Stinky hippie seeks odor control.
July 13, 2011 5:14 AM   Subscribe

Do crystal/rock salt deodorants work?

Hi all- I like using all-natural products, shampoos, etc. But when it comes to deodorant, Tom's of Maine, you fail me. The glycerin-based deodorants smell pretty at first but turn me into a b.o.-infused stinkbomb in a few hours.

Has anyone had success with crystal deodorants? Is there a trick to it?
posted by ashtabula to opelika to Health & Fitness (35 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I tried it. It was only slightly effective at the beginning and not effective at all after a few hours.
posted by twblalock at 5:26 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Bubble and Bee make a very effective arrowroot-based deodorant that (a) comes in multiple scents that aren't all Patchouli Plus Something Else, and more importantly, that (b) doesn't wear out after 5 minutes. We liked it so much we started making our own out of arrowroot powder and coconut oil, just to be able to play around with the scents!
posted by mittens at 5:40 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

(Wait, that doesn't specifically answer your question about the crystal ones, I'm sorry!)
posted by mittens at 5:40 AM on July 13, 2011

I didn't find them effective.
posted by goggie at 5:44 AM on July 13, 2011

My partner and I tried them out. They didn't work. We have a friend who swears by them and has used them for as long as we have known her. She smells terrible by afternoon. I don't recommend them.
posted by Sternmeyer at 5:56 AM on July 13, 2011 [13 favorites]

PitRok crystal deodorant stick worked for me. I chose it because I wanted an unscented deodorant - I prefer the smell of a good cologne or perfume to most deodorant brands.

But I understand that for some people, it does nothing at all. And these days, I don't wear any deodorant. I don't sweat much, and one shower a day is enough to keep the stink away. Hopefully.
posted by Ted Maul at 6:04 AM on July 13, 2011

If you can get past the chemical warfare of the Lush shop floor I'd recommend their solid deodorants. I prefer the Aromarant - it lasts forever (though you do have to slough off the lumpy bits from time to time) and it's less heavily scented. Aromaco is softer and very heavy on the patchouli but also good.

I've had no luck with other 'natural' deos but I've been using both versions for years and they're great for a day's wear. It's the bicarb that does it.
posted by freya_lamb at 6:05 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I use a crystal one, and find that it generally works, but now that it's the height of summer, I do re-apply once or twice during the day.
posted by torisaur at 6:14 AM on July 13, 2011

I'm surprised of the folks that have not had luck with it. Upon a recommendation of a friend in Hawaii, I tried this out 3 years ago (Crystal body deoderant) - I still have the same one (yes it really does last a long time) and have had excellent results with it. The key to it is applying after having just bathed or cleansed yourself, and it must go on moist skin. I find it will last all day. Now if you spend all day working outside doing manual labor, it probably won't cut it; but I doubt anything will last 8 or 9 hours.

As an aside, I'm not really sure why it's called a deoderant - it does not mask or hide odors. The salt prevents the bacteria that causes odors in the first place.

Another caveat is - don't drop it on a hard surface. The crystal stick will shatter.
posted by bellastarr at 6:30 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Depends on if you're a heavy perspiration type, and/or a stinky pits type.

If, like me, you sweat lightly, and your pits aren't too pugnacious, it works like a champ. It doesn't cause a rash or itching, it brings the stink down to zero, it's cheap, and it's no hassle to put on.

If you regularly soak your shirt, or have a certain, ah, intensity to your B.O., it's not gonna work too well. Stick to the big guns... I've heard Mitchum is pretty good.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:32 AM on July 13, 2011

Seconding odinsdream: if a product doesn't explicitly say "antiperspirant" on the label, it won't do anything for sweat. I've never found a natural antiperspirant.

The advantage of natural non-antiperspirant deodorants, however, is that they're generally safe to use on other stinky areas. I used to use one of the Lush deodorants on my feet, and I was satisfied.

The thing about crystal deodorant is you have to get it wet to dissolve enough of it to stick, and that can get a little messy. The other thing is you also have to wash it off after each use, and it won't do a thing if you're already sweaty when you apply it - otherwise you'll just end up with a lump of rock that smells like armpits.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:35 AM on July 13, 2011

Quote from an ex-boyfriend: "I defeated the rock!!!"

Worked for me, though.
posted by amtho at 6:44 AM on July 13, 2011

Aubrey's "E Plus High C" is not a rock, but it's natural and works excellently. I've used it for years. Also, you can look up different products here:
posted by zeek321 at 6:57 AM on July 13, 2011

Seconding freya_lamb's Lush recommendation -- I tried a bunch of natural deodorants, including crystal, and didn't really love any of them. Then I tried a Lush deodorant that they've since discontinued (drat!) but I liked it so much that I have been recreating a version of it at home for the last few years: baking soda, a little almond oil, shea butter, a few drops of ylang ylang oil (because that's what the original recipe used; you could leave it unscented of course). Yeah, it's the baking soda that actually works.
posted by little cow make small moo at 7:02 AM on July 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Oh yes, I should mention that I always applied the rock to clean, wet skin after a shower. That's probably important.
posted by Ted Maul at 7:12 AM on July 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

I use the crystal because it is the only deodorant I've ever found that I don't have a bad reaction to. I'd say my experience is similar to others' above: it's better than nothing, in that I really notice if I forget to use it, but not as effective as the commercial brands I used before I developed sensitivities. I reapply it for evening sometimes.
posted by not that girl at 7:17 AM on July 13, 2011

I have used the crystal stuff for a few years (I prefer the spray on kind to the rock) and it definitely works well for me, but I am not a particularly sweaty or active person, nor do I have very potent sweat. Like some previous posters have mentioned, I also always use it only when I am freshly showered. I mostly prefer it because I have sensitive skin and most other deodorants give me a rash, and I also like that it never stains my shirts and never clashes with other scents (i.e. my shampoo or perfume).
posted by katie at 7:20 AM on July 13, 2011

My fiance's hippie aunt (she lives on a failed commune called the Kaleidoscope Ranch) used crystal deodorant.

