Does Unscented Deodorant Work?

By Angela Tague in Natural Products

If you're considering a new underarm product, you may be wondering, does unscented deodorant work?

Personally, I've been a baby-powder-scented deodorant gal for as long as I can remember. Every morning after my shower, I'd slather on the comforting scent and go about my day with the familiar fragrance masking any inkling that I may have worked up a sweat. Well, until recently.

After my dermatologist explained that the rashes under my arms and on my legs may be caused by what I put on my skin, I've started making more educated decisions about my personal care products. She diagnosed my irritation as contact dermatitis, which is a common form of eczema. This condition is an allergic skin reaction to topical irritants, according to the Cleveland Clinic, and fragrances can trigger a reaction. I've since switched to fragrance-free or unscented deodorant and lotions, which help me keep my skin clear and smooth.


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Does Unscented Deodorant Work?

Let's cut to the chase. In my experience over the past few years, the answer is yes. For me, an unscented deodorant does the job of reducing underarm odor just as well as conventional deodorants. I've used it successfully for yoga class, on nature hikes, and when running errands on hot summer days.

However, if you like your deodorant to double as a perfume, you might want to opt for a scented deodorant. I used to take that approach, until I started wondering what ingredients were actually in my deodorant to create those scents—and I realized that for me, those formulas also resulted in skin rashes.



The Difference Between Unscented and Fragrance-Free

As you look closer at product labels, you'll come across two phrases that, at a glance, seem to convey the same information: unscented and fragrance-free. Here's the subtle difference.


  • Unscented: This product may contain ingredients that neutralize the natural odors of ingredients in the product, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The final deodorant formula does not emit a scent and discreetly controls body odors. For example, Tom's of Maine Unscented Long Lasting Deodorant provides 24-hour odor protection to help keep you feeling fresh throughout the day, with no artificial fragrances or preservatives.
  • Fragrance-free: When the EPA certifies a product as fragrance-free, it has no fragrances or masking ingredients to neutralize the aroma of the ingredients. For those with an allergy or other sensitivities, a fragrance-free product is a good choice, according to the EPA.


You might also notice that some underarm products are referred to as antiperspirants. While deodorants work to eliminate odor, antiperspirants are formulated to temporarily block sweat pores, reducing the amount of perspiration that reaches your skin, according to the Mayo Clinic. Deodorants alone do not control perspiration, but they are designed help mask odor. Antiperspirants help keep your underarms dry from sweat.


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4 Reasons Unscented Deodorant Might Be Right For You

If you're trying to choose more natural products for your personal care routine, an unscented or fragrance-free deodorant may be worth exploring. Here's why.

  • You can control the scents on your body. Some people simply don't want to smell flowery or like baby powder.
  • You can avoid artificial fragrances. Fragrance-free deodorant doesn't contain any perfumes or added scents, and some natural unscented deodorants also contain no artificial fragrances.
  • You may be able to mitigate allergic reactions. Ask your healthcare professional if a switch to unscented or fragrance-free deodorant can improve your skin health. It did for me!
  • You can flaunt other fragrances. I love wearing an essential-oil-diffusing necklace because I love the nature-based scents and aromatherapy perks!


Bottom line is, choosing a natural deodorant means that you're making an intentional decision about what you put on your body. And that feels amazing!

How does unscented deodorant work for you? Show us how you're putting your deodorant to the test by tagging @toms_of_maine on Instagram!

Image Sources: Angela Tague | Angela Tague | Pexels

The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom's of Maine.


Why It's Good

Choosing a fragrance-free or unscented natural deodorant over a conventional variety might be just what your mind and body need. This choice allows you to enjoy a natural lifestyle while reducing body odor and consciously controlling what you put on your skin. Now, that's a mindful decision!