Monday, July 2, 2012

Using A Natural Salt Crystal Deodorant

Most people think they have to choose between a conventional chemical deodorant, and smelling like a hippie (no offense, hippies). There is, however, a third option: a natural deodorant that really works:


For over a decade I've been using a salt crystal after every shower. When you first start using it, it feels like a kind of superstition, like knocking on wood or crossing yourself to ward off evil. How could rubbing salt under your arms help to ward off the stink of sweat?

The magic is in the science of salt. Salt kills bacteria. It's the same reason we use salt water in our neti pots, or a saline solution to flush a wound. In the case of underarm odor, sweat itself has no smell. The stink is caused by bacteria that have proliferated and left their earthly bodies, leaving only their essence behind. Salting right after you shower halts the growth of this bacteria before it can begin. 


Which brings me to the limitations of this deodorant: It will do nothing to mask already stinky pits. If you try using it once you already stink, you will come to the conclusion that it doesn't work. It cannot cover up any smell, it is a preventative! Nik and I have other natural deodorant sticks that have a nice smell, which we use on our off days... when maybe we really should have gotten a shower in but it just didn't happen, or once in a while I'll forget to use the salt crystal after my shower, and then use the scented one as a last resort. These ones don't work as well to prevent body odor, but they do hide it with their own scents. But really, I rarely use this type because the salt crystal works that well.


Another near magical property of the salt crystal deodorant is that it never gets used up. I'm pretty sure one tube, or whatever form you buy it in, would literally last a lifetime-- as long as you never dropped it. They shatter like glass when they get dropped. I have only ever bought two, which have served me well over the past 15 years. The more recent purchase remains in one piece, like new. The top photo in this article is the one we've been using for 8 years straight. Two shards are all that remain of the original crystal I had... a reminder to be more careful. They do get slippery when wet! The shards are great, however, for travel-sized deodorant. I keep one in my bag for showering at the yoga studio, and we have one in our overnight kit.

I am not advertising this thing, and in fact if anything ever happened to my current salt crystal, I would look into how to make my own. Is that possible? I haven't checked... They only cost a few dollars, and they last for decades, so it's probably a worthy investment to buy a packaged one. I just like to DIY everything I can. ;) 

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57 comments:

  1. I have never heard of salt crystal deodorant. We've tried our fair share of "natural" deodorants, etc. and nothing seemed to work in the GA heat and humidity. I finally found a recipe and started making and selling it. It actually works! The salt crystal deodorant sounds MUCH cheaper though!! Will need to look into!

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  2. You had me at "never gets used up." I use vinegar followed by corn starch (you can scent both, or one, or neither), but this sounds like it would speed up my toilette. Because, I need to get to doing not much of anything as quickly as I can.

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    1. Nice. I feel the same way. I hate getting bogged down by routines that get overly complex. This is definitely simple and quick!

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  3. We love salt deodorants too! It also comes in a liquid roll-on form, which doesn't last nearly as long, but is available with scents like tea tree and lavender but it's nice if you are prone to dropping things b/c the crystals can get razor sharp if they shatter!

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    1. Ironically, I just dropped and shattered my travel deodorant at yoga today. It's in too small of pieces to salvage. I never drop the one in the plastic tube though; I think the tube provides a non-slip surface to hang onto!

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  4. I put some 92% alcohol in a little spray bottle (fits in a small side compartment in my purse). When I get out of the shower, I spritz under both arms. I keep a bottle with me in my purse. I don't normally sweat through it - even in the GA heat. But on the rare occasion I do, I can just reapply it and it kills the slight odor immediately. (On occasion, I can smell me, but my kids say they can't - even the one with the great nose and no filter on the mouth. lol)

    And I've notice that if I've been eating poorly or into a lot of sugary foods, I sweat through it. When I eat well and stay out of the sugar, I don't have a problem even when I'm gardening.

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    1. The alcohol acts like an antiperspirant? Weird! Sounds like it works great though. I'm quitting sugar, pretty sure it's the cause of all my woes ;)

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    2. When going for my mammogram I use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol since you're not supposed to wear any deodorant. I do use a salt deodorant but didn't know if it would mess with the mammo or not so always just used rubbing alcohol. It does work but stings something awful LOL. I don't use it all the time though just that one time a year.

