hair with clay

Are you looking for an alternative to store-bought hair care? Maybe you’re worried about the chemicals found in your shampoo and conditioner. Or perhaps you have difficult to manage hair that conventional products just seem to make worse. Whatever the reason, you might be surprised to learn that the best-kept secret in natural hair care is the last thing you’d think to put in your head: clay.

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Clay’s abrasive minerals both clean and protect your hair by buffing away build-up and oil, leaving the cuticle and dry scalp without the damage that chemical hair care products can cause.

Curious about how to make it work? Here’s what you need to know to try out a clay-shampoo regimen of your own.

Rhassoul Clay

Rhassoul clay is gentle and moisturizing. Its high silica content (58% silica) helps to detangle hair and increase manageability. If your hair is prone to brittleness or dryness or is very fine, rhassoul clay may be a good choice for you. However, if your hair is very oily or needs a lot of clarifying, rhassoul clay may not be strong enough.

Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay is harsher and more drying than ghassoul clay. This makes it an excellent choice if your hair has lots of buildup from commercial products (such as hairspray or mousse) or if your hair becomes very oily between washes. If you have very fine or dry hair, bentonite clay may be too strong for your hair.

How to Wash Your Hair

To wash your hair with clay, mix up your clay solution before you begin washing. How much you will need depends on the length of your hair; for medium-length straight hair, start with 1-2 tablespoons of dry clay. Longer or very curly hair may need more.

Combine the dry clay powder with water until you have a thick paste. If you live in an area with hard water, use aloe vera juice instead of water, as it provides natural hydration and will lead to less mineral buildup in your hair.

Once you have your clay mixture made, wet your hair, as usual, then wring it out so it is not dripping. Work the clay thoroughly and evenly through your hair from roots to tips. If you wash your hair every other day, let it sit for 4-5 minutes; if you wash your hair every day, let the mixture sit for 2-3 minutes. Rinse your hair thoroughly several times until the water runs clear and all the clay is gone.

Follow Up With a Rinse

Most clays are highly alkaline, with a pH of 8-9. This is much higher than hair’s natural pH of 4-5. To balance out the pH and keep your hair healthy, you can use an apple cider vinegar rinse after washing.

To make an apple cider vinegar rinse, mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with two parts water. Pour the mixture through your hair, working it with your fingers from the roots to the ends. Allow the mixture to sit for several minutes, then rinse it out with warm water.