I’m actually serious. But how big can it be? Well – this lovely flaked brown stuff is the reason I’m never going to use shampoo again!
It’s not expensive and it doesn’t come diluted in water and packaged in plastic bottles. It is rhassoul clay – 100% naturally occurring clay from Morocco. I’m a little bit anxious that as it comes pickaxed out of the ground it’s not as eco as I want it to be… Has anyone visited the place in the Atlas mountains it comes from? Is it a wasteland?
In the meantime, though, I think it must be more eco friendly than other chemical shampoos? + did I mention #plasticfree? Mine came in a little barely-branded cardboard box.
Shampoo – the search for an eco alternative
I only started looking for an eco shampoo recently. It’s funny I’ve never felt overwhelmed by my quest to live more sustainably. This isn’t because of a masterplan I had for my gradual adaptation to the #goodlife but because habits I realised I need to change have only occurred to me one by one. Odd, but helpful in this instance in that it’s been no trouble to keep going. So shampoo only struck me recently. I’m one of those people who has washed their hair every day since I was a teenager. Because no day can be a bad hair day. Of course I had greasy hair as a teenager but I wonder – maybe I’ve been creating my greasy hair as an adult by stripping it of its oils everyday?
I did buy an apparently eco shampoo recently but more because I had Christmas money and I was in a lovely shop selling locally-made cosmetics and I decided to treat myself. The face cream is everything I want it to be but the shampoo was a disappointment. It was really expensive and it just didn’t work that well. Then one of my friends contacted me asking for eco-shampoo advice because she thought I’d know all about it. Whoops!
I started researching and found something to suggest for her in the UK and then I found Alverde for me in the Czech Republic. Alverde is great because it’s organic and eco and really really cheap. I get the feeling they’re actually trying to be the good guys for the masses and I love them for it. Hand cream. Moisturising oil. Perfect. Shampoo? Okay….. but it kind of made my hair static! And tangly….
So I was still on the quest for the perfect eco shampoo. I read the shampoo issue of Ethical Consumer magazine and discovered that my next hope for good plastic-free shampoo (Lush shampoo bars) wasn’t as eco and chemical-free as it seemed. But I read that one of their readers suggested olive oil soap bars and since I had an olive oil soap on the go I decided to try it. Disaster! My hair looked ok but it felt like a helmet (maybe a good option if you like hairspray?). I persisted and there was no improvement. I also ran through the rest of the soap really quickly.
I popped back into the Middle-Eastern shop I’d got the olive oil soap from and they’d run out of stock but had this other packet of what seemed to be soap for hair and body for 99 Kc (£3) and I decided to try it. I got it home and it was 100g of mud flakes! Mud flakes which once mixed with a little water into a paste and rubbed into my wet hair and left for five minutes and rinsed have resulted in the most lovely, soft, healthy-feeling hair I have ever had. And it looked just as good on the second day (unheard of) and pretty alright on the third day (wow).
I can’t recommend rhassoul clay enough. I made a whole jar of hydrated paste and keep it in the fridge. (After you’ve added water it’s not recommended that you keep it at room temperature for more than a week). It’s not exactly the same as using shampoo. Here are the differences:
- It doesn’t foam. You have to rub mud into your wet hair and scalp. After a minute the paste seems to relax a bit and has a more pleasing elasticity under your fingers.
- You have to leave it in for 5 minutes. I turn off the shower and use the time to brush my teeth.
- You don’t need conditioner. I’ve read online about people mixing their clay with oil and then feeling their hair is too greasy. Don’t mix it with oil! Well, not if your hair is like mine (to the fine end of normal). This is the only hair wash I’ve ever used that has allowed me to run a comb – a comb! – straight through my hair after washing with no tangles at all.
- It is unscented. You can add a few drops of essential oil (rose, lavender, lemon…) if you like.
And that’s it! It’s so easy. My hair looks the best it ever has. I only have to wash it twice a week. And I can use the clay on my skin as a cleanser and exfoliator too. I just hope rhassoul clay isn’t from an endangered mountainside. People have been using it since Egyptian times. It is lava based. Does it renew itself? Someone set my mind at rest or spoil my joy already!
The clay I am using is from a Czech distributer: Arghassoul. I think there are lots of brands – try and find the purest clay you can.
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