Dove deodorantIngredients
  • Aqua (water)
  • Aluminium chlorohydrate
  • Glycerin
  • Helianthus annuus seed oil
  • Steareth-2
  • Parfum
  • Steareth-20
  • Citric acid
  • Potassium lactate
  • Alpha-isomethyl ionone
  • Benzoyl alcohol
  • Benzyl salicylate
  • Butylphenyl methylpropional
  • Citronellol
  • Geraniol
  • Hexyl cinnamal
  • Limonene
  • Linalool

Published July 2010

This is an anti-perspirant that works by blocking the underarm pores which release the sweat on which bacteria feed and which then produce the malodour we associate with underarm sweat, especially of men.


Aluminium chlorohydrate consists of aluminium ions (Al3+) and chloride ions (Cl-). The aluminium reacts with water on the skin to form insoluble plugs of aluminium hydroxide, which block the pores. This prevents the release of moisture and other molecules that allow microbes to multiply. It is these which produce the unpleasant odour of 3-methyl-2-hexenoic acid that is characteristic of underarm sweat. Aluminium chlorohydrate is used in water purification to form a flocculent precipitate of aluminium hydroxide which, as it settles, clarifies the water leaving it crystal clear.

Glycerine (aka glycerol, propane-1,2,3-triol, or E422) is the humectant and is there to keep the deodorant flowing smoothly. Glycerine is a by-product in the production of soap from animal fats, and the making of biodiesel from plant oils. Glycerine is used in cough medicines and suppositories, and it is added to liqueurs as a thickening agent.

Helianthus annuus seed oil is sunflower oil and is used an emollient to soothe and soften the skin. This form of the oil has mainly oleic fatty acid groups. These have only one double bond in their carbon chain so are less affected by oxidation.

Steareth-2 and steareth-20 are combinations of polyethylene glycol chains with stearyl groups attached. The former has only two ethylene glycol units whereas the latter has 20. These act as emulsifying agents, in other words they act to blend all the other ingredients into a homogeneous mixture.

Potassium lactate is another emulsifier.

Citric acid is a skin conditioning agent.

Benzyl benzoate (chemical formula C6H5CO2C6H5) not only protects the deodorant against microbial contamination but it also prevents them from breeding in the armpits and so forming unpleasant odour molecules. And it has a pleasing odour itself.

Benzyl salicylate (chemical formula C6H5CO2C6H4OH) is a fixative, in other words it is there to help the fragrance molecules to blend in with the other ingredients. Of itself it has almost no odour.

Geraniol consists of an unsaturated short hydrocarbon chain with an alcohol group at the end. It smells of roses and occurs in other plant extracts as well as rose oil. It is used in many synthetic flavour combinations that simulate fruits. It is also used in some cigarette tobacco to improve the flavour. Products with high levels of geraniol are reputed to be effective mosquito repellents.

The other fragrance molecules:

Butylphenyl methylpropional has a fresh outdoor smell and is also added to laundry tablets for this reason.

Alpha-isomethyl ionone has what is generally described as a 'clean' smell.

Citronellol smells of roses.

Hexyl cinnamal smells of camomile.

Limonene is a hydrocarbon (chemical formula C10H16) and is present in the peel of oranges and lemons. It is extracted commercially from orange peel zest.

Linalool also has a floral smell with a hint of spice and it is also used to kill cockroaches.