Open Thread: What is the best antiperspirant or deodorant to wear with a suit?

Today’s reader mail is a good one, and in lieu of a poll we’re going to run this as our open thread today…

What is the best antiperspirant or deodorant to wear with a suit in these hot summer months???

Great question because, face it, on the days when it’s boiling outside everyone shows up at work all sweaty and nasty. Apparently, the difference between the two is that a deodorant stops odor, while an antiperspirant stops sweat. For our $.02, we wear Lady Mitchum gel — it goes on clear, it dries quickly, it doesn’t smell too funky, and it works for us (both to reduce sweat and odor). (Lady Mitchum Clear Gel Antiperspirant & Deoderant, available at for $3.59.)

Readers, any favorites? Any other tricks for staying dry and avoiding sweat?

Further reading:

The Best Antiperspirants [Real Simple]
Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer: Questions and Answers []


  1. what is it with the personal hygiene topics of discussion the past 2 days? I thought this was a fashion blog. what’s next “which maxi pads do you prefer”?

  2. I think I’ll need to anonymously e-mail this thread to a coworker.

    Anyway, I keep a stick hidden away in a desk drawer with some other personal items. It’s a godsend on days when I have to sprint over to the courthouse and back. Brand doesn’t matter to me; I have to keep switching because they seem to become less effective if I use the same type for too long. My pits are strange.

  3. I wouldn’t mind hearing some suggestions for an antiperspirant or deoderant that won’t rub off onto the underarms of my tank tops.

  4. Anonymous :

    Casey- LOL. was wondering the same thing myself. That being said, I swear by Dove. I’ve been using it for years, fresh or original scent. very cheap, never stains my clothes, smells “fresh” and I cannot stand gels or creams or sprays.

  5. Barbara Ann :

    I found that none of the over the counter products worked and asked my doctor for a prescription. It works quite well and I use a Tom’s of main deodorant for any odor.

  6. my favorite deodorant is Secret’s soft solid (? it rubs on from a solid bar, rather than a roller ball or through little holes). Although not clear, it lasts muchlonger for me (and because I don’t wear sleeveless to the office, it doesn’t matter if there’s a little white on the inside of my top).

    I also only wear blouses under suits (never shells) so that it’s easy to slip my jacket off and not look too bare (and to avoid getting my suits either sweaty or deodorant-y).

  7. I love the Secret Clinical Waterproof version.

    It has passed the silk blouse under a suit jacket test on days well over 90.

  8. Last I checked “visible wet patches under arms” fell under the realm of general attire, Casey.

  9. I like Secret Clinical, but it works better if you use it at night, and I always forget to do so.

  10. My third year of law school I was working as a prosecutor and was going through this absolutely terrible spell where I could not stop sweating. I never took off my suit jacket, even if it was hot as hell, for fear of what was going on underneath. I tried probably ten different deodorants, talked to my doctor, everything until I rant across the Degree Clinical Protection and I have not had a problem since. You put it on at night and it literally soaks into your pours and stops everything (TMI?) Anyways, I just had to share because its been a lifesaver.

  11. I personally LOVE Dove Clinical Protection! It’s the best I’ve ever used. As for today’s topic, I don’t think it matters so much WHICH one, just make sure to USE one!! And maybe keep a spare in your purse if you live in a super-hot climate like FL :)

  12. With the antiperspirants that people mentioned wearing at night — Do you put it on at night and then again in the morning? Or just at night and then you don’t have to reapply it in the morning?

    I usually use the Secret soft solid that someone else mentioned, but sometimes I sweat through my top, so I’m in the market for something else!

  13. TGEmpress :

    After ruining more than my fair share of silk blouses I started the hunt, and found a very unsexy but workable and over the counter solution. Certain DRY. Walgreens and CVS carry it. You do apply at night (which is very hard to get used to doing). But it works well enough that it is worth working to form the habit. I do put on some regular old degree during the day (can’t help myself) especially since I don’t need to use Certain dry every day.

  14. I tried Secret Clinical Protection but the scent with which it came was a bit offputting (and it was the “original” scent!). It also seemed to get stronger with sweat. Now I use Dove Clinical Protection and it works great, and the scent is less obnoxious. But I still can’t seem to avoid the white stains on my tops.

  15. Delta Sierra :

    Used Mitchum for years, works good. Also works for my husband, for whom everything he eats comes out his pores, he’s not allowed to eat garlic anymore except Fridays. TMI? Well, now you know how effective it is. It also takes the sting out of mild bug bites.

    I think the personal hygiene stuff is very appropriate, I’d say this blog is not just fashion, is about looking right at work, and avoiding pit-marks is totally part of it. I keep a few baby wipes (you can get them in individual packs) in my bag, for emergency freshen-ups on hot days. Good for hot sweaty feet, too, mmmmm, cool.

  16. I swear by Lady Mitchum. If I’m going barefoot with dress shoes, I put some on my feet to prevent sweaty feet and smelly shoes – works great.

