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Rhassoul clay is a type of clay that some people use as a cosmetic product for their skin and hair. It’s a brown clay only found in a valley in the Atlas mountains of Morocco. The term “rhassoul” comes from an Arabic word that means “to wash.”

Rhassoul clay hasn’t been extensively studied for its benefits for skin and hair. But it has been used by several different cultures for over a thousand years as a cosmetic ingredient.

Sometimes called Moroccan red clay or ghassoul clay, rhassoul clay is a type of stevensite, a magnesium-rich clay that contains other minerals.

Most of what we know about rhassoul clay is anecdotal at this time. But the research indicates that it has some healing properties due to its unique mineral composition.

Rhassoul clay is full of metallic elements that carry a negative charge. This magnetic energy draws out positively charged toxins and bonds to them so that when you wash the clay away, the toxins purportedly go with it. For this reason, rhassoul clay is used as a detoxifier for skin and for hair.

Rhassoul clay for skin

Rhassoul clay is rich in magnesium and potassium. Anecdotally, many skincare gurus swear that magnesium can be absorbed through your skin barrier to fight acne, cleanse impurities, and improve skin elasticity.

There isn’t a lot of clinical research on this, but at least three small clinical trials concluded that skin complications in people who have an ostomy can be treated with rhassoul clay.

Researchers suggest that it can act as a protective barrier while eliminating toxic substances to which the skin is exposed.

Rhassoul clay for hair

Rhassoul clay contains silica, a component of sand. Natural silica can work as an exfoliant, and also gives hair a glossy sheen.

Rhassoul clay may cleanse impurities from the scalp as well as excess oil. At the same time, the exfoliating and conditioning properties of rhassoul clay could work to condition hair and give it volume. Most evidence that rhassoul clay would work for this purpose is anecdotal.

A rhassoul clay hair mask coats your hair in minerals like sulfite and magnesium. These minerals may add strength, shine, and softness to your hair.

A rhassoul clay hair mask doesn’t require any extra ingredients besides the clay powder and water. If you’d like, you can add other ingredients like honey, rose water, or essential oils after a few tries with a basic version.

To make your own rhassoul clay hair mask, follow these steps:

  1. Read the package instructions of your rhassoul clay to determine how much water you need. On average, rhassoul clay will need about 2 tbsp. of warm water for every 1 tbsp. of clay powder. Four to 5 tbsp. of clay is usually enough for one hair mask.
  2. Mix the warm water with the clay powder thoroughly, using a wooden spoon. For best results, use a wooden bowl, as a metal bowl may alter the charged particles in the clay.
  3. Divide your dry hair into sections as if you were going to blow-dry or heat-style it. Apply the mask with your fingers starting at the roots of your strands and working back to the tips of your hair. Wear latex gloves to cut down on mess. Pay special attention to your scalp and make sure it’s coated well, too.
  4. Put a cap on your hair and let the mask soak in for 20 to 40 minutes. You can also use this time to do a rhassoul clay face mask, if you have some clay left over.
  5. When you’re ready to rinse out the mask, you might want to hop in the shower to keep clay from getting into your eyes or on your clothes. Wash thoroughly with lukewarm water. You shouldn’t have to use shampoo or conditioner after you wash the mask off, but you can.

You’ll use rhassoul clay in a similar way for your face as you would for your hair. After you’ve used the simple hydrated clay mixture a few times on its own, feel free to add your own essential oils and other moisturizing ingredients.

  1. Read the package instructions to determine how much water you need. On average, rhassoul clay will need about 2 tbsp. of warm water for every 1 tbsp. of clay powder. One tbsp. of clay is probably enough for one face mask.
  2. Mix the warm water with the clay powder thoroughly, using a wooden spoon. For best results, use a wooden bowl, as a metal bowl may alter the charged particles in the clay.
  3. Apply the mask with your fingers or a mask brush, avoiding your eyes. You’ll feel the clay begin to dry on your face, and it may crack. This is normal, and you don’t have to add more clay.
  4. After about 10 minutes, rinse your face well with warm water. Complete your skin care routine as you normally would.

Rhassoul clay is safe for most people to use, with some exceptions.

If you have an allergy to metallic elements like aluminum or magnesium, avoid using rhassoul clay.

If you’re prone to psoriasis on your scalp, eczema, or other chronic skin conditions, be careful when using rhassoul clay. It could dry out or inflame your skin if you currently have symptoms. Discontinue use if your skin becomes dryer, red, itchy, or inflamed.

You should never take rhassoul clay internally, for any reason.

You can purchase rhassoul clay at some beauty supply stores and health food stores. Drugstores with an extensive selection of holistic beauty products may have it, too.

You can also check out these products online.

Rhassoul clay isn’t the only type of mineral-dense clay that claims to be a detoxifying and conditioning ingredient.

Bentonite clay is another type of stevensite from a similar region of the world. The big difference between rhassoul clay and bentonite is that bentonite contains some lead.

While the trace amount of lead in Bentonite clay is probably not a big reason for concern, some people might prefer to play it safe and choose rhassoul since they have the same purported benefits.

French pink clay, French green clay, and Dead Sea mud all claim to work with the same basic concept of rhassoul clay, infusing skin and hair with minerals while drawing out toxins. But there’s no objectively “best” or “better” ingredient that works for everyone.

You might want try several clays to figure out which kind works best on your hair and skin.

Rhassoul clay is simple and easy to use as a DIY hair mask and skin care mask. Some believe rhassoul clay detoxifies your skin, conditions and smooths your hair, and heals and hydrates dry scalp.

Remember, there aren’t a lot of clinical trials or medical literature making a case for rhassoul clay, which means that there could be drawbacks or side effects that we don’t yet know about.