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  5. Hi there, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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  6. The salt crystals are excellent - they are everything you say! I have 2 that people gave me and they will probably last for the rest of my life. I did drop one and i have the pieces. I like your idea of using them for traveling. You can also pick up all the little bits you can and dissolve them in water and use that as a spray. I had been using the tom's of maine like in your picture, but really didn't want to have to buy it for those back up days because of the plastic packaging. I have found that if i am stinky a finger dab of tea tree oil removes the odor pronto. I keep a tiny bottle of it with me most of the time because it is my go to thing for first aid.

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    1. Tea tree oil is a great idea for underarm odor! I bet a couple drops in your salt spray would be a nice addition.

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  7. It works more like a deodorant. You want to sweat, you just don't want the odor. Sweating is your body's way of releasing toxins as well as cooling itself down. We've really done ourselves a disservice by using antiperspirants which stops underarm sweating. So many people will perspire more on their feet which causes foot odor. So now...people are also using antiperspirant on their feet too. I can't help believing that this is REALLY not good for the body. But to each his/her own.

    I looked at getting the crystal myself. It's been a long while ago and money was so short that I just couldn't do it. Glad to know it works well. Thanks for the post.

    And I don't know why I didn't think of trying Tea Tree oil. Brilliant!

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  8. I tried the tom's of maine lavender and kept getting stinky and wet pit marks on shirts. This is the second blog this week I have seen raving about the crystal type. I think I am going to have to give it a try. I hate using the chemical ones but keep going back to them because I can't seem to find a natural solution that works.

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    1. It won't stop you from sweating, but we do need to sweat- sweating is healthy! We just don't want to stink. One thing I've found that helps prevent wet spots in my shirt is wearing an undershirt. If I have a long shift at work I wear a t-shirt under my work shirt, then at least my work shirt stays dry.

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  9. We make our own deodorant, but because it has coconut oil in it, it doesn't travel well. So we always keep a salt crystal one that we use for travel, and it gets the job done. I've also tried the Tom's of Maine and really didn't like them at all!

    Thanks for linking up at Tiny Tip Tuesday! Have a great weekend!

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  10. I have a couple crystals that have lasted for years. I agree, they work great. I keep on at work too for those "Fail" days since I have hot flashes occasionally.

    I have found something that actually works better than these salt rocks. Its milk of magnesia without any ingredients other than magnesium hydroxide. You might need to look around for it (philips & others has aluminum &/or chlorine in it)but most generic no name brands are plain magnesium and water. I put mine in a small empty Dawn bottle, shake every morning before use, then pour a quarter size amount on my fingertips, share it with the other hands fingertips and apply to my underarms and any other place I want to be bacteria/odor free. It works on feet & athletes feet/jock itch, & ring worm too.

    I've read that it will get rid of dandruff too and I had my daughter try it, but it made it worse immediately and she wouldnt give it a chance to see what it would do after a week or so. Sigh..

    Either way.. its great stuff & you get a small dose of magnesium daily. Check it out!

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  11. To any one interested: they do last FOREVER, so if you're uncertain if you want to do this, just buy the travel size, my local co-op is just $2-3. And you can smooth any large "shards" with water to make them travelable, just store in a plastic baggie or little plastic container.

    Followed your link here from New Nostalgia...love my crystal deodorant, and I used to have the darndest time getting antiperspirants to actually work for me, to the point I would need to reapply at some point during the day if I was active or working out after a day of work, and would always end up with yellow pits on my shirts, sadly. I don't either of those problems any more! My mom has some prejudiced against it because she thinks it's a hippy thing from the 70's that doesn't work. Still need to get her off her antiperspirant and try it.

    My problem is that it eventually shrinks width-wise and then falls out the plastic holder, making it prone to breaking...do you not wet it everyday or ?? I was storing it upside down and that helped it last longer, but it's prone to my clumsiness so I have to be careful.

