Natural Crystal Deodorant - Can The Stone Stand Alone?

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.

Pit Pampering - The Natural Way

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.

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 Alone

Earlier, 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 Work

On 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 Work

The 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.

If you happen to drop the crystal onto a tile floor (like I did this one shortly after I started using it), it will break. The rough edges can be smoothed by wetting the crystal and rubbing it against a hard surface (like, for example, the wet floor you just dropped it on)

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 Method

Wet 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 my own hydrosol-based skin tonic to wet the stone. This works ideally for me – optimal all-day body-odor protection with added skin softening goodness.

Do Tell

Are 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.


Jana said…
Really interesting, i'll definitely try your method tomorrow :) I'm not very pleased with protection that i get from cyrstals so i hope this will change with right application :) And i never thought of using with hydrosol, what a great idea! :D
LisaLise said…
HI Jana. I know what you mean. As simple as it is, it took me ages to figure this method out. I kept going back and forth with the crystal alone and wasn't all that pleased with the protection I was getting, but it kind of makes sense that the stone needs a bit of time to dissolve if it is to have half a chance. This little thing made such a huge difference. And yes, the hydrosol thing is just a little bit of added luxury. Let me know what you think .. ok?
Boony said…
How do you apply the hydrosol? Do you spray it on the stone / your skin? Or do you drench the stone in it?

I may have to try this method! :)
LisaLise said…
Hi Boony - Just misting it isn't enough liquid for me--Luxury beast that I am, I drench the stone in the liquid then apply.
María said…
The alum some is my absolute favourite, but I use it on my wet armpit (like you said, just after the shower), and I add one drop of lavender essential oil. I works as a dream
LisaLise said…
Hi Maria - Ooh I like the lavender idea! Thanks for the tip :)
April said…
After having a bad reaction to baking soda deodorant, I switched to a crystal deodorant and use your method of applying. It worked great for about 3 weeks, and then suddenly in the last 2 days it quit working for me. I'm wondering if you have any idea why? I've found in general that natural deodorants (unless they contain a lot of baking soda) quit working for me after a few days to a couple of weeks. Are there any other options out there? I feel like I've tried everything and nothing is going to work for me long-term, except for baking soda deodorants, which I can't use anymore. Thanks!
LisaLise said…
Hi April,

I'm guessing you've been using the 'slowly does it' method described above. Some people need to switch products more often than others and the problem with natural deodorants is the choice is pretty limited. I do have a DIY deodorant recipe on this blog that is baking sodas free. Perhaps you could switch between this and the crystal stone? Hope this was some help.

April said…
Yes, I was applying right after the shower, counting slowly to 20 or 30. It worked great at first! Good idea about switching products around. Maybe that is what I need to do. I'll check out your recipes. Thanks so much!
Pauline Phillips said…
Hey Lise,
My Crystalux crystal stick deodorant does not have alum anywhere on the product. I searched the internet and can't come up with an ingredient list. Your and Colin's blog are disturbing due to the fact that I was trying to avoid aluminum. Is this Alum or is it a "natural mineral salt" as it says? It also says contains no aluminum chlorhydate. Confused.
Where do we get the very useful deodorant stick container you use? Thank you Pauline
LisaLise said…
Hi Pauline - from what I can find, the Crystalux crystal deodorant stick is 100% potassium alum. That is indeed a natural mineral salt. As for the container I use - my suppliers are forever changing their stock, so I am on a constant quest for containers. You might try New Directions for containers. Best of luck
Johanna said…
You know - when I started searching for suitable deodorant after baking soda and several other 'ready made certified organic' options, I run into your blogpost (2 years ago). Sounds really corny but I gave crystal deo a go and have never looked back - I still use it daily and for me it's fabulous. So big thank you for your application tips (about layering it slowly). I wouldn't have tried it without your honest opinion. :D
Johanna said…
At that time I had heard that some like crystal deo but I but was confused about application and if it really works. I give it a go and started useing it (and developing body tonics after that) after reading this blog post. Genius discovery! I simply didn't remember it was your blog. Thanks.
LisaLise said…
HI Johanna - thanks so much for your kind words! It took me a while to figure out how to use the stone too. I had gotten to using (my own) roll-ons and when you're used to one quick swipe it's hard to make new habits. :)
PsP said…
Been using this since forever 😉😉 but your method has just improved the way to use it.
(Not that I smell) in fact I can go without a deodorant for a week or longer without any weird smell. I think it's due to using this crystal for so long 🤷
Thanks for always sharing interesting facts and tips🥰
LisaLise said…
HI PsP - I can stil shake my head over why it took me so long to figure this out :D