Clay has been used for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes since ancient times. Today, clay is a must-have product in any nature-inspired beauty regimen. The proven effectiveness of clay and the absence of chemicals make it increasingly popular among people who prefer natural hair care products.
This nature-made material is rich in minerals and nutrients, which makes it suitable for many cosmetic purposes. Cosmetic clays have clarifying properties and can remove excess oils, dirt, and chemicals from the skin and hair.
This powerful detoxifier is negatively charged, so it can attract positively charged ions, toxins, and product build-up from the hair and scalp. When combined with water, clay binds to these residues and eliminates them from the skin and hair. It nourishes the hair and scalp with minerals and nutrients, unblocks clogged hair follicles, and helps relieve dandruff and hair loss.
Clay also softens hair, helps with detangling, and enhances curl pattern, which makes it a favorite product for women with natural hair.
Types of Clays that are Commonly Used for Washing Hair
Washing hair with clay is a growing trend, as many people are switching to a natural hair care regimen to avoid toxic chemicals in commercial hair care products. There are various types of clay on the hair care market, but there are three most commonly used for cleansing natural hair:
1) Bentonite Clay
Bentonite Clay is formed by volcanic activities and was first found in Fort Benton in the USA. This is a great therapeutic clay that may be consumed for detoxing and revitalizing the entire body or applied topically to cleanse and detox the skin and hair.
Bentonite Clay is highly absorbent and has a strong attraction to positively charged chemicals, toxins, and impurities. This property makes it perfect for cleansing and detoxifying skin and hair.
Benefits for Hair
- It thoroughly cleanses the hair and takes away product buildup, excess oil, dirt, and everything bad from your scalp and hair. It won’t dry out hair if used properly.
- High levels of mineral elements, such as calcium, silica, iron, and potassium, help condition the hair and combat hair loss.
- Bentonite Clay makes detangling easier, reduces frizz, increases curl definition, imparts shine, and makes hair more manageable.
2) Rhassoul Clay
Rhassoul Clay, also known as ghassoul clay or Red Moroccan Clay, is a reddish-brown clay that originates from Morocco. This nutritious mineral clay has been traditionally used in Morocco for skin and hair care. Red Moroccan Clay is a highly regarded beauty product, due to its strong purifying and cleansing abilities and therapeutic benefits. It blends easily with water, forming a smooth, silky paste, which is an excellent cleanser for the skin and hair.
Benefits for Hair
- Red Moroccan Clay gently cleanses the hair, without depleting protective natural oils from the hair and scalp. It also conditions your hair, leaving it moisturized and soft after washing.
- Rhassoul Clay soothes the scalp, due to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It reduces dryness and flakiness and provides relief from dandruff and psoriasis.
- It removes excess oil, unblocks clogged pores, and creates the optimal environment for healthy hair growth.
- Due to high mineral content, this clay eliminates the need for deep conditioning after washing hair. It acts as a detangler for natural hair and helps define and soften waves and curls.
3) Kaolin Clay
Kaolin Clay, also called China Clay, is widely used in the cosmetic industry. Kaolin Clay has the lowest pH and has the gentlest cleansing action among all clays.
It gently removes impurities from the scalp and hair, without stripping natural oils, and is ideal for people with dry or sensitive skin. Its absorptive capacity is not significant. However, if you have dry hair, this clay may be the right choice.
Kaolin clay is available in several colors, based on the mineral constituents.
- This clay gently cleanses hair and scalp, without excessive drying.
- It stimulates blood circulation and gently exfoliates the scalp while cleansing.
- Kaolin clay strengthens hair, improves elasticity, and helps repair damaged hair.
- It soothes the scalp, helps treat dandruff, and encourages hair growth.
Advantages of Clay over Commercial Hair Shampoos
The strong ionic negative charge gives the clay its ability to draw out impurities from the hair. Many cleansing and conditioning properties make it a great alternative to commercial hair shampoos. Clay is rich in minerals and nutrients and can offer benefits that regular shampoos can’t provide. Clays can be used for washing hair regardless of hair type.
If you are fed up with chemical-laden shampoos, incorporate clay into your hair care regimen. Clay washes are natural and free of harsh cleansing agents, preservatives, fragrances, mineral oils, and other synthetic ingredients.
If you are going no-poo, you need deep cleaning, occasionally. A clay mask will clarify and detox your hair and scalp, without the excessive drying associated with clarifying shampoos.
Some clays will clarify and condition your hair at the same time. Clay provides a nutrient-boost to your hair and leaves it feeling soft and easier to detangle.
Washing with some clays makes the scalp healthier, offering relief to people who suffer from itchiness, dandruff, and psoriasis.
Clay is naturally biodegradable and will not pollute water systems and rivers.
However, washing your hair with clay is messier and less convenient than using regular shampoos.
How to Wash Your Hair with Clay
Mix 1-2 tablespoons of clay powder with water in a non-metallic container. For long or very curly hair, you need to add more clay and make the mixture thinner, but not runny.
Wet your hair as usual, then massage the mixture into the scalp for a few minutes. Saturate hair thoroughly and make sure to reach your scalp. Rinse hair thoroughly, using plenty of running water; otherwise, the tiny clay particles can remain in your hair.
Use only non-metallic utensils and bowls when mixing, as the metal will interact with clay and lessen its effectiveness.
Make sure that the clay doesn’t dry on your hair; otherwise, it will be difficult to get it out of the hair.
Add a few drops of argan oil to the mixture to help impart shine or add some other oils of your preference for conditioning benefits.
Most clays have much higher alkalinity than your hair. Use apple cider vinegar rinse to help restore your hair’s natural pH balance after washing it with clay.