People have always been irritated by body odor. During ancient times all they could do was to mask them with perfumes. Ancient Greeks and Egyptians are known to have used cinnamon, incense and the like for the purpose.
The first known trademarked deodorant was ‘Mum’ which was invented in the year 1888. All that is known about its inventor is that he was from Philadelphia. ‘Mum’ was a zinc based cream which was applied to the underarms. It was not easy to apply.
Helen Barnett Diserens joining the product team of Bristol-Myers in the late 1940 as a researcher brought about a change. A suggestion by one of her colleagues inspired Helen to develop an underarm deodorant based on the same principle as that of recently invented ballpoint pen. This roll-on deodorant was made of glass and had a rolling ball at its tip. The deodorant was tested in the USA in 1952 and marketed under the name of Ban Roll-On.
Deodorants could take care of smells but they were ineffective in actually preventing sweat. The first antiperspirant, Everdry was invented in 1903. It used aluminum salts to block pores and thus prevent sweat.
In the early 1960s, Gillette introduced Right Guard, the first aerosol antiperspirant. Aerosols became a popular way to dispense antiperspirants, However, antiperspirant sprays lost popularity due to health and environmental concerns. Today, stick deodorants and antiperspirants are most popular.