It's not just the most stylish yoga teacher on your Instagram feed who is showing off a collection of crystals. The use of crystals in healing, meditation, and alternative medicine has gotten so mainstream that they're even showing up in beauty products. From bath salts to lotions to room mists, we take a look at what the alleged benefits of (your products) getting stoned might be.
Why Crystals Heal
"Crystals are just making their way back around into society, but they are ancient," says Audrey Kitching, the founder and CEO of Crystal Cactus, an online shop featuring alternative spiritual objects. The former model and style editor of Spin magazine explains that the ancient Egyptians used lapis in jewelry and malachite to produce makeup, both of which were believed to have healing properties. Kitching is also an alternative healer, performing aura clearings and chakra and karma balancing. Her work includes, of course, the use of crystals.
"Crystals act as a conduit for healing," Kitching says, explaining that they allow "positive, healing energy to flow into the body while pushing negative, toxic, disease-causing energy out. Everything in the universe has a very unique energy field. Wearing specific crystal jewelry, or carrying stones, can help balance out and protect you from other vibrations that aren't in your best interests."
It isn't just alternative healing folks who think there might—might—be something to the whole crystal healing thing. Whitney Bowe, a New York City–based dermatologist, notes that while crystal healing has been around "for as long as humans have been around" and "has yet to be scientifically proven to enhance someone's health or cure them of illness," lots of people see the benefits from incorporating crystals into their lives—and their beauty routines.
Bowe says that crystal healing practitioners often exude a "playfulness" that might help produce the results that crystal users claim to experience. Indeed, Kitching says, a person will naturally gravitate to the crystals that are best and most naturally healing for her. Common uses include holding crystals during meditation, sleeping with them under your pillow, even putting your favorite crystal right in the tub with you for a soak.
It's not a stretch to see how they worked their way into beauty and home products as well. Crystal Cactus's own Lux Frequency Raising Mist ($58) is infused with moonstone, rose quartz, and amethyst; Crystal Venus Love Bath ($23) contains whole chunks of rose quartz, along with pink Himalayan sea salt and rosebuds.
Common Crystals and Their Uses
It's important to note that crystal healing hasn't been confirmed by science. However, like many other alternative healing methods, it certainly can't hurt as an add-on treatment to support other forms of medical and mental health care in your life. If you see products infused with any of the below, here's what those in the know say they might be able to do for you.
Malachite, says Kitching, "personifies the deep healing green of nature" and is all about facilitating transformation, "assisting one in changing situations and providing for spiritual growth. It heals on physical and emotional levels, drawing out impurities and stimulating the life force throughout the aura and body."
Marius Morariu, cofounder of Tracie Martyn Beauty, is a huge fan of what malachite, and crystals in general, can do for skin. The brand's Complexion Savior ($80) is infused with malachite using the patented Gemceuticals formulation, which, the brand says, helps combat UV damage by raising the level of gluthathione—a "master antioxidant," as Morariu calls it—in the skin. Morariu says that crystal-infused skin care is a win-win for users, letting people experience "the feel-good energy emanating from a crystal" while also, in the case of Tracie Martyn's Gemceutical products, providing scientifically backed chemistry for serious skin results.
Black tourmaline is "a powerful protector," says Kitching. "This stone is also regarded as a mystical talisman of luck that evokes a strong psychic shield from destructive forces." Bowe adds that tourmaline is an energizing stone used to vitalize the skin, making it more radiant and youthful; when tourmaline crystals heat up as they are rubbed into skin, they are positively charged on one end and negatively charged on the other. "Due to this reaction," Bowe explains, "tourmaline crystals are used in many moisturizers and exfoliants as a good anti-aging product." Aveda produces an entire line of products that are tourmaline-infused for extra radiance.
Clear quartz, a "master crystal," supposedly pumps up the volume on the energy and abilities of any other crystal it is placed near. Kitching says it can also "banish negativity" and is a "deep soul cleanser." Try it in Midnight Collective Palo Santo & Cedarwood Essential Water ($20), a spray for the body, room and hair. Bliss Multi-'Face'-Eted All-in-One Anti-Aging Clay Mask ($50) contains quartz to help gently smooth skin.
Rose quartz, like the kind found in the all-skin-type-friendly Gemstone Organic Organic Rose Quartz Skin Créme ($37), is "the ultimate stone of love," emitting "vibrations of unconditional love, joy, beauty, and healing," according to Kitching, and helps "banish fear, resentment, anger, and jealousy." Gemstone Organic also makes facial creams infused with moonstone for sensitive skin, jade for combination skin, and ruby for extra dry skin. Moonstone, says Kitching, "holds the power of mystery. Its secrets are locked beneath a pearly veil—and, with them, our own hidden truths." It's also supposedly good for fertility, so keep that in mind before you slather it on. Jade, says Bowe, has been found by Korean scientists to show beneficial results when utilized in skin-care products.
Glow by Dr. Brandt Ruby Crystal Retinol Hydracreme ($65) contains micronized ruby crystals that help brighten the complexion by refracting light and transforming it into "beneficial energy to give a glowing complexion," says Bowe. "The crystals are also responsible for improving texture and tone."
From Alternative Healing to Beauty
For Ally Sands, founder of Aquarian Soul and a certified master herbalist, aromatherapist, and Reiki healer, it was a natural transition to take her company from straight crystals into infused products. When she started her business, in 2009, it was strictly a healing crystal jewelry company, the by-product of the years that Sands, a self-professed "rock hound," had spent studying crystals both metaphysically and geologically.
