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Home » Bodycare

No shampoo (no poo) natural alternative with clay

Submitted by on Friday, 3 October 2008 Loading Add to favourites  23 Comments

Using clay shampoo - not the best self-photo, but a decent shine on my hair!I’ve been washing my hair with natural mud for two weeks! Oh, alright then, it’s clay. It’s rhassoul clay from Morocco and I have to say it’s working out really well at the moment.

I was sent it by Sally from Natural Spa Supplies.
You take a few teaspoons of the clay and hydrate it with warm water. Then you take a couple of teaspoons of the hydrated mix and dilute it with more water until it’s like a runny shampoo. It might sound a bit of a faff, but you can hydrate it in advance and store it for a week. Then you take what you want and add more water.

You can add some oil such as jojoba if you like to get a shampoo and conditioner in one. I don’t do this as my hair is very fine and the oil makes it lank. (I learnt that from a mistake!) But a couple of drops of essential oil works a treat. It means I can use a different shampoo every time depending in my mood!

During PMT week a drop of rose essential oil makes me feel human and less likely to snap. When I’m feeling upbeat a drop of lemon is gorgeous and refreshing. Lavender before bedtime is a great one for Little Miss Green.

What I like about the clay is that it is natural and eco friendly. Yes, it comes from Morocco, but goodness knows where most branded shampoos come from these days. I was using John Masters prior to this and that comes from the US. You can also use it for other things, so you only need one cleansing product in the bathroom.

You can use it to cleanse your skin or leave it on for a face pack. It has some amazing curative properties.

After my first successful wash, my hair lasted 5 days without needing another wash, but I pushed it for a further 2 days as I really want to get to washing my hair only once a week.

There is lots of information on Sally’s site about this wonder product. She also stocks argan oil and has all sorts of information on her site for treating eczema and psoriasis.

If you’re looking to go the infamously ‘no poo’ route; then this is worth considering.

What about you; have you used natural alternatives to shampoo to wash your hair?

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23 Comments »

  • Scott Vincent says:

    Great isn`t it! – I`ve been using this clay everyday as a `shower gel` for over a year now and it just works a treat! – I mix it with warm water, say 1.4 x the powder weight, with a wooden spoon in a ceramic dish (to retain its negative charge) and keep it in an airtight jam jar or simmilar glass container so it is always ready for use. I use approx. 100 grams per week .
    I only use a small amount in my wet hair and massage it into my scalp – then I get in the shower and use the excess to wash my entire body – I then rinse the remainder out of my hair last to give it a few minutes to work.
    There is now a lot more room in the bathroom cabinet! – an added bonus!

  • Sally says:

    Dear Rachel,

    thank you for testing the Rhassoul clay so thoroughly. You got the hang of it very quickly, and your tips on which essential oils to add are great. The photo is a really useful guide – I compared it to your earlier photo in your ‘About’ page. You hair looks shinier, full of body and thicker after using the clay. Result!

    My hair is quite similar to yours, and it was by washing my hair in clay last year that made me want to use it all the time – now for my face and body too.

    I hope that you manage to reach your goal of washing your hair once a week. The clay is known to reduce the need for frequent hair washing, so let’s hope it gets you there.

    Thank you also for including a link, making the clay easy to find. May I include a link to your site? I have learnt so much from reading your blogs. We can all be greener, and it helps a lot to have the great resources and the humour your site provides.

    Please say hello to Little Miss Green and Mr Green!

  • Mrs Green says:

    Hi Scott, great to hear of another person using this product. We’re still enjoying its benefits.
    Sally, thank you for popping by and commenting. Please go ahead and add a link to your site and I hope that you get some more interest from readers here and on MyZeroWaste.

