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This Is the Worst Time to Put on Deodorant, According to Science

There's a good chance you're not getting the most out of your smell guard.

Everyone has a hygiene routine that is unique to them and them alone. Some are carefully planned out and require many steps. Others are more pared down and can be done in a matter of minutes. But for some daily rituals, it may not be what you're doing during your grooming sessions but rather when you do it. And according to science, there's a good chance you're applying your deodorant and antiperspirant at the wrong time of day. Read on to see when you really should be freshening up.

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You should be putting deodorant and antiperspirant on at night.

Good looking young man with a beard putting on some deodorant in front of a mirror in a bathroom

For most of us, putting on deodorant and antiperspirant comes moments after our morning shower—or at the very least, the last step before donning our outfit for the day. But according to experts, early in the day might be the worst time if you're trying to get the most out of your sweat protection.

"The best way to amp up the effectiveness of your hygiene routine is to use antiperspirants before you go to bed," Lisa J. Pieretti, the executive director at the Hyperhidrosis Society, told WFMY, a local CBS affiliate in Greensboro, North Carolina. "Then in the morning, you can swipe a deodorant, which helps minimize any kind of concerns that you may have for odor during the day."

Deodorants and antiperspirants are often combined but can be applied separately.

beautiful young woman applying roller deodorant at mirror in bathroom

While deodorants and antiperspirants perform different tasks, there's a chance you're already using a product that combines both into one. Still, this doesn't change the fact that anything that's going to keep you from sweating should be applied at night before going to bed.

"Antiperspirants and deodorants are often confused, people think of them as being the same, and that they are equal, but they're really not," Pieretti explained. "Antiperspirants stop sweat, and deodorants actually help neutralize any odor, and neutralize bacteria that may cause odor."

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Right after a shower is also a bad time to apply deodorant.

Shot of an attractive young woman smelling her armpits during her morning beauty routine

Still, when it comes to the best time to put on your deodorant, it's not necessarily the actual time of day as much as it is what you're doing right before you swipe. Experts point out that deodorant must be applied to dry skin, ironically making that moment immediately after you get out of the shower one of the worst to put it on. Instead, wait until you've toweled off and had enough time to let your armpits thoroughly air dry before you apply.

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You should also avoid applying deodorant after a workout.

Younger woman working out on a machine at the gym
Keeping a deodorant stick in your gym bag is essential if you like to get in a midday workout. But if you're looking to really keep odors at bay, you should come prepared and swipe it on before you begin to exercise. That's because deodorant is less effective if you apply it while sweating.

Experts say this is because even though sweat itself doesn't smell right as it comes out of your body, it does develop that infamous funk once it begins to mix with the naturally-occurring bacteria that lives on your skin. Since swiping or spraying deodorant on top of this mixture won't stop the smell from forming, your best option is to shower and reapply afterward if you weren't able to get to your stick before your sweat session.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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