Strip Wash Challenge - Natural Spa Supplies

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Strip Wash Challenge

Strip Wash Challenge

PRESS RELEASE 8 March 2008
Natural Spa Supplies Challenges Journalists to the very lowest carbon footprint strip washing challenge

Hot on the heels of last year’s Go Prehistoric Clay Challenge, champions of natural Moroccan Rhassoul clay Natural Spa Supplies now ups the ante and asks you. Could you replace bathing and showering for a week with the neglected but highly economical strip washing method? Using just a minimum of hot water, Rhassoul clay for washing the hair and body, and natural alum crystal for deodorant, you will be taking part in the most environmentally washing system on earth.

We are confident that this challenge will reduce your energy consumption dramatically and you may even find the condition of your skin and hair improves by reducing exposure to chlorinated water. By reintroducing the nearly forgotten strip washing method you will save water and the energy used to heat it, as well as using biodegradable washing products: clay and alum are both naturally produced by volcanoes using the free energy of nature.

It is common to think that we are being economical by showering rather than bathing, which is true, but even a ten minute shower will require about 100 litres of water, compared with just 4 litres for a thorough full-body strip wash. It really is time to embrace once again the traditions of strip washing!

We are therefore offering journalists 100g pure Rhassoul clay, an alum crystal for deodorant and clear, full instructions if you can take up the gauntlet and get strip washing for a week.

Please do rise to our challenge, and you may even start a new eco friendly craze! This is a great story for a feature, blog or other item: the greenest, healthiest and most economical way of washing. Full instructions are available on how to prepare the clay and alum, and how to conduct a strip wash in the most feasible way possible.

We’d love to hear your personal feedback and if you have any questions during your week’s challenge then please do contact us for personal advice.

Instructions for Strip Washing Challenge

You will need 100g of Moroccan Rhassoul Clay, for washing the hair face and body, and a tiny sample of Alum crystal to try as a deodorant. Both are enough to use for a week and will have some of the alum left over. The Challenge is to replace your normal shower and bath routine with strip washing for a week while using completely natural products, meaning you will be washing in the most efficient, green and ethical way possible, as well as measuring the advantages of using strip washing as a primary washing method.

Please just use strip washing techniques while on this challenge. A week will give you time to perfect your technique! You can certainly have a bath or shower at the end of the challenge. You can also use the clay to wash your hair at a sink if you like.

Usually the alum is sold as larger, easier to grip and faster to apply pieces, so please be patient while deodorizing!

The entire range carried by Natural Spa Supplies is inspired by Berber nomads and prehistoric low tech practices. Rhassoul clay and Alum are volcanic products from the desert that are both fully biodegradable and non-polluting to water systems and our bodies. If we can get good results from the combination of strip washing and using the unprocessed products of nature, then we can massively reduce the carbon footprint caused by our daily washing. There are other advantages too: During our showering and bathing we both inhale and absorb potentially dangerous levels of chlorine and flouride, and such water exposure can cause us to suffer from dry, itchy and irritated the skin and other health issues.

It will be necessary to follow the instructions carefully, to prepare and use the clay and alum thoughtfully, and adapt the use to your own needs to make the most of this amazing and really ancient system and raw natural products.

First prepare your clay for the week.

Place the entire portion of clay in a non-metallic bowl and add 130-140ml of warm water.

Leave for 10 minutes to hydrate completely

Mix until a light homogenous creamy consistency is achieved. You can stir it at the end if you like and adjust the consistency as you wish. Do not use metal appliances as this will disturb the important electrical charge of the clay

Any unused clay should be kept in (non-metallic) small container with a lid, preferably covered with a little water which can be poured off before the next use, place a cover over the hydrated clay to prevent it from evaporating.

In this challenge think of Rhassoul clay as a replacement for liquid soap, shampoo/conditioner and cleanser. If you prefer the clay at a thinner consistency (recommended for hairy skin and long hair washing), simply add more water to achieve a milk shake consistency.

Do a patch and strand test for the clay and alum crystal.

Strip Washing is the most efficient way of washing, requiring just a sink or two of hot water. Simply dampen the skin with a sponge before applying a fine, almost translucent layer of clay with your hands to face, underarms, or whatever part of the body needs washing. Then gently massage the clay into each area, keeping the clay moist. Pay special attention to any problem areas such as excessively dry or oily skin. Work from the top of the body down. Let the clay work for several minutes to allow time for cleaning and deodorization. Rinse the clay off with a sponge and fresh water (not by splashing!) Rinse the sink and the sponge – done!

After washing apply Alum Crystal Deodorant: Wet the stone and glide it gently over the skin. Be gentle. Gradually the crystal will become smoother with use. You will soon work out how many layers you need to remain completely odourless all day. Rinse the crystal and allow it to dry in its own soap dish between uses.

Washing and conditioning the hair using a sink. Place a towel around the shoulders. Comb the hair while it is dry to ensure it is tangle free. Run a bowl of water then, using a smaller bowl or jug, pour water over the hair. With the clay diluted to a pouring consistency, pour the liquid clay onto the scalp and massage the clay carefully into the scalp. Comb the Rhassoul along the shaft of the hair, going around several times and leave for a minute or two. Then rinse thoroughly, using more water if needed.

Try to assess your hot water consumption using your regular daily washing techniques, and compare this to the amount of hot water used while strip washing. If you like, you can measure the flow rate of your shower and bath tap. See the example below for an easy way to calculate your normal hot water consumption in liters. Compare this to the capacity of your sink or bowl in liters, and how many refills you use during a strip wash each week. You will be very surprised at the saving!

