When Was Deodorant Invented?

When Was Deodorant Invented?

Body odor (or body odour if you're fancy) has always been a thing. But underarm deodorant hasn't.

So you might be wondering, "When exactly did commercial deodorant make its way to the forefront?" Well, we're here to answer that question.

B.D. (Before Deodorant)

Having a pleasing scent has always been considered a desirable thing, even before plastic free deodorant hit the streets. But how did civilizations achieve such a sweet smell before roll on deodorant?

Ancient Egypt

Egyptians opted for frequent washing in scented baths with perfume oil to cover up their stank. And they discovered that removing underarm hair also lessened such a pungent smell as shaving limits the growth of bacteria.

Ancient cultures in egypt and asia used scented baths and mineral salts before deodorant


In Asia, they found another effective technique in mineral salts. Not only could mineral salts kill off bacteria in the underarm area.

But they could also prevent bad smells from sweating. In fact, this method is still used today.

The first deodorant was introduced in the late 1800s

But the first commercial deodorant, Mum, was developed and distributed in 1888. And no, it didn't come with an underarm applicator.

Instead, it was a waxy cream that came in a metal tin. And it used zinc oxide to fight body odor.

At the time, the idea of deodorant was rather novel. And it wouldn't be until the 1950s that roll on deodorant became a product.

In fact, it was when Helen Barnett Diserens developed the underarm applicator based on the ball point pen deodorant became extremely popular. And the company began marketing it under the name Ban Roll On.

Though the Ban Roll On product was briefly withdrawn from the U.S. market, then once again available under the brand Ban. The UK sold it under the names Mum Solid and Mum Pump Spray.

In 1998, Chattem acquired Ban deodorant brand and sold it to Kao Corporation in 2000. So this deodorant that gained popularity so long ago is still available today.

The first antiperspirant followed in the late 1900s

Of course, deodorants and antiperspirants are not the same thing. But the first commercial antiperspirant was subsequently sold a few years after the first deodorant.

Deodorant was first formulated in the late 1800s

In 1903, an antiperspirant called Everdry was newly invented and launched. But due to its excessive acidity, it posed safety concerns and caused excessive irritation on the skin from its aluminum chloride formula.

(Which is why we have aluminum free deodorant today. Not all deodorants are aluminum-free, but at least we have the options now.)

Not to mention its very purpose was to clog pores and sweat glands while eliminating bacterial growth. But its active ingredient is what made this antiperspirant less than desirable.

Later on, its more modern formulation and patent addressed these concerns and combined soluble nitrile or a similar compound with aluminum chloride. And from then on, antiperspirants sold as the best selling deodorant of the 1950s.

Deodorant was originally marketed primarily to women

At first, deodorants and antiperspirants were mainly marketed to women. Though in the 1950s, the market expanded to male users as well.

By then, the Ban Roll on product led the deodorant market in sales. But the market was about to be greatly changed with the introduction of the first aerosol deodorant spray.

Bonus: What Is Zero Waste Lifestyle?

Aerosol deodorants and stick antiperspirants in the 1950s

Aerosol antiperspirants and deodorants became all the rage as they let the user dispense the deodorants' product without touching their armpit skin area. But the aluminium zirconium chemicals used to eliminate body odor and prevent bacteria soon became this product's downfall.

Aerosol spray deodorant contain harsh chemicals that posed health concerns

In 1977, the FDA banned the underarm deodorant based spray and aerosols slowly decreased in sales. It was found in all the antiperspirants that when inhaled, aluminum zirconium could lead to major health concerns.

In the late 1970s, the stick deodorant applicator gained popularity. And has continued to be the most popular form of deodorants today.

Modern-day natural deodorant

So now you know the history of odor and sweat and the different ways cultures and inventors have sought to stop them. And isn't it just a bit more clear why natural deodorant makers are fighting the good fight?

Paper Deodorant is the most modern form of deodorant that is zero waste and sustainable

From these various prototypes throughout history, it's clear to see just how many chemicals have been used to stop sweat in its tracks. But what if odor and sweat can be stopped by naturally derived ingredients?

The same principle applies. Odor must be contained. But why through chemicals that aren't naturally derived?

And finally, PAPR deodorant

This is where Paper Cosmetics comes in. Well, more like where Paper Cosmetics is heading.

Not only are we learning from a long history of harsh chemicals in deodorants. But we're learning from a history of waste that has irreparably damaged the ozone layer.

So when you choose PAPR deodorant, you're not just choosing a deodorant that is vegan, cruelty-free, and made with only natural ingredients.

You're choosing a zero waste deodorant that won't leave a trace behind. Not on your clothes and not on this planet. 

Keep Reading: Why Use Aluminum Free Deodorant?


PAPR Cosmetics is on a mission to create conscious beauty products with as little impact on the planet as possible. Our products are fully recyclable, vegan, and cruelty-free. When we take down one tree, we plant a new one. For more information and sustainability tips, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, and Tumblr.