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    1. I used to wet the whole crystal before applying, which made it more prone to slipping out of my grasp, and probably caused to it shrink faster.
      However, I've found that applying it to wet underarms right after showering works better. The only part of the cyrstal that gets wet is the part touching my underarms, so it continues to fit snugly in it's holder after years of use. Hope this helps!
      It's amazing how many people don't think it will work for them, or that it's just some hippie product. Glad you're loving it too!

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  12. I got a crystal deodorant several years ago and love it. Unfortunately someone knocked it to the tile floor and smashed the top of it so it is rather dangerous looking now. It is too jagged for wetting and smoothing, so after reading this post and the comments I might try starting with coarse sandpaper and working to finer then smoothing it with water, since I have to take about a quarter inch off, or as a last resort, prying it out of the container and using the other end. I was thinking I would have to replace it, now, thank you very much, I realize I just have to make a little, easily doable repair. Awesome. Even with the quarter inch loss, I probably never have to buy deodorant again. I'm at home most of the time and can wash after gardening, so only use it when I have to go somewhere.

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  13. Hi, I got here from Freaky Friday. I bought a crystal about a year ago, but I didn't find that it worked well enough (I was still stinky!). I still have it in the bathroom, I think I'll try it again, I can't believe it would work for so many others and not for me! The comments about diet may also have something to do with it.... I currently use a deo like the ones pictured, it contains nice essential oils and baking soda, it works ok, but I wasn't really comfortable with the packaging, so if I can get the crystal to work, then it would be the best option. Thanks for giving me some motivation to try it again!

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  14. I've been using one for years and love it. :)

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  15. We've been using them for years too. Ours don't seem to last as long as yours though, perhaps because we wet them too much - I'll have to try the wet armpits thing straight after showering and see if that helps.

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    1. Yes, I really think that not wetting the whole crystal makes it last a lot longer. It works just as well applied to wet armpits!

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  16. Your post on a using a natural crystal deodorant was one of the most clicked on posts this week! Way to go! Can't wait to see what you have in store for us this week. :)

    The Frugal "I Did It!" blog hop is now live. Click here to link up and view!. :)

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  17. This post was chosen to be featured in this week's Homesteading Link Up! Thanks for joining in! http://farmersdaughterct.com/2012/08/02/homesteading-link-up-and-using-a-natural-salt-crystal-deodorant/

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  18. I've been using salt deodorant for almost 2 years and would never go back. My fave is Crystal Essense in Lavender and White Tea.

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  19. Great information. Thank you so much for sharing with Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party last week. This weeks Link Party is opened at
    http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2012/09/simple-anti-aging-moisturizer-and.html
    from Wednesday until Sunday.
    Hope to see you there.
    Debi Bolocofsky
    Adorned From Above
    www.adornedfromabove.com

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  20. hello

    Nice post but I think Salt deodorant was an old formula and it was superb for people. But mostly people don't know about the using of salt deodorant. that is why they are searching new formula like deodorant stick or spray. I was also using salt deodorant but some times I cannot use that because I don't know how to use that. After that time I searched deodorant stick and I think this is good for me.

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  21. Sal crystals work!!! Trust me...if I doubt try it for a week...you won't miss your chemical laden deodorants at all. Remember, take a bath, wash your armpits, get out the shower, either damp your armpits with water or the crystal, apply the salt to your armpits.....you will not experience odor at all.

    I actually stumbled across this while trying to find something for my 3 year old who would be quite musty by mid day. I was not interested in using chemicals on my baby...so we first tried coconut oil. It kinda worked but was too messy...and horrible when we traveled. Then I found salt crystals....he hasn't been musty since. Now I use it and absolutely love it! Still straying to convince the hubby though.....

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    1. Glad it works for your family as well. If it helps, tell your husband that my husband uses it regularly and it works great for him!

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  22. Do we know if this is non-toxic? It apparently has ammonium alum (ALUMINUM AMMONIUM SALT) in it. This is listed as an antiperspirant. I have been avoiding deodorants with aluminum, as well as antiperspirants. Seems like a cool idea otherwise. Anyone have an opinion on this that they would be willing to share? Or better yet, sources? Thanks in advance!

