The Unexpected—and Awesome—Return of Spray Deodorant

Joanna Douglas
·Senior Editor

Photo: Rich Seymour/Trunk Archive 

Here in the US, we love our deodorant sticks, but two thirds of the world actually prefers a deodorant spray. Yes, really! Unilever, the beauty giant behind Dove, Degree, and Axe, has successfully launched their brand new Dry Spray antiperspirant in more than 37 countries, and starting Cyber Monday they’re coming stateside.

Think sprays are gross? So did I. I’ve been a stick devotee since I started wearing deodorant in the 6th grade. But as one of the very first people to test these new products it was immediately clear to me that Unilever has done far more than reformulate and repackage traditional sprays—they’ve completely changed the user experience. For starters, no more scary, unsafe aerosol can that blasts cold product into your armpits. That awkward chicken dance you do to try to get the deodorant to absorb into your skin? Not anymore—the spray is immediately dry upon application. And best of all, no more messy white residue. (I’ve even tried spraying it directly on a black T-shirt and could not see a thing.) Needless to say, I’m a convert. My favorite is the Dove Dry Spray in Cool Essentials (the same cucumber scent as the stick version), and find Degree’s version especially protective for gym sessions. I think it may take a lot to get people to change from their trusted stick to a can (albeit a streamlined ergonomic one), but as a beauty editor who loves sharing must-have products with the world, you’re going to have to trust me on this one.

Related: The Natural Deodorant Challenge: Do They Work?

Why is now the time to remarket sprays? Well, apparently most people aren’t so psyched on their current stick. “We’ve heard a number of different complaints or issues from people surrounding their current deodorant use,” says Matthew McCarthy, senior marketing director of antiperspirants and deodorants at Unilever. “When spray deodorant was first introduced decades ago, the formula was different and the user experience wasn’t as sophisticated.  US consumers then began experimenting with formats like sticks, which eventually took hold as the dominant preference.” McCarthy says there hadn’t been a significant antiperspirant innovation in decades, so Unilever stepped up to the plate.

For those of you who have never wielded a spray, McCarthy says to shake well before each use, hold the can six inches from your underarm, and spray. After a few tries you’ll see why these sprays are superior to others on the market. When it comes to the formula itself, sticks rely on wax, which leaves a residue, while gels and other sprays contain water and alcohol, causing a cold, wet feeling. Unilever’s antiperspirant sprays contain none of these things, and dry instantly without residue or stickiness. The packaging itself really stands out, too. While the can fits nicely in your hand making it easier to control, the spraying mechanism produces a soft, light mist, instead of an uncontrollable blast.

Ready to try one for yourself? The new Dry Sprays will be available in variety of new scents from Dove, Dove Men+Care, Degree, Degree Men, and Axe for $4.99 to $5.49 each starting on Cyber Monday, December 1 at retailers nationwide.

Related: Why You Can’t Smell Your Own Perfume