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How to Properly Apply Antiperspirant & Deodorant

March 18, 2021 6 min read

How to Properly Apply Antiperspirant

Believe it or not, there is a wrong way and a right way to apply antiperspirant or deodorant. It might seem impossible to apply deodorant or antiperspirant incorrectly – after all, you’ve been wearing antiperspirant since your teens, so you must know how to do it, right?

Deodorants and antiperspirants may seem the same at first glance. But they actually have totally different functions, and slightly different ways to properly apply them. 

Deodorants work to combat body odor, which is produced when sweat mixes with bacteria found on the skin. On the other hand, Antiperspirants target sweat glands to block sweat directly and recommended for people who encounter issues with sweating. Most antiperspirants also offer odor protection.

If you want to learn – or at least double-check you're doing it right – how to apply antiperspirant or deodorant, this post will help. We'll cover the differences between applying deodorant and antiperspirant by type (spray, stick, or roll-on) as well as when and how much antiperspirant or deodorant to apply.

This post was originally written in February 2019, and was updated in March 2021.

How to Apply Antiperspirant Properly

How to Apply Antiperspirant

If you struggle from excessive sweat, you're likely already using antiperspirant rather than deodorant to try and manage that. But antiperspirant and deodorant should be applied differently – and antiperspirant adds a bit more nuance to your application routine. 

How Much Antiperspirant to Apply

It's easy to go overboard with antiperspirant. In fact, you only need a thin layer of antiperspirant to get the full effect – not a slathering-on. Apply a thin layer of antiperspirant to completely dry armpits. If you take your showers at night, make sure your underarm is 100% dry, as the humidity in the bathroom can keep your pits damp.

When to Apply Antiperspirant

Apply your antiperspirant at night. Yes, you read that right – at night. Antiperspirant takes time to set in. When you apply it in the morning, you begin to sweat before it has time to start working, and that removes the antiperspirant you’ve applied.

If you apply antiperspirant before bed at night, you accomplish two things:

  1. You allow the antiperspirant to take hold while you sleep.
  2. Unless you suffer from night sweats, sweat glands are less active at night, which will prevent the antiperspirant from getting washed away. If you are worried the antiperspirant will wear off during the day, don’t be. Antiperspirants are designed to remain active for 24 hours. Applying antiperspirant at night before you go to bed will reduce sweating for the entire next day.

You can also add another thin layer of antiperspirant when you wake up and allow it to dry before you get dressed.

1. Applying Stick Antiperspirants

If you're using a stick antiperspirant, you're probably doing it right – assuming you adjust your hygiene and timing routine. To ensure you apply only a thin layer of antiperspirant, apply two or three strokes of antiperspirant to each underarm. If your armpits are properly dry when you apply your stick antiperspirant, you shouldn't need to let it dry at all; if you do feel damp right away that means you need to get your armpits completely dry before applying the next time.

2. Applying Roll-On Antiperspirants

As with aerosols, you must give your rolls-on antiperspirant a good shake. Apply one or two strokes and allow it to dry before dressing.

When using a roll-on, it is very important to allow the antiperspirant to dry completely before getting dressed. If you pull on clothes or your sleepwear right after applying it, the antiperspirant can be wiped off by your clothing, making it ineffective and dirtying your clean clothes.

3. Applying Spray Antiperspirants

To apply antiperspirant spray correctly, you must shake the can thoroughly to mix the ingredient. Shaking the spray contain evenly disperses the antiperspirant in the can so that you don’t just get a blast of air. Hold the can about 6 inches from your pit to get the right application. Use short, sharp sprays once or twice under each arm.

How to Apply Deodorant Properly

How to Apply Deodorant

Now, let’s take a look at how to apply deodorant properly. Regardless of the type of product you use, it’s always best to put on your deodorant after showering. Make sure you apply the formula to clean and completely dry armpits. (There is no need to go overboard as you can reapply throughout the day as needed.)

There is now an extensive range of deodorant options so you can experiment with different scents (or scentless options), as well as deodorants for sensitive skin and all-natural formulas.

How Much Deodorant to Apply

The trick to applying most deodorants follows the advice of Goldilocks – not too much, not too little, but just the right amount. Like antiperspirant, how much deodorant to use depends on which type you're using. Generally speaking though, you don't need as much as you think – if you're a five-swipe guy, that's probably too much.

When to Apply Deodorant

Contrary to popular belief about when to use deodorant, the best time of the day to apply deodorants is actually before you go to bed – just like for antiperspirants. Our sweat ducts are less active in the evening and while we’re sleeping. As such, applying deodorant at night allows the formula to work most effectively. Deodorant works best with minimal moisture, so it’s important to make sure your armpits are totally dry after showering and before application.

1. Applying Stick Deodorant

Stick deodorants typically have a dial that you turn to dispense the formula. For those wondering, “How much deodorant should I put on?” We recommend 2-3 swipes under each arm for the best results. If you find that residue is transferring to your clothes, it’s likely that you’re applying too much. In this case, try reducing the amount to avoid build-up and potential deodorant stains on your clothes.

2. Applying Roll-On Deodorant

Roll-on deodorants, as the name suggests, contain a roller ball that releases a small amount of formula when moved over the skin. When considering how much deodorant to apply with a roll-on, 2-3 swipes is a good place to start. Be sure to cover the entire underarm area for even coverage and allow the formula time to dry before putting on clothes.

3. Applying Spray Deodorant

Advice for how to apply deodorant in spray form is a little different. First, give it a good shake to ensure the ingredients are well mixed. Then hold the can around 6 inches (or 15cm) from your underarms and give a short, sharp spray – around 2 seconds on each armpit. Remember, if you find yourself in a cloud of aerosol, then you’ve gone too far!

Other Tips for Managing Excessive Sweat

Managing Excessive Underarm Sweat

Using your new routine for applying antiperspirant or deodorant in the evening will help you reap the full benefits of your antiperspirant. You can also use these tips to assist in your war against sweat.

  • Use Antiperspirant or Deodorant as recommended. Read the label to find out how often you should apply your antiperspirant. They are usually strong enough to last with applications just twice a week. Antiperspirants are strong repellents, and if you apply it day after day your skin might not absorb it due to residue remaining from previous applications.
  • Choose antiperspirant with higher levels of aluminum chloride. The main active ingredient in antiperspirants is aluminum chloride. Look for products that contain at least 14% aluminum chloride for the best results. There are many clinical strength antiperspirants you can purchase without a prescription. However, if you suffer from excessive sweating, you can also talk to your doctor to get a prescription-strength antiperspirant.
  • Shave your armpits to get rid of hair that can trap moisture and lead to body odor. Shaving also allows the deodorant to make direct contact with your skin to work its magic. Exfoliating helps to scrub away dead skin cells, bacteria, and deodorant remnants, giving your deodorant a clean and fresh canvas on which to work.
  • Wear sweat blocking undershirts. If you suffer from excessive sweating, using antiperspirants correctly will certainly help. For 100% prevention of sweat stains, you can also wear sweat blocking undershirts. Check out the Ejis sweat proof undershirt (buy in our shop or on Amazonand get maximum protection and stop sweating through your dress shirts.

So: did you already know how to properly apply your antiperspirant or deodorant? Or did you learn something new to make your deodorant or antiperspirant applying routine even more effective?

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