An Open Letter to Crystal Deodorant Company

Dear people who make rocks for use as deodorant,

I’m on board with your product. Aluminum chlorohydrate sucks, I’m not into Alzheimer’s or breast cancer, and I’m totally down with a deodorant product that doesn’t contain that shit or cause toxins to build up near my lymph nodes. So I made the decision to jettison my old school deodorant and buy your version. I wandered down to the nearest health food store, perused the shelves, and got super pumped when I saw that you even offer a spray option for those of us who don’t want to rub a wet rock on our armpits. I took it home and have been using it for weeks and it rules. 

There’s just one problem: I looked at the packaging this morning and was a little taken aback when I did so. 

product_informationWhat the fuck is going on in your package design department? Why in god’s name is this the graphic you guys decided to go with? I’m almost at a loss for words on this one. I mean, what in the fuck are you trying to communicate here? That your deodorant is so bad-ass that even Matsu-flex won’t be able to stink through it? That women are so drawn to a colorless, odorless underarm product that the mere sight of it (in conjunction with a flexed bicep) will bring them running over to participate in its application?

I’m pretty sure I should be offended by this, but I can’t figure out how to be because it’s so fucking stupid. I suppose it’s yet another example of the old “woman fawning all over a dude who uses a personal hygiene product” ad theme, which isn’t really anything new or noteworthy, but it’s almost as if the concept people at Crystal Deodorant Company thought about that, decided it wasn’t insulting or absurd enough, and opted to take it up a notch with the flexing and mutual-application elements. 

Isn’t this supposed to be a unisex product? What if I don’t want random women running over to help me put on my deodorant every morning? What if I don’t want to buy a product from a company that uses women as decorations and portrays us as cooing idiots whose lives are lighted up by the chance to act as Roman bath slaves to men? What if I happen to kick a lot of ass and flex a lot? Why can’t we have a label that features a bad-ass woman with a dude who is clearly awestruck by her deodorant application skills? Or, barring that, how about skipping the stupid bullshit and just selling deodorant without a demeaning photo that’s so dumb as to almost be funny? 

Thanks for caring whether I get breast cancer, guys, really. How about taking that a step further and acknowledging the fact that I’m a human being? 


Nine Deuce

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34 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Crystal Deodorant Company

  1. Maybe… the flexing dude is meant to represent the masculine side of yourself. You know, the one that sweats. Because ladies, especially ones that are ladylike enough to care about natural products, don’t sweat or smell. So you, the lady, and applying deodorant to your dude self. And if you were actually a dude… Well you could just see that picture as awesome, because obviously the product makes you so desirable that ladies will run from far and wide to apply the product to your muscley, muscley self, even if your face is such that it must always be cast in shadow.


  2. Not to mention the way she’s cupping that crystal. It looks like she’s cupping balls, for fuck’s sake!

    *looks at advert again*

    Yeah, I got nuthin’. It’s ridiculous-

    LOL @ the Matsuflex reference.


  3. I just always find it isn’t strong enough :S
    I found this other awesome Innoxa one that does the job though.
    Shame cos I’m pretty sure the crystal one is cheaper.


  4. I don’t get why they’re both holding it. He’s holding it in his left hand and her left hand is cupping it from underneath.

    Is he so stupid that he needs a woman to help him figure out how to use it? I’m guessing that’s it- if he can’t figure out that it’s easier to apply if you raise your arm up instead of flexing, he needs someone to show him what to do. It’s a good thing he has a woman to do it for him.

    I’m impressed- in a single image, they make men look like brainless lumps of muscle AND show women as fawning over them as if they don’t have anything better to do.


  5. A couple things, more related to the health aspect of the post then to the oddness of their packaging.

    I’m concerned about the entire aluminum thing, especially considering one of my 4 grandparents had Alzheimer’s. And while there is no proven link between the two, yet, it always seems that in cases like this where there is big financial incentive on one side and personal health on the other, the unproven claims always end up being true. Like asbestos or cigarettes. Both of those were unproven until, oh wait, yeah they do kill people. So I’m all for avoiding aluminum in personal care products.

    But I’ve read nothing, except marketing spin from the companies that make alum products, that indicates that alum products are really any better or worse for you. The claims of people like Crystal are essentially, ‘yes we use aluminum in our products, but it is magic aluminum that can’t hurt you.’ And I’m not really sure if I buy that in the slightest. The best information I’ve been able to find on this is this forum post:
    Another one I found is here:

    Now, I have no idea what is true. The Crystal people have an obvious motivation to say their product is safe, since they’re marketing to people scared of ‘mainstream’ products. But at some point, if aluminum is bad for you, rubbing it into your armpit in a highly water-soluble form can’t be a good thing.

