- What is bentonite clay?
- What are its benefits in natural hair?
- How to use bentonite clay on natural hair
- A simple recipe for a bentonite clay mask
- How to apply bentonite clay on natural hair
- Final Thoughts
You might be wondering how to use bentonite clay for natural hair if you have build-up on your scalp or other irritating scalp conditions.
An itchy scalp and dirty hair can be an annoyance and even embarrassing and there is nothing worse than trying different shampoos only to find that none of them work.
Here I want to lay out the benefits of bentonite clay* and how it can help you with your natural hair.
Montmorillonite clay, otherwise known as bentonite clay, is a mud-like compound derived from volcanic ash. Personal care professionals sometimes use it as a face mask. In addition to being used for hair, bentonite clay is also helpful for adding moisture and removing toxins from the hair.
The largest source of bentonite clay* in the world is located at Fort Benton, Wyoming, hence its name.
It has been said that bentonite clay has a variety of healing properties for the body, both internally and externally. In alternative medicine, the clay has traditionally been used to treat digestive problems, bug bites, dry skin, and more.
Currently, there is very little scientific evidence supporting bentonite clay’s benefits for the hair. Based on a study published in the Iranian Journal of Public HealthTrusted Source, bentonite clay can help sheep wool grow faster and softer.
Still, you will find plenty of anecdotal evidence online on bentonite clay’s benefits.
Here are a few of the main ones:
1. Boosts shine
As a result of product buildup, your hair may appear gray or white. This film impairs your hair’s natural shine so by getting rid of it, your hair’s sheen is restored.
2. Removes impurities from scalp and hair
Bentonite clay has a negative charge that attracts positively charged product build-up or heavy metal toxins. This makes it an excellent cleanser.
3. Softens and conditions the strands
Bentonite clay masks can soften and condition the hair, making it more manageable. Wash days will be easier with fewer tangles which is something on every natural’s wish list!
4. Boosts hair growth
Although bentonite clay doesn’t stimulate the scalp the way that essential oils do, it does an excellent job of thoroughly cleaning out hair follicles. This of course creates a great environment for better and faster hair growth*.
5. Contains antimicrobial properties
Bentonite clay disinfects the scalp and hair by killing bacteria, viruses, and fungi which makes it perfect for those who suffer from scalp fungal infections, seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff.
You can learn more about how to deal with seborrheic dermatitis by reading our post on the subject.
6. Curl definition
The clay is praised for its ability to define curls and clump them together, which makes it popular for those who practice the maximum hydration method. The maximum hydration method purports to help clump curls in all hair types including 4c hair.
Masks are the most popular way to use the clay. Most recipes for bentonite hair masks use three main ingredients: bentonite clay, water, and apple cider vinegar.
Despite being a natural ingredient, the clay is not weak. While it clarifies, it does also remove natural oils from your hair thereby stripping it.
You should follow up by using the clay with a deep hydrating treatment. Because clay is so cleansing, you will not need to shampoo after your clay treatment.
Regardless, bentonite clay provides a clean slate for you to apply your conditioning products and as such, you can use it as a “hair reset” mask. Using the clay will help your products work better since they can reach the shaft more effectively without all that build-up in the way.
The application of a bentonite clay treatment may seem challenging at first, but it really isn’t hard. It is however a bit messy so ensure that you place a towel over your shoulders before starting, or at the very least, wear a shirt that you don’t mind getting dirty.
With equal parts clay and water, along with half part apple cider vinegar*, you can make your own mask at home. Always use wooden or plastic utensils when mixing the clay mixture, as it reacts to metal.
Following is a simple recipe for a single-use mask:
- 1 cup of bentonite clay
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar*
- A few drops of a nice smelling essential oil like lavender
- Put clay in a plastic or ceramic bowl
- Add the ACV and water and mix until smooth and creamy. It should look like the texture of yogurt and that’s it! Your mask is ready to use.
The mask can even be made in larger batches so you always have enough on hand. Store the remaining mask in the fridge until you are ready to use it again.
After detangling your hair, section it into manageable sections, and spray warm water over each section. Massage the clay into your scalp and hair from root to tip and ensure that every strand is coated.
After you have applied the clay, put a shower cap* over your hair and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. You don’t want to allow the clay to dry on your hair so ensure that you keep your curls covered.
Take a shower and thoroughly rinse the clay from your hair and follow up by applying a deep conditioner*. After the thorough cleansing of your hair, you’ll probably find that deep conditioners work much better.
You may find that dandruff shampoos don’t work for you and still suffer from scalp conditions or itchiness.
Or maybe your natural curls may be too delicate for conventional sulfate and clarifying shampoos. Either way, bentonite clay is a natural clarifier for your scalp and hair. It can make scalp conditions disappear and help restore your hair’s moisture balance so it’s certainly worth a try.