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The secret to the softest, cleanest, smoothest hair ever? Mud


mudpooThe other day, I washed my hair with mud. But it was clean mud, so it left my hair dirt-free, as unlikely as that may sound. The mud in question was SheaTerra Organics Moroccan Mud-Poo ($16) and if we’re getting technical it’s actually made with Moroccan lava clay, plus a bunch of all-natural oils (olive, mongongo, watercress, henna, calendula), and marshmallow root.

First of all, let’s just get this out of the way: Yes, this product is really called Mud-Poo. The concept is that mud—and clay—has deep-cleansing powers that you can wash your hair with, thus the name (a play on shampoo)—though putting something with the word “poo” in your hair takes a certain crazy courage.

A clay mask for your hair
But it’s not so crazy if you think about it. After all, we’ve all been mud- and clay-masking our faces and bodies for ages‚ and some people (for instance, Shailene Woodley) have even been consuming clay for its purported health benefits.

“Shampooing with clay is about more than just cleaning. It leaves your hair shiny and soft, but more importantly it leaves it healthy,” hairstylist Kristina Maccaro explains. “We detoxify our skin with clay masks for a glowing complexion. Why wouldn’t you want to give your hair and scalp the same treatment?”

Of course, the clay alone would be harsh and drying for the hair, so Mud-Poo’s infused with oils to restore softness and shine.

Mud-Poo The upside
The upside is that Mud-Poo is amazingly cleansing: SheaTerra says it’s made of lava clay mined from Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, organic oils, and other natural ingredients.

And it’s free of any chemicals and preservatives found in drugstore shampoos—like parabens, SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), SLES (sodium lauryl ether sulfate), synthetic fragrance, and synthetic color, to name a few—and you can feel good about washing it down the drain.

The downside
However, using it isn’t always pretty. The first time I tried it, I decided to ignore the instructions to mix several tablespoons of Mud-Poo with water in a cup. I figured I could skip the cup and create the concoction right in my hand. Wrong. The Mud-Poo liquefied and ran right through my fingers and down the drain.

The second time, I got into the shower armed with a cup. Making the mixture involves a little trial-and-error (too little water can quickly become too much) but eventually I got it right. I massaged the Mud-Poo into my hair, let it sit for a few minutes and rinsed as instructed. I followed with a conditioner, though I’m not sure you have to.

The results?
When my hair dried, it was light, soft and felt clean. Like that just-back-from-the-hairdresser kind of clean that you can never quite re-create on your own, no matter how hard you try. My shower, however, looked like a crime scene (mud splashed all over the walls and across the tub). But it was a small price to pay for perfectly smooth, grease-free hair.

All of which is not to say that I’m giving up on regular natural shampoo anytime soon. (There are so many great ones to try, after all!) But as with face masks, I’m definitely working Mud-Poo into a weekly rotation to keep product build-up and pollution off my locks. —Victoria Lewis

Gorgeous hair can come from the strangest places. There’s mud, there’s mushrooms, and, oh yeah, beer.

(Photo: Stocksy, SheaTerra Organics)