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Ghassoul Science

Category: Clay Discoveries
Posted: 2007-11-06 11:44

What is Ghassoul Clay?
I've posted recipes and information about this clay. But what is it?

Ghassoul (pronounced rassool) clay is an ancient clay which was formed under the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The clay deposits are deeply buried which makes them very difficult to obtain.

Ghassoul clay has very long history of use in beauty care. It was used in ancient Rome and Egypt by the nobility. Even today it remains a favorite with upscale spas and resorts worldwide.


Ghassoul clay is a smectic or swelling clay. Smectites are three-layer clay minerals. They consist of two layers of interconnected silica-tetrahedrons which enclose a central Metal hydroxide -octahedron layer (M=Al, Fe, Mg and others). A water layer is sandwiched between the layers. The silicate layers have a slightly negative charge. This weak charge absorbs cations such as sodium, calcium and others in the natural state.

Ghassoul clay is very rich in trace minerals. These minerals detoxify the skin using by exchanging themselves for a variety of compounds including toxic metals and polar organic (oily) compounds.

The top structure in the illustration is repeated throughout the clay in layers. An essential characteristic of all smectite minerals is their ability to absorb tremendous amounts of water and other liquids into their sheet structures. This gives ghassoul clay extraordinary swelling properties. This combination of liquid and cation absorption and exchange is responsible for the unique properties of ghassoul clay. We recommend increasing the amount of liquids (water, etc) when using ghassoul in cold process soap. We suggest using no more than 2% ghassoul clay in most soap applications.

Source Article
Canadian Ghassoul source
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