Do you have issues with shampoo? Are you feeling like you need something a little stronger than a cowash? Maybe you just want to try something more natural, with ingredients you can pronounce…and without breaking the bank. Whatever you’re looking for, I’m almost certain you can find it with clay.

Born of the earth, clays are natural, potent, and mineral-rich options for cleansing, detoxifying, and conditioning the hair AND skin. They are affordable, widely available, and highly customizable. Read on to learn about the three most popular clays, where to find them, and how to mix them!

Note: NEVER mix, store, or otherwise let clays come into contact with anything metal. There is potential for reactivity, and reduced effectiveness.

1. Bentonite Clay: Detoxify & Restore pH Balance

The 411: Bentonite is an amazing natural clay that forms as a result of aged/weathering volcanic ash and water. There are many different types of Bentonite Clay, and each bears the name of the element it predominantly contains. For example, the ever popular “Indian Healing Clay” is actually Calcium Bentonite Clay. Other popular variations include potassium, aluminum, and sodium.  Bentonite is incredibly powerful, possessing a negative charge (anionic). This makes it an ideal clay for cleansing and detoxifying, as it has the ability to remove positively charged (cationic) conditioners and products that can build up on the hair and scalp. It is also said to have the ability to draw out toxins, heavy metals, chemicals, and impurities. It helps cleanse and lift impurities from the hair, aiding in conditioning, shine, softness, and definition. For best results, use Aloe Vera Juice and/or Apple Cider Vinegar instead of water. These will make your mix more acidic, and closer to the pH of your hair.

Cost & Availability: Bentonite Clay is widely available in stores and online, from about $7 – $10 for a 1lb jar. Most naturals opt for the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, available at Amazon.com, Sprouts, Vitamin Shoppe, and Whole Foods for $7.

Recipe: Here is a popular Bentonite Clay recipe. Feel free to play around with ratios and ingredients.

 

2. Kaolin Clay: Gently Cleanse Dry Hair

The 411: Of all the clays, Kaolin (often called “white” or “China” clay) is the most commonly used in powdered and dry cosmetics. It also happens to be the most gentle. It has great adsorbent properties, and is able to gently exfoliate while stimulating circulation and cleansing – making it ideal for use on the scalp. It does not do a great job of drawing out oils, so it is not recommended for use on hair with large amounts of buildup. However, if you have chronically dry hair, Kaolin Clay is an ideal cleanser that won’t rob your hair of moisture. Kaolin Clay is rich in silica, a naturally occurring element that supports a number of important functions. It absorbs toxins on the hair and scalp, increases strength and elasticity, and can help slow the aging process of hair. Kaolin Clay is also available in green, pink, and yellow variations, based upon mineral content.

Cost & Availability: Kaolin clay can be purchase from bulk vendors online at Amazon,from about $10 – $15 per pound. If you’re not into DIY mixing, Wonder Curl’s Detoxifying Clay Cleanser ($24) is made with Kaolin Clay, as is FancyNaturals Kaolin Hair Mask Restructurizing Treatment ($10).

Recipe: Popular Kaolin Clay recipes mix the powdery clay with hot water. You can also steep some of your favorite herbs and teas to add soothing or stimulating properties to the mix.

 

3. Rhassoul Clay: Soften & Moisturize

Also known as Moroccan Red Clay, is naturally found and mined from ancient deposits in the northeastern region of Morocco. Rhassoul clay is mineral rich – being higher in silica content than Kaolin, and also containing significant amounts of magnesium. Rhassoul clay is great for reducing dryness in hair, improving elasticity, removing toxins, and leaving hair with body and bounce. It is also great for exfoliating and removing buildup from the scalp. Users of Rhassoul Clay commonly report that their hair is more moisturized, softer, less brittle, smoother, and stronger overall. In addition, Rhassoul Clay can also be used to help soothe scalp issues such as dandruff and psoriasis.

Cost & Availability: For around $6, 6oz of Rhassoul Clay can be purchased from online vendors at Amazon.com, or at Vitamin Shoppe. Again, if you’re not one for the mixing, Purgasm Shop Wild Cherry Treatment Hair Truffles ($12) and All Things O’ Natural Natty Cupuacu & Rhassoul Deep Conditioner ($20) are both made with Rhassoul Clay.

Recipe: Get the most from your Rhassoul Clay with this mixture:

 

Of course, there are tons of variations, mixes, and types of clay out there. What is your favorite clay and mixture?

