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Finding a suitable zero waste deodorant has, by far, been one of the hardest zero waste switches to make. I’ve tried natural store-bought ones and I’ve even attempted to make my own. None of which have worked.
There was one natural deodorant that I bought which seemed to be working really well and then after about 5 weeks, it all went wrong. In desperation, I decided to try something new, cue the alum stone.
I had been told about alum stones a while ago but I’d been holding off as they cost a bit more than the store-bought products.
What is an Alum Stone?
An alum stone is a natural deodorant stone. They were originally used by the Ancient Egyptians as far back as 1500 BC. They mainly used it to reduce the cloudiness in their water. It’s also used in traditional Chinese medicine. Source
The stone I have is a potassium Alum crystal. Potassium alum occurs naturally as a sulfate mineral called alum-(K).
Why Does it Work as a Deodorant?
Two of the active ingredients in store-bought deodorants & antiperspirants are potassium and ammonium alum. They stop the growth of bacteria which is what causes you to smell. People often think that it’s the sweat itself which makes you smell but that isn’t right.
The alum stones have natural antibacterial properties which inhibit the growth of odour causing bacteria.
How Do You Use It?
They are really easy to use. You simply wet the stone and then rub it around your armpits. When you are done you need to dry the stone, I just use a towel and then store somewhere where it won’t get too damp. Mine just lives on the bathroom shelf.
Is It Safe To Use?
A few years back now there was lots of talk and various studies on Aluminium in antiperspirants and deodorants being linked to health problems including breast cancer in woman, although nothing appears to have been proved on this.
What people get confused by is that this was referring to an Aluminium called Aluminium Chlorohydrate.
It works by the skin absorbing it in and blocking the pores under your arms which stops you from sweating. This is the type of Aluminium that is used in most store-bought antiperspirants.
The Alum stones don’t do this and are a natural mineral salt. I guess it boils down to what you feel comfortable using on your body. The way I look at it is that if we put anything onto our body, whether natural or manmade, it’s going to have an effect on us.
Obviously, I am not an expert in this field so if you’re still not sure then do some more research on the subject before you buy a stone.
Good To Know
Although an alum stone is great for stopping you from smelling it probably won’t stop you from sweating. Some people have reported it does but that is not my experience of them. This doesn’t bother me as our bodies are naturally designed to sweat, it’s how we cool down.
To combat this I try to wear appropriate clothing that allows my skin to breathe.
The stones can last for years with proper care, which makes them great for anyone looking for a zero waste deodorant.
Other Uses for the Alum Stone
As well as being an effective deodorant the alum stone can also be used for the following…
- An antiseptic
- For healing razor nicks
- For removing spots or acne
- Reducing bleeding in minor cuts
- For healing ulcers in the mouth
My Personal Experience
I’ve been using my Alum stone for 6 weeks now and it’s been working great for me. I haven’t noticed any ‘smells’ at all. I’m really happy with this zero waste deodorant switch and just hope it continues to work for me.
Related Post: My Zero Waste Beauty Routine
Related Video: My Zero Waste Beauty Routine
Where Can You Buy Them?
The picture below is the exact one I bought. It does come wrapped in plastic which was annoying. However, I weighed up the amount of plastic waste I would be creating by buying store bought deodorant to this alum stone and as the stone lasts for years I thought it was worth it. It cost me £6.30.
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