Arm yourself with solutions to common perspiration queries and problems
While the deodorant category remains one of the most lucrative in the industry, many consumers are still clueless about the differences and similarities between the various variants available. This comprehensive question and answer session, featuring advice from some of the category’s top experts, aims to arm you with all the deodorant and anti-perspirant basics, so there will be no need to get in a sweat when faced with a querying customer.
What causes people to sweat?
According to Stephen Byrne, senior brand manager for Nivea shower and deodorants, there are three factors that cause people to sweat – a person’s environment, emotion, and diet. Byrne explains: “Sweating caused by hot weather or sport is known as thermal sweating. The body temperature increases and to keep it consistent at around 37°C, the body produces sweat which evaporates to cool the blood vessels in the skin. The sweat from thermal sweating is called eccrine sweat; it is produced by sweat glands found on the palms, the soles of the feet and the face. The second type is emotional sweating. Apocrine glands produce sweat when we are excited, angry, nervous or anxious. These glands are found mainly in the armpit and the genital area and their activity is controlled by hormones. The final factor is caused by eating hot and spicy food or drinking alcohol; this is known as culinary sweating.”
What causes body odour?
Many people don’t realise that sweat is completely odourless. What causes it to smell badly is bacteria that naturally live on the skin that decompose the sweat and cause it to smell unpleasant.
How do anti-perspirants work?
“Most anti-perspirants use aluminium salts that dissolve in the sweat to form a gel,” explains Ben Haxworth, head of marketing at Schwarzkopf, which owns Right Guard: “This gel covers the sweat glands, decreasing the amount of sweat released and so reducing sweating.” Aluminium salts also temporarily reduce the size of the sweat glands, causing a reduction in the amount of sweat produced.
What is the purpose of a deodorant and what effect does it have on the body?
Deodorants work in two ways: firstly, they use fragrance to mask unpleasant body odour, and secondly they act to reduce and prevent the multiplication of bacteria that leads to the presence of body odour in the first place.
What do consumers value most in an anti-perspirant and deodorant?
This is a toughie. It really depends on the individual as there are so many variants available; some for people who sweat more than average, some for consumers with sensitive skin, and others for people who might be after a particular scent. Ben Haxworth identified five key points to consider: whether the formula prevents odour; whether it prevents perspiration; whether it provides long lasting freshness; whether it leaves white marks and whether or not it has a nice fragrance. Hayley Plaskitt, brand manager for Sure Women at Unilever UK, adds: “Consumers want enduring protection against sweat that leaves them feeling fresh, and ergonomic cans that are easy to hold, making application easier and therefore more effective. Sure Women reformed its core range to include a contemporary and ergonomic new can. Consumers also want a fresh fragrance combined with the protection they require. To tap into this trend, Sure brought fine fragrance to the deodorant category for the first time with the launch of its Fine Fragrance Collection. The range was developed to bring the glamour of finely perfumed deodorant to the category, while offering the unbeatable Sure protection consumers expect. Packaging is important as some consumers make the decision on which product to buy purely on a visual basis. The Sure Fragrance Collection packaging has a bright floral design on pink and purple cans, that not only reflects the floral fragrances contained within the deodorant, but provides great stand-out on shelf. Finally, the consumers want products that offer value for money.”
What questions should store staff be asking consumers to determine which anti-perspirant or deodorant variant is best suited to their needs?
First of all it’s good to determine how much your customer sweats, and therefore how strong a formula they require. Brands such as Mitchum and Triple Dry are well suited to people who sweat excessively, while someone with sensitive skin will be better opting for a brand such as Dove, which offers its consumers one quarter moisturising cream to help hydrate and soften the underarms while offering protection. Some of the key points to determine are as follows: do they sweat? What sort of protection are they looking for? Do they prefer fragranced or un-fragranced, and do they suffer from dry, irritable skin? Alternatively, your customer might be looking for a more natural formula (see our naturals box for more information on this category). Lisa Riley, natural beauty adviser for Weleda UK, says you need to be careful when bringing this issue up with a customer: “This is a sensitive area of discussion for many of us, as we feel it is very personal. Is your customer looking for a natural deodorant because it’s a lifestyle choice (if they like organic, fair trade or vegetarian/vegan ingredients for example)? Are they looking for a natural deodorant for health reasons, to avoid troublesome synthetic ingredients, or controversial parabens? Are they looking for a natural deodorant to counter body odour, in which case what sort of fragrance do they like – floral, citrus, herbal? Or would they prefer a fragrance-free product? Natural products can meet all these requirements.” Finally, Stephen Byrne advises: “Store staff should look to understand the requirements of the consumer. Factors to consider include whether they want products to prevent heavy sweating and thus might even need something medicated. Another important issue to address is whether they are allergic to any products and thus may require a sensitive formula. One more thing to consider is how heavy they want the fragrance to be as many consumers prefer a very subtle fragrance so it doesn’t counteract their own perfume/aftershave.”
