Axe vs Old Spice: Battle of the Scents

by | Lifestyle

Man, my teenage years: locker rooms oversprayed with Axe to some ridiculous levels. Usually an Apollo or Kilo.

And then a few years later – me discovering Old Spice, with its hilarious commercials and macho persona of Isaiah Mustafa.

We all know these two are battling things out on the marketing field. However, which is actually better – Axe or Old Spice?

After using both in the past – and still a fan of Axe body washes, my verdict is:

…even though I’m still a proud Dark Temptation user:

Axe Dark Temptation - a worthy opponent to Old Spice's body sprays

Deodorants are a tie.

Both brands moved some of their body spray scents to stick deodorants.

Believe it or not, Axe is better if you want a more stylish fragrance. Their Phoenix (some reviews) is amazing – with a classic, slightly fruity fragrance with citrus, geraniums and lavender. It’s a scent that has nothing to do with the typical Axe over-the-top smell.

Old Spice are better at deodorants for high-intensity activities. The Pure Stop stick deodorant steamrolls over other comparable products. Fresh scent for the active man and improved sweat protection if you go with their invisible anti-perspirant.

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Axe Phoenix
  • Great blend of lavender, citrus and geranium
  • Odor protection the classy way - great for social events
  • Good on sensitive skin too
Check Price on Amazon
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Old Spice Pure Sport
  • For the VERY active man
  • Fresh scent and anti-stink protection
  • Might be too strong on sensitive skin
Check Price on Amazon

The thing is, lots of people still think of both brands purely in terms of body sprays. This rings especially true for Axe, even though their product strategy has changed a lot.

Let’s see how.

Body spray comparison

Let’s face it – body sprays are a dying product. Most brands, Axe and Old Spice included, have heavily branched out to deodorant sticks and body washes.

Of course, they still keep some variety in their sprays with variety packs like this Axe one.

There’s one very important reason why I recommended Old Spice here:

It’s not that overpowering.

This is the biggest problem with Axe sprays, they’re too strong and too stinky in most cases. Even if the base is good, they’re too chemical and punch you in the nose.

(Aside from the Dark Temptation I like, of course.)

Some people say that while Axe is too juvenile, Old Spice is some ‘grandpa stink’. Absolutely not, or they haven’t been checking out Old Spice sprays over the past few years.

Old Spice sprays are more toned down. Their Wolfthorn body spray smells fresh, keeps you fresh and is actually a good scent if you need a casual daily body spray.

It’s my substitute and whenever I know I need to be more…moderate in how I smell, I get it out of the wardrobe and onto my body. In moderation, of course 🙂

Old Spice vs Axe deodorants

As I mentioned, the rule of thumb is:

  • Old Spice for sportier, high-intensity deodorants

  • Axe for more extravagant or social occasions

Hitting the gym or going for a run?

Both Old Spice BearGlove or PureSport will keep you minty and help with what I call the armpit stank.

Hanging out with friends, a date, or heading for a night club?

Axe’s Dark Temptation will do wonders – a slightly sweet blend of hot chocolate, red peppercorn and amber is nothing to scoff at. While some Axe sticks are tacky in terms of quality/smell, Dark Temptation has always been a staple choice…

…unlike its advertisement which was the stuff of nightmares to me when it came out. Here it is:

Body washes:
Is Old Spice better than Axe?

Gotta give it to Old Spice – the sure have some cool looking (and smelling) body washes.

However, this is official Axe territory.

Sage, cedarwood and freshness – this is the story of the Apollo body wash. Cheap, lathers well, keeps you invigorated and ready to tackle whatever you have to do and whoever you have to deal with.

There’s a catch, though.

For people who:

  • Have really sensitive skin

  • Want something more tropical

Old Spice’s Fiji body wash is a better alternative. It’s as if you teleported yourself in the pacific and all you need to do is plop yourself on a chair and sip a cocktail for a day well spent.

If you prefer something more classic, Wolfthorn also makes for a great choice. Even now I have one as a spare bottle at home:

Axe vs Old Spice: The Wolfthorn is a very good classic scent, though I prefer to use Axe

Unlike the body spray audience targeting, both Axe and Old Spice body washes are for everyone. They’ll smell (and feel) well on anyone from teens to fratboys to middle-aged men to older gentlemen.

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Axe Apollo Body Wash
  • Ultra invigorating
  • Lathers pretty well
  • Green fruits, sage and cedarwood = top scent
Check Price on Amazon
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Old Spice FIJI Body Wash
  • A more exotic, tropical take on body washes
  • Awesome for sensitive skin
  • Lathers OK
Check Price on Amazon

Who manufactures Axe and Old Spice?

Axe is a part of the mega-corp Unilever. Fun fact – the brand is known as Axe in the US. However, it’s titled as Lynx in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. For some reason, it’s Lynx in China too!

The Axe brand wasn’t bought by Unilever – it’s been under their brand portfolio ever since its inception in 1983.

Old Spice was launched as a brand called Early American Old Spice. That was a long time ago, in 1937.

Fun fact: initially, the brand’s products were targeted at women.

I can’t really imagine that. ‘Old Spice’ isn’t the most attractive branding you can use for women’s body care products…

Anyways, initially Old Spice was manufactured by The Shulton Company.

Now, it’s a part of none other than another mega corp – Procter & Gamble. You can see the brand’s full history on their official site here.

Founder of ToolingFun. Couldn't even change a lightbulb in my teenage years. Discovered the joy of DIY projects during my 2nd year in college. All about tinkering around, trying fun tools and projects, and giving my opinion on industry brands!