Her boss finally had to take her aside and have a little talk.
posted by Madamina at 7:37 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

In keeping with Madamina's post above, I would advise getting an opinion from a (good-natured and honest) friend if you test out this type of deodorant. I've known people for whom it seems to work fine, but I've also known people who think it works fine when really they're the only ones who can't smell themselves ...
posted by DingoMutt at 7:45 AM on July 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

Wow. I've been using it for 20 years, and I really hope it's been working! I certainly notice when I don't apply it, but I've not usually reapplied during the day unless I've reshowered after a workout or something. And I'm pretty sure my friends would tell me if I stink.

I've never used one up, I've only bought new ones after dropping and shattering them.
posted by ldthomps at 7:58 AM on July 13, 2011

Didn't work for me.

Question for you: what makes crystal deodorant "all-natural"? just the company's claim that it is? It's still an aluminum compound.
posted by galadriel at 7:59 AM on July 13, 2011

I've been sent a couple as samples. Each time, they work for a few days, then build up such a rancid stank on me and the sticks that I discard them.
posted by scruss at 9:02 AM on July 13, 2011

I just have baking soda in a shaker container and use that right after a shower.

If I am stinky, no one tells me, so I call it a win.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 9:30 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I use liquid crystal deodorant (specifically Crystal Body Deodorant Roll-On) and it works great for me. My partner--who's a pretty stinky kind of person--uses it, as well, and it works as well for him as any other deodorant we've tried has, though he does apply it twice a day.

If you find that crystal sticks don't work for you, have you considered making your own deodorant? It's just one part baking soda, one part cornstarch, two parts coconut oil (or, say, 1.5 parts coconut oil and .5 parts vitamin E oil/almond oil/jojoba oil), and a little bit of tea tree oil. Combine well, put into containers, and smear a thin layer on your pits every morning. (As a warning, the coconut oil will melt if your house gets above, say, 90F. So you might want to keep the deodorant in the fridge or similar if you don't have air con.) I actually prefer this to the crystal--it works slightly better, in my experience, and has the added bonus of making your armpits nice and moisturized.
posted by MeghanC at 10:31 AM on July 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

They didn't work for me -- my pits (possible TMI alert ahead) still smelled like eau de cat urine.

What did work was Lafe's Natural and Organic Tea Tree Deodorant. I found it at my local Whole Paycheck, but it is also available online.
posted by virago at 10:33 AM on July 13, 2011

I have Pitrok stick that works well. I shower, dry and then wet the stick and rub it on. I've never tested it by rubbing it under one arm and not the other, but I definitely smell less when I've used it.

Obviously I don't smell of roses or anything, but I find a little bergamot essential oil adds a pleasant citrus-y scent without being overpowering. Make sure to get the bergaptene-free version if you try the oil, though.
posted by Solomon at 10:34 AM on July 13, 2011

Maybe your body chemistry is different, but crystal deodorant did NOT work on my hippy ex-boyfriend. Not just no, but hell no.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:41 AM on July 13, 2011

I use Kiss My Face "Liquid Rock" roll-on, which supposedly has the same chemical as the crystals. Works well for neutralizing smell, but of course does not stop sweating.
posted by Daily Alice at 10:54 AM on July 13, 2011

Another "works for me". I shave, or at least very closely trim, my armpit hair, and have a healthy diet. I don't always do a lot of sweaty stuff, but I live in a hot place and tend to run a bit hot anyway. As mentioned, it's not an anti-perspirant - I still sweat, I just don't stink. I used to use the rock, still have a couple of half-used ones as backups, but now prefer the spray. The brand is Crystal, though I've never tried another because I've been satisfied with Crystal from my first trial.
posted by attercoppe at 11:39 AM on July 13, 2011

Worked for me in the winter but only until about 1pm.
posted by marimeko at 1:47 PM on July 13, 2011

Works for me year round, and haven't used anything else for the last 5 years. Applied straight after morning shower. It gets hot in Sydney in summer
posted by trialex at 3:14 PM on July 13, 2011

I was on the hunt for deodorants without antiperspirants a few years ago and tried the crystal along with several other things in the natural food section of the supermarket. I am not a stinky person by nature but I found myself a little more fragrant than I cared to be. The only deodorant-and-nothing-else I have ever found that works worth a damn on my body is Tom's of Maine.
posted by Foam Pants at 5:53 PM on July 13, 2011

Healthy diet and lifestyle play an important role in your body odor. Crystal/rock salt deodorants are best used as a supplement.
posted by aniola at 10:31 PM on July 13, 2011

Nothing is going to work very well until your skin adjusts to the absence of the aluminum chlorhydrate or whatever it is they use they days as the active antiperspirant ingredient, in your current antiperspirant/deodorant. That's probably going to take a matter of days to weeks.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:25 AM on July 14, 2011

I had two hippie roommates who used the stuff. One had BO sometimes, but usually only after a long summer's work day of landscaping. The other one smelled like rotting death even if she spent the day standing still at a moderate temperature. Of course, like aniola said above, diet and lifestyle plays a role, and the latter roommate was a severe alcoholic who lived off greasy crap.
posted by futureisunwritten at 9:29 AM on July 14, 2011

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