This Week I Love …


crystal deodorant. YES IT’S TRUE I DO.

So the claims that aluminum content in antiperspirants causes cancer are somewhat overblown, but as this fabulous Hairpin post aptly points out, “rubbing a body-function-altering chemical into a crevice of my body every morning” might not be the best idea. And aside from aluminum,  you’ve got parabens. Studies are still in process and of course I expect you all to make your own decisions, but I’ve been experimenting with natural deodorant solutions for some time and since I know from Twitter and Facebook discussions that this topic is of interest, I thought I’d share my findings.

A bit about my skin and body chemistry

I have sensitive, fussy skin all over my everything, though my pits are relatively hardy. No breakouts or rashes from any deodorants I’ve tried, natural or unnatural. (Or supernatural.) I am naturally both sweaty and smelly, and even an hour without some sort of underarm product will lead to a locker-room-y odor. That said, I do not sweat through my clothes unless it is beastly hot and do not smell strongly unless I’ve worked out hardcore. Just sharing this to give you a baseline of comparison. If you don’t tend to sweat/smell, some of what failed for me may be perfect for you. If you sweat/smell more, my favorite find might not be strong enough for your needs/preferences.

What I tried

  • Trinknitty made me some of this stuff. It just plain didn’t help my stank that much, and definitely didn’t curb sweating.
  • Weleda Citrus Deodorant Spray: Man, I’m a sucker for citrus scents and this stuff smells amazing. It only does that, however, when I am sitting stock-still in a cool room. I still spray it in my pits sometimes just so I can walk around smelling orange-y. For five minutes.
  • Several Tom’s of Maine solid/sticks. My armpits LAUGHED SO HARD at these.
  • Same for two now-discontinued Body Shop options.

Why I love the crystal stuff

  • So we’re clear, I’m using the Crystal Essence roll-on pictured above. Can’t say it smells super lavender-y, but I’m OK with that. I remember trying the Crystal stick stuff ages ago, and it didn’t work AT ALL for me.
  • I hate to say this, but wiping a cream into my pits with my fingers? Not my favorite. The roll-on format is quick and easy to apply.
  • I can get it at the grocery store. Or the drug store.
  • It doesn’t cost a bundle. Around $5.
  • For me, it works. Unless it’s unbearably humid and I’m jogging,* I don’t sweat a ton and I don’t smell at all. And for the record, when it IS unbearably humid, when I’m about to hit the gym for a serious workout, or when I know I’ll be super nervous (TV and press appearances, etc.) I switch back to a traditional deo/antiperspirant. I love my crystal, but it doesn’t work 100% of the time.

Brands I’ve yet to try

  • Soapwalla gets RAVE reviews from everyone I’ve talked to.
  • Kiss My Face has gotten a few thumbs up from friends and colleagues, but I haven’t sampled it yet.

And there are many, many more options out there, including concoctions you can make at home so you can be absolutely certain they’re totally natural. I’m delighted to have found a formula that works with my unique body chemistry, but, of course, there’s no guarantee it’ll work with yours. I tried the other options because trusted sources stated that those formulas worked fabulously. And for some people, I’m sure they do! As with as any cleansing or cosmetics routine, I can only say this works for me, not that it will work for all.

Naturally (PUN!), I’d love to hear from all of you about your deodorant preferences. Anyone else seeking natural options that work well? Which brands and scents have you tried? Made any from scratch? Do you feel like the various studies about aluminum, parabens, and other potentially harmful ingredients are conclusive enough to make regular deo and antiperspirants feel perfectly safe? Or do you sweat/smell enough that nothing natural will ever work and you’d rather just stick to the products that do? Share your thoughts and resources in the comments!

* OK, OK, I don’t jog. Walking quickly? Walking quickly away from someone who makes me nervous?

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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16 Responses to “This Week I Love …”

  1. Noeb49

    I’ve been using the Thai Natural Crystal Deodorant Push-Up Stick that I purchased on Amazon. It’s not an anti-perspirant, just a deodorant. Even with all the heat and humidity we’ve had here in NC this summer, this has worked great for me. Guess I’m so lazy I don’t sweat much, lol, but there is just no smell whatsoever emanating from my armpits. Plus it’s very cheap and long-lasting – around $5.

