Do men and women need different deodorants?

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When times are tough, people will make certain sacrifices so that they can still pay their mortgage and put food on the table. So let's say you're on a tight budget, but you're still willing to plunk down a few dollars on deodorant. That's not hard to justify; after all, every deodorant commercial is a cautionary tale of the humiliation that will ensue if you're not outfitted with the absolute best deodorant. Such advertisements feature men who can't get a date because of white marks on their shirts and women who can't catch the bouquet at a wedding because lifting their arms would spell certain odor disaster.

So there you stand in the deodorant aisle, hoping to find a product that will get the job done without breaking the budget. Your eyes are drawn to tags advertising the deodorants that are on sale, but all of the discounted deodorants claim to work for the opposite gender. If you're a guy, do you suck it up and pay extra for a product meant for other men, or do you walk around with deodorant designed for ladies?

This conundrum was presented to the folks at CBC's "Street Cents" show, and they found several price disparities between men's and women's deodorant. However, in both the male and female deodorants of a certain brand, the active ingredient was exactly the same and was present in the same amounts [source: CBC]. That means that all those extra pennies go toward is fragrance and gender-specific packaging. The fragrance may differ between a man's and a woman's deodorant, based upon cultural norms and general preferences (for example, you may be more likely to find lavender in a woman's deodorant and leather in a man's), but the other ingredients are the same. As the people behind Street Cents concluded, it's perfectly acceptable for a man to wear a woman's deodorant (or vice versa) to save a little money.

A good bargain may not even be necessary for men to get interested in their girlfriends' products; Forbes reported in 2007 that of the 70 percent of men who use antiperspirant or deodorant, 5 percent of that group wore deodorant geared toward women [source: Rovzar]. So why are there different deodorants for the genders in the first place?