When Should You Put on Deodorant or Antiperspirant?

If your morning routine includes a shower, brushing your teeth and putting on your deodorant or antiperspirant, you might want to reconsider the underarm part. It’s actually more effective to apply antiperspirant at night. Yes, you read that right. When you apply deodorant matters.


What is the Best Time to Put On Deodorant?

Many people think that the best time to put on deodorant is whenever you feel sticky or notice a not-so-nice whiff from your armpits. Still others think you should apply deodorant after you step out of the shower in the morning.

The time of day that you apply antiperspirant matters because your body has natural rhythms that affect when you sweat. At night, your body temperature drops and you tend to sweat less. Applying antiperspirant at night when your sweat glands are less active means it is easier for it to absorb into the skin than it is in the morning.

Giving your body time to absorb the sweat-blocking ingredients in antiperspirant is also a consideration for when you should apply it. If you put on antiperspirant before you go to bed, you give your body several hours while you sleep to block the sweat ducts before they also awaken.

Although many people use the words interchangeably, antiperspirant and deodorant are not the same. Antiperspirants contain aluminum salts that block your pores and stop sweat from reaching the surface. Deodorant sits on the surface of the skin to block odor but not sweat.

Note: this advice for when to put on “deodorant” only applies to antiperspirant or an antiperspirant-deodorant combination. It doesn’t really matter when you apply an aluminum-free deodorant that doesn’t contain antiperspirant (but at least once per day is advised).

How Often Should You Apply Deodorant?

Woman showing off armpit sweat stain and smell

Most deodorants and antiperspirants offer 24- to 48-hour protection, so you shouldn’t have to apply multiple times during the day. However, if you are planning to exercise, it can be a good idea to put on deodorant before you begin.

Taking a shower in the morning after you put on antiperspirant at night can remove some of the fragrance, so it can be nice to add a layer of deodorant after showering for a fresh feeling.

If you tend to sweat a lot, you may wish to apply deodorant or antiperspirant more often. Since deodorant doesn’t absorb into your body, there is no limit to how often you can use it to mask odor or to provide a pleasant scent.

What Should You Do if You Forget to Put on Deodorant?

Deodorant and antiperspirant work best when applied to dry skin before you start sweating. If you forget to put on deodorant and only notice once you’re actively sweating and creating odor, it won’t do as much good to apply more at that point, but the fragrances can help mask odor.

The best thing is to try to cool down and stop sweating, then wash or wipe your armpits to remove sweat and bacteria. Then apply deodorant or antiperspirant to dry skin. If possible after exercising or sweating, take a shower and put on deodorant again after you’re completely dried.

If it’s not possible to do that, applying deodorant while actively sweating can help mask odor and restore confidence until you can wash and reapply.

Arm & Hammer™ Deodorant and Antiperspirant with Baking Soda

Try one of these ARM & HAMMER™ deodorants or antiperspirants to see how baking soda can help combat underarm odor and sweat. They’re available in combination antiperspirant-deodorant formulas and in aluminum-free deodorants to help keep you feeling and smelling fresh.

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