Clays have been around for centuries. They have a rich history dating back to ancient Egypt and are widely used amongst indigenous cultures around the world. Prized for their healing, detoxifying, and absorptive qualities, clays are used for a myriad of reasons.
What is Bentonite Clay?
Bentonite clay is a renowned healing clay used both internally and externally to promote better health. Bentonite clay is actually volcanic ash deposited in sea water. Today, bentonite clay is mostly harvested in the US, Italy, and France. It is a very fine, smooth, and odourless powder comprised of various nutrients and minerals. The clay is negatively charged, but when activated by liquid, attracts positively charged ions, impurities and toxins and binds to them making the elimination of these toxins possible.
There are two main classifications of bentonite clay: sodium and calcium. While both are absorptive, sodium bentonite clay is known to absorb up to 10-15 times its own weight in water. For this reason, sodium bentonite clay is best suited for external uses including hair and skin care.
While clean living enthusiast are well versed in the benefits of bentonite clay, it is now gaining a new popularity in the natural hair community. Natural hair bloggers, reviewers and experts are talking about bentonite clay and its use on natural hair. If you are familiar with the Max Hydration Method, you will know this is a staple ingredient in the process. Bentonite clay has been found to be highly beneficial for curly, coily, and kinky hair with consistent, positive results.
6 Benefits of Bentonite Clay for Natural Hair
Bentonite clay is great addition to any haircare regimen. It can be done as often as needed. But for beginners, try it at least once a month and experiment with frequency from there. The benefits for afro-textured hair are discussed below:
- Cleanses hair by removing product build up without stripping it of essential oils
- Clarifies hair by drawing out dirt, toxins, and impurities
- Conditions and moisturizes the hair
- Imparts shine and softness
- Increases curl definition
- Heals scalp conditions such as eczema
How to use Bentonite Clay
- Mix about 1 part bentonite clay with 1 part water in a non-metal container. Portions will vary based on hair thickness and/or length. However, try ½ cup of each to start.
- Mix paste with a non-metal utensil until it achieves a yogurt-like consistency. More water may need to be added to achieve this texture.
- Apply mixture to scalp and length of the hair. Work in small batches to ensure the entire scalp/hair is completely covered. Let sit for a minimum of 5 minutes or up to 30 minutes (under a plastic cap).
- Do not allow mixture to dry on the hair.
- After desired time, rinse product out, thoroughly.
- Apply conditioner/moisturizer (if desired)
The images below show the appearance of the hair during and after a bentonite application. Notice in the first picture how the hair has a grey/white overcast and a pronounced curl definition. This is normal. Hair should be well saturated and coated with the clay. The clay will rinse away leaving no residue (ensure to rinse well). In the final result picture the hair looks shiny, healthy, and well defined.
There are a lot of bentonite clay recipes available, but it’s best to start simply with water and experiment as you get more familiar with the product. Once you do, you may want to try these great add-ins, either on their own or in combination:
- Apple cider vinegar (ACV) – replace all or part of the water with ACV
- Aloe vera juice – replace all or part of the water with aloe vera juice
- Honey – use a small amount to combat dry hair
- Favourite oil(s) – use a small amount to add slip and moisture
- Essential oils – use a few drops for aroma and/or healing properties (ie, rosemary, peppermint, etc)
*It’s important to avoid the use of metal containers and utensils while using bentonite clay. Metal will contaminate the clay and lower its effectiveness. Use only wood, plastic, or glass.
Try Sandra Marieta’s Bentonite Clay* on your hair and tell us about your experience.
*Sandra Marieta Bentonite Clay is for external use only.