Antiperspirant and Deodorant: What’s Actually the Difference?

We know there’s a lot of confusion around Antiperspirant and Deodorant and different deodorant formulas. We’ve heard the following questions (to name a few):

  • What’s the difference between Antiperspirants and Deodorants? 
  • Which one is the white one? 
  • How do I remove yellow stains from my shirts? 
  • What do I normally get from the drug store?
  • What makes a deodorant “Natural”?
  • How do I prevent visible sweating?

Thankfully, we understand all things sweat, and are here to help in any way we can. Whether it’s choosing the right formula for you, or learning about why your body produces sweat, our team of Sweat Concierge experts is here to help.

You’ve seen and heard them all: Antiperspirants, Antiperspirants & Deodorants, Deodorant, Natural Deodorant, All-Natural Deodorant, etc. It can be exhausting, and quite confusing, to weed through the complexities of modern-day marketing. We’re here to help set the record straight.

Did you know that sweat itself does not smell? Sweat is an odorless liquid comprised of proteins, salts, etc. that our body emits in an effort to cool down. So what’s responsible for that awful smell in New York City summers?

Body odor is a result of the interaction between sweat and the bacteria living on our skin. This chemical reaction is the cause of body odor, and different types of products attempt to eliminate it with different techniques.

The $5 billion “Deodorant” industry can be broken down into the following categories: (1) Antiperspirants & Deodorants, (2) Deodorants, and (3) Natural Deodorants (you can learn more about Helmm’s specific approach to formulas here).

Antiperspirant & Deodorant

Sometimes referred to as “Antiperspirant”, Antiperspirant & Deodorant is designed to physically reduce perspiration AND help mask body odor. It uses an active, aluminum compound to limit sweating – these salt compounds help to block sweat pores and reduce fluid – and typically comes with a fragrance designed to help neutralize odor. Antiperspirant & Deodorant typically comes in a white, opaque stick formula. Antiperspirant & Deodorant is supposed to be applied at night, rather than in the morning, to give the formula ample time to absorb into the skin and do its job.

I should use Antiperspirant & Deodorant if…

  1. I typically have visible sweat or visible pit stains
  2. Light activity or warm weather = sweating
  3. I go to the gym frequently, or am otherwise very active
  4. My wardrobe has been chosen with potential sweat stains in mind
  5. I usually work long hours (9+ hours)
  6. I sweat when I get anxious or nervous
  7. Drinking too much coffee or eating spicy food can lead to sweating


We’ll refer to all Non-Natural Deodorants simply as Deodorant. Think that “blue” formula from middle school :). These products typically contains at least one synthetic or synthetically-derived ingredient, and is Aluminum-Free. While Antiperspirant & Deodorant reduces sweat and masks body odor, Deodorant simply masks body odor through a variety of bacteria-inhibiting ingredients and strong fragrance. While not nearly as effective as its Antiperspirant counterpart, Deodorant holds up much better than Natural Deodorant.

I should use Deodorant if…

  1. Visible sweat or stains are not a concern, but I am prone to body odor
  2. I care deeply about avoiding aluminum products
  3. My body odor does not exactly smell like roses
  4. I don’t mind being sweaty, it’s just the body odor that bothers me
  5. I get irritation from Antiperspirant & Deodorant

Natural Deodorant

Natural Deodorants are all the rage these days, but what does that really mean, exactly? Well, first off, the term “Natural” is unregulated by any government industry, so we recommend being extremely wary about checking ingredient lists yourself to see how your product is truly being made. (For example, you might see some products refer to themselves as “All-Natural Antiperspirant” – that is impossible!). Like Deodorants, Natural products attempts to ward off body odor simply by covering it up with fragrance & using only natural ingredients. Many contain baking soda, or other plant-based ingredients, many of which can be common skin irritants, so choose wisely!

I should use Natural Deodorant if…

  1. I don’t mind being sweaty or having some body odor
  2. Organic & vegan products matter deeply to me
  3. I usually only have to apply deodorant occasionally, if at all
  4. I enjoy making deodorant and other deodorizing products myself
  5. My body odor does not smell

Our Formulas at Helmm

Here at Helmm, we offer all three options of deodorant formulas: Antiperspirants, Deodorants, and Natural Deodorants, and we’re the only company to do so! We make it easy for you to try different formulas out, to find the one that works perfectly for you. If you find that your deodorant formula isn’t working for your exact needs, you can swap or replace, free of charge (without having to give up your amazing scent).

Many ingredients in traditional deodorants have also been linked to detrimental health effects, so we created safe & honest formulas that use the best ingredients, and never compromise on effectiveness.

All of our formulas are made without potentially harmful ingredients, and are Paraben-Free, Phthalate-Free, Talc-Free, Triclosan-Free, and Sulfate-Free.

Lastly, our deodorant formulas are also Gluten-Free, Cruelty-Free, and are Clinically Tested, Dermatologist Approved, Non-Irritating, and Hypoallergenic. Learn more at our website and upgrade today.