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Bentonite Clay Hair Wash Do’s and Dont’s

Have you ever tried a clay hair wash? There are many shampoos and cg approved products which deal with build-up on your hair, but they can be quite harsh. In this post, we will look at the benefits of Clay Hair Wash Hair Dos and Dont’s for the curly girl method

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Why use a bentonite Clay mask for Curly Hair method? Part of the ethos behind the wavy and curly girl method is the use of natural ingredients. Clay washes are a natural degreaser for your scalp that can get rid of excess oil, but they are also kind for your hair. A clay hair wash treatment can be a way to detox your hair if it has product build-up

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Bentonite Clay Hair Wash Hair Do’s and Dont’s for the Curly Girl Method 

Tips for using Bentonite clay on hair while doing the curly girl method. Can I use clay on porous hair?

Before you start Bentonite clay, warning!

I am a firm believer in only writing about what I know and trying out everything I suggest. So I chose to try the bentonite clay on the risk that it may dry my hair out but also to get a good view of what it does to hair and scalp. This is my own personal opinion, and if you wish to use bentonite clay, it is important to know your own hair type.

What is Bentonite Clay?

Bentonite clay is an absorbent old clay that usually forms from volcanic ash. It is also known as Montmorillonite clay or Fullers earth. Montmorillonite is a nutrient-rich clay and is effective at balancing pH levels on the skin and inside the body. It has so many uses in the health and beauty world and and is even used in some moisturisers to treat contact dermatitis.

The abundance of clay minerals includes calcium, magnesium, silica, sodium, potassium, copper, and iron. It is known to nourish the skin and the hair by balancing oil production. It can also help in removing dead skin cells and unclogging pores.

Can you use Bentonite Clay on High Porosity or Porous Hair?

Although bentonite clay has some benefits for most hair types, it can have harsh effects on others. Bentonite can strip and absorb access water like a sponge out of porous hair, so it is advisable not to use it on Porous hair and may not be suitable for natural curls. You must know your hair type before using clay products, as it can dehydrate your hair very quickly. If you already have dry hair, it may not work for you. For best results, you may want to apply it to the scalp only, which is more oily and leave the length out.

Do I have porous hair?

Low porosity hair will not absorb water quickly in the shower, and will feel smooth, it can be greasy or shiny but can also lack moisture and feel dry as cuticles are tightly shut.

High porosity hair is often dry, absorbs water quickly in the shower, may colour treated, dry ends, is frizzy and lacks shine as the cuticles are open and often damaged.

Should I do a Bentonite clay wash?

 I decided to write this post as I felt misinformed about the use of bentonite clay for certain hair types. Hence I started with the bad news first. If you are wavy with high porosity, it will not work for you; if you have coils or have afro hair that is low porosity, it may be the perfect remedy.

 Bentonite clay removes toxins; it does not remove hard minerals as it is a mineral itself. It is also a dehydrator, and although not as strong as Sodium Bentonite, Calcium bentonite will absorb a third of what sodium bentonite will.

There has been no scientific evidence to support that bentonite clay is beneficial to your hair. Having said that, there are many people who use bentonite clay on a regular basis with good results. 

However, it is not suitable for everybody’s hair!

How does Bentonite clay clean hair? 

Bentonite cleanses hair by absorbing negatively charged toxins resulting in a clean slate. It acts somewhat like a clarifying shampoo by removing oil, dirt and greasy residues, including build-up from products.

What different types of clay are there for hair?

  • Bentonite Clay: Bentonite clay is a popular choice for hair care due to its ability to absorb excess oil and impurities. It can help detoxify the scalp and provide a light hold with a matte finish. Bentonite clay is suitable for oily hair and can add volume.

  • Kaolin Clay: Kaolin clay, also known as white clay or China clay, is a gentle clay that works well for those with sensitive scalps. It provides a lightweight hold and is excellent for adding texture and body to the hair. Kaolin clay is suitable for fine hair.

  • Rhassoul Clay: Rhassoul clay, mined from Morocco, is rich in minerals and has been used for centuries in beauty treatments. It cleanses the hair and scalp while also providing some hold and volume. Rhassoul clay is suitable for most hair types.

  • French Green Clay: French green clay is a powerful detoxifier and can help remove excess oil and product buildup from the hair and scalp. It provides a strong hold and matte finish, making it suitable for thick or coarse hair.