  • Sally says:

    I have been continuing to use the clay as a shampoo-conditioner. Because very long hair I have found that Moroccan hammam method works best for me, although initially I found it a bit weird!
    Mix up the rhassoul clay into a very liquid form, wet the hair, pour the clay over the hair and comb down the shaft of the hair. Rinse. It works everytime, there is no build-up and the hair is always in perfect condition. You can get the clay from as little as £5.00 from http://www.naturalspasupplies.com and this packet will do many hair washes. Besides it making a really effective replacement for chemical-plastic-packed shampoos, it is also made by nature, fully biodegradable and even the packaging is paper.
    The clay can be used on all hair and scalp types, although it does make the hair thicker looking, so if you have really thick hair you will need to experiment a bit more.

  • Emily says:

    Thank you for sharing advice about alternative personal care products. Your comment on this product’s Moroccan origins seem to suggest that it is a bad thing. I don’t know anything about this clay but I’m curious why you jump to this conclusion. When I was in Morocco I came across many women’s cooperatives selling things such as soap and jewelry and sometimes these products make it all the way to the States so might it be possible this clay is purchased from such an organization? And if it’s not, do you have a particular concern with Moroccan exports? (I’m not a regular reader of your blog so forgive me is this is covered elsewhere!). Morocco is a poor country that is improving in many ways under their new king (more women’s rights for instance–slowly but surely) and it has so much to offer the rest of the world. I would hate for anyone to miss out an exchange of goods and ideas, most of all the Moroccan people, unless there were a specific concern for the damage that might bring to the environment or economy of any party.

  • Mrs Green says:

    @Emily: Hi Emily, welcome to the site and thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.

    My only concern at all with the clay coming from Morocco was air miles (I’m in the UK). Reading back, it might have been ambiguous. Our site focuses on a holistic approach to life; so not only in this instance, what products we use on our skin and hair, but the packaging, how the product is processed, air miles, habitat, labour etc. Does that make more sense?

    Indeed, I fully support buying products that give poorer communities a better standard of living and embrace the whole fair trade ethos fully.

    It’s just a challenge to find products that tick ALL the boxes, iykwim!

    Please do ask again if I have not clarified something :)

  • Rebekah says:

    Interesting! I think any shampoo that isn’t made commercially with all the nasty chemicals has got to be good. One to try would be http://www.ebelegy.com they sell all natural chemical free shampoo made with soapnuts and it’s only $13 for 16 oz!

  • Mrs Green says:

    @Rebekah: Hi Rebekah, thanks for leaving your comment and for the link to the soapnut shampoo – that looks very interesting! I’ve made shampoo with soapwort before now; that worked beautifully on DHs hair, which is very coarse. I’ll take a look at the soapnut shampoo :)

  • Stephanie says:

    Hello,
    I really like the idea of clay no pooing so I went to a local store to find rhassoul clay but they didn’t have it so I bought green clay and tried it. I can’t seem to wash it out though and I can hardly get a comb through my hair. I’m wondering if its because I used too much, or maybe my hair just didn’t like it, or I should have found rhassoul instead. Suggestions?
    Thanks a bunch

  • Mrs Green says:

    @Stephanie: Hi Stephanie; welcome! I have used green clay and it is a bit harder to wash out. You MIGHT have used too much or you might find that a cider vinegar rinse afterwards helps take out the clay. You really need to experiment, but yes, it takes much more rinsing than shampoo if you don’t get it right!
    have you tried again since you wrote in – how is it working out for you?

  • indiebird says:

    Hi Mrs Green,
    Hope you don’t mind me revisiting this… I’m looking into buying some Rhassoul but I was wondering, how much do you reckon you use in a week if you were to use it for body, face AND hair? As you know I need to get it sent to Italy and therefore like to do the fewest numbers of orders possible to a) save airmiles and b) save cash!

  • Sally says:

    Dear Emily,

    sorry I didn’t respond earlier. Somehow or another I must have confused you about our trade relations with Morocco. We do get the clay straight from the mines in Morocco – you will see photos of our journey there on our website. We source all of our Moroccan goods directly from the producers and have very strong and supportive relationships with our producers. We import by ship which is the most environmentally friendly way of moving goods around. If you get a chance to visit the website you will be able to ready about our projects with crafts people and see the photographs of the argan oil production etc (in a womens cooperative) We strongly support trade with developing countries, especially to obtain resources which are not available here.
    all the best,
    Sally

  • Sally says:

    @indiebird: Dear Indiebird, it probably best if I step in and answer your question on behalf of Mrs Green (its Sally from Natural Spa Supplies) We did trials last year with journalists to see just how little rhassoul clay people could use to good effect so that people could learn to use the clay as an everyday rather than a luxury product. Every journalist managed to make their 100g bag last for a week and some for ten days. So we have set a guidance value of an average use of 10g per day, but of course people are free to use as much or as little as they like!

