Top pilgrim tip: Crystal deodorant

When planning a trip away that involves a lot of physical activity and also sleeping in dorms close to complete strangers, most people will instinctively reach for some sort of scented product – perfumes, lotions, bodysprays, aerosol or roll-on deodorants that will keep them fresh and subdue or mask any unpleasant whiffs and put that nicely civilised touch back into the evening gatherings for food and restorative vino.

Which is great. I’m sure most of us prefer clean and delicately scented people eating or sleeping around us, rather than sweaty-smelly and/or overly perfumed ones.

Deo sticks and roll-ons may be practical but can be sticky, can leave marks on clothing or even stain and bleach them, and many contain aluminium and parabens. Technical shirts tend to start smelling no matter how often you wash yourself and your clothes – no deodorant will remedy that, they will at best mask it. As for anti-perspirants, they can clog up your pores and stop you from sweating, which is a natural reaction when physically active. And aerosols are not only bad for the environment but can fill a whole shared bathroom or dorm with a smell that might not be pleasant to all. Some are even allergic to strong scents. However there is another option.

A crystal deodorant might sound a bit airy-fairy, but it is actually a very clever bit of kit. It is a solid, so won’t affect your liquids allowance on the flight, it is unscented and non-toxic, lightweight and long lasting, comes in small travel sizes and is environmentally friendly and incredibly economical compared to some scented products. Some have citronella in them to repel bugs, but you can’t smell it. They also come in a roll-on and spray version though they defeat the object of being a solid and also don’t last as long.

How it works: After washing, wet your hand with to dampen clean armpits and glide the crystal over the skin a few times. Job done. And you don’t have to limit it to the armpits either; smooth over the lower back if you sweat a lot there, or under the bust for women, or on the soles of your feet, practically anywhere. The crystal doesn’t leave residue, you can’t see it, it has no scent and leaves no trace. It basically coats your skin with mineral salts that stop whiffs developing in the first place. And it really works! I never go anywhere without a small 50g crystal and even use it at home. It definitely deserves a pilgrim stamp of approval.

Oh and if you miss that added splash of scent after your shower, remember that shampoo and shower gel freshness also lingers, or you can bring a small Travalo type refillable spray with your favourite perfume.

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