Sands's own experience with crystals is a personal one. While she says She was always intrigued by crystals, but it wasn't until her early twenties that she began to explore their potential healing properties after she found herself struggling with depression and anxiety. She started reading up on alternative healing methods, and the potential of crystals resonated. "I always like to explain crystal healing to people like this: We are all made of water and minerals, the same composition as crystals. Everything holds energy, and crystals are intrinsically linked to us in that way," Sands says. That's why wearing crystals, or even just being around them, can resonate for some people in a really deep way. "Finding a crystal that can help calm you down, or one that can relieve pain, is an amazing thing."
That was Aquarian Soul's original purpose. Sands says the idea was always to provide products to help people on both a physical and an emotional level. Which is why, in 2012, when she landed on the idea of placing crystals in her massage oils, it seemed nothing short of meant to be. She started formally selling crystal-infused beauty products in 2014.
Aquarian Soul Headache Magic ($12) is a roll-on essential-oil blend that's been infused with quartz and amethyst, and which, Sands swears, helped treat the migraines that plagued her for years. The brand's signature massage oils ($28) are also crystal-infused: Awaken the Mind features citrine and rhodochrosite; Dream States, moonstone and amazonite; Sacred Fire, rose quartz, garnet, and rhodochrosite; Aura Cleanse, amethyst and rutilated quarts; and Healing Magic, black tourmaline and fluorite.
Likewise, the Rose Quartz Toning Mist ($24), Rose Quartz Facial Polish ($32) make for the foundation of a crystal-based skin-care regime. Three different eye serums ($36 each)—Lavender Quartz, Chamomile & Tourmaline, and Rosehip & Rose Quartz—also all are rooted in crystal healing.
"I thought using crystals in beauty products would be the perfect combination to both help heal people and to look beautiful," Sands reflects. "Having the crystals actually sitting in the oil lets it infuse for longer, and it just gets better with time."
Kari Jansen, the founder of Poppy and Someday, an Ayurveda-based line that includes crystal-infused products, also sees crystals as much more than a flash in the pan. She founded her company to expand the reach of her work with what she calls "vibrant plant medicine," an extension of the healing work she has done in her 20 years as a massage therapist, yoga instructor, and Ayurveda practitioner. Jansen first encountered crystals when she moved to Sedona, Arizona, in 2000, and began working at a shop that she described as being "filled with the most beautiful crystals I have ever seen. My world was opened into a new subtle realm of healing crystals. I got to work with each one and learn firsthand of their powerful properties." Now, she says, she combines "these healing beauties with my herbal mists."
Jansen says she wishes everyone could experience crystals and their "gentle energies." The very first product she created in her Poppy and Someday line was the Gypsy Rose Toner ($30). "It felt very natural to add a rose quartz crystal to this soothing blend, which is misted on your face," says Jansen. "To me, this is a natural form of self-love and heart-opening, which everyone needs more of in today's society."
Crystals also appear in Poppy and Someday's Marfa Moon Mist ($30). It's infused with watermelon tourmaline, which Jansen calls "a very protective and balancing stone, not to mention cleansing and helpful in removing blockages." The product is meant to literally spread good vibes. Her Ayurvedic mists ($25 each)—one for each of the three Ayurvedic doshas of Vata (air), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (earth)—are also infused with crystals. Quartz, according to Jansen, bring light and bright energy to the Vata blend to help people experiencing heavy emotions; the lapis lazuli in the Pitta blend increases leadership and drives wisdom and truth; the obsidian crystal infused in the Kapha blend is to ground and absorb negativity.
A Healthy Dose of Skepticism—and Belief
So is using crystals, especially in skin care, a waste of money? Maybe. But maybe not.
As Bowe explains, "While there are no scientific studies on the efficacy of crystal healing, there is a study that suggests crystal healing may induce a placebo effect in a patient who receives this type of treatment. Overall, a person may feel better after undergoing crystal healing treatment, but there is no scientific proof that this result has anything to do with the crystals being used during the treatment."
Certainly there are believers. Elizabeth Rowan is an Atlanta-based yoga teacher who leads yoga retreats around the globe. She also incorporates crystals into her work, using them to help support intention-setting and meditation, and has begun using crystal-infused beauty products herself. "Crystals can amplify both the power of the product and the energy surrounding the user, even by simply having the product in your possession," Rowan says. She is excited that crystals are finding their way into beauty products, and thus more people's lives. "In this case, accessibility is where it's at if it furthers awareness of self and others," she says.
Yet some crystal practitioners are concerned about the way a practice they take seriously and thoroughly is being appropriated by mass-market retailers hoping to cash in on the hype. "From many years of research, I've come to understand each crystal and its properties," says Sands. "I choose specific crystals for my products because they have been used in the past by other cultures, and, most importantly, have worked for me in my own life."
Conversely, Sands notes, "Now that a lot of companies are introducing gemstones or even gold or diamonds into their products, I have become skeptical in the direction that they are taking. Our company truly focuses on the healing aspect of our products. Every product is based on crystals and oils that I have personally used to help me with my life, and I wish to share those with others who seek healing. I want people to see that using crystals is not just a fad but something that's ancient and has been used throughout time. It will make you shine with beauty outside and heal you deep within."
Echoes Jansen, "Of course big companies will use crystals as a way to sell more products. I would love crystals to spread and help as many people that may need them. But there is a special energy when something is handmade." Still, the popularity of crystals could help trigger something even larger. "I would love everyone to tap into the subtle healing energies that crystals naturally provide around us. This can be as simple as taking a deep breath and taking in all of mother earth's beauty. This can be through meditation or a walk. We are truly blessed to live in a world full of vibrant, colorful beauty."