Here's Why I'm Obsessed With My Crystal Deodorant—And You Should Be, Too

This is the natural deodorant heavy sweaters have been searching for.

January 19, 2018
Crystal deodorant
Photograph courtesy of

I chose the worst time to transition to a more natural deodorant: high school. In addition to fears of post-apocalyptic smells drifting out of my armpits, I was petrified of the dreaded sweat stain. Needless to say, I do not look back on the transition fondly. After years of wearing the popular soap-scented antiperspirant, I was tired of the grimy yellow moons on my white school uniform. Add to that a recent awareness of harmful chemicals in beauty products, and I was ready to kiss my standby goodbye forever.

I tried so many different natural deodorants, and they all failed me miserably. There was the one that made me smell like rotting apricots. The one that left me desperately trying to itch unnoticed in class. The one that sprayed on so cold that I had to give myself a pep talk every morning just to get it on.

The last straw was when my first boyfriend told me I smelled while watching TV in his family’s rec room. (To this day I continue to harbor the fear that I will be the one emanating the scent that everyone is hiding their noses from.) In a fit of desperation and supreme embarrassment, I dug through my mom’s drawer for anything that would help. I found a dusty, travel-sized crystal deodorant, and haven’t looked back.

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I didn’t expect much the first time I skeptically wet the crystal and rubbed it under my arms. It felt like all I did was put water on my skin with a smooth rock. But I was sold when hours later there still wasn’t even the slightest whiff of BO thanks to its natural antibacterial properties.

For the uninitiated, the traditional white crystal deodorant is made purely from potassium alum, a mineral salt. The natural salts kill the odor-causing bacteria and make it difficult to for them grow in their favorite places—warm, damp underarms. Instead of masking sweat and blocking its flow like traditional antiperspirants made with aluminum-based compounds, the crystal simply neutralizes the odor.

While the most popular and easy to find crystal deodorant is from the Crystal brand (get it for $6.75 on, other brands like Thai and Evolution Salt Co. also sell it. You can also find deodorants made from carved Himalayan sea salt on Etsy.

Here are 10—yes, 10!—reasons it’s the best deodorant I’ve ever used.

sweaty woman
It actually keeps me odor-free

It really works. I don’t worry about massive deodorant failure or have to sneak sniffs every hour like clockwork to check in. A quick reapplication post-workout or during a humid day doesn’t hurt, but most days I apply it in the morning and forget about it until the next morning.

woman running and sweating
It’s a heavy sweater’s best friend

I’m a sweaty woman. Always. I can manage to have both frozen hands and swampy pits. Weather, activity, and diet seem to mean nothing to my body. A particularly awkward encounter on Silicon Valley can break me out in a cold sweat faster than sprints at the local track. Hot days or hefty cardio leave me with with full beads streaming down my arms. I sweat hard, and I expect my deodorant to keep up. The crystal hasn’t let me down.

Related: 9 Best Natural Deodorants That Actually Keep You Stink-Free

crystal deodorant
It's cheap and lasts forever

Properly-used crystal deodorant goes strong for years. The package claims it will last you a year, but after more than six years of at least daily use, I’m not even halfway through my current stick. At $6.75 for a large stick, that’s roughly a dollar a year. Before I switched, I was lucky if I could get a couple months out of an antiperspirant. 

deodorant on the go
It’s easy to apply on the go

I cannot stand putting on creamy deodorants on wet skin. It ends up feeling slimy or goopy. Not so with the stick. Post-workout, bike commuting, or in the middle of a hot day, I don’t bother wetting the crystal and instead let my damp skin do the trick. Otherwise I lightly wet my fingers slightly at a sink or with my water bottle, rub them across the crystal, and apply.

toxic beauty product
I don’t have to worry about sketchy chemicals

Parabens and other hard to pronounce chemicals are not present. Although the variety I use does have an aluminum salt in it, it’s not the aluminum that is used to prevent sweating in a traditional antiperspirant. It’s also free from synthetic scents, colors, and additives, which gives it a good grade with the Environmental Working Group. (Pink crystal deodorants made from Himalayan sea salt may also have traces of naturally-occurring aluminum.)

Related: 3 Reasons You Should Be Using Probiotic Deodorant—Plus 3 Brands To Try

sweaty shirt
It allows for healthy sweating

These days I firmly believe in rocking sweat marks. My body deserves to breathe and remove waste however it sees fit. It’s important to me that I can sweat without interference or clogging my pores. The crystal deodorant leaves my body free to do as it pleases, odorlessly.

Evolution Salt Co crystal deodorant
Photograph courtesy of Evolution Salt Co.
You can get it package-free

While my old school crystal comes in the well-known purple plastic container, multiple brands and independent sellers offer package-free options or naked crystal bars simply wrapped in recyclable materials. If I ever manage to finish the one on my shelf, I will definitely replace it with one of the surprisingly beautiful bare bars.

smelly feet
It’s a multitasker

The crystal works so well that I used it to combat some seriously smelly feet while working as a lifeguard over the summers. When my feet need a little helping hand staying fresh—like on a long day of traveling or a hot day in sweaty shoes—I heartily rub the crystal across the soles of my feet before putting on my socks. It works like a charm.

Related: 3 Ways To Make Your Own Deodorant

packed suitcase
It’s great for travel

My boyfriend and I shared a travel-sized crystal stick on a 25 day trip to New Zealand. It’s a bit on the heavier side for a deodorant its size, but it saved vital space in my tiny liquids bag allowed by the airline and more than made up for the weight. Sharing deodorant used to give me the heebie jeebies, but the surface of the crystal itself is antibacterial and it doesn’t trap skin cells or hairs (yuck!).

Ascent/PKS Media Inc./Getty
It’s seriously strong

So far my stick hasn’t let me down, even while backpacking. I know, truly hardcore backpackers don’t bother with the deodorant, but I’m just not there. It was one of the few things I packed without second guessing for our two-day Great Walk in New Zealand. It kept my boyfriend and I smelling better than expected after being rained on and sweating under all of our layers for 12 hours. After our first day’s hike I didn’t smell at all. The second day I was not so lucky. But you can’t blame the crystal—I forgot to put it on.

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