Skip to my 5 minute clay cleanse video – (includes clay mix recipe to stimulate hair growth and application process).
Generally, after a regular hair wash we tend to pack on products (conditioners, leave-ins, oils, creams, butters, etc.) for the purpose of maintenance & moisture retention – before our next wash day.
Some of these products contain toxins which over time, can leave our hair looking and feeling dry, limp, non-absorbent and may subsequently impede healthy growth. Yes, even shampoos may leave some toxic residue in our hair; and this is where clay and its detoxifying abilities play a significant role.
Yes, even shampoos may leave some toxic residue in our hair.
My Past Experience with Clay
Clay washes have over time become important to my hair care regimen for many reasons.
In the past I’d tried clay on my hair and had decided it wasn’t for me, mostly because I was displeased with the dry state it tended to leave my hair in. I stayed off clay for a long time until sometime last year when clay washes seemed to make a comeback in the Natural Hair Community.
Curbing the DRYING effect of Clay Washes
I’d watched a couple of clay wash videos, studied their methods and picked up on where I might have previously gone wrong. These were the discoveries I made:
- I realised that a good oil prep or pre-poo was key to avoiding the potential over-drying effect of clay washes on our hair.
- I also realised that I had never bothered to incorporate certain key ingredients like oils, essential oils or aloe vera juice in my clay mixes; I had just (naïvely) mixed my clay with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and water and applied directly to my hair.
- Another key step to avoiding over-drying is to do a deep condition after your clay cleanse. Another thing that has never failed me, is doing a co-wash with a super moisturising conditioner about 2-3 days after my clay cleanse. That’s usually brings out the best of my hair!
Discovering the above tricks was a major eye-opener for me; and as a result, clay washes have made a glorious return to my hair-care routine & are definitely here to stay!
Healing and Detoxifying Qualities of Clay
Clay is often a key ingredient in skin and hair care products due to its cleansing, healing and detoxifying characteristics.
One of the most popular healing clays is Bentonite Clay – which is of grey or cream colour with super fine consistency. Bentonite clay is said to have a variety of healing properties for the body, inside and out. Historically, this clay has been used in alternative medicine to get rid of digestive issues, bug bites, dry skin, and more.
It also has the ability of absorbing and removing impurities, toxins, heavy metals and chemicals. Clay has numerous beauty-related uses and health benefits, and the fact that it is natural adds to its attractiveness to many.
Clay Types & Their Uses
The five most popular clays for hair and skin care are: Bentonite clay, Rhassoul clay, Kaolin clay, Sea clay and Fuller’s earth clay. Bentonite and Rhassoul are more commonly used for hair (but not excluding skin) care. Kaolin clay is said to be the gentlest of all the clays so is best for sensitive skin, and it comes in different colours (white, yellow, red & pink). White kaolin is said to be the gentlest of the bunch and ideal for dry sensitive skin while red is the most absorbent of the group and is best for oily skin.
Additional uses of these clays include:
- ◊ Bentonite clay – when used on hair – cleans, repairs, adds shine, reduces frizz and can deeply moisturise dry strands.
- ◊ Bentonite clay is also known to be an active ingredient in many acne-fighting products and due to its amazing absorbing abilities, it is great for oily skin as it is able to easily suck up all excess sebum.
- ◊ Bentonite clay has the ability to draw out excess dirt and oil thanks to its charged molecules that attract toxins away from the face (or skin) leaving it visibly smoother.
- ◊ If you have dry & sensitive skin, then white Kaolin clay could be ideal for you. It is low absorbing, great for mild exfoliations and would leave the skin feeling softer.
- ◊ Pink kaolin clay is basically a mixture of the white & red kaolin clays, making it the perfect balance for those with combination (both dry and oily) skin.
- ◊ Sea clay (also known as french green clay) which is usually green in colour, can be found in France and is known for it’s oil-absorbing, pore-tightening and exfoliating qualities.
- ◊ Rhassoul clay is good for both the hair and skin and is said to be less drying than its bentonite counterpart. It is good at sucking up impurities, blackheads and excess oil without leaving the skin dry thanks to its elastic and texture-improving qualities.
Clay Cleanses / Washes NEED NOT be Done Every Wash Day
I do clay washes mostly when I feel my hair and curls need some reviving and awakening ?. Whenever I feel my hair isn’t absorbing (or responding to) products as it normally would, I know it’s time for a detox. This would usually be once in every 2 to 3 months. Others may do clay cleanses as seldom as once or twice a year and that works for them. Basically, listening to your hair and what works best for ‘her’ is key.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Clay Cleanses to the Hair
These pros and cons are based on my personal experiences from clay washes; and are intended to give you beautés an honest, first-hand review on what it’s like or what to expect. Personally, I have only tried Bentonite clay but I am keen on trying Rhassoul clay in the future; just to see what it’s like as compared to bentonite clay.
As for white kaolin clay, I have tried it as a face mask but did not find it as effective as bentonite clay (I’ve got combination skin which leans more towards oily than dry) so I’d rather recommend it to those with sensitive skin; since it isn’t as drying as bentonite clay.
As compared to shampoos, besides the fact that clay is a natural alternative and chemical free, a major difference that I’ve noticed is how Bentonite clay defines my curls and tends to also double as a masque (conditions and softens) for my hair. Other benefits clay washes have had on my hair include:
My Bentonite Clay wash Pros
- Detoxifies & removes impurities from my hair (and skin)
- Improves hair porosity and the hair’s ability to properly absorb products
- Great shampoo alternative plus bentonite clay cleanses without stripping hair of its natural oils
- Leaves my hair feeling soft, silky and frizz free
- Visibly darkens and defines my natural curls
- Restores lustre and shine to dry, dull hair
My Bentonite Clay wash Cons
- It’s messy so be sure to either apply in the shower or use a protective cape (as in my tutorial video) or any old cloth / towel. Note that it does not stain permanently as it is quite easy to wipe, rinse or wash off.
- As I’d mentioned earlier, clay washes could leave the hair dry so be sure to follow my suggested steps to help curb / minimise the drying effect of clay cleanses.
My Clay Wash Routine
Here’s a 5 minute video showing my effective clay wash routine; mixture and application to my hair.
If you have any questions (or have tried it and faced some challenges) be sure to leave them below and I’ll be sure to respond ?
❀ L O V E & L I G H T ❀