Bentonite clay is one of my best natural hair products. It has a lot of benefits for curly hair including cleansing without stripping.
Bentonite clay is one of the key steps in the max hydration method.
You can read more on this at Max Hydration Method for Natural Hair: A Comprehensive Guide.
However, you don’t have to practice the max hydration method to get the benefits of bentonite clay for your hair.
This article will cover bentonite clay benefits, how I use bentonite clay on my hair, the best brands of bentonite clay, and FAQs about using bentonite clay on hair.
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What is Bentonite Clay?
Bentonite clay is a multipurpose clay formed from the weathering of volcanic ash; absorbing a lot of minerals beneficial in the process.
The name bentonite comes from Fort Benton, Montana, which is the location of a significant deposit of bentonite clay.
Another name for bentonite clay is montmorillonite clay, after the Montmorillon region in France where it was first discovered.
Bentonite clay expands when mixed with a liquid and absorbs its dry mass in water.
There are several different kinds of clay – rhassoul clay, kaolin clay, and fuller’s earth clay.
They are used for different purposes with bentonite/montmorillonite clay being the best for hair followed by rhassoul clay.
Related Content: Different Types of Healing Clay & Which is the Best?
Bentonite Clay Benefits for Hair
I discovered bentonite clay around the time I started trying out the max hydration method.
I still use it from time to time even when I’m not going through the mhm because of the immense benefits it has on hair:-
1. Bentonite Clay Cleanses Without Stripping Hair
Sulphate shampoo is a major enemy of natural hair. It should only be used when you’re trying to clarify your hair due to build-up.
However, did you know bentonite clay is another way to clarify hair if you want to bypass shampoos for a bit?
It will achieve this without leaving your hair feeling stripped.
2. Bentonite Clay Enhances Absorption of Products
Bentonite clay opens up your hair cuticles enough to enhance the absorption of hair products you apply prior to closing your cuticles.
3. Bentonite Clay Detoxifies Hair and Scalp
Due to its absorption properties, bentonite clay has the ability to draw out toxins in the hair and scalp as well as build up caused by oil or other products.
This process leaves your hair and scalp primed and ready for the next step in your regimen.
4. Bentonite Clay Enhances Curl Definition
Bentonite clay also helps curls to clump properly and promotes curl definition irrespective of your hair type.
5. Bentonite Clay Relieves Scalp Issues
Bentonite clay detoxifies the scalp and helps alleviate certain scalp issues such as dandruff, itchiness, and dryness caused by product build-up.
Bentonite clay can also soothe the symptoms of scalp issues and loosen up dead cells.
6. Bentonite Clay Promotes Stronger Hair
Bentonite clay contains minerals such as silicon, protein, calcium, sulfur, and iron, which promote stronger hair and healthier hair growth in the long run.
Additionally, bentonite clay helps calm frizz and controls flyaway leading to smoother looking hair.
Depending on the products you use afterward, it also enhances shiny hair.
How to Wash Your Hair with Bentonite Clay?
In order to get the best benefits of bentonite clay for your hair, there are certain ways to use it as well as adding other ingredients to it.
I share my best recipes below in addition to some pictures with bentonite clay on my hair.
Bentonite Clay Hair Wash Recipe
- Pour 3 heaped tablespoons of bentonite clay into a bowl. Steadily add boiling water while you mix with a silicone whisk like this one.
- Whisk until the mix is smooth and runny but not too watery then add 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil or sweet almond oil, ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar like Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, and 5 drops of lavender essential oil. If you have any scalp issues, you can also add 5 drops of rosemary essential oil or tea tree essential oil.
- Wait until the mixture cools down then pour into an applicator bottle like this one. Your hair wash is ready. You can also pour into a regular water bottle and poke a hole in the cover but the applicator bottle makes the application less messy.
How to Use
- Dampen your hair slightly with lukewarm water, section then apply the hair wash to your hair like a shampoo. It can get messy so drape a towel around your shoulders.
- Work through your strands and scalp and twist up each section once done.
- Cover your head with a disposable cap or cling film and wait for 45 minutes.
- Undo the twists and rinse out thoroughly then deep condition your hair with a moisturizing deep conditioner.
