Are Mineral Stone Deodorants Really Worth the Hype?
There's a reason these salt stones have stood the test of time.
For some of us, the words "natural deodorant" might be more than enough to make us sweat. Even with familiar packaging and long-wear claims, it can be difficult to ditch your tried-and-true for something new. Crystal stone deodorants, however, are far from new. Used in Southeast Asia for hundreds of years, this mineral stone is the original natural deodorant and has held its own over decades of beauty trends. Shifting to clean beauty regimens isn't new territory for us. However, when it comes to pit care, can this gem-like stone handle the job, and is it really worth the hype?
What is mineral deodorant, anyway?
Crystal mineral deodorant is composed entirely of a natural mineral salt called Potassium Alum. The salt, which is used for water purification, has been shown to have antimicrobial properties that can fight odor-causing bacteria. By smoothing it under your arm, a salt film barrier sits on the surface of the skin, keeping odor-causing bacteria at bay.
What makes mineral deodorant different from other natural deodorants?
Before we get into the ins and outs of natural deodorants, there is one key thing you need to know. True deodorants don't contain aluminum, but antiperspirants do. Deodorants are meant to mask odors and contain fragrances to do such. Antiperspirants, however, are meant to prevent you from sweating and contain chemicals like aluminum that essentially *plug* sweat ducts. Most OTC products found at your local drugstore are listed as antiperspirant deodorants.
Though there has been lots of talk of chemical compounds like aluminum chloride and aluminum chlorohydrate being linked to breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute, there are no scientific studies that support those claims. Still, brands and blogs alike push the narrative of the harmful effects of chemical ingredients commonly found in conventional versions.
Natural deodorants are generally made up of three main components—an antibacterial oil such as coconut or tea tree, a naturally absorbent ingredient like baking soda for sweat, and an essential oil for scent. While these key ingredients are considerably better for your skin than the barrage of chemicals lurking in drugstore brands, underarm skin can be very sensitive. Introducing natural oils like coconut and other essential oils can clog pores, and too much baking soda can cause irritation.
With just one ingredient, crystal mineral deodorant is 100 percent vegan, cruelty free, and void of chemicals, parabens, and artificial fragrance additives. Instead of sticky and scented, the stone is dry and smooth but highly effective. Upon application, a protective barrier is added to skin in order to stop odor before it starts.
How is it applied?
Whether you choose the uniform mineral stick or the shaped stone, the crystal deodorant needs to be wet for it to work. That said, a good time to apply is right after you've showered and your underarms are clean and slightly damp. If it seems a bit dry, continue to refresh the surface with water and smooth under your arms until completely covered.
Is it worth the hype?
"Attractive" is probably not the first word that pops in your head when thinking of deodorant. But a stone resting in its own little dish, resembling perfectly placed crystals, might change your mind. Aesthetics aside, the mineral salt found in crystal deodorant does slow bacterial growth and block the odor they produce. It's also less likely to leave the dreaded chalky residue that can stain and ruin dark-colored clothing. If that's not reason enough to give this a try, then maybe the value is. Thanks to minimal ingredients, crystal deodorants also have a longer shelf life and cost about the same as commercial drugstore options.
The bottom line
Testing the waters with deodorant is hard. After all, no one wants to be the smelly one, even from six feet away. There's also the dreaded *deodorant detox* that keeps us tied to our standby products. And although the switch can be hard at first, there are a lot of positives to decreasing the amount of chemicals your body absorbs. As the natural microbiome of your armpits begins to shift back into its normal balance, try giving your pits some extra TLC. For example, exfoliating your armpits, which can lower the skin's pH and lessen the amount of odor-causing bacteria. Bottom line: Your underarms are going to go through a transition, and, as with anything else, it takes time. Yes, you may smell a bit and feel a little sweatier than usual, but upon adjusting, you can rest easy knowing your pits are chemical free and that odors are at bay.
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