We've been beholden to Speed Stick for too long. Down with flakes!
July 6, 2005 2:41 AM   Subscribe

Deodorant rocks. What are they? What goes into them? Where do they come from? What's the history? Can they be made at home? Safety warnings or tips on use? Where should they be purchased from?
posted by saysthis to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
i tried one years ago. i think they're some kind of crystal. from what i remember they deodorize, but aren't antiperspirants which means u continue to sweat but without the odor. this bothered me as it had me worrying if it was really working (do i smell and not know it?) and i also like to be dry.

not the scientific side of your question, but i thought that might help.
posted by mirileh at 3:19 AM on July 6, 2005

From what I've heard:

1) Aluminum suppresses sweating.
2) Sweat itself doesn't smell nearly as bad as waste from bacteria that eat the sweat. So alot of what deodorant does is retard the growth of stench-causing bacteria. (This is why putting deodorant on after the fact doesn't work.)
3) Sometimes you get fungus, instead of bacteria, and this makes nothing common work. The answer is to spray tinactin under your arms.
posted by effugas at 3:30 AM on July 6, 2005

its mineral salt that inhibits the growth of the stink producing bacteria. i have used the stones (and the mineral salt spray, which is MUCH easier) for a couple of years now and love it. the aluminum based ones irritate me. now i will say the mineral salt based ones don't work for everyone, so as it said a lot on here..YMMV.
posted by ShawnString at 4:52 AM on July 6, 2005

It works for me, sweaty pits but no odour, and they last for a long long time. Mind you, I am a fairly heavy sweater, and I prefer dry underarms.
posted by tomble at 5:08 AM on July 6, 2005

It's the only thing that I use in this steamy town, because it works way, way better than sticks, sprays or roll-ons. Also great for feet, no stinkum. I have no idea how it's manufactured, but it's a kind of alum, a double sulfate of aluminum in crystal salt form. Whatever, you wet it and rub the stick in the usual areas and it's invisible and odorless, and the 115 g stick lasts for 2-3 years in my case. It dries on you, and as noted above, what they say is the salt makes your sweat an inhospitable environment for bacteria to live, so no stink. All I know is, it works all day. Get a smaller one and try it out.
posted by planetkyoto at 5:40 AM on July 6, 2005

Cool, I meant to ask a similar question some time ago! The choices of deodorants and applicators at supermarkets and drugstores are overwhelming: solid sticks, gels, creams, roll-ons, spray-ons. I was wondering what was in them and which ones were most effective.

The only deodorant I know anything of is a locally-produced and widely exported deodorant we call "tawas" which is nothing but pure alum crystal (not to be confused with aluminum), which comes in rock form and powder form. Despite all sorts of modern advances and alternatives, it remains a popular choice around here because alum is cheap, is a naturally-occurring compound, contains no additives, is hypoallergenic, doesn't stain, and is frequently, timelessly recommended by everyone and their grandmothers. It is a deodorant, but not an anti-perspirant; it works by adhering to the skin unabsorbed, mixing with perspiration, and killing the odor-causing bacteria that sprout and live on the surface.

For what it's worth, it is also effectively used to clean jewelry and to scrape stubborn slime off of fish.
posted by Lush at 5:42 AM on July 6, 2005

P.S. Sorry, locally is Philippines, Southeast Asia. Tawas/alum is commonly available in supermarkets, drugstores, and wet markets around here, though rarely in beauty/cosmetic shops. If you live in China (your userinfo says this), you should be able to find them just as easily. It's a common cleansing agent for a lot of things, really. You can probably grow your own rocks by mixing alum powder with water.
posted by Lush at 6:02 AM on July 6, 2005

Most anti-perspirants (stop sweating) are aluminum-based. Deodorants (stop the smell) may simply mask the smell with perfume, or do something to prevent it, such as kill bacteria etc.

There have been recent scares about preservative materials that show up in breast tumours possibly coming from underarm products. It has also been suggested that the aluminium in these products may be harmful. AFAIK, neither of these two scares have been convincingly proved or disproved.

A friend of mine uses deodorant crystal, swears by it.

Something else to consider: spray-on underarm products are responsible for generating particulates, which are potentially harmful when inhaled. According to the book "A Life Stripped Bare", deodorant spray is responsible for a large amount of the particulates inhaled by most people. (Don't have the details to hand, but it's an interesting book).
posted by ajp at 6:54 AM on July 6, 2005

Here's the one I use (the stick on the left), but cheaper ones are popping up in all the drugstores. Here's one in UK and the US.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:14 AM on July 6, 2005

Mine, sans aluminium too
posted by ajbattrick at 7:19 AM on July 6, 2005

On the complete opposite side of the spectrum is aluminum chloride in solution. Drysol is one of the brands. Unlike the salts which deal exclusively with odor, the ac deals exclusively with perspiration. It's really just Super antiperspirant - the wikipedia entry on hiperhidrosis has some info on it.

Interestingly antiperspirant supposedly doesn't work at all for 20-30% of the population and poorly for another 50 or so percent. Presumably this is why it's rare to find an anti-p that is not also a deoderant - less obvious that it's not working.
posted by phearlez at 8:33 AM on July 6, 2005

I just wanted to mention that on initial reading, I thought your first sentence was a proclamation, not a statement of topic.

I know lots of people freaked out about the aluminum scare who only use deoderant, not anti-perspirant, like tom's of maine, etc. I personally switch back and forth - don't use aluminum every day, but keep it around for emergencies, kinda thing. I think it works fine, but then, no one ever tells you if you smell.
posted by mdn at 8:59 AM on July 6, 2005

I'm a big fan of Liquid Rock from Kiss My Face, the rock for people who like roll-ons.
posted by bradlands at 9:25 AM on July 6, 2005

I agree. Deodorant rules!

I use whatever I can find, currently attempting a cheap-o spray. Depending on what I use, my underarms either itch horribly or break out in some sort of rash with painful clogged pores (huge zits). I imagine this would be something good for me to try.
posted by ajpresto at 9:30 AM on July 6, 2005

I searched in vain for this thread last night for about an hour. Google must not have indexed it yet. Thank goodness I bookmarked it here at work. I want to see if I can buy these things here in Korea, and planetkyoto's link might, I thought, have been a good start.

Note to the thread poster : a 'deodorant' tag might have made a little more sense, and been more useful, than 'yourgrodypitstank'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:29 AM on July 12, 2005

« Older The fight between Whoomp and Whoot?   |   Whole blood shipment from North America to Hong... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.