Science of Beauty Sundays #1: Alum!

Hello there lovelies! I wanted to be able to share some information about the ingredients I use in my homemade products, and let you know a little bit about why I use them – so I decided to start Science of Beauty Sundays!

A lot of times some people may think that natural beauty solutions are just old wives’ tales and that we are a little silly for using food on our faces. However, our ancestors were much more aware of the medicinal properties of natural things such as herbs, spices, and the like. There is a reason our grandmothers swore by their homemade beauty products!


This week, I’d like to talk a little about one of my favorite beauty products that you may not have heard of… Alum!

This is Alum.

Alum is commonly found in the spice section of your local grocery store/supermarket. It is commonly used for pickling, and is also found in some baking powders. Alum can also be found in rock form, sold as deodorant stones (or “Thai deodorant stones”), and is the active component of “liquid mineral” natural deodorants.

You rub this on your pits.

I’ve been using a deodorant stone for years now. I got one from Ebay back in 2009 (before I knew it was alum), and even with regular use, I’m still not nearly done with it. THESE THINGS LAST FOREVER. It’s also pretty much the only deodorant that works on me without turning my armpits into a big sludgy mess. “Regular” deodorant is gross. I’ll do a post on deodorant and alternatives later. Now more about alum and skincare.

I first heard about the use of alum in cosmetics/skincare through Madame Isis’ Toilette and Ageless Artifice (now closed, transferring production to a new source soon!). It seems that it was used in lip/cheek rouge as well as mouthwash.


Why do I use it in my recipes? Let’s take a look at the properties of Alum! SCIENCE!

  • Astringent – this means it constricts  (tightens) skin tissue and pores. A must for those with large pores like me!
  • Antiseptic/antibacterial  – kills bad stuff! Both on your face and as a preservative in homemade beauty recipes.
  • Antiperspirant
  • Fixative – used to fix pigments to a surface (as in lip rouge)

Another reason I like to use it is that, because of its astringent values, it really whitens my face! I have pale skin to begin with, but with large pores and acne-pron skin, it can look muddy most of the time. Adding alum to my daily toner or face powder has really helped even out my skin tone to something I can live with.

Because of its fixative properties, I wonder if it would help homemade powders stick better – I do notice that the face powder I made with alum DOES stick better than just plain rice powder. Maybe I’ll try and get some comparison photos soon! I do plan on making some lip rouge in the next week or so, I do hope alum helps the color stick vibrantly!


What ingredients/topics would you like to see me cover for Science of Beauty Sundays? Would you like to see these as videos with a written description, or is just an article your preferred method of delivery? Leave me a comment below to let me know!



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