Should You Wash Your Hair With Clay? + 3 DIY Clay Wash Recipes

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When we talk about cleansing the hair and scalp, the first thing that most people think of is commercially available shampoo or conditioner.

A bowl full of clay powder with a spoon of clay beside it in a white background

It makes sense because those are the most common cleansing agents we know and use.

But did you know that you can also wash your hair with clay? Yes, it’s possible!

Clays are widely known as powerful cleaners thanks to their detoxifying, antibacterial properties, which help effectively remove oil from your scalp and hair.

So, should you wash your hair with clay? It might just be the secret hair-washing weapon you’ve been looking for.

Intrigued? Read on to discover everything you need to know about washing hair with clay, different types of clay you can use on hair, DIY clay hair mixtures, and more.

What Is Clay?

Before deciding if you want to use clay to wash your hair, let’s first take a closer look at clay and learn more about it.

Clay is an earthy, fine-grained material rich in mineral content used for various uses.

In the beauty industry, cosmetic clays are clay used in various personal care and beauty products.

The most common clays used in skincare and haircare include bentonite clay, kaolin clay, and Rhassoul clay – but more on them later!

These clays are derived from natural mineral deposits. They are known for absorbing oils, impurities, and toxins, making them ideal for face masks, soaps, and other beauty products.

Is Clay Good for Hair?

Clay has been used for beauty purposes for many years.

They have continued to gain popularity in the beauty industry as many people switch to more natural and eco-friendly skin and hair care regimens.

More and more beauty enthusiasts swear by clay as one of the best natural ingredients in the beauty industry — thanks to its soothing and cleansing properties.

Plus, clay doesn’t contain harsh chemicals like commercial products.

Because of this, clay has become a staple in natural self-care beauty routines, especially in hair care.

When used in hair, this potent detoxifier is negatively charged, which means it actively attracts positively charged ions, product build-up, and toxins in the scalp and hair. 

Once mixed with water, a clay wash on hair helps extract excess oils and impurities from the strands and the scalp’s skin.

It also gently exfoliates the scalp and unclogs pores, relieving dandruff and addressing hair loss problems.

Using a clay wash for natural hair can help detangle, soften hair, and even improve curl patterns.

Overall, clay can help you care for and maintain the beauty of your gorgeous locks.

3 Types of Clay for Hair

An infographic featuring DIY claywash recipes such as bentonite clay, kaolin clay, and rhassoul clay including how to wash hair with clay procedure

There are several types of clay. But this article will focus on the three types suitable for hair use.

  • Bentonite clay
  • Kaolin clay
  • Rhassoul clay

Keep reading to learn what these clay types are, their uses, benefits, and examples of DIY clay hair wash mixtures you can try at home.

Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay is natural clay for hair made from volcanic ash. It is used for various purposes, including as a natural remedy for skin and hair.

This type of clay is rich in minerals, including silica, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron, which can provide many benefits for your tresses.

When using bentonite clay for hair care, you can mix Molivera Organics Bentonite Clay with water or other liquids to form a paste. You can then apply this paste to the hair as a mask or shampoo.

Bentonite Clay Benefits as Hair Wash / Mask

When applied to the hair, bentonite clay can help in the following ways:

  • It absorbs oil well
  • It clarifies the hair thoroughly, removing excess buildup, oil, and dirt from your hair and scalp.
  • It helps detangle hair, define curls, and reduce frizz, making your hair more manageable.
  • It helps relieve dandruff and hydrate the scalp.
  •  It softens hair thanks to high levels of minerals.
  • It strengthens hair by keeping follicles clean.
  • Its antimicrobial properties make it an effective scalp and hair treatment.
  • Its negatively charged surface attracts positively charged toxins and deposits, giving you thoroughly cleansed hair.

Bentonite Clay DIY Clay Hair Wash

Here is a simple recipe for a DIY bentonite hair wash:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of bentonite clay
  • 1/4 cup of water / apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (optional)
  • 5-10 drops of essential oil (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mix the bentonite clay and water or apple cider vinegar until a smooth paste forms. You can use more or less liquid depending on the desired consistency.
  2. If you want to use them, add honey and essential oils. Honey can add moisture to the hair, and essential oils can provide a pleasant scent and additional hair care benefits.
  3. Apply the mixture to your hair and scalp, evenly distributing it throughout.
  4. Leave the mixture on for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Rinse the mixture out of your hair thoroughly with warm water.
  6. Follow with a conditioner or a rinse of apple cider vinegar for additional shine and detangling.

Just note that bentonite clay can dry out the hair if left on too long or used too frequently, so be mindful of the time using it on your hair and use it sparingly as needed.

Kaolin Clay

Kaolin clay is a type of natural clay made from the mineral kaolinite. It is also known as China clay or white clay.

Six full bowl of clay powders with different colors isolated in a white background

It’s a gentle, fine-grained clay commonly used in beauty products such as skincare and hair care.

