Reviewed by Charley
Moroccan Natural Rhassoul Clay ($14.50) was a novel experience for me, not having had a mud bath, or being from Morocco where women used it for skin and hair care for over a thousand years. Moroccan Natural's website recites a list of benefits from this wonder product of the Atlas Mountains including reduction in dryness, flakiness, dead skin layers and surface oil. The product is also said to improve skin clarity, elasticity, firmness and skin texture.
The powder version comes in individual 50g packs that you mix in a non-metallic container with enough water to make a thick paste. You can add a few drops of oil as a special treat and more importantly, to keep it from turning to cement. It turns into a grey-green goo that has no odor (unless you add an aromatic oil).
Once I got over the weirdness of using "dirt" as soap, I was pleased to note that it does clean without stripping skin or hair. The clay is so fine that there is no grittiness. My hair is soft without conditioning, though I did have to use anti-frizz/glossing product to tame it. My only complaint is that the oilier parts of my face and scalp still felt and looked slick after washing, and I definitely had to use regular soap to remove deodorant residue. Even though I didn't see any improvements in my blackheads or pores, I did not experience any breakouts. And I was testing it during the recent extended heat wave when my skin was feeling amazing from all the humidity, so I can't speak to its ability to reduce flakiness or remove dead skin layers. Overall, my skin felt naturally healthy and energized, thanks to the high percentage of silica, magnesium, potassium and calcium, the same minerals found in therapeutic hot springs.
I didn't have a problem with bits of dried clay on the tub, bathroom sink and shower curtain - they didn't stain and were easier to clean than soap scum - but I had to see how the Rhassoul Body Bar ($11.50) compares to the pure stuff. It's made of the same mineral clay mixed with oils for a more traditional creamy bath soap/shampoo with low lather. It is not recommended for long hair. The lower part of my long hair turned into a bird's nest after a storm. Just like the pure clay, it cleansed thoroughly and gently, but with less mess. It's a little ho-hum, and unlike the pure rhassoul clay, which is, in my otherwise low-maintenance household, worth the fuss and mess, the Rhassoul Body Bar is not worth the price.
Moroccan Natural Prickly Pear Seed Oil ($53) comes in a convenient roller ball vial. I roll a little (or a lot) on clean fingertips then massage to eyelids, cheeks, lips, hands, cuticles, knees. It absorbs remarkably well - barely a hint of sheen on my eyelids or cheeks where I applied it. It softened my hands well enough but my cracked lips and cuticles needed something stronger. Prickly pear seeds contain a high percent of linoleic acid, 61-74%, depending on the variety of cactus and the extraction process. It takes about a ton of cactus fruit to produce a liter of this oil, making it expensive to produce, hence the price. It got me comparing various beneficial oils - pomegranate seed, rosehip seed, argan and caneberry seed (red and black raspberry, blackberry, boysenberry) - the most prominent EFA powerhouses appearing in many skincare products these days. Not only do they contain the same EFAs found in prickly pear seeds like linoleic, oleic and linoleic acids, albeit in varying percentages, some have so much more including super antioxidants like ellagitannins, and punicic and ellagic acids. Until they discover something more about prickly pear seed oil, I'll be sticking to less extravagant choices, like Mad Hippie Antioxidant Facial Oil ($24.99) it has all the antioxidant oils you could wish for.
Morrocan Natural Rhassoul Clay: Lava Clay
Morrocan Natural Rhassoul Body Bar: Filtered water (aqua), rapeseed oil (sodium brassica rapus), sustainable palm oil (sodium palmate kernelate), coconut oil (sodium cocoate) organic Rhassoul Clay (Moroccan lava clay)
Moroccan Natural’s Prickly Pear Seed Oil: Pure Prickly Pear Oil (Opuntia ficus-indica)