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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37 Comments on "3 Popular and Affordable Clays for Natural Hair"

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[…] 1. Clay – This sounds a little bit crazy, but as it turns out, clay can be very beneficial for hair in the same way it can be beneficial in the rest of the body: it removes toxins to leave hair super-clean and with a lot of shiny volume. People have washed their hair with clay, long before the drugstores started offering expensive products that don’t even give similar results. Here are some links, which can help you to learn how to wash your hair with clay and get some really nice clay-shampoo mixtures. It’s super easy, we promise!… Read more »
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[…] can use any clay of your choice but the Black Girl with Long Hair blog has done this list of the 3 Popular and Affordable Clays for Natural Hair with purchasing links for each, it even has suggested mixes you can do to fully appreciate the […]

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[…] By BlackGirlLongHair […]

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[…] Rhassoul or Bentonite or Kaolin […]

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[…] Bentonite clay is an impure clay that forms as a result of aged/weathering volcanic ash and water.  It’s an ideal clay for cleansing and detoxifying, as it has the ability to remove positively charged (cationic) conditioners and products that can build up on the hair and scalp. It is also said to have the ability to draw out toxins, heavy metals, chemicals, and impurities. It helps cleanse and lift impurities from the hair, aiding in conditioning, shine, softness, and definition.For best results, use Aloe Vera Juice and/or Apple Cider Vinegar to mix instead of water. These will make your mix more acidic, and closer to… Read more »
Mel Stevens

Hmm… I haven’t tried any clay yet… I am still using pro naturals argan oil hair mask,. it’s so good!

Eat.Style.Play

I just tried to Bentonite Clay based on another bloggers tutorial. I had this in my cabinet this whole time and had no idea it could be used in my hair. I just did it and it reallllly made my hair softer and more defined. It was really messy though.

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[…] for this process, or curious about all-natural ways to clarify the hair, apple cider vinegar or clay are great options. Whichever route you choose, make sure your hair is clean (not squeaky, but the […]

larnwine

How do you preserve these mixtures?

Alwina

One clay I’ve used but is off the radar is pascalite clay, which is smoother and silkier than bentonite clay. I used this last summer and mixed the clay with green tea, honey, aloe vera juice and coconut oil. My hair was clean and soft. It’s available at http://www.pascalite.com. A friend put me on to the clay via YouTube Blogger LifeInTheSunshine. Here’s a link to the video: http://youtu.be/0Z7WCLJeiwA

Karen

Hey there. Where exactly in Whole Foods can bentonite clay be found? I was just there and was guided to the bath and body section by a worker there but couldn’t find any clay.

LBell

I had to have someone literally show me where it was, LOL. It happened to be on a bottom shelf near the soaps, I believe. The staff person told me I was the third or fourth person to ask for it that day.

Karen

Wow. Thank you so much!

Queen Tyrisha

I personally love clays,I started getting into clay when I noticed that even sulfate free shampoo was still to harsh for my hair. I would only use shampoo every two weeks and still to harsh. My fav clay is the indian healing clay. My hair gets sooo clean,my hair gets a healthy sheen and my scalp feels so fresh,my other fav is rhassoul clay. Quiet as its kept I like rhassoul more for my face!!

mlank64

I totally agree. I can’t use any shampoos and it doesn’t matter if it is sulfate free or not. The suds are too harsh and makes my hair tangle and knot horribly. Since using Terresentials I have had such moisturized hair but it is expensive. I try to stretch it but still find myself using too much. I would love to make my own if I can get the right mixture that feels just like the Terressentials.

Em

Does anyone know how these clays affect sensitive skin? Would love to use them as hair washes or mix them for facial masks but I have super sensitive/eczema skin.

zimzam

Rhassoul will help improve your skin a lot!!! Try it!

LBell

Thanks for this…I just bought some Aztec Secrets clay last week to see if it will help my coils bounce back more quickly after being stretched out in twists for the last four months or so.

Question: How often do people use clay mixes? I only see myself using it when I’m transitioning back to coily styles from stretched styles, and since I’m wearing twists more often, I don’t see myself using it very often.

Knotty Natural

I use bentonite clay once a month and rhassoul clay about 2-3 times a month!

