This One Trick Will Save Your Inner Thighs


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Each summer, I search for shorts that meet two specific criteria: They must be cute, and they can’t cause thigh chafing. Despite catwalking in fitting rooms and only buying pairs with longer inseams that really look like they won’t betray me, the ultimate test is wearing them in real life. Inevitably, most of the shorts I purchase creep up my inner thighs like they are aspiring to be underwear, leaving my inner legs exposed, unprotected, and a hazard to themselves. And, yet again, I’m left wondering how to stop chafing.

In an instance of divine timing (or of social media listening to my conversations 1984-style), I recently saw several reels of Instagrammers touting one trick to prevent inner thigh chafing for good. According to my sources (women in my Instagram feed), to prevent chafing, all you have to do is swipe deodorant on your inner thighs as you would your armpits and voila: Your legs are protected from the demonic red patches that haunt warm weather-enjoyers around the world.

Like many things on the internet, this information made me wonder whether it was too good to be true. So I tested it for myself.

How to Stop Chafing: Will Natural Deodorant Save My Inner Thighs?

Lucky for me, I had four natural deodorants collecting dust in my bathroom vanity. I was waiting for a good time to make the transition from using antiperspirant to natural deodorant on my armpits. There may, in fact, never be a good time. But testing them on my thighs I could do right away.

Do you have to use “natural” deodorant? No. Antiperspirant works for some people, too. “Natural [deodorant] implies free of chemicals,” says dermatologist Malika Ladha, MD, FRCPC. But that doesn’t mean they’re safe for everyone. “I have seen patients develop reactions to ‘natural’ deodorants.” (You’ll want to check the ingredient list and do your research. When in doubt, test your deodorant on a small patch of skin before applying to larger areas of your body.)

You might be thinking: Weren’t full-body deodorants literally invented for chafing? And you’d be right. Ladha recommends these and petroleum jelly to use on thighs to prevent discomfort. I, on the other hand, was looking for a way to make the products I already own multi-functional instead of buying new ones. If you know, you know.

The Results

When I say that using natural deodorant on my inner thighs to stop chafing has changed my life, I mean it. It feels like I’ve ended a long, painful, expensive chapter in my life—buying shorts, being optimistic I wouldn’t chafe, being disappointed I do chafe, masking my pain to save face at social outings, giving away said shorts to a donation center, looking for new shorts, rinse and repeat.

All along, the answer to my problem (and my HUGE beef with the shorts industry) was in my bathroom.

I also learned that my thighs have unique requirements for a deodorant:

  • Scent isn’t as important: Though I sometimes catch a whiff of the scent of my deodorant when I wear it on my armpits, I can’t smell the deodorant I wear on my thighs. Though I’ll always choose a fun aroma over no aroma, I find it’s not as important for using the product to prevent thigh chafing. If you are aiming to mask the smell of your sweat, though, this may be a more important factor!
  • The texture of the formula matters: This is important for armpits, yes, but maybe even more so for thighs due to the near-constant friction. I needed the deodorant to be thick enough that it would last on a long walk, but not get cakey or gloopy and be something I needed to wipe away or worry about. One of the four deodorants I tested didn’t work for me because it was a thin texture and didn’t stay on very long. It was fine for walking around at home, but wore off quickly when I started sweating on a longer walk outside.
  • I still need it *not* to stain my clothes: No one is delighted when they put on a black shirt and see the streaky remnants of the deodorant they just put on their armpits. When I tested deodorant on my thighs, I was diligent in checking and re-checking whether I had those stains on my shorts. This wasn’t an issue with any of the natural deodorants I tried, even on black bike shorts.

These 3 Natural Deodorants Prevented My Thigh Chafing

Though I’ve listed my top picks in order of how much I love them, they each lasted for hours, didn’t need to be reapplied, and withstood lots of sweating. Whether I’m taking a summer stroll or heading to an outdoor yoga class, I’ll have one of these in my bag.

1. Megababe Daily Deodorant, The Smoothie Deo with Coconut & Fruit Enzymes

Did its adorable pink packaging sway me to purchase Megababe? Yes. Although I was hooked by the millennial branding, I stayed for the real results. This is my number-one everyday pick for when I want that no-chafe confidence in my favorite hot-weather ‘fits.

Founder Katie Sturins says she founded Megababe when she couldn’t find other products that worked for her thighs, sweat, and body odor. Who doesn’t love a relatable female entrepreneur?

Plus:

  • Free of: Aluminum, phthalate, sulfate, baking soda, aluminum, or paraben
  • Leaping Bunny Certified
  • Vegan

$13.27 on Amazon

Image of Tom's cucumber aloe deodorant
(Photo: Amazon)

2. Tom’s Cucumber Aloe Natural Deodorant for Women and Men

I wore this on a trip to Florida in June. Say less, right? Despite my profuse sweating from every pore on my body, the deodorant didn’t dissipate and allowed my thighs to gracefully glide against each other chafe-free.

Plus:

  • Free of: Aluminum, butylparaben, artificial colors, aluminum, paraben, or formaldehyde

$9.65 on Amazon

Image of Schmidt's natural lavender deodorant
(Photo: Amazon)

3. Schmidt’s Aluminum Free Natural Deodorant for Women and Men, Lavender & Sage

I was pretty much sold on Schmidt’s when I saw their unique aromas—coconut and pineapple, cactus flower and pear—which sound good enough to eat. (Note: Please don’t eat deodorant.)

Schmidt’s isn’t a formula you can quickly rub on skin, as it’s a bit thicker and chalkier. They recommend warming the stick against your body heat for a few seconds before application, which in my experience did help. It left a bit of residue on my thighs that I had to brush off before heading out the door, but the chafe-free effect was in full swing for the several hours I was walking in a dress (with no safety-net biker shorts underneath!). Feels like freedom.

Plus:

  • Free of: Aluminum, artificial fragrance, filler ingredients, propylene glycol, phthalates, or parabens
  • Leaping Bunny Certified
  • Vegan

$17.80 for a two-pack on Amazon

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