How to use an alum stone as your aftershave - plus, a zero waste beard routine!
Alum stones have been used as an aftershave for centuries, and were popular with ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks for medicinal and dermatological properties. The salt has a natural effect of toning the skin and acting as a styptic, which stops bleeding from minor cuts. It's also antibacterial, wards off acne and breakouts, and can prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs.This summer, I finally asked my husband Jarod to try it on his face so I could get his thoughts and see how it felt as an aftershave for a beard & face care routine. Here's a basic tutorial of how to start using an alum stone as your aftershave, along with some notes about Jarod's low waste shaving routine and what he thought of the crystal itself.
How to use an alum stone as aftershave:
✦ Use immediately after shaving to cool the skin and prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs - use on face, underarms, bikini area or legs. Apply onto clean, freshly shaven skin.
✦ Wet the top of the stone and rub gently into your skin to close pores, tighten and tone, and soothe any bumps or redness. Massage the stone into your skin until some of the water has dried.
✦ Added benefit: stops bleeding of minor cuts. It may sting a bit, because it's made of salt, but it is naturally antibacterial and should help any cuts close up and heal faster.
✦ Leave the salt on your skin for a couple of minute sand then rinse off. Follow with moisturizer or oil.
✦ Note: Do a patch test, especially on sensitive skin.
Jarod's plastic-free shaving routine:
When we were first getting into zero waste, my husband brought home a straight razor for shaving his face. It was one of the first zero waste products he ever tried, and he ended up putting together this beautiful, old school shaving routine that I want to share with you guys. Each of the tools are reusable and meant to last. Along with the straight razor, he bought a leather strop to keep it sharp, a puck of shaving cream that he keeps in a round wooden dish, and a shaving brush to apply it. You can see all the items in his routine pictured below. The strop came from the Illinois Razor Strop Co in Chicago (West Coast Shaving is an easy way to buy them online) and his shaving brush is from The Art of Shaving. The pucks of shaving cream you can pick up at almost any drug store or barber - he doesn't remember the brand he's using but he got it from one of those cigar and shaving shops. When we're traveling he'll usually bring his safety razor which can go in a carry-on along with a fresh replacement blade, but his straight razor is from a German company called Dovo Solingen that makes really nice products.
This summer, I asked him to try the alum stone as an aftershave and he liked it better than either of us expected. After shaving with the straight razor and his puck of shaving cream, he wet the stone and applied it to his face, letting the salt dry on his skin. He said it had a similar refreshing and tightening effect when comparing to regular aftershave and he could see how it would be gentle on sensitive skin. Part of the natural benefits of the crystallized salt is that it can treat and ward off blemishes or heal bleeding from minor cuts so it's really perfect for a face shaving and beard care routine. He likes how minimalist it is and how it won't run out for years and years. I think he's drawn to old fashioned tools that are built well and made to last. He's now permanently added an alum stone to his toiletry kit, and I can't wait to hear from others who have tried it too.
It's always so fun to try out yet another application for this multi-use product. To recap, some of the magic of this particular crystal:
✦ Use it as an aftershave
✦ To stop bleeding from small cuts (hello, safety razor users!)
✦ To prevent ingrown hairs and razor burn
✦ To reduce acne and blemishes or blackheads
✦ To tighten skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines
✦ To brighten sun spots
✦ To heal and fade scars
✦ And of course, as a crystal deodorant!
Let us know if you try the stone in your own shaving routine - it's great for legs, underarms or bikini area too since it can stop bleeding, close pores and tone your skin. Shop alum stone here.