Kaolin clay, such as Bare Essentials Living Kaolin Clay, is considered the mildest of all clays, making it suitable for people with sensitive skin. It’s also safe to use on color-treated hair.

This type of clay is used in hair care as a natural alternative to synthetic hair care ingredients. It is known for gently cleaning, strengthening, and nourishing your strands.

Kaolin Clay Benefits as Hair Wash / Mask

Some of the benefits of using kaolin clay in hair care include the following:

  • It thoroughly cleanses hair and removes toxins and impurities from the scalp without excessive drying.
  • It improves hair strength and elasticity
  • It helps repair damaged hair.
  • It adds definition and volume when used as a styling product.
  • It helps hair retain moisture and prevents dryness.
  • It makes the hair look manageable and soft
  • It reduces the oiliness in hair.
  • It soothes the scalp.

Kaolin Clay DIY Clay Hair Wash

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of kaolin clay
  • 1/4 cup of water / apple cider vinegar / yogurt
  • A pinch of fresh rosemary or peppermint (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mix kaolin clay and water until you get a smooth paste consistency. You can replace water with either yogurt or apple cider vinegar too.
  2.  If you want, you can add fresh rosemary or peppermint to stimulate your scalp.
  3. Apply the kaolin clay hair mask from the roots to the tips of your hair.
  4. Let it stay for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Massage the scalp for a few minutes.
  6. Thoroughly rinse your tresses to avoid leaving unwanted excess clay particles in your hair.
  7. Use this hair mask two times every week to refresh your hair and stimulate your scalp.

Rhassoul Clay

Rhassoul clay, also known as Ghassoul clay or Moroccan clay, is a natural mineral clay mined from Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.

This clay is composed mainly of silica, magnesium, potassium, and lithium. It is a reddish-brown color and has a delicate, velvety texture.

Rhassoul clay has been used for centuries by the people of Morocco for skin and hair care. It is known for its ability to deeply cleanse, exfoliate, and nourish the skin and hair.

Rhassoul Clay Benefits as Hair Wash / Mask

This natural clay provides many hair benefits. Some of them are:

  • It gently cleanses the hair and scalp.
  •  It replenishes protective natural oils in the scalp.
  •  It conditions your hair, making it softer and moisturized after washing.
  • It helps define and soften curls and waves.
  • It detangles hair.
  • It eliminates excess oil, opens clogged pores, and stimulates healthy hair growth.
  •  It soothes the scalp thanks to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • It reduces flakiness and dryness, providing natural relief from psoriasis and dandruff.

Rhassoul Clay DIY Clay Hair Wash

Here’s washing hair with Rhassoul Clay works:

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Rhassoul clay powder
  • ¼ to ½ filtered or demineralized water
  • 2 tbsp. jojoba oil
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. aloe vera powder
  • 5 to 10 drops of pure peppermint essential oil

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a container or bowl.
  2. Add water slowly to adjust the texture until your form a smooth paste.
  3. Wet your hair.
  4. Massage a generous amount of clay mixture onto your scalp.
  5. Begin at the roots and work down to the ends until you coat your hair well.
  6. Leave it on your hair for about 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure not to let it dry.
  7. Thoroughly rinse everything with warm water.

Note: If you have short hair, this recipe may be more than enough for one application. So, you can adjust the measurements by half.

How To Wash Hair With Clay?

Washing hair with clay is a natural and gentle method for cleaning and conditioning your hair.

Beautiful young woman getting a hair wash. Hair salon styling concept.

Regardless of which clay hair mixture you use, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to properly use clay to wash hair:

  1. Make the hair clay mixture of your choice.
  2. Shampoo your hair and rinse it thoroughly if it is dirty or greasy.
  3. Apply the clay mixture to your hair, starting at the roots and working down to the ends. Make sure to cover all of your hair and scalp with the mixture.
  4. Leave the clay mixture on your hair for 5 to 15 minutes or as the manufacturer recommends.
  5. Rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water.
  6. Apply a moisturizing conditioner to your hair and leave it for a few minutes. This will help to restore any moisture you may have lost during the clay wash.
  7. Rinse your hair with cool water to help seal the cuticles and leave your hair looking shiny.

PRO TIP: It’s important to rinse your hair thoroughly, as clay particles left on your hair can cause dryness, itching, and flaking of the scalp.

Who Should Use Clay for Their Hair?

Clay wash for hair is suitable for various people and hair types.

However, washing hair with clay is particularly beneficial for those with oily hair, scalp, or dandruff issues. 

The clay helps removes impurities, detoxifies the hair and scalp, and promotes healthy hair growth by balancing the scalp’s pH levels.

People with coily or curly hair may also benefit from using clay, as it can provide extra definition and hold to curls without weighing them down.

Take note that people with dry or damaged hair should not use clay regularly as it can be quite drying. If you have dry hair, you can use a clay wash occasionally to detoxify the scalp and remove buildup.

