While I've always been a health nut (worrying about what I'm putting into my mouth and how my workouts are affecting my body), I've never thought too much about what I'm rubbing on my armpits. When I heard passing mentions of "deodorant = breast cancer," I shrugged and thought, "Everything will kill you these days; I do enough other things for my health, so I'm fine."
Then I heard about Crystal, a natural deodorant company that makes an actual crystal deodorant stone that you rub on your armpits. If only for novelty's sake, I had to try it. (Speaking of novelty, did you know deodorant wipes exist?)
ICYMI, modern-day deodorants and antiperspirants have been criticized for containing potentially cancer-causing ingredients—though no surefire scientific proof has surfaced yet, according to the National Institutes of Health. However, some people would rather be safe than sorry and take a more natural route, choosing to either forgo deodorant completely (like this woman who tried an armpit detox), whip up their own homemade product, or try a natural deodorant alternative. One of those alternatives is this Crystal deodorant stone, which has been around for 30+ years. Made of natural mineral salts, this paraben- and chemical-free deodorant forms an invisible layer of scentless protection to create an "unfriendly environment" for odor-causing bacteria, according to Crystal. Even if the cancer link with traditional drugstore deodorant/antiperspirants is TBD, choosing a totally natural alternative is a great way to prevent skin irritations, allergic reactions, etc. (More about that side of the no-deodorant debate.)
Sounds legit, right? But as a frequent flier at super-sweaty studio workouts (spin class, boot camp, heated yoga), as an enthusiast of long runs outside (hi, NYC humidity), and as a member of an adult charity cheerleading team (read: sweating in close proximity to 50 other people who can smell everything you had for lunch), I was a little nervous about ditching my trusty purple Lady Speed Stick. (Scared of taking the plunge? We sweat-tested these natural deodorants so you don't have to.)
First impression of Crystal: This thing is cute. With crystals and geodes ~so hot right now~, you could totally throw it next to a succulent and call it décor. Second: The hardest part is remembering to use it at the right time. You need to swipe it onto clean, wet armpits immediately after showering. (Which is actually the wrong way to use other deodorants.) I usually forgot to do it immediately post-shower, resulting in a few awkward sink birdbaths of splashing my armpits in order to apply it. (Glamorous, I know.) If you do it correctly, Crystal promises to keep you stink-free for 24 hours. It's not an antiperspirant, so it wasn't going to stop my sweat, but it should keep me from turning ripe by the end of my hot-as-hell subway commute.
With the help of my fun new toy, I sweated through spin class at Cyc and a morning workout at ToneHouse (the hardest workout known to New Yorkers... and maybe mankind). I sweated through an 8-mile half marathon training run—in Miami—and an entire eight-hour day in sunny 80-degree weather to cheer in the Brooklyn Pride Festival and Parade. And the most nerve-racking of all: I sweated through a marathon date lounging in the Central Park sun for hours, followed by tacos and happy hour. Weeks and workouts went by, and I was still using the stone.
The verdict, through all of these sweat-drenched compromising positions? No stink for a solid 24 hours. I definitely still sweated—but I smelled, refreshingly, like nothing. If you think about how many lotions and potions we use (from hairspray to body wash to perfume) it's pretty liberating to rock a totally natural human scent for once. (Who knows—maybe going fragrance-free will be the next stage of the body-positivity movement!)
That little rock is as dependable as my favorite running sneakers and has become a permanent in my routine, earning the affectionate nickname #SaltBae. What started off as an LOL experiment turned into a lifelong partnership. We'll ride off into the sweaty, sticky, 100-percent humidity NYC summer sunset together—stink-free.