How do you think women’s deodorant needs differ from men’s?
“Although women have more sweat glands than men, men’s sweat glands are more active. Therefore, women will need overall long lasting protection and freshness, whereas men will need more intense protection for long lasting freshness,” says Ben Haxworth. Right Guard’s products are formulated to respond to these different styles of sweating, as are other brands such as Sure, which has recently introduced its Suremen Adventure variant, which offers men 48-hour protection even in high adrenaline situations. But it’s not just physical requirements that differ between men and women. Women are also more likely to look for variants with moisturising properties and an appealing fragrance, says Hayley Plaskitt. She explains: “The Sure Fragrance Collection comprises of two anti-perspirant deodorants that have been developed in collaboration with world renowned perfumer Ann Gottlieb. The range was developed to bring the glamour of finely perfumed deodorant to the category, while offering the Sure protection consumers expect. The two variants were designed like perfumes, with top, middle and base notes, and combine the long-lasting 48-hour protection with floral and fruity fragrances.” Meanwhile, men are beginning to demand deodorants and anti-perspirants with additional skincare benefits. Right Guard has responded by launching its latest variant, Right Guard Extreme with Air Conditioning Effect, which provides skin with a cooling effect while offering protection from sweat and odour. Dove men+care offers men protection with in-built skincare benefits, so they can protect and nourish with no extra effort.
How do sensitive deodorant formulas differ from regular formulas?
Stephen Byrne explains: “There are a number of potential key triggers for reactions experienced by people with sensitive skin. The most common are preservatives and fragrances. Formulations that are suitable for sensitive skin are often free from these triggers or contain specific soothing ingredients.”
What have been the latest innovations in the deodorant category and how is it expected to grow and develop in the future?
Unilever identifies the demand for natural ingredients as a continuing trend in the category, and has responded with a range of new variants. Jessica Hodgson, brand manager for Dove deodorants at Unilever UK, explains: “To tap into this growing trend, this month, Dove launches Dove Natural Touch, an innovative anti-perspirant which brings Dead Sea mineral extracts to the UK deodorant category for the very first time.” Technology has also continued to develop with variants such as Right Guard Extreme Cool with Air Conditioning Effect, and Sure Women’s new Motionsense technology set to cause a stir within the category. Hayley Plaskitt adds: “Sure Women revolutionised the deodorant category by introducing the innovative Motionsense system technology. The Motionsense system responds directly to body movement. When applied to the underarms, the micro-capsules sit on the surface of the skin, and the friction in the under-arm, as a result of movement, cause the micro-capsules to break and release little bursts of freshness throughout the day – so the more you move, the more it works.”
Many consumers have at some point considered a switch to natural anti-perspirant and deodorant variants, but how do they really differ from their regularly formulated counterparts, and do they offer consumers the same results? Lisa Riley, beauty advisor to Weleda UK, explains how the two differ.
How does a natural deodorant work?
A natural deodorant usually contains odour-eating essential oils such as sage, and natural anti-bacterial plant extracts such as tea tree and lemon, to keep odour at bay. Natural deodorants do not work like anti-perspirants, which prevent the body from sweating. Deodorants do not tend to reduce the amount of perspiration the body produces, although they are cooling and refreshing. Natural deodorants generally allow the skin to do what it should do normally and healthily, which is to excrete waste substances, but they keep you feeling fresh and smelling sweet.
How do they differ from synthetic formulas?
Natural deodorants do not contain the substances that prevent sweating – usually aluminium or zirconium salts (which can cause skin sensitivity). Nor do truly natural products contain artificial fragrances or preservatives (such as parabens). Nor are they packaged in aerosols; they are usually ozone-friendly pump action sprays, solid sticks or roll-ons. Natural deodorants are usually safe to use anywhere on the body and our pump-action sprays made with essential oils make great body sprays for a quick spritz on the beach. Another advantage with natural deodorants is that they do not stain clothing.
What ingredients do natural formulas include and how effective are they in comparison to other formulas?
Truly natural deodorants (look for certification kitemarks such as NATRUE, Eco-Cert, Soil Association, BDIH) do not contain parabens or other artificial preservatives. Instead they contain natural preservatives such as essential oils, which also contribute to the fragrance. Organic alcohol is also a valuable natural preservative in some natural deodorants, with a slightly astringent action, which is ideal for a deodorant.
Are natural/organic formulas suitable for people who sweat heavily?
They work effectively to prevent body odour, but they do not prevent heavy sweating. So for anyone whose sweating is a real problem, I would advise they seek the advice of their doctor.