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Bentonite Clay Hair Wash Do’s and Dont’s

 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?

Bentonite Clay mask for Curly Hair method

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 Bentonite Clay Hair Wash Hair Do’s and Dont’s for the curly girl method

Part of the ethos behind the wavy and curly girl method is the use of natural ingredients so if you are looking for a natural degreaser for your scalp and thats kind for your hair then a Bentonite clay hair wash treatment can be a way to detox your hair if have product build-up

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Before you start a Bentonite clay warning!

I am a firm believer of 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 is 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 a so many uses in the health and beauty world and and is even used in some moisturisers to treat contact dermatitis.

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. It is imperative you know your hair type before using clay products as it can dehydrate your hair very quickly. You may find you want to apply it to the scalp only and leave the length out.

Do I have porous hair?

Low porosity hair will not absorb water quickly in the shower, will feel smooth 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 be colour treated, dry ends, 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 on the use of bentonite clay for certain hair types. Hence why I started with the bad news first. If you are a wavy with high porosity it will not work for you, if however 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 it is a mineral it self. 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 charge 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.


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 and 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 

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 easiet 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 the apple cider vinegar will also lower the ph level making it less alkaline and more in line with your hairs 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 some 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 Hair wash

  • 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 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 for, 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 in to 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 feels 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 on for approximately 30 minutes. If you feel like you need a little extra slip apply a conditioner after to comb 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 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 washes 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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Saturday 31st of December 2022

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.


Saturday 7th of January 2023

Glad I could help! I may need a few washes before it washes out


Friday 18th of March 2022

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!


Monday 4th of April 2022

Thank you for stopping by. That’s great news! I will have to give that recipe a try looks like a great way to clarify!


Thursday 17th of June 2021

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.


Monday 19th of July 2021

thanks for this


Saturday 23rd of January 2021

Thank you, so clear, my hair is 4c, which is badly damaged in the crown. Will be following you from now

Debra Murray

Sunday 6th of September 2020

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 😊


Monday 28th of September 2020

Glad you found it.Good idea about the coconut oil though! x

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