All Things O'Natural

Wow, thanks for the shoutout!!! I love all the clays mentioned above. I especially love Bentonite and Rhassoul..my hair says ‘thank you’

TINA SMITH

YOUR PRODUCTS SUCK

Caramelcurls
I tried using clay for my hair when I first went natural and it’s just not for me. I prefer a cleansing cream and/or natural shampoo. I had a big jar of rhassoul clay and I didn’t want it to go to waist so I mixed it with water and made it into a facial mask. OMG! It works WONDERS! The clay detoxes, tightens, and purifies the skin all naturally. I do this every weekend if I get the chance, and I get compliments on my skin all the time! I moisturize after I rinse of the mask and my… Read more »
Ashley

I absolutely love using clays. They are one of my favorite natural hair products to use. Whenever I feel like my curls aren’t acting right, I do a clay treatment, and things are as good as new. Also, nothing stops shedding (for me) as much as using clays.

My favorites are amla, rhassoul and bentonite. I love to mix them with aloe vera juice, honey, and oils (hemp, castor, etc–anything really heavy). I’ll even sometimes mix in a bit of conditioner.

louisa

Love Bentonite, with aloe vera juice or green tea and essential oil.
Rhassoul clay with coconut milk or green tea/hibiscus tea and oils is amazing too.

I’m going to try koalin soon hopefully, since clays is my best hair cleansers and i co wash inbetween when im not being lazy each week.

Knotty Natural

Rhassoul clay and coconut milk…mmmm, sounds good! I have not had much success using coconut milk, maybe in the future I’ll try again. Rhassoul + Greek Yogurt = Beautiful Moisturized Soft strands! No need to deep condition!

TINA SMITH

HOW COULD YOU NOT MENTION TERESSENTIALS MUD WASH. MY HAIR IS A BREEZE WHEN USING IT. I DON’T EVEN NEED CONDITIONER AND MY HAIR FEELS LIKE BUTTER

MOG

At $20.50 / 16 oz TERRESSENTIALS is very good but not “affordable” for this article.

TINA SMITH

I DON’T NEED THE 16 OUNCE. I’VE HAD THE SAME BOTTLE FOR OVER A YEAR. HOW IS THAT NOT AFFORDABLE??? YOU NEED TO DO MORE RESEARCH, IT CAN ALSO BE DILUTED TO STRETCH IT OUT. SHOWS HOW MUCH YOU DON’T KNOW. AND IT ALREADY MIXED FOR YOU

Jane

Ewww

Ev`Yan

I’m assuming that these masks/treatments aren’t good for people with colored strands. Can someone verify this?

BrinkyDinks

I used to use clay on my hair but since bleaching it blonde I won’t until I grow out the color. On the terressentials(?) website it says its clay shouldn’t be used on colored hair. For me, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Knotty Natural

The clay doesn’t affect my color at all 🙂

K

Rhassoul clay and water has a pH of 7-7.5, it’s been amazing for my hair and skin, very moisturizing, non-stripping and very easy to use. I leave it on for 1-5 minutes, I don’t DT, and it cleans and moisturizes wonderfully.

mangomadness

Kaolin clay is my favorite clay. It’s the main ingredient in my favorite because it’s in Shea Moisture Purification Masque (aka my favorite conditioner of all time). It softens, smoothes and moisturizes my hair like a dream.

I might buy some kaolin clay someday for hair and skin care. If I do, it’ll be from herbco [dot] com.

yahya

I’ve been thinking lately that I’m going to shampoo less and try using more powders and masks. this is my firt time hearing about rhassoul clay, but it’ captured my attention. I think I’m going to try it in the ner future, thanks for the recipe!

http://pocahontas-secrets.blogspot.com/

RukiyatG

I’ve been wondering how to incorporate mud washing! Thanks for the recipes and details on where to buy the clays. Vitamin Shope here I come 🙂

Knotty Natural

I love Aztec Indian clay and have used it for 3 years now; I do however, think the recipe included goes overboard on the ACV. Also the amount of clay will vary based on length and density of the hair but I’d definitely give it a try.
http://www.lillian-mae.com/transitioning-guide/beauty-day-aztec-indian-healing-clay-wash/

I also have fallen in love w/ rhassoul clay! It’s very moisturizing! If you are a DIY Natural, like myself, I’d recommend that you get in the kitchen and start mixing clays. Your hair will thank you!
http://www.lillian-mae.com/newly-natural/beauty-day-sunday-featuring-rhassoul-clay/

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