What does it take to truly cleanse and clarify hair? A sulfate-rich shampoo can always do the trick but it comes with a heavy price to pay.
Sulfates do clarify your scalp and natural hair but they leave it completely stripped and deprived of any natural nutrients and oils.
Luckily, there’s a natural ingredient you can use to clarify your scalp and curly hair with in a very efficient way, without causing any damage to it. It’s called clay.
Natural clays are great for removing excess oil, dirt, and impurities from your hair and can leave it healthier than a clarifying shampoo does.
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Table of Contents
Is hair clay good for you?
There are different types of clay. The most popular are:
These 3 clay products are natural products and great cleansers. The best part is that they don’t have any harsh chemicals, they’re just known for their natural healing properties.
100% Natural clays can thoroughly cleanse whilst being gentle on your scalp, hair, and skin. Not to mention, it is a great way to detoxify and exfoliate without compromising healthy hair and a healthy scalp.
Reasons you’d want to use hair clay
The best thing about clay is you can use it in different ways, no matter your hair type. You can use it as:
- a homemade shampoo (to combat oily hair or product buildup, for example)
- or you can use it as a diy clay hair mask.
Apart from the obvious cleansing properties, there are a few more reasons why using hair clay could be vital:
- It helps define your curl pattern.
- Reduces frizz, tangles, and knots.
- Removes any toxins from the hair.
- Efficient at purging dead skin cells, dandruff, and other scalp-related issues.
- Even though it is meant to strip the hair off any impurities, it prevents moisture loss while cleansing your hair.
Should I shampoo before using a hair clay mask?
No, you don’t have to. Due to its deep clarifying nature you are not required to use shampoo before or after.
Just ensure your hair is damp and saturated with water. Section your hair in smaller parts so your hair gets all the nutrient-rich clay it needs.
All you have to do is to ensure that it coats your hair from root to ends, including your scalp. To get the best results use a plastic cap and just let it sit in your hair for at least 20 minutes.
Once it is completely absorbed into the scalp and hair, it is time to rinse out. It may take you some time to rinse it all out, but once it’s all done, your hair is cleansed, more defined.
Also, it’ll be more receptive to any moisturizing products that you apply since it has been given some sort of a ‘clean slate.’
Benefits of Bentonite Clay
Bentonite clay is actually old volcanic ash and has a has a creamy to grayish color. As you can imagine, it has been around for ages.
Because it contains a lot of natural minerals (such as aluminum), it has been used by indigenous people in North and South America for centuries.
Other clay minerals are:
- silica (strengthens your hair, so you can get longer hair)
- and calcium.
Bentonite has a negative charge and research has shown it has strong antimicrobial activity. Some people experience it helps against seborrheic dermatitis (stubborn dandruff and patches of skin that are red, dry, rough, and scaly).
When Bentonite clay gets in contact with water or other liquids, it binds itself to impurities in your hair, skin, and scalp. You could say it acts like a magnet for pollutants, chemicals, and other toxins that are positively charged.
Another benefit is that it also sucks up a lot of water and retains moisture. Imagine what will happen to your skin and hair when you make your own Bentonite clay hair mask?
What’s Rhassoul clay & what’s it good for?
If you’re looking to try a new clay for your scalp or hair, why not give Rhassoul a go?
It’s also known as Ghassoul or Moroccan red clay from the slopes of The Atlas Mountains in Morocco. It acts as a natural conditioner for hair, making it softer and shinier.
The name Rhassoul comes from the Arabic word ‘rhassala’ which means washing. It has a brown color and it’s great to use on your skin and hair since its rich in:
- magnesium and other minerals such as potassium, iron, and calcium.
- Magnesium is important in stimulating your hair follicles which results in healthy hair growth.
Although there hasn’t been done a lot of research on the benefits of this wonder clay yet, it has been linked to firming and tightening skin from as far back as ancient Egyptians and Romans.
