On the 27th November 2008 I launch the ‘Go Prehsitoric Clay Challenge’ to journalists. Whoever accepted the challenge was sent 100g of rhassoul clay and instructed to wash their hair, face and body with nothing but this tiny, tiny amount of clay for one week.
The challange came about because, I found that I was using much less clay in my own daily washing, than is normally recommended. I thought, that perhaps it would be possible to test these low-usage levels on volunteers – in this case journalists who are normally up for a challenge. We would soon find out whether it was possible.
The Clay Challenge to Journalists – Go Prehistoric for a week with pure Rhassoul Clay from Natural Spa Supplies
Are you willing to abandon soap, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner for a week in order to trial a prehistoric washing system based on pure volcanic clay? Natural Spa Supplies is offering writers and journalists the opportunity to try for themselves a week’s worth of body, face and hair washing using exclusively their pure Rhassoul Moroccan clay, in a bid to prove its skin optimising properties and its highly eco-friendly credentials. For this offer we will send you a free week’s supply of clay (100g) for you to use in your own shower, bath or wet room. Just massage the clay into your skin and scalp, close your eyes, breathe deeply and relive your origins!
Clay is the ideal fully ‘green’ washing product, and one of the most ancient washing substances known to humans and animals. In prehistoric times, the first spas were found at natural springs and clay lined pools – given the benefits of clay bathing, it is no wonder that these sites were considered sacred. Today, societies such as the semi-nomadic Berbers of North Africa still traditionally use clay for washing. In modern life we have become so far removed from our ancient roots that few of us have experienced the primal pleasure of using clay.
Formed through seismic activity with the free energy of nature (so from that point effectively carbon neutral), preserved in Jurassic desert geology, Rhassoul clay is hand dug and washed, then dried in the desert under the sun, moon and breeze. Transported from Morocco to England by ship, the carbon footprint remains low. During use, the clay, actually 100% minerals and trace elements pollutes neither the body nor after use, the water systems.
Rhassoul clay is the key product in Natural Spa Supplies Ltd’s ‘Go Green Washing Range’, and it can be used to replace all conventional washing products, cutting down on packaging and simplifying the washing, showering and bathing regime. The large packages of 500g are ideal for family use, and in Morocco, Rhassoul clay is used by the whole family including babies.
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.
So … challengers volunteered! They were sent their ration of clay – with experimental instructions. You can get your supply here:
Start your challenge! …
Gather a wooden, clay or ceramic bowl, a wooden spoon and your Rhassoul clay.
Write the name of the day on the packet when you commence usage and the day of final usage six days later i.e. Saturday to Friday. Please do not use any other washing products while doing this challenge.
Mix the clay up, do your patch and strand test and ‘Go prehistoric’.
Please report your feedback straight after your final usage – remember one of the aims of this challenge is to set new standards of low, economical and effective usage.
We would welcome your feedback.
Place a portion of the clay in a non-metallic bowl and add 140ml of warm water to the clay.
Leave for 5 minutes to hydrate completely then mix with a wooden spoon. Do not use metal as this will disturb the important electrical charge of the clay.
Mix until a light homogenous creamy consistency is achieved. Any used clay should be kept in a non-metallic airtight container, or cover with a little water which can be poured off before the next use.
The clay can be adapted for washing at a basin, in a wet room with buckets of water, or for showering and bathing. Think of Rhassoul clay as a replacement for soap, shower gel, shampoo/conditioner, cleanser and face masks. Aim to use the clay a variety of different ways without exceeding your daily portion.
Ways of using the Clay
Strip Washing: This is the most efficient way of washing, requiring just a sink of warm water. Simply dampen the skin with a sponge before applying clay with your hands to face, underarms etc. then massage the clay into each area, keeping the clay damp. Let the clay work for several minutes to allow time for cleaning and deodorisation. Rinse the clay off with the sponge and fresh water. Rinse the sink and the flannel – done!
Wet room or shower: Use either several buckets of water or a shower. The advantage of buckets (used widely across Morocco in public baths or hammam baths) is that you can gauge how much hot water you are using and better understand your consumption patterns. Use a bowl to take water from the bucket and pour the water over the body, or have a quick burst under the shower. Apply the clay as before, massaging and allowing it to work for a few minutes, and then rinse with bowls of water or the shower. Warning – just as with soap, the body and surfaces will become slippery so be careful! As before rinse any clay residue from the buckets and surfaces.
Bath: Wet the skin and work in the clay as before. You may need to squat to apply clay to the entire body – again, be careful to avoid slipping. To rinse immerse the body in water. Rinse the bath after emptying.
Face mask: Try to experience at least one face mask during this trial week. Just apply the clay to the face (and neck if there is sufficient), avoiding the eyes, nose and mouth. Allow the clay to work for 10 minutes. Keep the clay damp using either a water mister or a damp cloth. The face mask can be applied at the start of any washing method and rinsed off at the end. If the skin appears red once the mask is removed, repeat the mask until the skin regains a clear tone.
Hair Wash: Try to experience several hair washes through the trial. Only wash your hair everyday if it needs washing that frequently, not as a matter of course. Clay is known to extend the time necessary between hair washes. Wet the hair, and massage the clay mix just into the scalp for a few minutes, wetting the scalp a little more if required to encourage a thorough coverage of the clay. Ignore the shaft of the hair as it will become clean during the rinse. Comb the clay down the shaft of the hair, going around several times to degrease the hair. Rinse thoroughly then pat the hair dry with a towel, and if possible allow the hair to dry naturally. Comb the hair while it is damp or once it is dry.
Do I need to conduct a patch and strand test?
When using any different cosmetic, you should always try the clay on your skin and in a strand of hair first, although allergies to clay 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.
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.
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 on 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 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?
Not at all. 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?
Make sure that the clay is rinsed thoroughly from the hair at the end of the hair wash. 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) Rhassoul clay has a powerful negative charge and acts as a detoxifying agent. Toxins which lay under the skin’s 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 and helping to reduce hair loss and works very well on skins troubled with acne.
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. These features are best described in the following analogy. According to Robert T. Marin, a study conducted by Lei in 1996, a mineralogist at the Institute of Technology, demonstrated that 1g of this type of clay has the surface area of 800m2!
3) Rhassoul clay is composed of 100% minerals and trace-elements. The skin will absorb some of these, resulting in an improved skin structure and feel.
4) Clay is anti-microbial and is known to kill viruses and helps to protect the skin from attack. In additional clay is anti-inflammatory and it 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 it is 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.
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
- 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
- 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
Mrs Green of Little Green Blog and My Zero Waste helped us modify the instructions at the last minute (huh hum!) Thank you Mrs Green. Please do visit Mrs Greens charmingly educational (if there is such a thing) and funny blogs
http://myzerowaste.com/2008/10/zero-waste-shampoo/And this is the feedback that we are getting. Please do check out the links. These websites are fascinating!
The first article, Simplify your ‘Beauty Regime with a packet of Clay’ by April Streeter of Gothenberg Sweden was posted on the Treehugger website on 03.11.08. April had just received the sample and was probably wondering what to do with it.http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/11/replace-personal-care-bottles-with-clay.php
At the end of the challenge April published, ‘5 Great Reasons to use Clay as Soap;Take the 1 week challenge part 2’
Subsequently we have an article in Quaint Magazines’ first edition.
Daisy Green Magazine made it to day 5! Find out why!
Buy rhassoul clay here and try it for yourself.