    However I have a very clued up Triathlon athlete tester, a female, who typically swims lakes at the crack of dawn for her training. She has long hair and it must get pretty swampy and she needs to shower and wash her long hair every day! She manages to get her 500g packets of rhassoul to last for 15 weeks, so she is using less than 5g of powder per day.

    You will know already that you would add water to the clay to hydrate it before you use it, so a 500g packet of rhassoul would yield at least 1.2 liters of washing solution. Initially it is tempting to use too much, but gradually you will find that you can get very good results with very modest amounts.

    We have also just been rated Best Buy Shampoo by Ethical Consumer and they gave us a very high ethical score so we a very pleased about that.

  • cindy says:

    I’m just wondering. The whole idea of “hydrating the clay” first, THEN measuring that into a further dilution of water just doesn’t make sense (mathematically speaking!).

    If you take, say, 1 oz of clay, and “hydrate” it into a solution of 10 oz of water…….then you have .1 oz clay per each 1 oz of water.

    So, why not not skip the whole “hydrating” thing….and just put .1oz of clay into your bottle of water in the first place?

    Am i missing something? You’re basically diluting two teaspoons of clay with an un-named amount of water, then further diluting it again with more water! It sounds like, instead of 2 teaspoons, that you should just use a smaller portion of clay in the first place and mix it into some water for use throughout the week…;)

  • Mrs Green says:

    @cindy: Hi Cindy, I’ve asked Sally, who runs natural spa supplies to come along and comment when she has a moment :)

  • Sally says:

    Dear Cindy,

    I can see where your confusion arose. The clay comes as a powder (saves a lot on transport costs and it keeps very well in the powdered form as it is more or less inert in this state).
    The clay needs to be hydrated before use to make it active … and well usable!
    A standard mix (for washing the face, as a face mask, shampoo for short hair, body wrap, poultice, massage etc) is one part of clay and a tiny bit less than two parts of water. Just put the clay powder in a non-metallic bowl, and pour the water on top. Ignore it for 10 minutes, it hydrates itself and then it is ready to use. If you find there is a layer of water on top of the clay mixture, i.e. if you’ve over done the water, just tip it off as the clay won’t absorb more water than it needs. The standard mix is a sort of yogurt consistency. For washing short hair with this mix, wet the hair, and rub between a teaspoon to a soup spoon of clay mix into the scalp, massaging it for a while. Try less at first rather than more. Then rinse out thoroughly once it has done its job.
    For washing longer hair, it is easier if the clay is in a more running consistency. This is why Mrs Green started with a standard mix (so she could use the clay for washing the face and body) and added more water to make it into a better shampoo consistency for her. She would have added more water making it into a kind of milk shake consistency. Again starting with wet hair, she can pour what amounts to about 1/4 of a mug of runnier clay mix onto her scalp, do the massage to clean the scalp and the oil follicles, and then comb it easily down the length of the hair before rinsing. For rinsing long hair, pour water (or stand under the shower in the upright position), then tip the head downwards to assure complete removal – once the clay has done its job it is rinsed completely from the hair.
    It is much easier to use in practice than it sounds, because there are only two consistencies, and the yogurt form can easily be diluted into the long hair shampoo form. Once people are familiar with the consistencies, they don’t bother to measure, it sort of becomes instinctive, like we add the right amount of milk to our tea without measuring, weighing of spooning!

  • Zachary says:

    We use Terressentials 100% organic (certified USDA Organic) Moroccan clay-based shampoo. It is a company out of Maryland, I believe, and made in the US from the imported clay and essential oils and botanicals. It is friggan’ AMAZING.