Also lot of users (including myself) describe the following benefits of using Rhassoul clay:
- it’s a great detoxifier capable of removing any toxins, fungi, dandruff, and bacteria from the skin, scalp, and hair.
- It is a great exfoliant, cleanser, and clarifying agent which easily unclogs the pores, removes excess oils and sebum.
- When it comes to skin, reduces acne, blackheads, and whiteheads.
- Due to the presence of silica, it acts as an anti-aging agent by stimulating the production of collagen.
What is Kaolin clay and what is it good for?
Kaolin, also called white clay or China clay, is an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial clay that was used for centuries by the Chinese people from the Kao-ling Mountain.
They make porcelain, toothpaste, skincare and hair care products with it because it’s neutral in pH and rich in minerals like quartz, feldspar, anatase, muscovite, and mica.
Kaolin clay is a great option for people with dry and sensitive skin, as it’s a mild cleanser that doesn’t absorb too much. Plus, it comes with some great benefits:
- serve as a gentle exfoliator and detoxifier
- and it’s a great anti-aging agent.
How often should I use a clay mask?
Clay is sort of like a shampoo, mask, and conditioner all-in-one. By adding additional ingredients you can transform it into a super treatment or detoxifier.
You can use clay weekly or bi-weekly for the sole purpose of detoxification. Some people prefer to just use it once a month.
How often you use it depends on your scalp and hair’s needs. It’s all up to you.
There are all sorts of different clays out there, each with their own unique benefits depending on your skin type and hair characteristics. So it’s important to choose the right clay for your hair and scalp:
- Bentonite clay is a great alternative for clarifying your scalp and hair. It’s a great detoxifier, since it can absorb all the oils and impurities from your skin.
- Koalin and Rhassoul clay are ideal for people with dry hair and sensitive skin, as they are more gentle and won’t strip your hair and scalp of its natural oils.
- Also, Rhassoul is mostly used as a detoxifier and deep conditioner in one.
- Kaolin clay can be used as a deep conditioning treatment.
In addition, keep in mind that these clays do help keep your scalp and hair healthy, but they aren’t substitutes for medical treatments or medication.
If you have serious serious scalp issues, any forms of alopecia or any kind of hair loss, always consult your doctor or specialist.
Also, it is a wise idea to mix your clay in a wooden, plastic, or non-metallic bowl, so it doesn’t react with the metal. Although there’s no scientific evidence this actually happens, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
How do you make a hair clay mask?
- A glass, wooden, or plastic bowl and spoon
- 1 cup of clay of your choice.
- 2 cups of (filtered or demineralized) water
- 4 tbsp of carrier oil like olive, avocado or coconut oil
- 1 or 2 cups of coconut milk (1 can)
- optional add 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Fill a bowl with half a cup of clay.
- Add 1 cup of hot water step by step and mix until a creamy mass is formed.
- Then add the rest of the clay (half a cup) and the rest of the hot water (1 cup).
- Keep stirring until a smooth paste is formed.
- Add 4 tbsp of oil and add the coconut milk.
- Keep stirring until the mixture is blended with the rest of the clay.
- The paste should have smooth texture, almost yogurt-like.
- If the mixture is too runny, add some clay.
- If the mixture is too viscous, add some or water.
- Let it cool and apply the DIY hair clay mixture generously to your scalp and hair.
- Don't be stingy and comb it through your wet hair with your hands.
Also, it is a wise idea to mix your clay in a wooden, plastic, or non-metallic bowl, so it doesn’t react with the metal. Although there's no scientific evidence this actually happens, it's better to be safe than sorry.
About the author
Angela is a curly girl and has been a beauty blogger since 2012. Because of her passion for beauty and hair, she has been a certified makeup artist since 2016 and has done multiple hair styling trainings. As a cosmetics lover, she writes reviews on cosmetics and provides different solutions that facilitate your daily beauty and curls routine.