For “Peat’s” Sake: How Can Mud, Clay, and Ash Help My Hair?
Hair products are heating up – geothermally that is. Hair that is bathed in mud (as well as clay and charcoal) can tap into some major benefits! Ages ago, clay’s skin-healing benefits were first recognized. With therapeutic properties, clay detoxifies the skin by drawing out impurities, absorbing excess oils, soothing sensitive skin and offering analgesic (pain-relieving) effects. Hair and scalp treatments are not only relaxing, but rich in actives. From minerals to vitamins, these earth-harvested actives can deliver benefits from head to toe.
Let’s Get Down and Dirty: What is Clay?
When it comes to earth-harvested ingredients such as clay, there is a variety… Clay refers to the finest sedimentary grains and consists of different minerals and organic matter. Clay minerals are formed by the weathering of other silicate minerals on and in the earth’s crust. Clay can be formed in soil horizons, marine and land sediments. It can also be found in weathering rock formations, volcanic deposits and geothermal fields.
Is there really such a thing as Common Clay?
Kaolin Clay: Kaolin Clay is made of natural minerals derived from sedimentary rocks and processed by erosion, climate exposure and weathering for thousands of years.
Also known as China Clay, it is a fine, soft white mineral originally produced in China. Although, sources of it are found all over the world, including the United States, China, Brazil, Australia, and parts of Eastern Europe. Kaolin is composed of extremely fine particles of silicates and several trace elements. It is most often white but can also posses a yellow, light orange, or rust-colored hue if it formed in an area with iron oxide.
The name, Kaolin, comes from the Chinese “Gaoling,” referencing a mountain that provided an early source of the raw mineral. The Chinese used it to produce their famously fine porcelain. When European explorers were introduced to Chinese ceramics, many of them remarked on the delicate quality of the work. A material that Europeans were not familiar with, and European ceramicists spent centuries trying to replicate the techniques used to produce it.
Kaolin has a phyllosilicate structure that absorbs hydrophilic (water-loving) as well as lipophilic (oil-loving) substances. Due to this characteristic, it can remove pollutants, excess sebum, sweat and waxes from skin and hair. All of this without dehydrating it! With its low shrink-swell capacity and less intense drawing properties, Kaolin serves dry, sensitive skin and scalp types well.
Black Kaolin: Clays are natural minerals that may exhibit different types and concentrations of metals such as titanium, magnesium, copper, zinc, aluminum, calcium, potassium, nickel, manganese, lithium, sodium and iron. Kaolin has a black hue because of its high levels of titanium. This black clay has properties that rejuvenate, detoxify and remove impurities, oiliness and dead skin cells. Kaolin, when used on the hair and scalp, improves hair manageability, thermal protection, reducing scalp itch and flaking. After a single application of black-Kaolin infused shampoo, hair was 28% softer and hydrated. Hair exposed to thermal stress had 42% less breakage after a single application. The force required to comb the hair after a single application was 48% less indicating that the hair was less tangled.
Bentonite Clay: Bentonite is a generic term for rocks that come from altered volcanic ash beds, consisting mainly of smectite minerals such as montmorillonite. It is generally considered aged volcanic ash but defined by the Personal Care Products Council as a native hydrated colloidal aluminum silicate clay. With its strong negative electrical charge, Bentonite can draw out positively charged toxins – helpful for oily skin. Bentonite deposits exist wherever volcanic eruptions occur, and ash isn’t destroyed by erosion – most mined from Wyoming. With different predominant element types within Bentonite, this clay is a variety of colors. Bentonite primarily works to absorb oil and other impurities from the skin and scalp.
Let’s Chim Chim Cheree Beyond Clay
Silt: When a form of running water deposits sediment that appears fine and granular- somewhere between sand and clay. Feldspar and mica are minerals in this material. Silt contains aluminum, iron and magnesium hydrated silicates in a crystalline network, although the composition of these muds can be different. It commonly possesses thermal capabilities as well as strong absorbing power – which is why it is commonly used as an absorbent and anti-acne agent, mud is of great use to treat greasy acne-prone skin. Since the mud can be occlusive in nature, it can raise skin temperature and promote circulation – all of which can produce a degree of moisturization and heating.
Peat: Peat is an accumulation of partially decaying vegetation or organic matter. One example is Nordic Peat. Nordic Peat originates in Finnish swamps where it is naturally developed for hundreds of years and rich in humic and fluvic acids, as well as vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids. Finnish nature is unique due to its short summers with long days and long winters with freezing temperatures. Therefore, the plants have a short but intense growth season and due to high proton content, they are much richer in nutrients than plants grown elsewhere. Naturally macerated by microbial action, these plants have a high concentration of active substances. Hundreds of herbs, flowers and plants degrade through biochemical processes which now replenishes the peat. The unique molecular structure of the substance is so fine that it penetrates the skin and scalp to rejuvenate cells.
