When Was Deodorant Invented? Plus Other Deodorant Facts You Might Not Know

By Laurie Fanelli in Natural Products

For most people, applying deodorant is part of a daily morning routine, but there is a lot of innovation and history in the background of this scent-sational product.

Fun Facts about Deodorant

When was deodorant invented? Who invented deodorant? How did people deal with body odor before this handy dandy odor reducer hit the market? Here are the answers to those questions and more.

Deodorant Was Introduced in the Late 1800s

The first deodorant, made with ingredients that killed odor-producing bacteria, is believed to have been created by the brand Mum in 1888, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

Mum deodorant

Antiperspirant Was Invented Shortly After

Antiperspirant—which protects against sweat and odor as opposed to deodorant, which protects against odor only—was introduced in the early-1900s, according to the New York Times. An aluminum salt product known as Everdry was sold in 1903, and in 1910, Odo-ro-no was introduced and soon became one of the most prominent antiperspirant brands of the era thanks to clever marketing suggesting that women would be more appealing to men if they used the product.

The aluminum in antiperspirants is designed to block pores and prevent sweating. However, the formulas of early antiperspirant solutions damaged clothing and irritated skin. To combat this, Odo-ro-no encouraged customers to avoid shaving and apply the product before bed to give it time to dry, as Smithsonian Magazine explains.

Underarm Products Were Historically Marketed to Women

Before deodorant was introduced in the late-1800s, women used a combination of regular washing and copious amounts of perfume to combat body odor—and at the time, body odor was not considered an issue for men as it was viewed as masculine. So, when deodorants and antiperspirants were first introduced, they were primarily marketed to women. In the 1930s, marketing began to encourage women to buy deodorant for their husbands, too. After the Great Depression, ads targeted male body odor as a negative when seeking employment in an office. In 1935, Top-Flite became the first deodorant for men.

Customer opening Tom's of Maine men's deodorant

Today's Solutions Include Natural Underarm Products

In recent years, natural deodorant has become more popular among consumers who prioritize health, wellness, and the environment, and it is available at most big box stores. Natural deodorant uses naturally derived ingredients to keep you feeling fresh.

Tom's of Maine uses recycled aluminum in its antiperspirants, and its deodorants are made without aluminum. None of the brand's deodorants or antiperspirants are tested on animals or contain artificial colors, flavors, fragrance, or preservatives.

Now that you know the answer to the question, "When was deodorant invented?" learn more about switching to a natural personal care routine on the Naturally Good Products board by @tomsofmaine on Pinterest!

Image Source: Pexels | Wikimedia Commons | Tom's of Maine

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Why It's Good

Knowing when deodorant was invented and why can give you insight as to why people still use it today—as well as the confidence to choose and use the products that best fit your lifestyle.