On this page we will try to tell you everything (well nearly everything 😀) about deodorant, including how it is different to anti-perspirant, as it is often something we simply don’t know or are not even aware of.

In a nutshell, we will cover:

  • The difference between deodorant and anti-perspirant
  • How to best use deodorant, including:
    • Where you can use it
    • The best time to use it
  • The different types of deodorant available to suit our needs
  • Which deodorant size is best for your handbag or hand luggage
  • Caring for the planet with recyclable deodorant packaging

Deodorant vs anti-perspirant: what is the difference? Is there a difference?

Let’s be honest, we don’t necessarily spend too much time thinking about what we spray…or roll under our arms each morning, but knowing the difference between deodorant and anti-perspirant means we can potentially find the right solution for any problem of perspiration or unwanted body odour. So, here are a few generic facts to start:

  • Deodorant helps prevent underarm odour
  • Anti-perspirant reduces the amount of sweat produced

Deodorant: helps prevent underarm odour…bye-bye unwanted smell!

To start with, sweat doesn’t smell. The smell we recognise as body odour is actually the reaction between sweat and the bacteria on our skin. Areas prone to lots of bacteria (such as under our arms) will smell more because sweat trapped in our armpit area provides an ideal environment for bacteria to grow. 

How many of us haven’t been in an awkward situation where unpleasant smell may have emerged after a workout, a stressful meeting or on some occasion, when the weather is hot? In those instances, using deodorant will help cover or minimise that unpleasant body odour.

How does deodorant work?

Deodorant tackles body odour by neutralising unpleasant smells, it quite literally de-odorises them. Although deodorant works hard to prevent smells, it doesn’t actually stop you sweating, it simply helps to inhibit the bacteria to grow on your skin by using ingredients with anti-microbial properties that are either acidic or salty. Most deodorants also contain a fragrance to mask body odour and help keep us smelling fresh for longer.

Anti-perspirant: reduces the amount of sweat produced…it’s all about that lovely dry and fresh feeling.

Anti-perspirant can help reduce the amount of sweat our body produces, meaning our underarms will feel drier for longer.

Anti-perspirant is not just for our underarms though. We can sometimes use it on other areas of our body such as:

  • feet
  • hands
  • back
  • chest

So, if we are feeling uncomfortable about sweating, anti-perspirant may well be the way to go.

You can read more about where on your body you can apply deodorant here.

How does anti-perspirant work?

Anti-perspirant contains active ingredients, commonly aluminium salts. These help reduce the amount of sweat we produce by providing a barrier on our skin. Why not try Soft & Gentle Classic range of anti-perspirants? They are skin friendly and provide 48 hour protection.

Some anti-perspirants, like award-winning Soft &Gentle 0% Aluminium roll-on, contain natural plant extracts (instead of aluminium salts) to provide an astringent effect by reducing the pore size, instead of clogging them.

Which is better: Deodorant or Anti-perspirant?

Neither product is better than the other—it is all down to personal preference.

So, which one will it be?

  • Deodorant—helps prevent underarm odour
  • Anti-perspirant—reduces the amount of sweat produced

So for a fresh feeling, deodorant might be the best option but for a dry & fresh feeling anti-perspirant might be more appropriate. Ultimately, sweating is completely natural and everybody does it. Finding the right product might help in making us feel more confident when we do sweat.

Roll on vs spray deodorant: Which is best for me?

Decisions, decisions! Whether we choose a spray or roll on deodorant really comes down to personal preference, but if we’re not sure which is right, here’s a quick guide.

The key difference between the two is how to apply the product:

  • Spray deodorant comes in an aerosol can. The product is applied by spraying it on the skin.
  • Roll-on deodorant comes in a glass or plastic bottle with a ball top. The product applied by rolling the ball over the skin.

Spray deodorant is the perfect choice for busy mornings as it’s easy to apply and dries almost instantly. Reapplying is simple—a quick top-up spray and off we go!

However, spray cans tend to be bigger than roll-ons, so if the handbag is already over-flowing, why not choosing a roll-on format for freshness on-the-go.

Here is a bit of information about each product format, to try to see which one might be the best for each of us.

Spray deodorant pros and cons



Quick-drying for busy mornings

Not great for spraying in small spaces such as gym changing rooms (please ensure you always spray in a well-ventilated space)

Easy to apply and reapply for quick top ups throughout the day

Bulkier packaging than roll-ons but more smaller cans are available

Can be used on some other areas of the body


Roll-on deodorant pros and cons



Nice and small so ideal for handbags, gym bags and luggage

Can be tricky to reapply under clothes as doesn’t dry instantly

Better for confined spaces as no need to spray

Needs a couple of minutes to dry so could slow you down on busy mornings

Easy to apply to exact area so you can use less product and achieve stronger results

Sticky residue can transfer to clothes if it’s not fully dry when you get dressed

Roll-on vs spray deodorant





Apply 2–3 swipes to each armpit

Spray each armpit for 2–3 seconds, at least 15 cm away from each armpit

Dry time

A couple of minutes

Dries in seconds


Tricky to apply under clothes as it doesn’t dry instantly

Quick and easy to reapply


Compact so ideal for handbags, gym bags and luggage

Tends to be larger than roll-on bottles

Why it’s worth trying stick deodorant

Stick deodorant is another option for protecting underarms from unpleasant smells. It has multiple benefits:

  • Stick deodorant is dry when it’s applied so you can wait a little less time before getting dressed;
  • As with roll-on deodorant, the product can be applied to an exact area, so therefore achieve stronger results. It can also be applied  in confined spaces as there’s no need to spray;
  • The compact size of stick deodorant makes it ideal for on-the-go freshness. Stick deodorant is solid which means it is ideal for airport security as it’s not classed as a liquid so no need to include it in your maximum 100ml liquid bag.

How to use deodorant

Applying deodorant is as an essential part of your morning routine as hitting the snooze button or cleaning your teeth, but did you know how you apply deodorant can make a huge difference to how effective it is?

You can find out how you can get the most out of your deodorant and stay fresh all day with our guide How to use deodorant.

What different types of deodorant are available and which is right for me?

There are literally hundreds of different types of deodorant available, but choosing the right one for you needn’t be stressful. 

We’ve put together a handy guide to help you find your perfect deodorant. From vegan and cruelty-free products to deodorants suited to sensitive skin, you’ll find your ideal match.

If you’re on the lookout for aluminium free deodorant then we have a whole page dedicated to the benefits of going aluminium free.

Worried about the effect of aluminium on sensitive skin? You can find out more about aluminium free deodorant and sensitive skin here.

If you’re a teenager, or a parent looking to find out more about deodorant and anti-perspirant for young people, read our guide How to choose the best deodorant or anti-perspirant for children and teenagers.

Caring for the planet with recyclable deodorant packaging

Want to do your bit for the planet? Empty deodorant cans can be recycled in most household collections—check here if you’re not sure whether they are collected in your area.

Aerosol cans are usually made out of tin-plated steel or aluminium. Tin-plates steel and aluminium are 100% recyclable so once you’ve finished it, you simply need to pop it in the recycling bin.