All About Using Bentonite Clay on Your Natural Hair

Last updated on January 10th, 2024 at 07:51 pm

what does bentonite clay do for natural hair

Bentonite clay is one of the most excellent natural ingredients for hair. In this article you’ll discover the answer to a frequently asked question in the natural hair community, “What does bentonite clay do for natural hair?

Fun Facts About Bentonite Clay

Before getting into the benefits of bentonite clay, how to use it on on natural hair, and more let’s examine some fun facts about it.

For starters, bentonite clay is found in abundance in the state of Wyoming, in a town called Fort Benton. This is where Bentonite clay gets its name from (Benton – Bentonite).

It also goes by the name of montmorillonite clay in central western France which is where it was initially found in a town called Montmorillon.

facts about bentonite clay

Properties of Bentonite Clay

Now, let’s examine the properties of bentonite clay. It is actually a fine powder that is formed from volcanic ash as it ages. It’s off white in color when it’s wet or dry and it has a neutral scent. When wet, bentonite clay becomes very viscous – sticky and thick in nature.

Bentonite is a natural clay that is negatively charged. It has a pH balance of about 8.5 and it’s highly absorbent. When mixed with water, the clay can swell greatly.

Here’s What Bentonite Clay Does When Adding it to Your Natural Hair Regimen

While bentonite clay has a negative ionic charge, it attracts toxic substances and heavy metals that have a positive charge to it that may be deposited in your hair.

Because of the properties and benefits of bentonite clay, it can be used to remove product buildup from natural hair. It’s also helpful to improve the appearance of curly hair. When hair has product build up, dirt and other debris, it can appear dull and lifeless.

A bentonite clay wash or hair mask can greatly improve the appearance of the hair once it’s been thoroughly treated.

bentonite clay wash on fine natural hair

Also, due to Bentonite’s high absorption capacity, it can absorb excess oils from the hair. It literally acts like a sponge when it comes into contact with water.

Bentonite clay is widely used in cosmetics but for those of us with natural hair, it can remove build up from the hair and scalp. The clay will remove dead skin cells and also help prevent premature hair loss.

So, if you are experiencing hair growth issues the hair follicles will be clear to grow without hindrance.

Also, for those of us with low porosity hair, bentonite clay works exceptionally well because the low-po hair type tends to accumulate product build up very easily. This is due to the cuticle layer of low porosity hair being so tight. Products tend to sit on the hair shaft since they don’t easily penetrate.

Lastly, if you have 4 C hair, you’ll find that using a bentonite clay mask in your hair will help to also elongate the curls, resulting in less shrinkage. Then, when you rinse your hair it will be easier to detangle.

How to Make a Bentonite Clay Hair Mask

bentonite clay wash

There’s several ways to make a hair mask using bentonite clay. You can use warm water to mix it up and/or apple cider vinegar.

For best results, you should also add natural oils and essential oils to your hair mask.

While using bentonite on it’s own is enough to create a hair mask for all hair types, it’s actually better to mix it with other clays like French green clay, kaolin clay, or rhassoul clay.

Using a mixture of clays, covers the removal of a wider range of substances – those with a negative charge. For example, Rhassoul clay has a positively charged exterior and it can draw negatively charged substances such as pesticides. You definitely don’t want those in your hair.

Here’s a simple bentonite clay hair mask recipe:

  • 3 ounces of Bentonite Clay
  • Mix in some Apple Cider Vinegar to a yogurt-like consistency (option: alternate with 1/2 distilled water)
  • 1/2 dropper of tea tree oil
  • 5 drops of an essential oil

Optionally, you can add a teaspoon of coconut oil to your recipe to add anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties to it.

When mixing up the hair mask, do so in a plastic or wooden bowl with either plastic or wooden utensils. Avoid using metals which can interact with and impact the potency of the mask.

Lastly, once a month is about how frequent you want to use a bentonite clay mask for your hair. Again, it’s highly absorbent and you don’t want to use it too often. Once a month is sufficient but if you use a lot of styling products, twice a month will do.

For more, check out 3 Simple Clay Mask Recipes

Bentonite Clay Mask Application

You can use bentonite clay to cleanse your hair thoroughly. Shampoo isn’t required before or after. In fact, bentonite clay is a great clarifier. See this article on Clarifying Natural Hair and Scalp.

Before moving on to doing a full application of bentonite clay, do a patch test in an inconspicuous area on your skin (example: behind the ear) to make sure you don’t have any allergic side effects.

  1. Working in sections, thoroughly coat your dry hair with the clay mask from roots to tips. Alternatively, dampen your hair with water using a spray bottle before applying.
  2. Massage into the scalp and allow the hair mask to sit on your hair for 5 minutes, allowing the clay to “absorb”
  3. Rinse thoroughly
  4. Follow with a deep conditioner

It’s important to deep condition your hair after using bentonite clay. Because it’s so absorbent, you want to make sure you add back moisture to your hair.

Other Uses for Bentonite Clay

While this article is really about what bentonite clay does for natural hair, you’ll find more than one use of bentonite clay out there.

These are typically therapeutic in nature. Bentonite clay can also be used cosmetically but also as a form of alternative medicine. Here are some additional uses:

  • to make a face mask for clearer, acne free skin
  • as a natural treatment for scalp conditions like seborrheic dermatitis
  • to make a salve for bug bites
  • for natural concoctions to take internally for stomach gas and diarrhea
  • in the production of cat litter (it’s one of the main ingredients in clumping cat litters!)
  • to make toothpaste

If you’re looking for a clean slate with your hair, using bentonite clay may be the solution you need.
When adding bentonite clay to your hair care routine, you’ll notice an improvement in your natural curls from curl definition to less frizz.

Where to buy Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay is the most widely used clay on the market so it’s readily available. You can find it in health food stores, pharmacies and online.

You can find the popular Aztec Indian Healing Clay brand on Amazon here.

Frequently Asked Questions About Using Bentonite Clay on Natural Hair

If you’re new to using bentonite clay in your natural hair, you likely have these questions as well.

1. Do you apply bentonite clay mask to wet or dry hair?

While you can apply a bentonite clay mask to wet hair or dry hair, you get better absorption applying it to dampened hair. Some like to apply it to dry hair so that it actually dries onto the hair when using it as a hair mask.

However, allowing it to fully dry onto your hair can cause tangling. If you’re using bentonite clay as a clarifying cleanser, you definitely don’t need for it to dry onto your hair.

2. What do I mix with bentonite clay for hair?

As mentioned above, you can mix bentonite clay with apple cider vinegar or warm distilled water. You can also mix in other types of clays, coconut or other natural oils, or essential oils.

3. Does bentonite clay actually work?

Bentonite clay has a proven track record of working for various conditions, improvement of curl definition, skin and more. After even just one use on your natural hair, you’ll notice a difference. With continued use, your hair can really thrive.

4. How long do you leave bentonite clay on?

If you are using bentonite clay to clarify your hair in the form of a hair wash, working it through your hair and scalp like you would use a shampoo is sufficient.

If you’re using bentonite clay as a hair mask, you’ll want to leave it on a bit longer so that the clay can do its job of detoxifying your hair and removing impurities. 20-30 minutes in your hair uncovered is a good practice.

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Michelle Smith

Michelle is a Christian natural hair enthusiast. She's been natural for 20+ years and shares natural hair care tips and easy hairstyles for those with low density or thin fine natural hair. It's her joy to inspire you to live by faith in God while caring for your "crown."

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