Friday, 1 August 2014

Product Review: Terresentials Pure Earth Hair Wash

I hadn't given clay washing much thought until I watched naptural85 enthuse about this product. I've been using Tints Of Nature Sulfate-free shampoo since I went natural and, although it works fine, it leaves my hair feeling a little stripped straight after so when I got the chance to buy Terresentials mud wash I thought, 'why the hell not'. 

What's in it:
Organic aloe vera juice, clay minerals, organic extract of organic linden flower, essential oils of organic true lavender and organic sweet orange, extracts of organic nettle, organic chamomile and organic shavegrass, essential oils of organic rose geranium, organic ylang ylang and organic clove bud.

It doesn't specify what clay is used except that it's mined in Africa. Although most blogs say it's bentonite, I assume it's more likely to be Rhassoul, which is mined in Morocco. Bentonite is only produced very minimally in Africa by South Africa, Egypt and Mozambique. 

What does it promise: 
Clean, full, soft and shiny hair if you follow their instructions. And these are quite specific. You have to do a detox consisting of numerous daily washes over a 7 day period. This is extended to a month if you have chemically treated hair.    

Who can use it:
Anyone! Straight, wavy, curly, kinky, it works for everyone. It works best on non-chemically-processed hair. People with chemicals in their hair, i.e relaxers, perms and permanent colour, can use it as long as they don't plan to return to chemical use. The caveat is that their hair will look and feel worse from its use. Not exactly encouraging. 

The different fragrance options are made for different hair types; my kinky, prone-to-dryness hair was best suited to the lavender wash. 2-5 year olds should has the fragrance-free one and they even have a baby wash for 6 month-2 year olds. 

How does it work:
It works by removing all plastic and protein polymers deposited on our hair strands by regular shampoo, conditioning and styling products. These polymers coat our hair, giving it an artificially healthy appearance. The mud wash removes these, leaving our hair looking and feeling better with time. Make sense to you? Me either.  

It also warns against returning to these products as you would have to start the detox again from scratch. more shampoos, conditioners or stylers. Ever.

Sounds great right?
Not really. 

How to use it:
Because of cost and availability, I ignored the detox step and just used this as I would a regular shampoo. 

1. Shake the bottle and squeeze a few tablespoons into a container. Don't use metal containers or utensils as metal reacts with clay, making it less effective. 

2. I then mix it with distilled water until it is runny but not too watery. This step is optional but it does make it the bottle last longer. 

3. Working in small sections using your fingers, apply the mud to damp, detangled hair. Working from the roots, massag into scalp then work it through the hair from roots to tip. Be aware, it is MESSY!

looks like white hair but it's the mud!

4.  When done, cover head and sit in sun or apply indirect heat and leave to bake for 30-60 minutes. Rinse under warm running water. 

How does it feel:
It smells rather strongly of lavender but it's not unpleasant. It has a fresh, tingly feel going on, doesn't lather at all and washes off easily. 

On my first ever wash, I used ACV beforehand to clarify (I watched a naptural85 how-to video) but the second time I only used the mud mask and didn't notice any difference in cleanliness. The third time I prepooed overnight with coconut oil but trying to wash that off with the Terresentials felt awful and gummy and the oil/mud mix congealed in places. My hair didn't feel particularly clean after so I won't be repeating that again in a hurry.

An extra large bottle (16oz/448ml) retails online for $20.50/KES1800- not including shipping so it's not cheap but I use about 2 tablespoons per wash so the large bottle should last about 15 washes or 7-11 months if I keep using it every 2-3 weeks. A large bottle (8oz/224) retails at $10.75/KES 1000- and they also have a 2oz/60ml trial size bottles for $4.00/KES 360. 

(For comparison sake, a 50mg packet of Bentonite or Rhassoul clay is sold locally for KES 250/- and would probably last one or two washes depending on your hair length). 

Would I Buy It Again:
Absolutely. I've been using it every two or three weeks for a few months now and I love it. It made my hair feel instantly soft and I was surprised that I was able to detangle my hair very easily with it on. It washed off easily and left my hair feeling incredibly soft. 

For those who are looking for a shampoo or cowashing alternative with no DIY involved, this is a fantastic option. My hair and scalp have felt clean enough that I haven't felt I needed my monthly shampoo, although I plan to shampoo my hair after my holiday because of lots of swimming. More surprisingly, I also haven't cowashed since and I no longer use conditioner in my spritz yet my hair still feels soft and conditioned. Instead, I use jojoba, distilled water and a little ACV for pH balance.

I have also chosen to ignore the 'no products ever' rule because, well, that's just crazy talk. Sorry folks over at Terresentials. I still DC and use my Qhemet creams to seal my hair. Terresentials has a very Puritan 'follow our rules or don't use us at all' marketing message (I'm paraphrasing) but I suppose it's because they have a great product that they feel strongly about. All in all, great product which will remain on my arsenal, local availability notwithstanding. 

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