Homemade Clay Shampoo (Rhassoul)

reading time: 3 min

In my blog post on Healing Clay Skin Mask & Detox Drink I already talked about the detoxifying and re-mineralizing properties of clay. But what if I told you that you can also use the cleansing power of mineral clay to wash your hair?

Washing your hair with dirt is definitely the most hippie advice I've given on this blog, but I honestly swear by it now! It's easy, efficient, and as natural as it can be.

What is Rhassoul / Ghassoul clay?

Rhassoul / Ghassoul clay is a mineral-rich Moroccan volcanic clay that has been used since ancient times for washing and cleansing the body. It is very skin-friendly and non-irritant. It does not attack the acid mantle of the hair or the sebaceous glands of the skin. It is mostly comprised of silica (52 %) which is known to stimulate hair growth, and magnesium (25 %) which strengthens hair follicles and hair, as well as iron, which prevents hair thinning and hair loss. It is said to help with acne, eczema, psoriasis, dandruff, boldness, and other skin issues, and reduces dryness and flakiness of the scalp. Unlike medicinal healing clay, you should never consume Rhassoul clay internally!

Rhassoul clay is full of negatively-charged molecules, which allow it to act as a magnet for positively-charged toxins on the scalp. These clay molecules attach to the dirt molecules, grease and other impurities on the scalp so that when your hair is rinsed, the scalp is essentially detoxed. The name "rhassoul” comes from the Arabic word rassala, which means “to wash”.

Using Rhassoul clay in a homemade clay wash is a very gentle to cleanse your hair and scalp. The clay removes build-up and dirt without removing the protective sebum layer on your hair, and also acts as a great detangler.

Rhassoul clay is 100 % environmentally friendly. It contains no tensides and no chemical substances that can pollute the water. The only disadvantage is that the clay is transported from North Africa to – in my case – Germany.


2–4 heaped tsp Rhassoul / Ghassoul clay powder, e. g. this one (do not use a metal spoon!)
6–10 tsp warm water, or as needed

Add Rhassoul / Ghassoul clay to a small bowl (since you're taking this into your shower, I recommend plastic or wood / bamboo). Mix with water to form a lump-free paste. If the paste seems to thick to stir, add a little more water. Set aside and allow to swell for a few minutes. 

Wet your hair. Take some of the paste rub it into your hair, focussing on your scalp and hairline. You need a LOT more clay than with your normal shampoo, as it needs to cover your hair almost completely to do its cleaning magic.

Leave it in for about 5 minutes.

Pro tip: Usually I take a bit of the paste and rub it onto my face and under my armpits as well for some extra exfoliating and detoxing.

After 2 to 5 minutes, rinse the paste thoroughly out of your hair.

To neutralise any lime in the mineral clay, it is best to rinse your hair with an acidic rinse after washing it. Combine 1 liter of cold water with 1–3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (or kombucha or lemon juice), and gently pour this mixture over your rinsed hair. This will close your hair cuticles, and leave your with a nice shine in the hair. Squeeze the hair a little without rinsing it again, then let it air-dry. Don't worry, the smell of vinegar usually vanishes very quickly. To be on the safe side, you can simply use a little more water or lemon juice instead of vinegar, but beware of its natural lightening effect.

- If you have only used conditional shampoo before, don't be surprised that this mineral clay doesn't lather! At first it may feel strange, somehow unclean, but that's just the habit talking. The hair gets clean anyway, trust me.
- If you have been washing your hair with conventional shampoo for years, you may not be satisfied with the washing results at first when you switch to Rhassoul / Ghassoul clay. Your hair and scalp need to adjust to the new natural haircare first.
- After some time of using it, you will no longer need to wash your hair as frequently.
- I don't use this clay shampoo every time I wash my hair, but usually every other week or at least once a month. For the hair washes in-between, I use a natural organic shampoo that is sulfate-free, silicone-free and paraben-free.
- For very thin, brittle, bleached or badly damaged hair, use white clay (kaolin) instead. Kaolin clay is excellent for very fine hair as well as for blond or dry, damaged hair, because it is less drying, but still cleans gently.
- For some extra moisturizing effect, replace half of the water with aloe vera juice.