  • Mrs Green says:

    @Zachary: Hi Zachary, a dear friend of mine bought me a couple of bottles of Terressentials; it’s great but very expensive to ship here to the UK unfortunately…

  • Rita says:

    Hii Mrs Green, I have just refound my Rhassoul clay! And have a couple of questions. I bought it in 2011, so a while ago. Its still in its box although it was used at the beginning so had been opened. I used it the other day for my face and was dismayed to find my skin felt very dried out. I also had issues with my hair (used it to wash my hair also). My hair felt really sticky, for want of a better word, and I could not get my hands through it (i do have long hair). I also see from the above that I need to let the clay hydrate, I must admit, ui did not do that, instead mixed it and used it straight away. Would the not hydrating be responsible for the drynesss of my face and the sticky hair, or the fact that I bought it such a long time ago? If neither are the problem, I would be grateful for hints. I am on a mission to cut out ad many chemicals ad possible from my daily beauty regime. Many thanks in advance.

  • Sally says:

    Hello Rita,
    I’ll answer on behalf of Rachel because I have used nothing else but rhassoul clay and water on my hair for 6 years now and I also have long hair.
    Firstly, the clay doesn’t go off. It is composed of minerals and trace elements and they are very stable in their dried condition. In fact it is already several hundred thousand years old.
    Do hydrate the clay before use. Don’t mix of stir it, -put the clay in a breakfast bowl and just cover it in water, leave it for a few minutes and it give you the standard yogurt like consistency for face washing. I have dry skin, so, I wet my face and then rub a teaspoon or so of clay around the face, keeping it moist, then rinse. i use argan afterwards for its anti-aging and moisturizing benefits.
    For washing the hair, make it runnier, a milkshake consistency. Pour it onto the wet hair, spend your time rubbing the scalp, then comb round the head, down the shaft of the hair. Go round several times. rinse out in fresh water. Rinse well in fresh water.
    If you have any more questions pleased o get in touch with me directly.
    It is with washing my hair that I became an instant convert to clay, but it did take me a while to really hone down the best method for my hair, so please do keep trying!

  • Erin says:

    Hi, I’m just wondering if there is a “detox” period with this method? I have straight hair, decently thick, and I havent used a chemical dye in about 2 years, but I my shampoo from the health food store does have dangerous chemicals in it. I really want to make the no-poo method work, but i havent had any luck with the baking soda/apple cider vinegar method and also no luck with the castile soap recipes. I’ve also tried aloe vera gel mixed with coconut milk (very conditioning but left my hair REALLY greasy). I’ve read about terressentials and also the Morocco Method brands (have you tried either of those?) But I’m a broke college student and would rather find a cheaper option, like making my own mixture. Just wondering if this cleans hair on the first try, or if there is a detox period where the hair could be really dry or greasy or flaky etc. Thanks !

  • Mrs Green says:

    @Erin: Hey Erin, I didn’t find a detox period, like you get with baking soda idea. Over time, however, I found my hair got thicker because the natural oils were left on and the texture of my hair changed. It got harder for me to run my fingers through my hair (my hair is very fine so that wasn’t really a problem). Using the AC rinse along with clay works well, or just a drop *only one drop!* of something like jojoba oil rubbed through your palms and through the ends of the hair can make it feel better. Terressentials is basically this stuff made up for you, so yes, better to save the budget and make your own. I decant my clay and keep it in an old jam jar and you can make up enough for a weeks supply if you want to.
    I hope this works for you!

  • Linda says:

    Hi, Thanks for keeping this topic current and graciously answering all our questions. I’ve been no ‘poo/water only for 6 weeks, now, and pleased with early results but ready to introduce an occasional cleansing – and I’m planning on trying rhassoul clay – my question: how does the clay affect drains? I have visions of eventual cementing shut my pipes and drains, especially with daily use if I really like the results – I wouldn’t be too popular at my house if that happened. Comments from any long-time users?
    Thanks.