Skip to Content

Gel Deodorant vs Solid Deodorant: Which Is Best For Men?

In the skincare world, the gel deodorant vs solid deodorant debate really is a comparing-apples-to-oranges kind of dilemma. Though they serve the same function, the two are wildly different. Choosing the right one for your skin can help you more effectively fight sweat and B.O.

Table of Contents

What Is Gel Deodorant?

Gel deodorant is packaged just like solid deodorant, but the similarities end there. The top of the stick underneath the cap usually has a sort of mesh plastic design (think similar to the top of a salt shaker). When you twist the bottom, the gel oozes through the holes on top.

Just a little bit of gel deodorant goes a long way. One first-timer mistake that you’re doomed to make is giving the bottom dispenser a full 360 degree turn. That’ll give you wayyy more than you need. A short twist gets you the perfect serving size. You can always add more gel to your pits, but once it’s on there, it’ll be a mess to try to wipe off if you use too much.

At first, you might be surprised by the texture and sticky feeling. The trick is to apply it right after you get out of the shower and give it some time to dry before you put your shirt on.

Is Gel Deodorant Bad Or Good?

Gel deodorants typically contain similar ingredients to solid deodorants, at least when it comes to the “important” ingredients. If they’re labeled as antiperspirants, they’ll contain aluminum. Many also contain alcohol.

Aluminum is a catch 22 in hygiene. It’s the most effective ingredient you can use to block sweat, but it’s not all that skin-friendly for everyone. If you suddenly break out in underarm hives, rashes, or irritation, chances are it’s an aluminum-caused reaction. Either that, or it’s alcohol-caused.

In that sense…gel deodorant is just as good and just as bad as solids, sprays, and rolls, chemical-wise. Whether you personally enjoy the feeling, longevity, and odor-fighting benefits is up to you.


• Gel deodorants are less likely to stain your shirts. They apply invisibly.

• After gel deodorants dry, you can’t feel them on your skin (unlike some solid deodorants).

• For most men, gel deodorants are comparable to solid deodorants in all-day odor protection and sweat-blocking.

• Gel deodorants are no more or less harmful (chemical-wise) than any other deodorant. They too come in natural and commercial options.


• Some deodorant-users say gel deodorants don’t last as long as solid.

• A full stick of gel deodorant probably won’t last as long as a full stick of solid deodorant, mostly because it’s easy to twist out too much gel and waste more product.

• Gel deodorants are not easy to transport. They’ll melt if the temperature gets too high. So they’re not a great “on-the-go” deodorant.

What Is Solid Deodorant?

Solid deodorant….well, it’s solid. 

If you’ve never used a solid stick before, picture those twist-up glue sticks from elementary school on the outside, with a compact, powdery inside.

When you apply a solid deodorant on your armpits, it leaves behind a sweat- and odor-blocking film. Like gels, a few swipes go a long way for most guys, but it’s easier to reapply a solid deodorant throughout the day if you need extra protection. There’s no need to wait for it to dry.

Solid deodorants are more prone to staining your clothing and leaving behind white streaks (especially if you’re using coconut oil deodorant), so the downside is that you have to figure out how to wiggle into your shirt without it touching your armpits, or very carefully apply the deodorant with your shirt already on.

With that said, there are ways to prevent pit stains. And if you’re currently having trouble with stains, here’s a quick guide on how to get deodorant stains off of polyester.

Is Solid Deodorant Bad Or Good?

If you live in the US for most of your life, then you probably already know whether or not you enjoy a solid deodorant. It has become the “default” option for most Americans.

But here are a few things to consider if you’re trying out solid deodorant for the first time, or possibly looking to switch to a gel:


• It’s much easier to reapply a solid deodorant throughout the day. And it travels well. No need to let it dry in your pits.

• Solid deodorants are more user-friendly. There’s less room for error in the “how-to-properly-apply” department.

• They’re no more or less harmful than other deodorants, chemical-wise.


• Solid deodorants will sometimes leave marks on your clothing.

• Since solid deodorants are the “default” option (at least in the US), lots of men go for years not realizing that a gel, spray, or roll-on might be a better option for their personal skin chemistry.

• Sensitive-skin fellas might not like the feeling of that filmy layer that solid deodorants leave on the skin.

The Final Verdict: Gel Deodorant vs Solid Deodorant

I’ll give you a quick trick to end your gel deodorant vs solid deodorant internal debate: do you like sloppy top, or prefer to keep head standard and clean?

Solid deodorant is a predictable (almost vanilla) partner once you let it cozy up between the pits. Most of us are pretty accustomed to how it works and feels. On the other hand, gel gets messy, but you’re doomed to fall for it’s unconventional, effective approach to sweaty skin-on-skin time.

I wouldn’t say either is better or worse. It’s a matter of your personal likes and your skin chemistry. Some of you might figure out that one or the other consistently gives you allergic reactions, limiting your options.

And, I hate to say it, but there’s no way to figure out in advance which one is right for you. It’ll take some trial and error. Maybe start with our guide to the best unscented deodorants for men. That list includes an assortment of natural and commercial sticks. Lume in particular (our #4 pick) is a wild card, all-natural, gel deodorant, for those of you who are feeling especially experimental.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.