    What I’ve ended up doing is using aluminum containing products sparingly. On days when sweating is just bad–like days when I’m doing sale pitches and my entire system is just more amped up–I use aluminum. And it last for a couple days, so reapplication isn’t really necessary. And then other days I use tea tree oil based products with no aluminum which do a decent job of killing the bacteria, so even if I sweat it doesn’t really smell. I’d really like to live in a world where everything we do isn’t killing us.


  6. Are you kidding? The whole institution of heterosexuality is ridiculous. If we actually stop and look at the ideologies of heterosexuality, monogamy, sex , courting, affection etc… etc… and give into the urge to laugh at it all & see it for what it really is, we would realise that this ad is not so unusual. In fact it is quite “normal” (in a sociological kinda way, that is). As I picked up from Mary Daly’s Gyn/Ecology, when you start seeing through some of the bullshit it all starts to unravel. But in a system that is ALL bizzare, nothing is bizzare. Thus, this bizare ad completely works!!!!

    What a world we live in huh!!


      1. I like to delude myself that everyone has thought about these things. lol

        I am loving hearing about people (& especially women) who are on the look out & resisting this bull shit! YAY!


    1. heterosexuality =/= compulsory patriarchal romance. You can claim that the social constructs around heterosexuality are hugely problematic, which I agree with you, but sexuality itself is not bad or wrong or antifeminist.


      1. Hi Itxaro,

        I never said that sexuality is bad! And I certainly was not implying that. Please try not to put words and/or meanings that were not there (thou I know how easy it is to do so as I do it all the frigging time!). And I certainly do not think sexuality is anti-feminist (though I do believe that some forms of and/or expressions of some “sexualities” is bad, harmful & antifeminist i.e. BDSM etc…).

        What I do believe however, is that the things that are lovely are quite odd when you actually think about it and all exists within patriarchal heterosexual institutions, norms etc… It always urks me (& I am not saying that you necessarily said this but its a wider, more general response – I hope I’m not going on too much of a tangent) that when someone (I mean a woman) makes a critical comment about sex or sexuality they label you (I mean her) as anti-sex(uality). My feminism does not blind me, nor stop me, from my pleasures – quite the contrary – patriarchy does that to women!! Can we move beyond that so that we can start to critically unravel the practices of sexuality that ARE actually harmful, and celebrate and share the ones that are bliss, and truly positive for women!!! As a lesbian, separatist, of course this means for me NO men at all, though I recognise that all those (I mean SOME) heterosexual feminists out there are working towards that working with men. So yeah. I say we should celebrate our bodies and the pleasures we can receive from them. All of our bodies are absolute pieces of pleasurely perfection!! But not pleasure at any cost (which if you look up some writers like Bettina Arndt & general views of the matter, that is the message at the moment).

        Okay, I’ll stop rambling. Hope I made sense!
        In sisterhood,


      2. Itxaro,

        As much as I agree with you, I didn’t read her comment as condemning heterosexuality. She said “the institution of heterosexuality.” To me, that pretty clearly has to do with the social machinery around (socially acceptable forms of) heterosexuality, rather than which genders should partner with which.


  7. Don’t use deodorant.
    No, seriously. All this shit is a bunch of bull. I don’t use deodorant; I haven’t since the summer. And I don’t smell “bad” anymore. Sometimes I smell like sweat and work and not-showering. Sometimes I smell just like my own skin. But I’ve seriously found that my body does not produce that rancid body-odor smell after I’ve totally gone off deodorant.

    And when there is the rock of concern about safety issues and the hard place of sexist marketing (and keeping in mind that women aren’t supposed to smell like anything but flowers), opting out is a pretty nice option.


  8. Really? Is it really necessary that DEODORANT APPLICATION be sexualized? I would argue that deodorant is the least sexy personal hygeine product, and no amount of heteronormative silhouettes of people flexing and cooing at said flexing can change it.
    And Itxaro, your tales of deodorantless armpits intrigue me. Somehow deodorant never seems to manage to keep me from being sweaty and gross, but I always thought that was just testament to my desperate need for it. Perhaps I was wrong…


    1. crankosaur, I had the very same problem. I wound up figuring that, hell, deodorant wasn’t working for me anyways, and I thought I’d heard something about body odor/acne/whatnot decreasing after cessation of deodorizing/makeuping/etc, and I read critical masses of anarchist lit, and there we go.

      Really, I wash with a natural soap every time I shower, and find I only smell to a degree that one of my friends will say I “smell like a hippie” if I am severely stressed out and sweating due to that.