  • Fuller’s Earth Clay: Fuller’s earth clay is known for its oil-absorbing properties. It can add volume and texture to the hair while reducing oiliness. It’s suitable for oily or greasy hair types.

  • Black Clay: Black clay, also known as Brazilian clay, is rich in minerals and can provide a strong hold with a matte finish. It’s often used for shaping and styling coarse or thick hair.

  • Red Clay: Red clay is a mild clay that is less drying than some other clays. It can add a gentle hold and is suitable for those with dry or damaged hair.

  • Multani Mitti (Fuller’s Earth): This clay, commonly used in Ayurvedic hair care, is excellent for scalp health. It can help remove excess oil, dandruff, and impurities while promoting hair growth.

  • Sea Clay: Sea clay is derived from marine sediments and is rich in minerals. It provides a medium hold and can add texture and thickness to the hair. It’s suitable for various hair types.

See my easy Co washing and clarifying guide here

What are the Benefits of Clay for Natural Hair? 

Using Bentonite clay can be very beneficial for the hair and scalp particularly if you are doing the curly girl method. Here is what Bentonite clay is said to do . 

  • It can remove impurities from hair and scalp. As the clay is negatively charged, it attracts positively charged product build-up and toxins, pretty much like a magnet. Which results in thoroughly cleansed hair.
  • Enhances Shine as it removes product build-up, which results in shiny hair 
  • A percentage of Bentonite Clay has antibacterial Properties which can kill bacteria, viruses, and fungus from the scalp and hair. This can ease symptoms of psoriasis seborrheic dermatitis, and dandruff. 
  • It can help Define Curls by helping to clump curls together.
  • said to make hair softer and less frizzy
  • It can encourage hair growth with its  different natural minerals 

Step-by-step guide to using Clay masks on hair

The best way to use Bentonite clay is to make a clay mask to pop on your hair. 

How to Use Clay on Naturally Curly Hair

The easiest method to use it is to make a clay mask wash with water. You can add extras to it, such as Apple cider vinegar ( ACV) and essential oils such as lavender if you wish. Using apple cider vinegar will also lower the pH level making it less alkaline and more in line with your hair’s natural pH.

Bentonite clay wash The easiet method to use it is to make a clay mask wash with water

How do you make a hair mask for curly hair? 

It is really easy and super quick to make and use clay hair wash. You can purchase clay here check the sizes of the pots and bags you get much more for your money

  • Use a wooden or plastic bowl and spoon when you’re making your clay mixture as metal can activate the clay, which can reduce the effects on your hair and skin. Also, do not expose metal rings wear gloves if necessary.
  • Use 1 – 2 tbsp of bentonite clay
  • 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • mix and add water to reach a creamy consistency 

How to do a Clay Hairwash

  • Wet Hair and comb ( or brush through with a wet brush )
  • apply to scalp, mid-lengths
  • leave on for 10 minutes
  • rinse in warm water
  • finish with a deep conditioner or a protein treatment 

The clay is a strong natural ingredient, so it should not be left on too long as it can strip natural oils and protein from your hair too. Experiment with how long you leave it on, usually around 10 minutes.

What do you put on your Hair after Bentonite Clay? 

Hair will need to be followed up with a deep conditioning treatment. If your hair doesn’t like to be over-moisturised, you may benefit from doing a very Light rice water rinse after your conditioner or use a protein conditioner. Rinse really well in warm water. You should not need to shampoo your hair after your treatment; just condition and style as usual. 

How to revert a bentonite clay disaster and get clay out of your hair when doing the curly hair method

What should I do if bentonite clay ruins my Hair? 

First up do not panic! It has not ruined your hair it just needs removing and hydrating properly. If your hair feels heavy, you have not removed the bentonite correctly, or you have porous hair and it has been absorbed into the porous cuticle and the clay has dried it out.

Follow these steps to rehydrate your hair after a Bentonite clay wash.

Step 1

Rinse again in warm water to open the cuticle and release the particles. ( not cold! This closes the cuticle  ) I advise washing your hair over a sink with the plug-in so that you can see that the water is running clear. Any cloudy water means there is still clay in the hair. 