If you are looking for a natural and gentle alternative to traditional shampoos, you may find clay to be a good option.

How Often Can I Clay Wash My Hair?

The frequency of using a clay wash on your hair will depend on your hair type, scalp condition, and the clay you use.

  • For those with oily hair, using a clay wash once or twice a week can help to remove excess oil and keep the hair clean.
  • For those with dry or damaged hair, using a clay wash on the hair once every two weeks or once a month is recommended to gently cleanse the hair without stripping it of its natural oils.
  • For those with normal hair, using a clay wash once a week can help to maintain a healthy balance of oils on the scalp and hair.
  • For those with a sensitive scalp, using a clay wash just once a month is advisable, as clay can be drying and should be used with care.

It’s also important to remember that the overuse of clay wash can dry out hair, so moderation is vital to enjoying the benefits of clay. And be sure to always follow up with a moisturizing conditioner after each use.

Lastly, it’s always a good idea to patch test before using any product, particularly if you have sensitive skin or scalp.

If you notice any irritation or adverse effects, reduce the frequency of using clay wash or try a different hair care routine.

Clay Wash Vs. Hair Shampoo

Clay wash and hair shampoo are both methods for cleaning hair, but they are pretty different in terms of their ingredients and the results they provide.

Hair shampoo is a commonly used hair care product designed to cleanse the hair and scalp of dirt, oil, and other impurities.

Commercial shampoo is typically made with synthetic ingredients such as sulfates, known to be harsh on hair and can strip the hair of its natural oils.

Clay, on the other hand, is used for making a clay cleansing wash that is a natural alternative to shampoo.

Clay washes are gentle on hair and scalp and don’t contain harsh chemicals. They are designed to remove impurities and detoxify the hair and scalp while providing nourishing minerals, leaving hair and scalp feeling clean, healthy, and refreshed.

In terms of results, hair shampoo can definitely clean hair effectively and remove buildup, but it can also leave hair feeling dry and brittle. 

On the other hand, clay wash can leave hair feeling clean, healthy, and voluminous when appropriately used.

However, it may not clean hair as effectively as a shampoo, so it’s recommended to use it as a complement, not a replacement.

Overall, clay wash and hair shampoo are both effective in cleaning hair.

But the key difference is that hair shampoo is a synthetic product that may be harsh on hair, while clay wash is a natural alternative that is gentler on hair and scalp.

Potential Downsides of Using Clay for Hair

While using clay for hair can have many benefits, there are also potential downsides. Some of the potential downsides of using clay for hair include the following:

Drying Out of Hair

Blonde woman with her damaged dry hair

Clay can be quite drying for hair, especially for those with naturally dry or damaged hair. The clay can strip the hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and brittle. This usually happens with overuse, so use clay washes in moderation.

Unpredictable Results

Different types of clay will have different effects on hair, and not all clay types will suit all hair types.

It can be difficult to predict how a particular type of clay will affect your hair, so it’s always recommended to test it on a small area before using it on your entire head.

Inability to Remove Product Buildup

Clay may not be as effective as traditional shampoos in removing product buildup, so as mentioned above, use it as a complement to shampoo, not a replacement.

Color fading

Some types of clay can cause color fading in colored hair, so be cautious when using clay on colored hair. Opt for a gentle clay to prevent your color from fading faster.

If you experience any adverse side effects from using clay on your hair, it’s best to discontinue use and consult with a hair care professional.

FAQs

What is the best clay for washing hair?

There are many options but one of the best options is Rhassoul clay. It’s less drying than other clays and can work even with sensitive skin. 

While it may not be as easily accessible as other clays, you can usually still find it online.

How long should I leave the clay in my hair?

While clay makes a good hair wash, be sure not to leave it in too long to avoid drying your hair. 

Some clays may be left in longer than others, but as a good rule of thumb, leave your hair clay mask in for only 5-10 minutes at a time.

Wash Your Hair with Clay Today!

If you are looking for good alternatives to shampoos with synthetic ingredients, clay wash might be the perfect solution.

They are a great complement to shampoo and a way of boosting your hair with natural ingredients.

The best part is that clay washes work with all kinds of hair and are even a good option for people with scalp conditions or sensitive scalps.

However, remember that various clay types have different properties. So, you need to choose one that’s best for your hair type and condition.

Using clay on hair gives natural benefits and amazing effects if done correctly.

Try washing your hair with clay today. The more you do it, the sooner you’ll see the fantastic results from utilizing this amazing ingredient.

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Authors

  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

  • Jessica Hoelscher

    With thirteen years in cosmetology, Jessica Hoelscher is a seasoned stylist recognized for her modern techniques. A graduate of Paul Mitchell the School in St. Louis, her expertise has been showcased on Fox Two News and in People Magazine. Self-employed at Salon Lofts, her work has graced TV screens, styling for renowned events and Ole Miss cheerleaders.

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