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    1. Well, I can tell you that it's really not an antiperspirant! It stops the growth of bacteria, not the sweat.

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  23. Hi, I was about to try this deodorant until I found this article. Best to avoid as it does have aluminum. Karen
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/02/16/aluminum-lurks-in-crystal-deodorants.aspx

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  24. Great web site you have here.. It's hard to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!
    Stop by my web blog ... michael kors outlet

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  25. My wife just told me about this and I was like WOW....

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  26. I haven't been able to use the traditional deodorants for over 20 years now, as they would cause cysts that had to get cortisone shots (not fun). I have used the salt crystals since and yes they do work. Warning though as they do break when you drop them, they can get sharp edges that can scratch your underarm, and since they are salt it stings.

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  27. Thanks for explaining how this works. Thanks also for sharing at Wildcrafting Wednesday.
    Jennifer

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  28. Nice blog, thanks for sharing the information. I will come to look for update on Organic deodorant products
    Keep up the good work.

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  29. I have been using bi-carb soda for years now and it works amazingly well. I just dust a small amount under my arms and voila. Not that it happens very often but on the occasions when we have gone camping or not showered, the bi-carb works for 3 days straight! The only problem is that occasionally it bleaches some of the underarms of my garments, most recently a very expensive dress so im up for a salt crystal trial.

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    1. I would hate to have my favorite clothes bleached out. I've also heard of using coconut oil as a deodorant, but I figure you'd get oil stains in clothing from that. So, the salt works for me because it stops the smell from forming and it doesn't wreck any clothing!

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  30. Have you every tried Lavilin?? I used to overlook the dangers of anti-perspirants for years, but made the switch to Lavilin when I got pregnant. That was 6 years ago and I'm now all about Lavilin (http://microbalanced.com/)

    It works so well and, more importantly, it's safe for me and my family. Believe it or not, it was my husband who convinced me to start using it. Have you tried it?

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    1. I think that's the stuff that my step-mom has used for decades. It is really great, and smells good! But, the crystal works for me, and I love that it lasts forever!

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  31. Your step-mom's a smart woman :)

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  32. Agreed re Lavilin!!

    My family all uses it and we're happy. No unpleasant foot odors when we're watching TV in the living room and our shoes smell fresh!

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  33. discovered salt crystals over 10 years ago. been using them ever since. the only time i buy a new one is when i drop it. on my 4th one in 10 years. have to try to be more careful but, they are cheap.

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  34. I have been extremely happy with the crystal deodorants. My daughter and I both use them and they work very well.

    http://matthewgustke.com/2013/08/30/simplifying-deodorant-natural-alternatives-update/

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  35. I use the Tom's of Maine unscented, but this looks like a great alternative. Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Greens!

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  36. hi i've been looking for a natural solution for my 7 year old for some months now because i refuse to buy her a chemical deo....do you think it's ok to use a crystal deoorant under her armpits?

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    1. Well I certainly think it's safe for a kid, but I've never met a 7 year old who needed deodorant! But yes, when my kids need it, this is what I'll give them.

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  37. Does the sweat wash the deodorant away?

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    1. I suppose with excessive sweating you would want to have a quick wash and reapply the crystal deodorant. I'm a pretty moderate sweater, and only apply it after showering, which is about every other day for me. That one application lasts me two days just fine :)

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  38. I used a salt crystal for years, until one day… it just stopped working. I kept using it for a couple months, confused and in denial. Eventually I gave up and switched to the old goopy stuff, which I can't stand. Do you know.. is it possible for these things to expire? That doesn't make any sense, but I can't figure out what happened. I can't think of any life changes such as diet, exercise, or stress that would have made a difference.

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    1. I would say, no, they definitely don't expire. Perhaps your armpit bacteria have outwitted the salt crystal! If you haven't used it for a while, several months at least, you might give it a try again and see if it will work for you now. Bacteria do evolve to survive their environment, so that's the only explanation that makes sense to me, given what I know of your situation. Though, I've been using the salt crystal deodorant for many many years with no problem.

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