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Difference Between Gel and Solid Deodorant

Sweating is a vital bodily process that helps control your body temperature, yet it’s also one the weirdest biological functions and the least understood. You probably know that sweating is a healthy part of life, no matter how stinky and annoying it can be. Sweat by itself is basically odorless, but when mixed with the bacteria that live on your skin, it can cause pungent body odor and it really stinks. This is where deodorants come to the rescue. We take a look at two common types of deodorants – solid and gel deodorants.

What is Solid Deodorant?

Deodorants may kill the odor under your arms, but they are not meant to stop you from sweating completely. They act as an anti-perspirant that kills the bacteria on your skin by reducing the amount of sweat, thereby eliminating armpit odor. Solid or stick deodorants, as the name suggest, come in solid forms as small plastic sticks with a twist knob at the bottom. When you twist the knob, a solid stick comes out of the housing which when applied keeps your armpit clear and dry. They contain some active ingredients and suspending agents (just like an aerosol) plus some added components to solidify the mixture. Solid deodorants are preferred due to their portability and easy to use application. However, stick deodorants can cause skin irritation and may leave residue marks on clothing.

What is Gel Deodorant?

Gel deodorants, as the name suggest, come in gel form in small plastic containers and are made of small crystals or rocks, which makes the skin more acidic. Like all the other forms of deodorants, these do not stop the sweat process completely, but helps eliminate the armpit odor and keeps the underarms dry and fresh. The gel simply acts as a carrier agent and is known for its rheological performance. Deodorant gel sticks are the iconic personal care product that may contain natural essential oils and perfume fragrances to mask the body odor. When patented in the 1950s, they were simply based on sodium stearate soap gels. However, the personal care industry has evolved over the years and turned to more sophisticated options to create more stable gels.

Difference between Gel and Solid Deodorant


– From the packaging, both solid and gel deodorants look almost the same, and they come in small plastic sticks with a twist knob at the bottom. A solid deodorant, as the name suggests, comes in a solid form and it looks like a creamy bar of soap, which comes out when you twist the knob. Gel deodorants, on the other hand, are one of the most iconic personal care products that feature a thick, clear gel with a nice staying power.


 –The modern day solid deodorants are very different from the deodorant sticks first introduced in the 1950s. The new solids are essentially an antiperspirant aerosol concentrate modified into a stick form. They contain some active ingredients and suspending agents (just like an aerosol) plus some added components to solidify the mixture. Their gel counterparts make use of a new silicone polymer to create a clear microemulsion structure of gel.


– Solid deodorants are travel friendly meaning they are easy to carry around and also easier to apply. They are preferred due to their portability and easy to use application. The solid bar is just like a creamy soap bar that simply glides onto your armpit and also dries quickly. Gel deodorants, on other hand, are not as travel friendly and discreet as the solid ones, and you have to wait for some time to let it dry before you get dressed. However, solid deodorants do leave some residue marks and stain on clothing, unlike gel deodorants.

Gel vs. Solid Deodorant: Comparison Chart


While both gel and solid deodorants look just the same from the outside, like a thick plastic stick with a knob at the bottom, the substance that comes out of the container is very different in both the forms. Solid deodorant comes in a solid form, which makes it easier to carry around and apply; in fact, you can carry them in your cabin luggage while traveling. Gel sticks roll up through holes and go on wetter than their solid counterparts, which cause longer dry time. Unlike solid deodorants, gels do not leave residue marks and stain on clothing.

Which type of deodorant works better?

Solid deodorants are easier to carry and apply, even if other people are around. But they leave residue marks on clothes and can cause skin irritation. Gel deodorants are not so travel friendly and the drying time is also longer. But, they do not leave residue marks on clothing, which is good.

What are the three types of deodorant?

Deodorants typically come in stick, roll-on or spray form. These categories can be further specialized based on how they are formulated.

Which gel deodorant is best?

It depends on your personal preference and your lifestyle. If your work involves too much manual work and if you sweat a lot, you might want to go with an antiperspirant that not only quick dries but also helps eliminate body odor. If you do not sweat much, then any decent gel deodorant does the job well.

Does gel deodorant leave white marks?

Gel deodorants do not leave residue marks and stain on clothing because if their transparent form as opposed to the most roll-on sticks, which are white.

How do you get rid of white marks on clothes?

Dip the clothes in hot water and add a small cup of distilled white vinegar. Leave it for at least half an hour and then wash the clothes with a normal detergent. This will probably get the job done.

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References :

[0]Laden, Karl. Antiperspirants and Deodorants, Second Edition. Florida, United States: CRC Press, 1999. Print

[1]Balsam, M.S. Cosmetics Science and Technology, Volume 2. New Jersey, United States: John Wiley & Sons, 1972. Print

[2]Everts, Sarah. The Joy of Sweat: The Strange Science of Perspiration. New York, United States: W. W. Norton & Company, 2021. Print

[3]Weiss, Richard G. Molecular Gels: Structure and Dynamics. London, United Kingdom: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2018. Print

[4]Image credit: https://world-zh.openfoodfacts.org/images/products/05877100/front_en.3.full.jpg

[5]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Deodorant.jpg

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