Shower litres per 20 seconds
Litres per minute
Minutes per shower
Showers per week
Litres used per week
Bath litres per 20 seconds
Litres per minute
Filling time in minutes
Baths per week

Strip washing sink capacity in litres
Number of sinks of water used per wash
Washes per week

Rhassoul clay FAQs

Do I need to conduct a patch and strand test? You should try the clay on your skin and in a strand of hair first, although allergies to clay and natural alum are extremely rare. Twenty four hours before using the clay for washing place the clay on the skin and strand of hair keeping it moist for at least the same time the clay will be into contact with the hair and skin during usage. Wash the clay away and check the condition of the skin and hair strand. For the alum test, rub a dampened piece of alum crystal onto the skin. Look for any changes over the next 24 hours.

Can I use the clay in my hair if I dye my hair?
No problem with natural henna but conduct a strand test if using artificial dyes.

Will clay block the drains?
No, not if used efficiently according to the methods outlined above.

Is the clay messy to use?
Start with clean fixtures and equipment and simply rinse them with water after use. If you do get clay on your clothes or towels don’t worry, it will wash out even with a low temperature wash.

Can clay be used by people who have sensitive skin and who have skins prone to eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and acne?
Certainly. You may even notice an improvement in the condition of your skin or scalp by the end of the trial.

Does the clay take longer to use than conventional products?
Try to maintain your normal routine you will find with practice it gets quicker!
My hair has more static than normal after using clay. How can I control this?
Stroke the hair with a moist hand, or rub a few drops of oil into a bristle brush and brush the oil through the hair.

How does the clay work?
Rhassoul clay has an amazing range of properties:

1) It has a powerful negative charge and acts as a detoxifying agent. Toxins which lay under the skins surface have a positive charge the clay draws them through the skin inside the clay particle. This is why Rhassoul is so helpful with skin conditions, and also why it is used in inch-loss body wraps and in poultices. In addition Rhassoul clay attracts heavy metals and chemical residues such as pesticides. These substances attach to the outside of the clay particle and are simply washed away. Clay is particularly effective at absorbing excess sebum, retaining the health of hair follicle, helping to reduce hair loss and works very well on troubled skins.
2) Rhassoul is known for its swelling ability as it fill with toxins and having such a fine particle size it has a huge surface area and carrying capacity.
3) Rhassoul clay is composed of 100% minerals and trace-elements.
4) Clay is anti-microbial and helps to protect the skin from attack. In addition clay is anti-inflammatory and has analgesic properties, helping particularly inflamed and itchy skins to feel more comfortable.
5) Clay is of crystalline structure. Crystals are capable of holding and transforming energy, in this case the energy of the sun which is essential for our bones and immunity and perhaps why people with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis enjoy using it so much.
6) On the molecular level clay particles are somewhat rough, helping to exfoliate the skin, returning dry and flaky skins or scalps to optimum condition.

Rhassoul Clay Ethics
Low in carbon footprint, clay is made by volcanoes, the free energy of nature. Supports a remote desert and mountain community. Supports traditional mining practices still carried out in the-time honoured way. Respecting Berber tribal heritage, indigenous knowledge and the oral tradition. Traceability. Supports trade with developing countries. Packed at source as far as possible. Recyclable, reusable or biodegradable packaging. Transported by ship in a dry state to reduce the carbon footprint. After use the clay is kind to river and marine life as it biodegrades. Vegan/vegetarian. Minimally processed – the clay is just washed and sieved then sun dried, any labour is manual. Chemical and additive free. Kind to all skin and hair types.

Alum FAQs

What is alum crystal?
Alum crystal, commonly known as potassium alum is formed naturally by volcanic and hydro-thermal action around fumeroles. It is a slightly opaque mineral salt which is simply collected from deep seams on the desert surface. Where formations exist, alum is extremely abundant. It is not the same as ammonium alum often synthetic, and used in many commercial deodorants. Our customers tell us that the volcanic alum is more effective and causes less issues with sensitization.

How does Alum Work?
Alum is an effective anti-microbial. No bacteria = no odour!

Alum Ethics

No fragrance. Collected from the land surface. Low in carbon footprint as clay is made by volcanoes, the free energy of nature. Supports a remote desert community. Supports traditional extraction practices. Respecting Berber tribal heritage, indigenous knowledge and the oral tradition. Traceability. Supports trade with developing countries. Packed at source as far as possible. Recyclable, reusable or biodegradable packaging. Naturally biodegrades. Vegan/vegetarian. An unprocessed raw product of nature. Chemical and additive free. Kind to nearly all skin and types. Hypoallergenic, allergies to completely natural alum are rare. Highly effective as a deodorant. Large molecules and negative charge make it unlikely that alum can be absorbed through the skin barrier. Alum rests on the surface of the skin. Natural alum has been used with the Rhassoul clay as one of the worlds most ancient washing systems, in this sense these products represent are part of one of the longest tested washing systems. Does not leave white stains on clothes.


Media Enquiries: Natural Spa Supplies, contact: Sally Mittuch mail @ T. 01508 486715


Several of the Treehugger journalsists took up the challenge. Intensive debates ensued!

Strip Washing Challenge: Can a sinkfull of water really get you clean?
Journalist Kristin Underwood from Sacramento, CA was very enthusiastic, and the comments explored the ramifications in depth.

Can a handfull of clay and a deodorant rock save a journalist from stink?
An article written by Eric Leech a journalist based in New York strongly supported the strip washing challenge and the comments raised some relevant questions.

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