What Everyone Ought to Know About Crystal Deodorant Stones

Crystal Deodorant is a seemingly interesting product that in its own right is jumping on the natural bandwagon. An entirely natural deodorant made from mineral salt, crystal deodorant can come in many forms, including a spray, stick, powder, and stone, though always starting with a singular mineral crystal. The mineral crystal of choice for crystal deodorant is potassium alum. Potassium alum is an antimicrobial mineral that is soluble in water.

30 years ago it would be very difficult for even the most scrupulous natural product consumer to find crystal deodorant. The market was in its infancy, but the potential was clear. Crystal deodorant packs a mean combo of benefits. When applied to the skin it is entirely invisible and leaves no sticky or oily residue on the skin. Furthermore, it provides 24 hour protection and is fragrance free.

The impressive list of benefits matched with its 100% natural origin led to the transformation of the crystal deodorant market and created what most consumers today know as crystal deodorant. Companies were simply unwilling to endure the costly mineral extraction process, and through scientific advancements and thorough R&D, manufacturers discovered that potassium alum can be synthetically manufactured.  However, the synthetic mineral that is more commonly used in mainstream crystal deodorant is actually more closely associated to ammonium alum.

This is not to say all crystal deodorants are made with synthetic minerals, but there remain some clear visual differences in the product choices available.

Crystal Deodorant Appearance

Potassium alum is found in deposits in the Earth’s crust typically in the South American Andes and near the Mediterranean Sea. When potassium alum is extracted from the earth it is a colorless, translucent crystalline stone, also known as a mineral crystal.  Another more common mineral crystal that shares a similar appearance is quartz. Therefore, a truly natural crystal deodorant stone or stick that is made from unaltered potassium alum appears the same as the day it was extracted – colorless and translucent.

Below is a picture Natural Cosmetic News took comparing two crystal deodorants we found that were both labeled natural and listed the same ingredients. The one on the right is clearly colorless and translucent, and the one of the left is obviously opaque and white.

natural crystal deodorant versus synthetic crystal deodorant

So, how is it that supposedly both products are natural and made of the exact same ingredient but appear different? Well, it is probably because the actual source of the ingredient is different, or at least the quality. It is quite simple to identify unaltered natural potassium alum due to its translucency. And the white opaqueness of the crystal deodorant pictured above is most likely a result of a key ingredient used during the manufacturing process of synthetic ammonium alum. Aluminum hydroxide, a white cosmetic opacifying agent, is used to make ammonium alum.

If the quality or the original source of the deodorizing ingredient is compromised the efficacy is too. Only 100% pure crystal deodorants, which have been clinically tested, provide the aforementioned benefits, but what about the impure ones?  Until the term “natural” becomes more regulated with stricter standards that eliminate synthetic replicas, the best judge for the true origin of the crystal deodorant is your own eye.

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Posted by on Jan 27th, 2010 and filed under FEATURED ARTICLES, NATURAL INGREDIENTS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

13 Responses for “What Everyone Ought to Know About Crystal Deodorant Stones”

  1. Dragan says:

    What if the products are advertised as entirely natural???

  2. Craig Payne says:

    Well it depends if the claims are being made by the company, or if their ‘entirely natural’ advertisement is backed up by a trustworthy certification. There are many internationally recognized natural certification organizations that provide a certifiable seal.

    With regards to crystal deodorants the best way to determine the true origins is visually, as some natural certifications accept synthetic ingredients if they are nearly identical to the natural counterpart, as well as accepting a small percentage of inorganic materials.

  3. Kacie says:

    I have been looking for naturally mined deodorant salt and have had no luck. Could you share which brand the natural deodorant that you pictured is and where I could buy that? Thank you.

  4. Not so stinky says:

    Perhaps the best judge is not of the “eye” as noted, but of the nose! Is this “seemingly” interesting, as written, or interesting? The writing lacks clarity, but the results are clear. From my experience, while one still sweats–it is no anti-perspirant–there is no odor! It is amazing!

  5. anon says:

    thanks for the info! i was really looking forward to buying my first crystal deodorant and then found out that it might not be as safe as I thought! thanks for the info again! now i know what to look for.

  6. notahousewife says:

    Do you know if this crystal deodorant is safe for kids? I am looking for something for my 7 y/o daughter. The pediatrician said not to use deodorant because it will mess with her hormones, too early in her life. But I have to do something for this poor girl!

  7. Andy says:

    I don’t know much about crystal deodorant stones, but I do know Lavilin is one of the best all-natural deodorants in the biz. Highly recommended!

  8. Erin says:

    Ok so what brands are good and which should be avoided? You can email answers

  9. Virginia says:

    Where can I purchase the alum ball


  10. Kevin says:

    “30 years ago it would be very difficult for even the most scrupulous natural product consumer to find crystal deodorant. ”

    Not true at all. I was using but throughout the 80s. Being a suburban restaurant worker who was far from being a hippy, not hard to find at places like Long’s Drug back then.

  11. Betty says:

    I get a 100% all natural rock salt deodorant from basin.com. It works great! I used to get BO no matter what I did, even immediately after scrubbing in the shower. The rock salt is the only thing that has worked for me and bonus I no longer get cysts under my arms from clogged pores! It took a few days for my body chemistry to adjust to the rock salt but after that it worked great. Definitely have to reapply every morning though.

  12. Shane says:

    I’ve been using this stuff daily for over 7 years. Literally the same stick – it lasts for a really long time, and works great!

  13. Sasha says:

    I’d like a bit more information on the distinction you’re making between the two forms of Aluminum, knowing that they are both still FORMS OF ALUMINUM.
    Considering the derivative/make-up of these crystal deodorants, it can be said that it brings us back to the original health concern – absorption of a harmful metal, aluminum, which is one of the many metals our body does not contain. & So therefore – “just because it’s naturally occurring, doesn’t mean it belongs inside of our bodies.” I’m uncomfortable with the way it’s been commonplace to overlook the long term effects, for immediate benefits. It’s so similar to the marketing strategy of Secret, Dove, most of the other guys. Even with potassium alum sulfate being projected as too large to be absorbed by our skin, the general mechanism of absorption/leaching means that with daily use – you’re accumulating aluminum in your body all the same from inevitable absorption of some of the aluminum. I wonder what the next baking soda-free natural deodorant alternative will be, and would just like to see it have nothing to do with a material from “the Earth’s crust” that, more importantly, can not be found inside of our bodies.
    If anyone has any clue of the existence of this type of product, please show me the way. Because unfortunately, no supporting evidence has convinced me that potassium alum sulfate isn’t harmful to our bodies in the long run.

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