      Of course, I also know that there is absolutley no reason we should be freaking out about natural odor, so it’s all possible that I just stopped caring.


      1. I stopped using deodorant for a while, and someone noticed (and told me so in a horrifically rude way.)

        I went back to using it, and no one’s commented. Whether that’s because I’m no longer hanging around Rude Person or because deodorant works… that’s what happened to me. *shrug*


  9. I haven’t used deodorant in years.

    ::shrugs:: just not something that i need. i don’t sweat much (even if i’m working out) and if i do, i just take a shower.


  10. I actually think that the crystal is made up of some aluminumsomethingorother, a friend of mine, who has a ph.d. in chemical engineering, (obviously, I don’t) said it is in fact, the very thing in deodorants, that gives you cancer and alzheimer.. (check the list on the back). Sorry, but I think that all that really works is your own sweet smell (who dictates what good smell is anyway?!), or maybe some essential oils from some flower? Avoiding other people?
    The picture is terrible, thou terribly common to (the style)


    1. A biology professor told me that they are basically salt. There are very few creatures that can live in a highly saline environment, and I don’t think any of those creatures will ever be found anywhere near a human armpit.


  11. girl.

    I did the same shit yesterday-decided it was time to switch from cancer-causing Secret to the crystal stuff.

    I did the same thing! went and bought it, got thrilled by the stupid (not really at all a) guarantee from the little pink ribbon, and laughed at the picture.


    it works good though, right?


  12. “I’m pretty sure I should be offended by this, but I can’t figure out how to be because it’s so fucking stupid.”

    This phrase is useful in so many contexts that I’m tempted to make a t-shirt.


  13. Good morning everyone (or whatever it is in America right now)!

    Concerning sexualised deodorant advertisements:
    I’ve got some new and refreshing “Axe effect” for you! Be sure to watch until end!

    Yeah, that’s what I call an axe effect!


  14. I am the owner and creator of Jungleman All-Natural Deodorant. Jungleman All-Natural Deodorant is the definition of ALL-NATURAL, as it DOES NOT contain: aluminum, parabens, peroxides, alcohols, artificial colors, artificial fragrances, propylene glycol, glyceryl laurate, ascorbic acid, silica, castor oil, sodium stearate or any other crap that shouldn’t be under your pits. Please check out my website:

    Jungleman All-Natural Deodorant also has a Facebook Group Page and a Facebook Fan Page. We are very accessible to our customers when it comes to questions about deodorant. Even if you don’t ever purchase our deodorant, I would definitely advise anyone to NEVER use these crystals. It would be better to wear nothing. Same goes for Tom’s of Stain. I’ve been telling people for years that ammonium alum and potassium alum are just as bad for you as the other sulfates of aluminum. If it stops sweat production, rather than absorbing, it is most certainly bad for you.

    I also have a section that specifically discusses the propaganda machine that is the crystal deodorant industry and the truth about their poison crystals:

    Thank you and if you have any questions, please send them to

    Our product is unisex, and there’s not much sexualizing in our ads, afterall, what the fuck is so sexy about pits? Check us out. Even if you don’t buy, you’ll like our site.


  15. “Our product is unisex, and there’s not much sexualizing in our ads, afterall, what the fuck is so sexy about pits? Check us out. Even if you don’t buy, you’ll like our site.”

    Spoken as one who does not type “LOL” except in irony — L O fuckin’ L.

    Also, the “propaganda” is that we need to put stuff on our pits at all. I’ve been deodorant-free, of any kind of deodorant or crystal, for three years, and my armpits don’t smell bad at all any more. They smell like salt and bicycle grease.
    If I’m going out, I put on some rose oil and call it a day. Now I’m trying to figure out how to get rid of soap as well (I use Doc Bronner’s and/or that ayurvedic stuff you can buy at import stores).


  16. Hello 92 I really like your blog but you are just factually wrong on this one! There is a lot of fear mongering done by lobbyists from the campaign for safe cosmetics and ewg which btw is not run by chemists but by lobbyists. The only way greenwashing worked is that the advertizements scared teh impressionable wimmins and made misleading claims about “conventional” cosmetics. Preservative free cosmetics can make you very sick. I just had to throw out some body shop crap because it was paraben free and become a oddly smelling and textured bacteria pit. If any of you keep believing this without at least giving the scientific evidence aside you are just as lost as the women falling for the fuckablity mandate. Here are some science based beauty blogs I really like with lots of information.I find even women who are openminded on many things are very closed on this. This is not to say that we should not continue to critique the beauty industry, only understand what personal care products are really made of. Thanks for letting me share my perspective it often gets me called stupid and ignorant but I think its i balanced you can decide for yourself of course.


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