Recently, I began “test-driving” a hygiene product I’ve heard about over the years but had never tried…the “rock” or “crystal” type deodorant.
I’ve heard opinions on the purported health risks associated with other sorts of underarm antiperspirants and deodorants, namely calling into question the healthfulness of the active ingredient, aluminum, for long-term users. I know there are some homemade recipes for underarm care out there, some utilizing baking soda or vinegar, but in my own case, I need something tantamount to a Fort Knox of odor control.
Maybe it’s having lived my entire life south of the Mason-Dixon line and its inherent steamy, humid, and often sweltering climes, but I just don’t seem to be the sort of girl who can go from AC to Dante’s Inferno without breaking a sweat. And folks, as many times as that happens in a day down here (even minus the AC), personal hygiene can be a progressive meltdown into an eventual puddle. Or, to state it more succinctly….phewww-eeee! I have a friend who refers to this as “making gravy”…(laughing…GROAN)
Before I go any further, I’ll volunteer the fact that my personal comfort level with All Things Natural when it comes to my own hygiene has been fully explored and is now firmly established. I’ve traveled the campgrounds and rails of Europe, been through my Bohemian Angst-Ridden Artist stage, dated (in younger years) men from many areas of the world, and am still to this day enamored with anthropology, native and traditional cultures, herbs, and the old ways of doing things. I’m open-minded, have gone through periods where I never shaved my legs, and have few hang-ups about what sorts of clothes to wear as long as they’re clean and servicable.
That said, I’ve found my balance, and for me, I don’t like to stink. (And I do shave my legs now…personal preference).
I’m not prissy about real life…I actually love the smell of horses, cattle, county fairgrounds, barns, compost, sawdust, and sunburnt skin. I’m no shrinking violet with an overly-sensitive sniffer, and don’t swoon into a dead faint if my husband and I smell like hardworking people after a long day spent sweating in the yard digging around in the dirt. I just enjoy the shower afterward all the more.
I’ve met plenty of folks who barely perspire, or who naturally just are aroma-neutral…but I’m not one of them. So from an early age, I needed the Rosie The Riveter version of underarm care, which resulted in adopting regular usage of the most heavy-duty antiperspirants. I’ve tried the gamut…creams, solids, sprays, gels. I learned which ones cut the mustard and which ones were lightweights. There were a lot of scents to choose from, too, and halfway through the day you could have your choice of which fragrance began warming to its duty…Lilac, Baby Powder, Tropical Rainforest, Shower Fresh, Arctic Ice, to name a few.
I heard a lot about the dangers of using aluminum, and was told it was one of the main ingredients in deodorants/anti-perspirants. I’m not sure what to make of the various claims about aluminum, but I do know that I prefer to keep things simple, and I decided to try the “rock/crystal” type deodorant someday…on the one condition that it could really do the job.
A couple months ago I looked for one at my local natural foods store, and wasn’t sure what the difference was between similar-looking products, so I chose one that was the solid rock but was formed into a cylindrical shape (stick) and was dispensed like a stick deodorant. It is applied wet, so I used it right after the shower on wet skin, after wetting the stick. There is no sensation when applied and the only caution is to wash my hands afterwards…I have a habit of rubbing my eyes sometimes and think it would be bad to get that into them.
The rock deodorant I have is made of a single ingredient…ammonium alum. There is no smell to the crystal at all, not even when wet. I’ve tried to research exactly what ammonium alum is and isn’t, and I still don’t understand it. Some believe it’s a salt whose molecules are of a different size and type (preventing absorption into the body through the skin) than other deodorants whose main ingredients are aluminum, and others claim that alum IS aluminum in a certain form, and may or may not pose the same risks as aluminum.
Well here, at least, is how the Rock works for me…regardless of what it is.
It’s not an anti-perspirant, so this is not the product you’d need just before a big interview if you’re wearing a white silk shirt on a hot day and driving an unairconditioned car.
However, I really LIKE the fact that there is no talc or anything noticeable that seems to block the pores…my underarms seem free of anything that would clog my skin and have to be vigorously scrubbed off like normal deos.
I refresh mine, which means I apply it up to twice a day if there’s a reason to.
Mine was a small “rock,” and as such cost me about $3.00. The larger ones ran a bit expensive, and I bought mine simply to try. It’s been lasting quite well, and I can see how over time this is an economical product…I’m guessing a standard sized one would last at least a year.
But what of its effectiveness for folks like me? Does it work? Or can a novice Boy Scout still track you from three miles out, through heavy woods, blindfolded?
Well, good news! It works!
It inhibits bacteria, and thereby there is NO odor…which is a real feat, and a comfort as I watch the spring temps daily edge higher towards summer’s eventual highs.
Clothing still has to be washed because of perspiration, but there is no lingering odor to be dealt with at wash-time, just the dampness.
This, to me, would not be the ultimate answer if wearing business wear on a daily basis, or synthetic clothing a lot…the perspiration issue would still remain.
But since sweating is the body’s natural balancing mechanism and is actually necessary for good health, if you can wear natural fabrics and are in a more relaxed environment, the “rock” as a deodorant choice might be the perfect fit…and is possibly a lot more healthy.
Have you ever tried it? If not, do you use a homemade or natural deodorant product you’d recommend?
I’d love to hear what’s worked…or not…for you!