Ad Alert

Secret ‘Aluminum Free’ Deodorant

Why is Secret making a big deal out of something that is true of all deodorants?

Ad Alert

Secret ‘Aluminum Free’ Deodorant

On a Deodorant Advisor webpage, Secret invites consumers to learn “what makes Secret antiperspirant deodorant products different.” In the section for its “aluminum free” deodorant, the company states:

Do you have sensitive skin? Want long-lasting odor protection with more natural ingredients? Secret Aluminum Free deodorant is designed for you. With no aluminum, parabens or dyes, you can get a gentler, skin-friendly solution.

But to the extent you have sensitive skin and are trying to avoid products containing aluminum, every deodorant is designed for you. That’s because every deodorant is aluminum-free. It’s antiperspirants, which help control sweat (as opposed to deodorants, which only help control odor), that contain aluminum – because aluminum is the ingredient that reduces sweating.

Secret is well aware which product contains aluminum, stating in an FAQ on its website about the difference between an antiperspirant and a deodorant:

The short answer is the aluminum active ingredient. Simply put, antiperspirants have it, and deodorants don’t.

So why is Secret making a big deal – as pictured above, the words “Aluminum Free” appear prominently on product packaging – out of something that it acknowledges is true of all deodorants?

As we’ve noted before, even truthful marketing statements can be misleading. If what consumers take away from Secret’s aluminum-free claims is that this product is superior to other companies’ deodorants because of the lack of aluminum, that’s a potential problem. was alerted to Secret’s aluminum-free claims by a reader, the same reader, in fact, who alerted us to Lume deodorant’s aluminum-free claims. The month after we published an ad alert on Lume in February, a class-action lawsuit was filed over the deceptive marketing issues we flagged.

But we’re not done with Secret yet.

While the company claims on the Deodorant Advisor page that its aluminum-free deodorant is made “with more natural ingredients” and is a “skin-friendly solution,” consumers should know that several varieties contain fragrance.

According to the FDA, fragrance formulas are complex mixtures consisting of many different chemical ingredients, both natural and synthetic. And the nonprofit Environmental Working Group warns that fragrance mixes have been associated with the skin condition dermatitis, among other health effects. reached out to Secret for comment. Check back for updates.

Find more of our coverage on Secret here.

Our Ad Alerts are not just about false and deceptive marketing issues, but may also be about ads that, although not necessarily deceptive, should be viewed with caution. Ad Alerts can also be about single issues and may not include a comprehensive list of all marketing issues relating to the brand discussed.

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