Altering our lifestyle to integrate non-toxic products has been a slow process. It took at least a year to incorporate fragrance-free and chemical-free items into all areas of life, including laundry, kitchen, and personal hygiene. It's been trial-and-error with grooming products. When our reactivity was at its height, I found baking soda to be quite comprehensive. From bathing to shampoo, to laundry, to toothpaste, baking soda is cheap and effective. But recently I discovered another intriguing option for hair and skin treatment.
Rhassoul clay is completely natural and beneficial to the skin. It makes a wonderful detoxifying mask. It's also been used for centuries to cleanse the hair. I've been experimenting with it lately and I have to say it feels a bit strange to forego the shampoo and use clay only. However, I love the feeling on my scalp! A UK provider of rhassoul clay, Sheabutter Cottage, offers this explanation of the product:
Rhassoul is an exquisite spa quality mineral-rich clay from Morocco. It's quite different from other cleansing clays, being exceptionally gentle and beneficial even for dry hair and sensitive skin and scalp conditions. Lavaerde, is a mineral rich clay which was deposited in the sea millions of years ago. The source of this unique clay is to be found deep beneath the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
The word rhassoul or ghassoul derives from an Arabic phrase meaning, 'to become washed.' Lavaerde has Latin and Germanic roots and means 'cleansing earth' - from the Latin lavare, (to cleanse or wash) and the German 'erde' (earth or soil).
Throughout Northern Africa, Rhassoul has been used for many centuries to cleanse the hair and skin and was a favoured commodity of the camel caravan trade from the Sahara to India. Records tell us that rhassoul was highly prized by the nobility of ancient Egypt and Rome.
In modern day Morocco rhassoul continues to have cultural significance, being an essential part of a traditional bride's dowry. Even the King of Morocco maintains a private seam of rhassoul for the Court's own needs.
Its extraordinary ability to absorb water and form a gel-like consistency makes rhassoul more effective than other clays for cleansing skin and hair and enhancing the hair's texture and volume. Indeed, if you dream of big hair, rhassoul may well please you!
Rhassoul contains high levels of skin-healing silica, potassium and magnesium. Clinical studies have been conducted by two research laboratories in the USA (International Research Services Inc. and Structure Probe Inc.) to evaluate the effects on the skin of using rhassoul clay masks.
Even a single application of rhassoul results in measurable improvement to the skin:
• Reduces dryness (79%)
• Reduces flakiness (41%)
• Improves skin clarity (68%)
• Improves skin elasticity/firmness (24%)
• Improves skin texture (106%)
This silky brown clay has the following main advantages:
• Completely non-irritating to skin and scalp
• Cleans skin and hair without removing all of its protective sebum
• Removes surface oil and oil from inside and around comedones (blackheads and whiteheads)
• Leaves hair soft and shiny and enhances its volume
• Gradually reduces the need for frequent hair washing
• Removes dandruff and eases problems of excessively oily hair
When it comes to hair care, rhassoul is perfectly natural and uncomplicated. It's simply head and shoulders above the rest!
Options for purchase in the United States include From Nature With Love and Mountain Rose Herbs.