In the pic below, I’ve chosen to pile my hair in on top of my head because I wanted the curls really elongated afterward.
Bentonite Clay Hair Detox Recipe
- Shampoo your hair with a mild diluted shampoo then deep condition.
- Afterward, apply the hair wash recipe as described above and cover your hair with a disposable cap or cling film.
- Leave on for 45 minutes to 1 hour then rinse out thoroughly. This is very important as leaving any in can lead to dry hair.
- Apply your leave-in conditioner then seal with oil or butter before styling. You can also apply a suitable hair gel after the leave-in conditioner if you wish.
Bentonite Clay Hair Shine Recipe
- Pour 2 heaped tablespoons of bentonite clay in a bowl. Steadily add lukewarm aloe vera juice and mix with a silicone whisk until smooth and frothy.
- Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 5 drops of lavender essential oil and 5 drops of vitamin E oil.
- Whisk again. This mix should be the consistency of mashed potatoes and not too runny.
- Use this mix the same way it’s recommended in the hair wash but this is a mask so the consistency is different.
Note – do not use metal utensils to mix your bentonite clay recipes as this will reduce the effectiveness. The recipes above are based on my hair length (APL).
You can adjust based on your hair length but if you have leftovers, you can store in a glass bottle similar to this one and refrigerate for up to a month.
Bentonite Clay Hair Mask Before & After
Below is a picture of my hair with my bentonite clay recipe as a hair wash. My curls are elongated and well defined.
If you’ve never tried bentonite clay, you should definitely include it in your regimen as soon as possible.
It’s also beneficial for relaxed hair as it can help strengthen damaged hair and reduce shedding and hair breakage.
FAQs About Bentonite Clay
Is Bentonite Clay Safe for Hair?
Bentonite clay is completely natural and very safe for use on the hair. If you’re still concerned about it, you can always conduct a patch test before application.
How Often Can I Use Bentonite Clay on My Hair?
Unless you’re trying out the max hydration method for the first time, I would recommend once per week and definitely not more than twice.
Overusing bentonite clay can lead to dry and dull hair.
Does Bentonite Clay Clarify Hair?
Bentonite clay can clarify hair without stripping it or making it feel straw like the same way a traditional shampoo would.
It draws out toxins and product residue in hair making hair ready to receive and optimize the benefits of moisturizing products.
Can I Leave Bentonite Clay in My Hair Overnight?
I’ve tried it before because I was too lazy to wash it out the same evening but I did not like the effect. My hair looked really stringy afterward.
It could also lead to dry hair over time. 45 minutes – 1 hour is all it really needs to do its job.
What Are the Side Effects of Bentonite Clay?
Bentonite clay is natural and mild. It’s tolerated by most people without any issues.
If you have sensitive skin and think it might be an issue, you can use white kaolin clay instead. White kaolin clay is the mildest of all the clays.
Does Bentonite Clay Make Your Hair Grow?
Bentonite clay on its own cannot make your hair grow longer.
However, it strengthens weak and damaged hair leading to less breakage and shedding. Less breakage and shedding means better length retention.
Can You Use Bentonite Clay on Your Skin?
Yes, you can use bentonite clay on the skin. It helps control sebum produced in the skin, unclog the skin, and reduces pores.
For more on using bentonite clay on the skin, read the following related articles:-
- How to Use Healing Clay for Skin Plus Internal Uses
- 4 Bentonite Clay Mask Recipes for Healthy & Glowing Skin
Best Bentonite Clay Brands for Hair
Some companies mix bentonite clay with other ingredients or its extracted improperly, which makes it less effective.
Below are my top recommendations of bentonite clay and white kaolin clay for hair and skin:-
There’s one more brand I use, which I’ve left out because it’s only available where I live. Have you ever tried bentonite clay on your hair?
Do you have any other questions regarding the use of bentonite clay on hair? Share in the comments section.
Abi is a curly hair expert, researcher, product tester, and author of the highly-rated Healthy Hair Care Series. She is also the founder of Ade Ori Hair Care, Healthy Natural Hair Products, and Natural Oils for Hair & Beauty. HNHP has strict editorial standards and ensures all the information on Healthy Natural Hair Products is the best for natural hair care. Learn more about our Editorial Policies
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