A couple of years ago, a French blogger in the zero-waste movement had caused a buzz with an article in which she explained how she had stopped washing her hair! I was appalled and intrigued at the same time.
My hair back then was very long, and I had to wash it approximately twice to three times a week. I was already using organic shampoos, but nothing I tried satisfied me. Two days after each wash, it already looked greasy, and the third day I had to attach my hair to a bun or a tail.
I looked at pictures of this blogger only to find out that her hair looked perfectly fine. How was that possible? To sum up her experience in short: Conventional shampoos and hair care are not natural, contain toxic substances, and harm the environment, and let’s not even talk about all the waste that is produced with all of these products. The sebum that is naturally produced by our scalp to protect our hair is washed away by the shampoo. Thus, our body then produces more sebum, which leads us to wash it more and more frequently – creating a vicious circle.
The idea, therefore, is to wash your hair less and less. Start with natural products and then brush it daily with a natural hair brush until you eventually don’t need to wash it anymore or at least rinse it only with water and maybe some apple cider vinegar. The whole procedure can take up to a month!
Although I did not see this experiment through (a month without washing my hair was not possible for me at the time because of my job) it was definitely the starting point for me to reconsider my hair washing routine and start using “no-poo” options.
After unsuccessfully using natural shampoo bars, rye flour, sodium bicarbonate and shikakaï, a friend suggested I try rhassoul clay. Rhassoul, or Ghassoul, is a natural mineral clay from the bottom of the Atlas mountains in Morocco. It has been used for centuries by North African people to clean their skin and hair. It absorbs impurities and toxins, feeds your body with minerals, and is hypoallergenic and thus great for people with very sensitive skin. It cleanses your hair, and you will notice that you will have to wash your hair less frequently. You can buy rhassoul clay in natural health food stores or order it online. It might seem expensive to you (1kg costs around 23€) but it will last for a very long time since you are using only very little of it each time, and remember, you can also use it as a body wash.
Here is the recipe I use, although you might have to experiment with the quantities a bit until you get the right mixture that suits your needs.
For the rhassoul mixture (mid-long hair):
- 3-5 teaspoons rhassoul clay (make sure to use a wooden or plastic spoon, metal diminishes the mineral structure of the clay)
- a glass jar or bowl (no metal either)
- approximately 250 ml (8 fl. oz.) of water
Combine all of the ingredients (I like to use a little bamboo whisk for this but a wooden spoon or fork will work as well.) Distribute the mixture evenly on your wet hair, mainly on your scalp and the roots, you can spare the tips unless you have the feeling they need to be washed. Lift the strands on the back of your head to make sure to clean the hair underneath as well. Massage your head as you would with conventional shampoo and rinse well afterwards. It might seem a bit awkward at the beginning because the clay doesn’t foam like normal shampoo, but you will get used to it very quickly.
As rhassoul clay is alkaline, it is therefore recommended you rinse your hair with some vinegar and water, which will add some brilliance to it, too. This step is optional, but your hair will love it.
For the vinegar rinse (optional):
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1l of water (preferably cold)
Pour the vinegar into a jar of preferably cold water and pour it over your hair. Don’t worry about the scent, your hair won’t smell of vinegar once it is dry.
So whether you have very sensitive skin, are trying to reduce waste or are part of a no-poo movement, I hope you are curious to try the rhassoul hair wash. Let me know in the comments how it went and/or what your favorite natural hair products are.
MARA // Bordeaux