5 Great Reasons to Use Clay as Soap: Take the 1-Week Challenge, Part II

Clay For Cleaning photo

photo ˜psychoactiveme˜@ flickr.

Look over your own bathroom shelves - you are sure to find more than a few bottles that never got used up, or have never even been used! Reducing that clutter was the goal during a one-week "clay only" challenge taken by this TreeHugger at the behest of Natural Spa Supplies, a UK-based distributor of Rhassoul (montmorillonite) clay. A gimmick on their part, yes, but also a good way to see whether one natural product can meet many needs.

From soap to mud in a personal care regime
What we've gotten used to in personal care products are pleasant scents, powerful suds, and smooth, creamy, homogenized consistencies. So it's hard to trade all these in for a crock full of mud. That's basically what it feels like when I started using Rhassoul clay for hands, face, and body, as well as for shampoo. There are positive pay-offs worth taking a look at, however, especially if you are one of those people that have sensitive skin or are for any reason intolerant of the substances in most modern make up. Read on for five great reasons - and one pessimistic note - for switching to clay for your personal cleaning.

Clay For Cleaning Crew photo

photo flyguy92586 @ flickr.

1. No preservatives, nothing extra added, stands up to the "all natural" creed. Rhassoul clay is mined directly and by hand in Morocco, and the rock-like blobs of dry clay pick-axed out of the earth are rehydrated, uniformly dried, and sifted. So when the clay arrives to you as fine powder in a plain paper wrapper, it's your job to hydrate the clay once more into a mud-like paste. This is what you'll use as 'soap' for an entire week.

2. Draws out impurities, leaves skin silky smooth underneath. It's awkward to wash your hands with a blob of mud when we're so used to the idea of getting rid of dirt with suds and soap. Rhassoul clay does live up to its reputation for deep cleaning, however. You can feel the clay drawing out dirt and oils, and the skin left after rinsing feels super clean and smooth.

3. A unique way to shampoo leave a fresh-feeling clean scalp. This is a process different from what you might think. Instead of putting on shampoo and then "sudsing up," with the clay the process is more akin to spread it on and add water, scrub a bit, add more water, let the clay penetrate, add more water, and rinse. The scalp feels extremely clean after a clay shampoo, though a pea-sized drop of conditioner was still required on ends and body of the hair to promote comb through. Natural Spa Supplies suggested oil for this - but that will not work on some hair types, mine included. Also, more bathroom clean-up is required to rinse away the clay residue - though this is not necessarily a bad thing.

4. Resource use efficiency. Natural Spa Supplies calculated that just 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of clay powder would last for an entire week of hand and face washing, showers and/or baths, and hair washing. This seemed incredible - when rehydrated, that 100 grams created about a cup of mud. But placed in a glass jar in the bathroom, this one cup of clay was plenty for a week's personal washing. A blob for hand-washing was about right, a few blobs during showering, and a small handful was good for shampooing.

5. Travel light, light, light. Taking that 100 gram packet on a trip certainly cuts the amount of personal care bottles and tins. However, the clay must be rehydrated in a glass or ceramic crock (no metal) using non-metal utensils. This is not so easy on the go - you can't just mix up just a dab of clay if you are in a public restroom, for example - lots of stirring is required for the pudding-like consistency of rehydrated clay. It also doesn't really work for the guest bathroom, if you have one, as you can't just leave a crock of dry clay and expect guests to get it. Wet clay can be held in a small covered dish, but not indefinitely like a bar of soap (Natural Spa recommends not more than a week).

Green cleaning, brown towels, gritty bathtub. Clay is great - it's really all-natural, supports the village in Morocco near where it is mined, gets you off of Sodium Laureth Sulfate and other harsher cleaners, and feels great. But it requires a mindset switch - you'll be mixing up a half-cup to cup batch of clay each week, keeping it in jars in the places where you wash hands/body, and shampooing with a truly unscented, runny green-brown mud. If you can get over all those caveats, clay may be the simplest way to green your personal care yet devised. And practically best of all - no plastic! Via: NaturalSpaSupplies
Read more
Children Exposed Daily to Personal Care Products With Chemicals Not Proven Safe
New Standard for Beauty, Personal Care Industry Launches
Common Eco-Myth: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) Causes Cancer

Related Content on Treehugger.com