What to Know About Rhassoul Clay

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 25, 2021

Rhassoul clay is used for skin care, hair, and beauty products. There are lots of claims about how it can help your skin, but there isn’t very much research. It’s not a treatment for skin conditions.

Rhassoul clay is also called ghassoul clay or red Morrocan clay. It comes from Morocco.

People have been using it as a shampoo and soap for centuries. The term “rhassoul” comes from the Arabic word “rhassala,” which means to wash.

Generally, clays have minerals like:

  • Calcium
  • Aluminum
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Titanium
  • Iron

Cosmetics might use clay for anti-caking agents, thickeners, and binders.

You can find rhassoul clay in loose powder form, and in face masks, facial washes, shampoo, and hair masks.

Does Rhassoul Clay Have Health Benefits?

Most of the claims for rhassoul clay come from personal experience. There isn’t much research. Talk to your doctor or a dermatologist before you try it. It’s not a treatment for health problems.

Some people claim rhassoul clay helps against acne. Bacteria plays a role in causing the skin condition, and some natural clays can get rid of certain kinds of bacteria. We don’t know if rhassoul clay fights bacteria, though.

In three clinical trials, rhassoul clay seemed to help people with an ostomy pouch avoid getting irritated skin near the surgically made opening in their belly. Don’t use it for this reason unless your doctor tells you to.

Rhassoul clay has detergent properties. It can be used as a washing base for shampoo. You might find it in natural shampoos.

The silica in clay might act as an exfoliant for cleansing your scalp. This seems to be especially helpful for oily hair.

What Are the Risks?

Never eat rhassoul clay. It could have bacteria, parasites, viruses, and heavy metals in it.

Eating clay could lead to low potassium and muscle weakness, too. It can also affect medicines you take and keep them from working like they’re supposed to.

If you’re thinking about using natural clay on your skin or hair, talk to your doctor or dermatologist first. Clay can irritate sensitive skin. Clay masks can also be drying, which can lead to irritation. It’s a good idea to test the clay on a small patch of skin first. If you have a reaction, stop using it.

Show Sources


BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth: “Potential health risk assessment of toxic metals contamination in clay eaten as pica (geophagia) among pregnant women of Ho in the Volta Region of Ghana.”

British Journal of Nursing: “Ostomy skin complications treated with rhassoul: case studies.”

Cosmetics: “Hair Care Cosmetics: From Traditional Shampoo to Solid Clay and Herbal Shampoo, A Review.”

Heliyon: “Interfacial electrochemical properties of natural Moroccan Ghassoul (stevensite) clay in aqueous suspension.”

International Geology Review: “Evaluation of the medicinal use of clay minerals as antibacterial agents.”

Materials Research: “The Influence of Different Concentrations of a Natural Clay Material as Active Principle in Cosmetic Formulations.”

materialstoday: PROCEEDINGS: “Ghassoul – Moroccan clay with excellent adsorption properties.”

NHS: “Contact dermatitis – diagnosis.”

Obstetrics & Gynecology: “Hypokalemic myopathy in pregnancy caused by clay ingestion.”

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