  2. Devon

    I have tried a few “natural” antiperspirants, also. I am low on sweat
    and stink for all of my body except my armpits, but I shower every
    other day, so I want something that will last.

    Lavanila Healthy
    Deodorant is at Sephora, and it did absolutely nothing for me. It might
    have made me smell worse than usual, in fact. I had poor results with
    Tom’s of Maine, just like you.

    I use a different brand of
    crystal salt now – “Natural Crystal Body Deodorant Stick”. It’s a hunk
    of natural mineral salts in a twist-up tube that you get wet and then
    rub on your pits. I’ve been advised that going well outside the bounds
    of the traditional armpit area is a good idea, and I think that helps.
    It doesn’t stop sweating very well, so if you sweat through clothes, it
    won’t work. It does stop the stink quite well, though. The salts kill
    the bacteria that cause the stink.

    Thanks for bringing this up!
    What an interesting topic. I actually didn’t switch because I wanted
    something natural, but it turned out that Secret type deodorants were
    not working for me anymore.


  3. mmelaprof

    I switched to aluminum-free deodorant several years ago to save my clothes—the aluminum suddenly started making sweat-stains and odor impossible to get out. I tried a whole bunch of different ones over a few months, and ended up with Tom’s of Maine long-lasting deodorant, which worked best for me. (I like the lavender scent.) It took a couple of weeks to get the remains of the traditional stuff out of my pores—did this on vacation! But once that transition was over, it has worked great ever since. I sweat a bit more than with anti-perspirant, but I’m not super sweaty in general and now, when I do sweat, it is both not stinky and washes off easily.

    Don’t know how accurate my amateur internet research is, but what I found suggested that anti-perspirants work by blocking your sweat glands, which means that sweat then builds up in your pores where it becomes a smorgasboard for bacteria. The same thing happens to your clothes when the anti-perspirant rubs off on them, trapping the sweat molecules and thus body odor in the fabric.

  4. loubeelou

    My armpits have become woefully sensitive as I’ve gotten older – a very odd thing. It seems like almost everything makes them itch like crazy. After making my way through all the sensitive skin and natural brands, I’ve completely given up antiperspirant. I use the Crystal rock deodorant now – the one that is literally a big rock – which you get wet and then apply (like another commenter mentioned). It does seem to handle the smell issue, but not the sweat. I do still sweat but I don’t get stinky right away. I can’t remember what it costs (I buy it at a local co-op) but it seems to last forever – easily over a year for one rock. Unfortunately, my armpits have begun itching even through this. I did try the laser hair removal as well to minimize the amount of shaving irritation, but the results only lasted maybe 5 months at the most – maybe I needed more treatments but I couldn’t afford more than three.

  5. Sarah Pugh

    Oyin Funk Butter is AWESOME. It has baking soda in it and I can’t wear it for more than 2 days in a row without getting a rash (unless I wash my pits before bed… which in my world just doesn’t happen) but it works SO WELL. Like, no stink at all, ever – it actually works for longer and better than conventional antiperspirants and deodorants. And the black cedar fig scent is about the best-smelling product I have ever encountered.

  6. what not

    I also use a crystal, but only in the travel size. They last forever anyway, and I’ve lost more than one after I dropped it and it shattered, so I don’t bother with the big ones anymore.

    I love no longer dealing with white streaks, gummy or slimy feelings, or weird combos of my body chemistry and the deodorant smell. So much better!

  7. Trystan L. Bass

    During radiation treatments for breast cancer, the advice was to avoid deodorants that contained aluminum because they could interfere with the treatment (wtf? this is science? seemed like BS to me, but I was still in chemofog, bald, & not in a questioning mood). I alternated between Toms & the Crystal stick deodorant & both stank. I wasn’t running marathons or anything, & neither of these could keep me from reeking. It was quite unfortunate. I was SO happy, not just to finish treatment, but to return to my usual aluminum Lady Speed Stick & stop being so sweaty & smelly! I can go natural & no-poo on my head, but not natural under my arms.

