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How do whole-body deodorants work differently?


Our Dove, Dove Men+Care and SheaMoisture brands have all launched whole-body deodorants, responding to rocketing consumer demand. Here, a scientist from our Deodorants R&D team explains how these new products are designed to work almost everywhere.

A photo of three Dove whole-body deodorants: one cream, one stick and one spray. Packaging is white with pastel lettering.
R&D Director Diane Keenan, a Unilever scientist who worked on the whole-body innovation
Diane Keenan, Associate R&D Director

Most deodorants are developed for use on the underarms, controlling odour and providing lasting freshness. Here at Unilever, we’ve got entire labs devoted to the study of underarm odour – and over the years, we’ve designed thousands of products for application to armpits.

But in the past six months, three of our deodorant brands have launched something different. In the US, Dove, Dove Men+Care and SheaMoisture have all come up with new deodorants designed for use on multiple areas of the body.

Responding to the rapidly increasing interest in whole-body deodorants, our scientists have created formulas that prioritise freshness and manage odour from parts beyond the pits. These aluminium-free dermatologist-approved sticks, creams and sprays are made to be used anywhere from the neck down. Our cream format can even be used in the intimate area, and is gynaecologist-tested.

We caught up with Diane Keenan, Associate R&D Director, to learn more.

Diane, what makes a whole-body deodorant different from a typical product?

Our consumer insights revealed that many consumers were taking their existing deodorants and antiperspirants and using them not quite as per pack directions. We learned that people were applying them to their chests, backs, private parts, and places where the skin folds or touches. Anywhere they wanted to prevent odour.

The problem is that typical deodorants aren’t designed for areas other than underarms. That means that although we know they’re perfect for their intended use, they’re not meant for other body parts, especially sensitive areas.

For our whole-body deodorants, we made those other sensitive body parts our priority. You can still use whole-body deodorants on your underarms, and you can also be confident that they’re suitable for other areas too.

Three SheaMoisture invisible stick whole-body deodorants. Packaging is bronze and the deodorant is plant-based and aluminium-free.
What did the research involve?

As a deodorant category, we know a lot about the underarm and what goes on in that environment – and across Unilever we know a lot about skin! Our whole-body innovation combines our expertise in odour, skin, and even our leading-edge microbiome understanding.

A dermatologist also tested all our products – cream, spray and stick – to ensure they were suitable for sensitive skin.

And in a completely new move for Unilever deodorants, our cream format was tested by a gynaecologist, to study how it interacted with the external female intimate area. We wanted to make sure that if women chose to apply the product in this area, they could do so with confidence.

Three packs of Dove Men+Care whole-body deodorants: one stick, one spray and one cream. Packaging is white, grey and green.
So what makes these products better for whole-body freshness?

Across all the brands and formats, we’ve used our hero odour-fighting ingredient: zinc neodecanoate. It’s an extraordinarily effective technology, exclusively available in Unilever deodorant brands, that neutralises odour-causing bacteria to prevent odour formation. It also binds and traps existing malodour so that you only smell the fresh fragrance in the products.

On top of that, we added a little something special for each of our formats. In our deodorant sprays, there’s glycerine, which helps maintain skin moisturisation.

In our sticks, there’s arrow root powder which absorbs moisture, along with natural waxes and coconut oil to help it glide across the skin – and act as an anti-friction product.

And the cream is a great moisturising product. It contains vitamin B3 (also known as niacinamide) and sinks into the skin without leaving a white or grey cast on different skin tones.

Embracing our expertise in the microbiome, we also infused the cream deodorant with lactic acid. This is an ingredient that’s naturally found in the intimate area for women and helps the body manage its optimal microbiome and vaginal pH.

The key to this process has been taking a tailored approach. Testing for whole-body use has meant we’ve been able to create a product that delivers results and keeps our consumers feeling confident every day.

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