a sort of post-Riot Grrl reclamation (see: Olympia’s Ladyfest). The product, however, still holds up for modern heavy sweaters—though the soapy, “shower fresh” scent is much, much stronger than what I’ve grown accustomed to from using natural deodorants.

Lady Speed Stick promises 48 hours of protection from the roll-on; I would amend that number to about 12 to 24, and possibly fewer for summer runners. However, for those without scent sensitivities looking for a powerful antiperspirant that will last all day and possibly even stir up some nostalgia, this is an inexpensive option.

You Might Also Like