Bamboo Activated Charcoal: Bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant in the world. Because it is a grass, when you cut down the stalks, it will just regrow from the existing root structure. This is what makes bamboo a very sustainable and environmentally friendly resource. Bamboo charcoal is charcoal made from 5-year-old Moso bamboo plants. Many Asian civilizations have used charcoal for centuries. Japan uses charcoal for detoxification purposes because it is shown to absorb waste materials from our digestive systems. In China, people recognize Bamboo charcoal as an air purifier, water and oil purifier and humidity controller. Because of its legendary detoxifying power, it is a micro-porous material with excellent absorption property to help rid toxins, impurities and unpleasant odors.
Binchotan White Charcoal: A traditionally Japanese charcoal that is completely different from typical black charcoal. Initially starting as Ubame oak (Quercus phillyraeoides), a tree possessing great strength and hardness. The Japanese wood is heated to temperatures upward of 1000°C, then covered with a moist mixture of earth, sand and ash to cool it. This gives a whitish hue to the charcoal surface, thus the name “white charcoal”. The resultant charcoal contains a variety of minerals that were absorbed during its life as a tree. The rapid rise in temperature, followed by a rapid cooling, incinerates the bark and leaves a smooth, hard highly adsorptive surface. White Charcoal has numerous small pores that can adsorb impurities and oil on the skin, scalp and hair. The highly adsorptive quality gives White Charcoal a purifying and balancing effect on sensitive skin.
How Clay Works:
Medicinal clay dates back for centuries. Clay blends mixed with water and other different types of earth pigments were applied to the skin to cure wounds, calm irritations and promote cleansing. In ancient Greece, mud mixtures were applied as antiseptics to cure skin conditions. Scientists and Philosophers such as Hippocrates and Aristotle developed classification of medicinal earths based upon the substances properties or mineralogical compositions. Mesopotamians and ancient Egyptians used medicinal earths as anti-inflammatory agents. Clay based skin and scalp treatments offer three primary benefits: detoxification, problematic skin relief and analgesia.
Benefits of Playing in the Mud
Detoxification: Clays have important minerals, drawing capabilities and detoxification properties that are valuable for enhancing skin, scalp and hair. Adsorption is basically an electrical attraction that causes substances to stick together; acting like a magnet for dirt, oil and other impurities. Because clay minerals and organic matter tend to be negatively charged, they attract and hold positively charged ions (cations) on their surfaces through electrostatic forces. Different types of clay have different holding capacities because of varying cation exchange capacities. Dense clays such as bentonite are most effective at drawing out and absorbing secretions, toxin and contaminants from the skin and scalp while other clays can repel impurities or absorb odors.
Problematic Skin Relief: Those with irritated skin and excess sebum will find relief from clay. It can absorb oils, toxins and even bacteria. With geotherapy, a one-centimeter thick clay mixture is layered on the skin at a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat stimulates perspiration, opens sebaceous glands and causes sebaceous secretions to flow more easily and treating problematic skin.
Analgesia: Thermal muds are considered helpful for treating achy pains. Thermal mud therapy produces a sensation of heat. In this process, it dilates blood vessels, increases perspiration and stimulates the respiratory and cardiac systems. According to numerous studies, heat reduces muscle contractions, relaxes muscles and reduces joint stiffness. For this reason, the heat produced by thermal muds offers a healing effect.
Transforming Skin-Benefits to Hair-Goals
Perhaps you’ve heard about a new category in men’s hair care called Hair Clay? Ranging from very thick to very creamy, these products are known to offer medium hold with a matte finish. Here’s one video about Clay Hair styling! Beyond styling, the scalp detoxifying properties clay can offer is obvious. But clay offers benefits beyond detoxifying an oily or sensitive scalp. The combined absorbent power of clay extracts product build up and balances moisture – leaving the hair clean and amazingly shiny. Further, with black Kaolin, hair feels stronger, resists breakage and combed under pressure.
Ready to try the power of all these earth-harvested materials in one amazing product? We can’t wait to debut our newest product! You might just be one of the lucky ones selected to receive the product for FREE before everyone else.
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1 Williams, L. B., & Haydel, S. E. (2010). Evaluation of the medicinal use of clay minerals as antibacterial agents. International Geology Review, 52(7-8), 745–770.
2 Tateo, F., Ravaglioli, A., Andreoli, C., Bonina, F., Coiro, V., Degetto, S., … Summa, V. (2009). The in-vitro percutaneous migration of chemical elements from a thermal mud for healing use. Applied Clay Science, 44(1-2), 83–94.
3 Pura, A., Dusenkova, I., & Malers, J. (2014). Adsorption of organic compounds found in human Sebum on Latvian Illitic, Kaolinitic, and Chloritic Phyllosilicates. Clays and Clay Minerals, 62(6), 500–507.