  17. This weirds some chicks out, but I swear by Old Spice Red Zone and High Endurance (both work equally well although Red Zone can leave some white marks on your clothing if you aren’t careful). I borrowed some from my boyfriend a few times when I was rushing out the door after a sleepover and have been hooked ever since. I’ve tried all the super strong women’s deoderants and have yet to find anything that works as well.

  18. Agree with Certain Dri. I had already booked myself an underarm Botox appointment but I cancelled once I started using Certain Dri.

  19. Dove Roll-On Deodorant.
    No white marks, good sweat control. I also wear perfume.
    Odor is not as much of a problem for me, visible patches I am more worried about.

  20. Amber – the Clinical protection stuff is made to be used just at night. You put it on right before bed and do not have to reapply it in the morning. The best part is that is works REALLY well and all the issues with leaving white marks is a non-issue because it’s applied at night – so by the time you get dressed in the morning you don’t have to worry about it :) You can alway reapply it during the day if you feel extra “icky” but you don’t have to.

  21. Second the vote for Certain Dri.

  22. Anyone have a suggestion for how to either prevent our get rid of those nasty yellow crusty stains that some deodorants leave in shirt armpits? I mean, I think the BEST way is probably to wash a shirt immediately after wearing, but that’s not always possible if I’m traveling or too busy to run dry cleaning for a week. Any suggestions would be great!

  23. I got these round pink sponges that wipe the white marks off clothing–I cannot recall what they were called–they were with the Hollywood fashion tape…..I love them.

  24. Kathryn, the sponges are called Gal Pal, and they are just for the deoderant marks on clothes, not an antiperspirant. I use them and they work great! Not sure if there is anything special about them besides being the right kind of sponge though.
    Thanks everyone for the suggestions – Is anyone else worried about using something you let soak into your pores over the long term? I want to use the Clinical, but I am just too worried about any unknown long term effects.

  25. I swear by Degree for women in the shower clean scent. The baby powder one is just too much scent for me.

    When you get white on your clothes, take some pantyhose, put it over your hand like a glove, and rub till its gone. Works like a charm.

  26. Elizabeth :

    Certain Dri is great, but PLEASE believe the directions when they say not to use immediately after shaving. It will burn. I find it does itch sometimes anyway, even if I’m careful not to apply after shaving. But it works great, and no white marks.

  27. GingerSnap — Sounds like a miracle product! I’m getting some next time I go to the store. If it works, I don’t think I’ll be able to deal with my happiness.

  28. Don’t waste your money on Gal Pal, chances are you have some hangers from the dry cleaner with the same material draped over the top. That spongy material which is supposed to keep your clothes from sliding is also an excellent stain remover, particularly deodorant stains. Just remove it from the hanger and rub on the offensive mark.

  29. Dove is all I can use anymore – I love it! And it does actually make the skin softer and easier to shave down the road. Goes on like a regular white bar, but is clear all day long, never stains the clothes. And all the scents (if you don’t go unscented) are as mild as they can be!

  30. Canada Legal :

    I just found the solution to yellowish stains on my white/light coloured tops! I soak with the powder OxiClean (it comes in a little blue tub). I just followed the directions and left the shirts in a tub for a few hours. Then put it through the regular wash and my fav white tops were like new!

  31. housecounsel :

    I think any topic related to grooming oneself for a professional presentation is fair game here, and I hope that we will continue to address a wide variety of related topics.

    I think any of the brands with “Clinical” in the name work beautifully. And don’t all skin products — body lotion, perfume, makeup — soak into our pores to some degree? I can’t worry about that.

  32. This is an interesting topic. I think it’s all what works best for your body. I have tried pretty much everything mentioned above, prescription, Clinical, etc. and nothing worked well. I either got stinky or still sweaty. So, I switched to baby powder on a whim and haven’t had a problem since. Sure you have to be a little more careful putting clothes on, but a wet washcloth takes the powder right off. I don’t sweat nor do I get stinky any more. And I don’t feel like I have that many chemicals being absorbed into my body!

  33. Delta Sierra :

    OxiClean is wonderful stuff. It got a (fresh) red wine stain out of an ivory sofa. No harm to the fabric at all. You can put a little in the washing machine with whatever.

  34. I use Dove Clinical Protection and I don’t have a problem with underarm yellow stains anymore. I do apply it at night (the recommended 2 clicks), but since I shower in the morning I do another 1-click application just to freshen up. That will generally last all day for me.

  35. Nevadamtnbear :

    I’m a huge fan of the clinical products. I can sweat through regular antiperspirant in a heartbeat, but the clinical products work very well, even when I forget to put it on the night before.

    I also keep a stick of Degree invisible solid in my desk (along with a toothbrush, tooth paste, and other necessary hygiene products). It works well for days (like today) where I’ve rushed out the door and forgot that step or for days where it’s just a sweaty day.

