Over the past few years, I've had to come to terms with something: researching armpits and how they work as well as deodorant ingredients and how they work is apparently my cosmetics destiny. As unsexy as the care of armpits may sound, it has become quite clear to me that armpits are overlooked and neglected far too often. Armpits deserve every bit as much pampering and care as the face, hands and every other part of the body.
My (extremely sensitive) pits have been exposed to many different kinds of ingredients and formulas over the years as deodorant batches were tested and roll-ons, sticks, powders, and sprays were developed.
Pit Pampering - The Natural Way
One ingredient I have worked with countless times is potassium alum - also known as crystal deodorant or natural deodorant stone. Potassium alum can be purchased in powdered form, chunk-form or shaped as a solid crystal 'stone'.
The Stone AloneEarlier, I would have told you potassium alum didn't have enough stamina to function as a stand alone deodorant. I was wrong (and wrote a post about it here). Potassium alum can provide body odor protection from as little as half an hour to an entire day.
How can there be such a huge difference?
From my personal experience, it all has to do with the method of application.
How it Doesn't WorkOn different occasions, I have tried a 'crystal deodorant spray'. This is sold as a small spray bottle with chunks of potassium alum in it. You simply add tap water, shake and apply. The crystals are very long lasting, so by simply topping up the water, the bottle will last for months. Unfortunately this method did not work for me at all. Apart from not providing long enough odor protection, the spray nozzle would constantly need cleaning as it would clog up. All in all, a disappointing (albeit inexpensive) experience.
How it Does WorkThe secret to getting the deodorant stone to work optimally as a solo ingredient is all a matter of timing (or perhaps I should say counting). Now, I'd love to be able to promise you that this method is the guaranteed perfect answer to all of your natural deodorant dreams - no matter who you are or what your body chemistry is like – but I can't. What I can tell you is that this particular method made a world of difference to me. I hope it will be equally useful and beneficial for you.
The Crystal Stone
Regular Application Method
- Wash armpits
- Wet the stone (be sure to use plenty of water - there should be no 'drag' on the skin at all)
- Apply as you would with a normal roll-on deodorant, but instead of one quick swipe under each armpit, continue applying to the count of 15 - 20 for each armpit. Re-wet the stone if necessary. The whole secret is not to rush.
That's it. Get dressed, enjoy your armpit odor-free day.
Tip: If you apply just as you step out of the shower, there may not even be a need for wetting the stone.
Luxury Application MethodWet the stone with hydrosol or aloe vera for perfectly pH balanced pits.
Being a seriously smitten hydrosol fan, this method is obviously my fave. At one point, I started using skin drench to wet the stone. This works ideally for me – optimal all-day body-odor protection with added skin softening goodness. Highly recommended!
Do TellAre you a crystal deodorant user? How do you apply it? Does it work all day for you? Have you ever combined it with hydrosol? Please share!
Visit the deodorant FAQ page here.
Read cosmetic scientist Colin Sanders post about potassium alum right here.