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Here's The Best Way To Apply Deodorant, According To A Scientist

And when it's the best time of day to apply.
12/14/2015 04:58pm ET

When was the last time anybody actually showed you how to wear deodorant? It seems self-explanatory: Take lid off. Wipe onto pit. Put lid back on. Smell good.

But are you really doing it right, in the way that it will be the most effective in keeping you dry and smelling fresh and fine? And how do you know?

We asked Janyl Plante, a research scientist at Old Spice's product research department who works to develop new lines of deodorant, antiperspirant and body wash for Old Spice, exactly how to do it (and when is the best time of day to put it on).

What is the best way to apply deodorant on the armpit?

First, it is important to know the difference between antiperspirants and deodorants. Antiperspirants work to reduce both sweat and odor from your underarms, while deodorants only help reduce odor. The choice of which type of product to use is purely up to each person’s personal needs and preferences.

Is there a specific angle that works best?

The armpit has many angles of its own, so there is no one angle of application that is best. What is important is thorough application to the entire underarm area. Many people quickly make a couple of straight swipes and go. The best method, whether using deodorant or antiperspirant, is to slow down and be sure to give the entire underarm area a uniform coat of product (for men, that means applying enough pressure to get through the hair that most guys have in their underarms).

If using a soft solid, the kind that clicks up through the applicator, how much needs to be applied?

This depends on the shape and size of the product applicator itself because different products would dispense different amounts with each click of the applicator wheel. Also, application amount depends on the size of an individual’s underarm and their personal needs. [At Old Spice,] we recommend 2 to 3 single clicks per underarm. The great thing about this is that each person can personalize application amount to their personal needs.

How do you know how much is too much, and when should you reapply?

This comes down to personal preferences, but if you notice a lot of residue on your clothes you may want to reduce the amount applied. We recommend daily application of antiperspirant for best protection. If you are a deodorant user, you would additionally want to reapply after every shower.

What is the best time of day to first apply (is it really better to do it at night before you go to bed for the next day)?

The best time of day to apply antiperspirant for wetness protection is before bed. That’s because while your body sweats all of the time, the rate at which you sweat at bedtime is the lowest. This is important because lower sweat rates form better, more effective plugs that help reduce underarm sweat.

The least effective time to apply for wetness protection would be when you are profusely sweating as the plugs would not form in the sweat ducts.

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