It's not you or the product, it's how you're using it.
Putting on deodorant is so routine and simple that it’s difficult to think we could be making a mistake. I mean, all we have to do it put it under our arms, wait for it to dry, and get dressed, feeling protected from body odor during the day. Right?
But … have you ever felt that your deodorant doesn’t seem to be working? Sometimes we blame the brand or even the food we ate that day, but it could also be that we’re not using the product the right way.
1. Deodorant or antiperspirant?
The first thing is to know how to buy what you need. Deodorant is designed solely to counteract bad odors, while antiperspirant, with aluminum-based compounds as its main ingredient, prevents the sweat from secreting. If you sweat a little more than normal, an antiperspirant can be more effective, avoiding spots on your clothing. If, on the other hand, you don’t tend to sweat a lot, then deodorant is more than enough and, in any case, you can may want an antiperspirant only for certain occasions.
2. Applying it on wet skin
Many times we get out of the shower very quickly and we want to get dressed in 5 minutes, so we don’t dry our underarms well. But if we don’t apply the product on a dry surface, it loses some of its effectiveness, as it runs and is not absorbed at all. The same thing happens if you re-apply it while already sweating (in fact, it’s worse, because you contaminate the product).
3. Using it after shaving
Putting on deodorant directly after shaving will cause your armpit to become irritated, since at that time you have more sensitive skin and open pores. After shaving, wait several minutes, apply a little rose water in the area as if it were a tonic, dry it well, and then apply your deodorant or antiperspirant. It sounds tedious, but it is better to wait than to walk around with itchy armpits.
4. Using too much
I’m sure we’ve all done this: we apply deodorant in the morning and then again in the afternoon, adding another layer (without showering or anything) because we are going to an event or to the gym. It is the same as when you use fresh out of the shower … The product should be applied on a clean and dry surface to work properly. It won’t work better if you apply more. One or two swipes is more than enough. Instead, you should focus on covering the entire area.
Of course, you are right to want to refresh it at the end of the day. Did you know that for a deodorant or antiperspirant to have a label that says “lasts all day” by law it only has to reduce sweating by 20 percent? So yes, if you really want it to last until late, depending on your body and perspiration, you probably have to refresh it, but remember to wash and dry the area first.
5. Just focusing on the fragrance
I confess that I am the first one who walks around smelling the deodorants in the pharmacy to see which one has a better aroma, but in reality this does not mean that it will work or that, when you sweat, you will end up smelling like that fragrance of white roses and cotton that you love so much. Many deodorants and antiperspirants with a strong perfume are actually full of chemicals that can irritate your skin and even kill the good bacteria that we have in our armpits to naturally combat the bad smell.
Finally, and as an extra tip, remember to gently exfoliate your armpits once a week to remove any residue or bad bacteria and to unclog any pores that may have some embedded hair due to shaving. If you do all this and still think that the deodorant is not working for you, then definitely change brands, since it is not for you; if you have been using it for some time, it may be that your skin “has become accustomed” to the formula, so switch it up a bit.
This article was originally published in the Spanish edition of Aleteia and has been translated and/or adapted here for English speaking readers.