How Alum works
Natural Volcanic Alum Stone works as a deodorant by leaving a fine salty, slightly alkaline film on the skin, inhibiting the growth of microbes. It keeps the skin fresh and deodorized all day. No microbes equals no odour. Natural alum allows perspiration, one of the body’s cleansing and interpersonal communication mechanisms, keeps the pores free, and does not stain clothing. The molecules are large and are not absorbed into the skin, plus the molecules have a negative charge, also keeping natural alum from entering the skin.
Volcanically formed alum crystals should not be confused with factory made deodorants which often use inferior, sometimes harmful synthetic chemical ingredients. Our alum crystals are simply collected from the desert surface, placed in sacks and then shipped to the UK.
Why Alum is used
The fully natural volcanic alum is so effective that even people with hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) get along well with real alum. On the other hand, the genuine alum allows people with sensitive skin to rejoice in being able to deodorize again.
Alum stone also makes a great natural aftershave, reducing the appearance of shaving burn, and stemming bleeding from shaving nicks. That is why traditional barbers use Alum styptic. Did you know that Alum stone can also be used to relieve insect bites, reduce shaving rash, cold sores, athletes foot and to sterilize small cuts and scratches?
What is Volcanic Alum Crystal? Is Alum safe?
The genuine potassium alum forms naturally at volcanic fumeroles. Alum is abundant where it occurs, but unfortunately there are no British sources. As alum is one of the earth most common and useful minerals, used since civilization began, we may have been importing it since the Roman Period, and certainly by the Medieval Period, every foreign ship brought alum into our ports for the wool dyers to use as a mordant.
The natural crystal, potassium alum, potash alum or alum stone is totally unprocessed. Crystal deodorants labeled as ammonium alum contain synthetic ammonium, a by-product of the chemical and nylon industry. Synthetic ingredients may contain chemical residues and cause allergic reactions and ammonium alum is not such an effective deodorant.
Earth-grown Alum Stone is a safe, natural and highly effective alternative. Natural and synthetic alums look similar. The only sure way to tell them apart – is the natural crystal breaks into irregular forms with irregular surfaces and every piece is different.
How we sell our Alum
The types and weight are listed in the drop down menus. Alum to Buy – We charge £12.00 per 100g. There is a drop down menu where you can select either the crystal blocks, or insect bite relief chips. We do have specimen crystal block pieces weighing up to 10kg.
Please note: If you are buying alum in the block form, we now supply these crystals in pairs so that we can fulfil your order with the correct weights and price.
As each piece of alum is knapped from a larger block we can not always produce pieces of exact weights, however delays are minimized if we can provide two blocks at once – it is far easier for us to find pairs of crystals which match the weight/price band rather than a single piece. Even then, if the blocks we select for you are slightly underweight we will send you some change with your order – Although just as often as not, the pieces we send you will be slightly overweight – your gain! So typically if you order a pair of crystals of total weight 167g, costing £20.00 you might receive one crystal of 80g and the other crystal of 87g. We try to match them in size as far as we can.
How to use alum crystal as a deodorant block
- Select a pair of alum blocks of at least 100g. It is far easier and faster to deodorize with pieces of this size than pieces which are smaller.
- Before use, rub a new piece of alum crystal with a cloth in water to remove any angular edges before using on the skin. It will takes several weeks of gentle usage before the crystal becomes really smooth like the one in the photograph.
- Apply alum stone deodorant in a thin layer straight after bathing to the wet skin. Alternatively dampen the stone and apply to dry skin. Alum can also be used on the feet. For especially active days, rubs the stone on the skin for longer.
- Always rinse the Alum Stone after use and allow it to dry.
- Allow your Alum Stone to dry on its own soap dish to prevent damage to surfaces and preserve the alum crystal intact.
How to use an alum crystal block as a shavers styptic or aftershave
- Alum stone helps control shaving rash and stems bleeding from shaving nicks (there may be a brief tingling or stinging sensation). Alum is astringent and mildly antiseptic.
- Select a pair of alum crystals weighing at least 100g or select the insect bite relief set for highly portable styptic crystals.
- After shaving and rinsing the face, simply glide the alum crystal over the shaved area. Pay extra attention to small shaving nicks, where the alum will stem the bleeding. Warning the use of alum on broken skin will sting.
- Wash and dry the crystal after use.
How to use alum for relieving insect bites
Some people are irresistible to insects. While the alum does not prevent bites, it is the treatment of choice if you want to avoid unsightly weals, scarring and being generally bothered by the bite.
Select the insect bite relief set of three alum chips. These are three portable pieces, each piece between 2cm-3cm long, or you can use a larger piece. The person who has been bitten should drop their own saliva onto the insect bite.
Then rub a piece of alum, beginning at the outside of the bite, certainly encompassing any reddened areas of skin, concentrically into the puncture, over the course of 30 seconds to a minute.
People who act straight away will benefit the most. So far there has been excellent feedback with mosquitoes, mozzies, animal fleas, ants, horsefly and bedbugs.
How to use alum pebbles or powder to make your own deodorant
- Please note we have created new pages for our alum powder and alum pebbles.
The Ethics of Using Volcanic Alum Crystal
- No chemicals
- No perfumes
- Naturally unfragranced
- No preservatives
- No colours
- No alcohol
- No processing (it is just collected from the surface of the Western Desert, and has never seen the inside of a factory), other than knapping or milling.
- No added ingredients at all
- Very economical. Take care not to drop your Alum Stone as it may shatter
- Highly effective
- Multifunctional (deodorant/shaving/insect bite relief) saving further on packaging, postage and bathroom clutter
- Usually considered safe for sensitive skins
- One piece can be shared by all of the users of the bathroom, as it is washed between each use, saving on bathroom clutter and packaging
- For a change – a traceable deodorant!
- Helpful for hyperhydrosis
If you need help selecting your alum please call 0800 023 5008 or 01508 486517 and I will try to find you pieces to suit your budget and requirements.
TIPS: In Morocco, deodorants are not necessarily worn each day. Some Moroccans only use alum during the summer months. Probably by force of habit, most Westerners apply deodorant everyday. However as long as the underarms are cleaned daily, and shirts and tops are changed daily, it is really only necessary to wear deodorants when we are working in close proximity to people, or when we have a highly active life.
For some people just washing the underarms in rhassoul clay on a daily basis may obviate the need for a deodorant, because the clay has mild deodorizing properties. Hemp Oil Soap is great for washing under the arms to as it instantly removes body odour. Rinse the clay or hemp soap off thoroughly before applying the alum.
People with very sensitive skin who need to wear alum deodorant during the day can wash the deodorant off before they go to bed at night.
At the other end of the scale, people with hyperhidrosis (a condition characterised by excessive sweating) often get along very well with volcanically formed potassium alum. They should always use natural alum in preference to aluminium chlorohydrate. Natural alum remains on the skin, killing microbes acting as a powerful deodorant, where as aluminium chlorohydrate, acting as an antiperspirant releases the aluminium ions into the sweat gland blocking the exit of sweat. Then elemental aluminium is inside the body. Please do make a point of trying fully natural potassium alum if you suffer from hyperhidrosis as they are a lot safer than strong antiperspirants!