Clay Science: Bentonite and Rhassoul

So we recently had a rhassoul clay giveaway and I found it quite funny that some of you entered and then asked, 'What is it anyway?'

Rhassoul much like bentonite clay is pretty much what it says on the bottle - mud! These two clays actually do not have much hair or skin related research about them despite being extensively used in spas as mud baths and wraps.  Rhassoul (also Ghassoul) originates from Morrocco while bentonite is much more widespread.

How do they work?

The primary use of these clays is for cleaning.The clays are able to attract small dirt particles to themselves and hold onto them. This is known as adsorbing (with a D). The clays typically attract positively charged ions (cations). The clay and the ions that it has held onto can then be washed off. They also remove heavy metal toxins such as lead (Journal of Hazardous Materials, pp243-249, 2005).

Does Rhassoul or Bentonite Clay damage hair?

Sorry, don't know! The clays tend to be very fine and they can actually be used in cosmetics to thicken up formulations . This is because they are non irritating to skin and do not cause it to break out - non comedogenic (JSCC, pp 321-333,1989). As the particles are very fine, they are not really known to damage the surface of skin or hair but there is no concrete proof that they don't.

Does Rhassoul or Bentonite Clay increase curl definition?

I have seen many blogs and youtube videos with many people reporting this. I think that if your hair type is the kind that spirals up then it is possible that it will. However, if your hair is like mine and simply does not do curl definition then it just won't work.

Do you need to follow up with a conditioner? 

Some say nay, some say. If you are curious, there is only one way to find out though - buy some, try some.


  1. I didn't see any more curl definition than usual when I used bentonite clay. My hair just felt clean without the usual 'squeak'.

    I'm sure there are other ways to get that result, but I already had the clay. :D

  2. I have been trying to figure out if one is better than the other so thank you so much for this post!

  3. I just wanted to thank you again for the give-away. This rhassoul was much finer and less damaging than the previous kinds I'd tried. I used to use rhassoul all the time but then found mid-shaft splits in my hair and stopped. This probably had a lot to do with there being identifiable large pieces of rock in the clay, pretty common for the rhassoul I'd buy at the market or receive from friends returning from Morocco. But Shae Butter Cottage's rhassoul was much finer and I think I'll go back to making it part of my regular routine. Thanks again.

  4. Ruth and Kiki - thanks for the comments

    Carol - good to know! The Sheabutter Cottage clay is supposed to be micronised (which basically means very fine) the type that is used in mineral cosmetics. Nice to know that it was good.

  5. Definitely interesting! I have heard of the Bentonite Clay via Youtube and different blogs, but never Rhassoul.

    I will most definitely have to do my research.

    Thanks for sharing!

    *Family.Life.Nutrition @*

  6. Really interesting as always, JC! Since i've had bad experiences with henna and clay, i don't want to try anything else!!
    But i have a question for you: can aleppo soap replace sulfate shampoos?
    thanks for replying.
    Marie grace

  7. I want to try the Rhassaoul clay particularly Anita Hill's? I think that's her name, but she has chocolate squares of Rhassaoul and she says it's a conditioner? Whereas the Bentonite is marketed to us as a deep cleanser? I'm thinking if they basically do the same thing, There's to need of my try the Rhassaoul Clay?

  8. Yw Sunkissed Sister

    Marie Grace - Never heard of aleppo soap, I will add it to my list.

    Chan - Yep Rhassoul is similar to Bentonite. They are both regarded as cleansers which do not strip your hair and therefore do not require conditioning after (as opposed to shampoo where the charge affects the hair so needs correction with conditioner). However different people report different experiences, some do condition after using the clay and others find that the clay is too aggressive. It is a trial and error thing.

  9. I hear that bentonite clay has a ph between 8-9.5 the same as baking soda. Is there any truth to that? Also i here there are metals in the clay?


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