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What is the difference between an antiperspirant and a deodorant?

We get this question a lot. And we mean A LOT. The stuff you put on your armpits everyday…that’s deodorant, right? Well, if you look at the front of your “deodorant” of choice, chances are it says antiperspirant/deodorant on the label. Is this a two-for-one deal? The answer is YES! And the truth is—they are different things. So, what really is the difference between antiperspirant and deodorant?

The short answer is the aluminum active ingredient*. Simply put, antiperspirants have it, and deodorants don’t. That’s the difference…and if that's all you wanted to know—then you have your answer. But if you’d like to learn more, let’s dive a little deeper so you can find the protection that’s right for you.


Did you know you’re constantly sweating, whether you feel it or not? Catch this…aluminum salt is the active ingredient in antiperspirant, and it’s the only ingredient deemed safe and effective by the FDA to help fight sweat. When you apply an antiperspirant, that salt dissolves in the sweat at the surface of your sweat glands, forming a temporary, shallow plug. That plug significantly reduces the amount of sweat leaving your sweat glands, which means you stay drier for longer. Less sweat means less bacteria can grow. Less bacteria, less odor. Thanks aluminum*!
Secret Antiperspirant Deodorants are odor and sweat fighters, all in one! For 48-hour sweat and odor protection try Secret antiperspirant sticks or dry sprays.


Deodorants don’t contain an aluminum active ingredient*, so they don’t fight sweat, but they do protect against odor. If you’re only looking for odor protection, grab a stick or spray that is aluminum free. Some deodorants simply cover up odor…you know the ones that smell like fragrance over stink. No one wants to smell that. Good thing Secret Aluminum Free deodorant is made with advanced odor fighters and pH balancing minerals to help eliminate odor instead of just masking it, AND it provides up to 48 hours of odor protection.


Contrary to popular belief, one isn’t better for you than the other.

If you don’t like the feeling of underarm wetness or you sweat through clothes, then an antiperspirant may be your best bet. If sweat doesn’t bother you as much, but body odor is out of the question, try an aluminum free deodorant. You could even mix it up – antiperspirant on more active days, deodorant when you’re taking it slow. What’s important is that you feel empowered to choose the antiperspirant or deodorant that fits your lifestyle and delivers the level of protection you need when you need it!

*Aluminum active ingredients, such as aluminum zirconium/chlorohydrate


  • Specific aluminum salts are the only FDA approved ingredients that fight sweat.

  • The difference between deodorant and antiperspirant is the aluminum active ingredient.

  • It’s ok to switch between deodorant and antiperspirant depending on your needs.