Deodorant on your face? Don’t do it! Here’s what to try for oil control instead

For the past few months, I’ve written quite extensively about armpits and antiperspirants. It sounds very unglamorous, but living in a tropical country like the Philippines means that we have to deal with heat and sweat on a daily basis. And because underarms aren’t the only parts of our body that get sweaty, I found an online beauty hack that - believe it or not - recommends rubbing deodorant on your face! It’s supposed to act like a primer that mattifies and prevents your face from producing both oil and sweat. I’m sorry, WHAT?

I will quickly say that this is not a good idea! The skin on your face and the skin on your armpits are very different. The face has a lot more sebaceous or oil glands, while armpits have a lot more sweat glands. Since antiperspirants are specifically made to prevent perspiration, not oil production, that debunks the mattifying claims. Some antiperspirants also function as deodorants to reduce or mask odor. As a result, these products usually contain fragrances that will make your face smell like fresh armpits if you choose to apply it there. That’s not exactly bad (if you like this smell, we don’t judge) but fragrances are a common cause of breakouts and irritations, especially for those who have sensitive skin. Hard pass on that.

Den would like to clarify that she DID NOT apply antiperspirant to her face and only posed for photos

Den would like to clarify that she DID NOT apply antiperspirant to her face and only posed for photos

So, antiperspirants can’t prevent you from oiling up, but what about using them to control sweaty noses? The alum content of these products suggests that it will work but remember that it works by blocking the pores in your skin. Unless you don’t mind dealing with clogged pores, I suggest to not even think about this hack as an option.

But I’m not in an airconditioned room 24/7, Stacie, what should I do? You don’t have to resort to sketchy beauty hacks to keep your face sweat- and oil-free. Here are three skin-safer tips to help you looking fresh in the midst of the heat.


Choose your primer wisely

A good primer for oily skin can keep your skin matte throughout the day. It should also help prolong the wear of your makeup. We’ve previously shared our top picks for oil control primers so check that out for options that fit different budgets. Our cheapest find so far is QuickFX’s No Shine Mattifier (P99 from Watsons), which has gained quite a cult following in the local beauty community because of how well it keeps shine at bay!  

Set everything in place

Applying powder as part of your last makeup step can help prevent it from fading due to oil and sweat. A current fave is Ellana Cosmetics’ Stay Matte Poreless Powder (P698 with jar from, which helps to control sebum and keeps your foundation intact so there’s less chance of looking shiny throughout the day.  


Pat and blot

When you find yourself in a situation that has you sweating buckets, facial tissues and blotting sheets will be your best friends. Keep both handy at all times as you’ll want to clean your face before reapplying any makeup! Opt for soft and smooth facial tissue (instead of regular textured tissue paper) to mop up sweat without moving your makeup or leaving weird marks on your base. Remember to pat, not swipe!

If tissue isn’t enough, a blotting sheet will get rid of the extra oil. Happy Skin’s Skin Perfecting Super Absorbent Charcoal Blotting Sheets (P175 for 50 sheets from Beauty Bar) is the PV team’s favorite! This will suck all the oil from your skin, leaving it feeling soft and matte. The sheets are also wider than the usual blotting sheets, which means a single sheet is enough per use.

While it sounded like an interesting beauty hack, antiperspirants (and deodorants) have no place on your face. Stick to using them on your pits instead. Remember: sweating is a natural cooling mechanism for our bodies so it’s nothing to be ashamed about! If you sweat so much that it affects your daily life though, please consult a doctor for possible medical interventions.

Photography by Nicole Quindara