Understanding the Unique Mechanisms of Whole-Body Deodorants

Our Dove, Dove Men+Care, and SheaMoisture brands have recently launched whole-body deodorants, meeting the soaring consumer demand. A scientist from our Deodorants R&D team explains how these innovative products are designed for use almost everywhere on the body. Traditional deodorants are primarily formulated for underarm application, focusing on odor control and lasting freshness. At Unilever, we’ve dedicated extensive research to underarm odor, creating thousands of products tailored for armpits.

However, in the past six months, Dove, Dove Men+Care, and SheaMoisture have introduced deodorants in the US that cater to multiple body areas.

In response to the rising interest in whole-body deodorants, our scientists developed formulas that ensure freshness and manage odor beyond just the underarms. These dermatologist-approved, aluminum-free sticks, creams, and sprays are suitable for use anywhere from the neck down. Our cream format is even gynaecologist-tested for use in intimate areas.

We spoke 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 people were using traditional deodorants and antiperspirants on areas other than the underarms, such as the chest, back, private parts, and skin folds. While these products work well for underarms, they aren’t designed for other body parts, especially sensitive areas.

For our whole-body deodorants, we prioritized these sensitive areas. You can still use them on your underarms, but they are also safe and effective for other parts of the body.

What did the research involve? We have extensive knowledge of underarm care and skin health at Unilever. Our whole-body deodorants combine this expertise with our advanced understanding of the microbiome. Dermatologists tested all our products—cream, spray, and stick—to ensure they were suitable for sensitive skin.

Our cream format was also tested by a gynaecologist to ensure it was safe for use in the external female intimate area, providing confidence for women choosing to apply it there.

What makes these products better for whole-body freshness? All formats across our brands use our signature odor-fighting ingredient: zinc neodecanoate. This technology, exclusive to Unilever deodorants, neutralizes odor-causing bacteria and traps existing odors, ensuring you only smell the fresh fragrance.

Additionally, each format has unique benefits. Our deodorant sprays contain glycerine for skin moisturization. The sticks feature arrowroot powder to absorb moisture, natural waxes, and coconut oil for easy application and anti-friction properties. The cream is highly moisturizing, containing vitamin B3 (niacinamide), and absorbs quickly without leaving residue on different skin tones.

Embracing our microbiome expertise, the cream deodorant includes lactic acid, a naturally occurring ingredient in the female intimate area that helps maintain the optimal microbiome and vaginal pH.

The key to our process was a tailored approach. By testing for whole-body use, we created products that deliver effective results, ensuring our consumers feel confident every day.

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