How does Old Spice deodorant work if it's aluminum-free?

Let's take a closer look at this classic, aluminum-free deodorant. Plus, is there a good reason to avoid aluminum-based antiperspirants?

Now that summer is upon us, I’ve been thinking more than usual about two types of products: hair removal and deodorant. No one wants to see or smell your underarms, especially when you find yourself clutching an overhead pole on the MTA subway (unless that’s your strategy for forcing someone to offer you a seat). So I decided to review my first men’s-focused product on My Dad the Chemist: Old Spice Classic Deodorant.

old spice deodorant aluminum free

I was surprised to discover that Old Spice Classic Deodorant was aluminum free. The label doesn’t make it all that clear. I expected to find aluminum in the active ingredients, but this product actually doesn’t have any “active ingredients” listed on the label—just a bunch of other ingredients, including colors. The first ingredient is alcohol denatured, which makes sense, since it helps keep the skin dry.

Old Spice Classic Solid Deodorant Ingredients

My Dad the Chemist’s review of Old Spice Classic Deodorant

So it seems like Old Spice Classic Deodorant uses alcohol denatured to absorb sweat and to kill the bacteria that cause underarm odor. Other antiperspirants use aluminum chlorohydrate to keep the sweat glands dry (which then give the odor-causing bacteria less sweat to break down and therefore leads to less odor). And whatever odor it doesn’t remove, it will mask with fragrances (the classic Old Spice fragrance, I’d imagine).

This product also includes color additives to make it “look pretty.” The colors are Yellow 10 and Green 5, which is interesting. Maybe a yellow-greenish mix blends into many skin tones? I’m not really sure why they added these colors, to be honest.

Green 5 (aka D&C Green No. 5) and Yellow 10 (aka D&C Yellow No. 10) are allowed to be included in cosmetics, even the ones designed to be used in the eye are.

Aluminum-cancer theories

Aluminum chlorohydrate is a popular ingredient in antiperspirant products, since it is very effective at preventing the sweat glands from doing their stuff. You may have heard that many people have concerns regarding the link between aluminum compounds and cancer risk. I certainly have heard murmurings, but I never thought much about it until now.

Now that I look into it, it seems that this link is largely speculative at this point. According to the American Cancer Society, studies have not shown any conclusive link between using aluminum-based antiperspirants and increase in breast cancer rate.

Old Spice Classic Deodorant review

Whether you’re intentionally looking for an aluminum-free deodorant or not (more on that in the next section), it looks like Old Spice Classic Deodorant is a great choice if you like the way Old Spice smells, and if you’re looking to avoid plugging up your sweat glands. This type of non-aluminum-based deodorant can be the key to pleasant-smelling underarms. However, you shouldn’t expect it to be as effective at keeping your underarms dry as something that contains an active ingredient like aluminum chlorohydrate.

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