  8. marsha_calhoun

    My tried-and-true heavy-duty antiperspirant/deodorant just quit working about 18 months ago, and in my various efforts to find something paraben and pthalate free, I found myself looking at the ingredient lists of various natural products – so many of them contained lavender that I said what the heck, and tried using a drop of lavender essential oil per pit per day. Seems to work fine, it’s cheap, and it smells like lavender for a while, and then like nothing much. Messy to apply, though. But it doesn’t seems to harm even my most delicate clothes, and if it continues to do the job, I’m going to stick with it.

  9. Sarah O

    This was my fave deodorant to use in The States. Right now I use Soft & Gentle anti-stress deodorant from the UK.

  10. Jenn

    Every all-natural/healthy/crystal/whatever deodorant I’ve ever used gives me the worst itchy, painful, oozing rash on my underarms. I have pretty sensitive facial skin but the skin on my body generally couldn’t care less. Just a heads up to readers, if you develop an awful rash, stop using it right away. I never used the alternative ones for longer than a day or two and the rashes took weeks to clear up.

  11. contrary kiwi

    I would like to use a more natural deodorant rather than an antiperspirant, but when I have to wear long sleeves and multiple layers (which for me is about 10 months of the year due to poor circulation) I wear an antiperspirant because the feeling of sweat-soaked clothing rubbing against my skin is disgusting, and I sweat a lot when I’m cold due to the poor circulation (core – including armpits – is hot while my limbs are cold).

    In NZ we mostly have spray ons, which I have never found useful, and roll ons, which make my armpits wet right from the get go. When I visited the US I discovered the joys of cream antiperspirants and bought the one available in the supermarket here when I got home. They make my armpits itch, so I alternate between the one I got in the US (Sure) and the one I got here (Dove).

    When I move somewhere warmer I will experiment more with different options, like the crystal deodorant. Here’s it’s never been an option because if I’m not using the strongest stuff possible, I have to reapply multiple times a day and if I have to wet it to put it on I might get stuck.

  12. pambamboo

    I have sensitive face skin but body not so much – until I tried soapwallah that is! The 1st jar went rancid before I could really try it (!) and the 2nd gave me the worst (and Painful!) rash. No deal. Tom’s roll on for me – lavender.

  13. Sabrina

    Most crystal deodorants contain potassium alum or ammonium alum. Alum refers to aluminum sulfate. Here is an article discussing the safety/risk of using alum in foods or in topical applications: .

    At some point after reading in a forum (unfortunately I can’t find it, now) about potential health problems caused by crystal deodorants, I switched from using them to rubbing a bit of lemon juice in my armpits (a suggestion in the comments section of that forum). That works pretty well for a few days at a time, but then I often feel like I need to give my armpits a break, for a day or so, before resuming the lemon juice.

  14. oohlookasquirrel

    I’ve been using this very deodorant, though sometimes in the chamomile green tea scent, for about five years and I love it. The original crystal and unscented crystal roll-ons work OK for me too, but I find that it’s nice to have a little scent for the moments when I am actively sweating. Most people don’t use them right, though. You need to apply it to clean armpits (and wet ones, if you’re using the solid crystal), so wipe those down first! I use some witch hazel to kill stinky bacteria if I need to reapply between showers. Yeah, it doesn’t stop you from sweating, and it’s natural, so it’s not going to work just as well as your regular stuff, but I never worry about the white smudges or staining my tops, especially the silk ones I love so much. Oh, and I skip artificial fabrics for my tops, and that cuts down on potential stink quite a bit. This deodorant comes in a spray bottle too, so you can use it on your feet too! Can’t say enough good things about it.

  15. Maren

    I use Tom’s Naturally Dry Antiperspirant. I love it! Unlike the deodorant sticks from Tom’s, this one works. It does have aluminum, but no parabens or other harmful chemicals. There isn’t a deoderant smell I like (other than cologne smells), so I always just go with unscented. I highly recommend it.

  16. toby cygman

    I really like Schmidt’s deodorant (I actually just reviewed it on my own blog), but I’ll admit, the inconvenience factor of it being in a jar rather than in stick-form, is a bit of a pain. I’ve heard good things about Lavanila, but it is a bit pricey. I’ve been thinking my making my own; I wonder if you could somehow make it in stick form….?