  36. I am also someone who worries about the long-term effects of deodorant / antiperspirant and fortunately am not a person who sweats too much and therefore when I heard Julia Roberts talking about not using deodorant as your body adjusts and gets used to it, I tried it and it does work (but not overnight, have to give your body a few months to adjust and better to start in winter). That being said I was never a heavy sweater and on the hotter days I will still use a natural version. I can’t recall the name, but the ingredient list includes salt, which is supposed to be a natural way to stop/limit the perspiration.

  37. This is a blog for professional women. Sweat stains and covering up bug bites are something you should have figured out in middle school, long before you got your MBA. If this is the direction this blog is taking, I’m done reading it. I can wait to read Judge Lefkow’s next article on whether she uses a Venus or Schick Quatro for Women.

  38. Casey – Wow! What I like about this blog (apart from the great fashion AND grooming tips) is the sense of “sisterhood.” Won’t miss you.

  39. Anonymous :

    For years I used “healthy” deodorant, but recently splurged on a bottle of Sugar deodorant from Fresh. I’m totally sold. I can’t believe how well it works.

  40. housecounsel :

    I appreciate being able to discuss these topics with women in similar career situations. Judge Lefkow might not address anti-perspirant in a formal setting, and I wouldn’t discuss Dove Clinical with my associates, but I’m so glad I can do it anonymously.

    In addition, there are, on occasion, topics that don’t interest me. When that happens, I don’t read them.

  41. newassociate :

    i don’t know about you casey, but i wasn’t wearing expensive wool suits in middle school and trying to avoid another trip to the dry cleaners. there have also been some slight hormonal changes since 7th grade. i’ll pass on the teen spirit.

    i appreciate the wide variety of topics on corporette. no other women in my family have graduate degrees or the corresponding office jobs, so they often can’t offer advice or experience on a lot of these topics. how can i look functional after an all nighter? what can i wear to work besides a dark suit? how else can i quickly and securely put my hair back without resorting to a pony tail? these aren’t things i can ask one of the few female partners in my office about, but i can ask corporette and (most of) her readers.

    one thing i did figure out in middle school, however, is that some people will try to make you feel inferior for asking questions and sharing ideas. it’s about as charming now as it was then.

  42. housecounsel :

    Well said, new associate.

  43. Anonymous :

    I use Dove. It works well, is both an anti-perspirant and deodorant and doesn’t stain.

    My favorite “trick” is to put deodorant on my thighs and under my breasts to prevent rubbing and sweating on hot days (I walk to and from work).

  44. I use Dove. It works well, is both an anti-perspirant and deodorant and doesn’t stain.

    My favorite “trick” is to put deodorant on my thighs and under my breasts to prevent rubbing and sweating on hot days (I walk to and from work).

  45. Casey, I am in my forties and still find that I like the advice I find here. Think I’ll try the Dove.

  46. I got something called HyperCare from my PCP. It’s a liquid perscription strength antipersperant (and I didn’t have to do anymore than tell her that I was sweating too much and recommend the product.) You put it on every night after a shower (but NOT after shaving) and then after about a week you ease up to every other day. Since I’ve started using it the most I’ve had to do is spray some body mist under my arms.

  47. For an anti-persperant, try Therme. I take it on holidays where I can’t afford to take lots of clothing with me or wash it, because it keeps my shirts smelling fresh for like 3-4 days. Normally I can wear them one day, tops.

    Beware though that there is some talk about breast cancer in relation to anti-persperants. I wouldn’t use them every day, just to be on the safe side.

    Deodorant wise, try adidas or rexona if you’re prone to sweat, like me.

  48. what happens if you put it on in the morning does it make a difference?
    I dont want to go to school sweating already

    • My understanding is that is sinks into your pours and prevents the sweating. You put it on at night so it can absorb in and because it can stain clothes. I’ve used Certain Dri before and it really works. Put it on at night and it works all day, even after a tough workout. After using it for awhile you can actually cut back to every other night. I was shocked how well it worked. The only problem I have is that it makes my underarms itch so incredibly much I’ve had to stop using it.

  49. I switched to Dove Clinical not too long ago – no white marks and no wet marks! But even though the instructions are to put it on at night, I’ve been applying it in the morning because I always shower in the morning. Does anyone apply it at night and then shower in the morning, without re-applying?

  50. A good deodorant is one without leaving residues and odours behind. I’ve been using UARMSOL deodorant for many years now and I have no more armpit odours. I applied 1 pinch and it’s all to it for the whole day without worries about any smell afterwards. There’s no chemicals, oil or fragrances added. No staining clothes too. There’s no after sport smell or odour masking. And the best thing is I don’t have to shave !

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  52. uarmsol works for me without blocking sweat and it’s more natural than other deodorants. I found other deodorants contained more chemicals and other additives only making my armpit worse. The deodorant i used doesn’t stain or dirty clothes too, it’s so great!

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  61. I swear by mens deodorant. I prefer the smell of Gillete but generally I go with what I have a coupon for or what is on sale

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