Step 2 

Access the situation. Does the hair feel dry, heavy or still loaded? If your hair feels sticky after this, then there is still clay in the hair, so repeat the above rinse again. 

If the hair feels heavy or loaded move to step 3. Or if it just feels dry and tangled move to step 4

Step 3

If your hair still feels like this, then you may need to do a shampoo ( such as a final wash shampoo- no silicone but sulphate) to remove any extra minerals. Do not worry it can not do any more drying out.

Step 4

Deep condition! Use a moisturising deep conditioner to plump out those cuticles again. Leave it on for approximately 30 minutes. If you feel like you need a little extra slip, apply a conditioner after combing it through. 

Step 5 

Rice rinse. Bentonite clay is so good at absorbing everything, including protein you may need to add back some protein. Either do a rice protein treatment in place of step 4 or just a light rice rinse over your conditioner to smooth the cuticles.

My preferred way is a quick last-minute rinse with cool rice water to smooth the cuticles.

Step 6 

Aftercare, use a leave in conditioner and style as usual if your hair does not still feel recovered, revert to  Co washing on the next wash and deep treatment until your hair feels moisturised.

revived after a clay wash before and after bentonite clay wash picture

Bentonite Clay After Storage.

 Treat bentonite clay as you would any fresh ingredients for up to 3 days in the fridge, or alternatively use the rest as a facemask! 

Thank you for reading my Bentonite Clay Hair Wash Do’s and Dont’s

Disclaimer I decided to write this post as I felt I was misinformed by lots of other posts on the subject not detailing the effects it can have on other hair types.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and received from detailed experience. 

This is my own personal opinion and if people wish to use bentonite it is important to know your own hair type 

D x

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Clay hair mask help and tips for using on hair


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  1. Thank you so much for your article. I’ve read so much about how good bentonite clay was for your scalp and hair and never saw anything about not using on porous hair or lightened hair until after I had the mask on for almost 8 minutes that’s when I saw your article! I didn’t even finish reading until later washed twice feels ok but still a little dark. With that said scalp feels great, maybe could use on scalp only made a lot thinner for use in a hair color bottle with rest of hair covered in coconut oil. Again Thanks 😊

  2. Clay can be mixed with curd/hung curd to compensate for moisture loss. Adding soaked and grinded fenugreek seed will take it a notch up.

    1. Fenugreek, really? I assume you have to grind it down to a powder. I was looking to post a comment thanking the author for the info but couldn’t find where so forgive me for posting as a reply to your comment, Swati. I used the clay with acv and a store bought aloe since I couldn’t get the natural aloe to break down into anything smaller than booger sized clumps. lol My hair is colored and straight but since hitting 50 it seems to have lost all luster and it gets easily tangled now. I only used the mask on my roots where the dye had already grown out but still saw some color rinse out when I rinsed. I rinsed with cool water to protect my green, purple and pink dye but then realized that it hadn’t rinsed from my scalp entirely so I rinsed again. I gotta say, my hair feels so much softer and I haven’t even conditioned it yet. My scalp still looks bad because of all the dryness but it’s definitely better, now. I am going to incorporate bentonite clay in with my routine from now on. thank you again.

  3. Thanks for this great article and the breakdown of the do’s and don’ts. I have 50% gray 2c hair that loses it’s bounce and luster due to anti-frizz styling products that build up. This method is so much better than a harsh “clarifying” shampoo.

    Since the mask can be so easily customized, the sky is the limit!

    The recipe I concocted was: 1/3 cup Bentonite clay, 2 tbls each of ACV, aloe gel, and sweet almond oil, 5 drops each Lavender and Clary Sage EO . I added enough water to make a nice smooth paste. Applied it to damp hair in sections, then put on a plastic grocery bag. I also applied it to my face!

    After 10 minutes I got in the shower to rinse it all off (scrubbed it into my scalp as I went), washed gently with a sulfate-free shampoo, followed by a silicone-free conditioner.

    Bouncy, shiny, soft curls are back!

  4. Thank you for this. I was looking for an article that was on the effects of bentonite clay. I had started my masking in the evening and then felt extra lazy to wash it out. I then washed it out with cool water and it felt heavy and dry. I was unsure if I had washed it out properly. Seems like I will follow it up with a moisture mask tomorrow since I have already moisturised it.

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