Have you ever considered using Bentonite clay to cleanse and condition your hair? If not, let me share with you the wonders of this 100% natural detoxifying treatment.
What is Bentonite Clay?
Bentonite, also referred to as Montmorillonite, is one of the most effective and powerful detoxifying and healing clays available. Derived from volcanic ash, Bentonite clay contains a vast range of healing properties and is used to treat both internal and external maladies. Natural health enthusiasts praise the nutritional qualities of Bentonite clay including its ability to detox the human body, eliminating everything from intestinal worms to drugs and heavy metals.
If you have ever received a body wrap from a day spa, chances are you have experienced the effects of Bentonite clay on your skin. Sodium Bentonite can be used externally as a clay poultice, mud pack or in the bath and, in skin care recipes. Calcium Bentonite is the type used primarily to treat internal disorders. Quality Bentonite clay should be a grey/cream color and free of debris. Bentonite clay has a very fine, velvety texture, and is odorless and non-staining. The type of Bentonite clay that I used (Sodium Bentonite) was purchased through Mountain Rose Herbs.
How Does Bentonite Clay Work?
Bentonite is very unusual in the fact that once it becomes hydrated, the electrical and molecular components of the clay rapidly change and produce an “electrical charge”. Clay molecules carry a negative electrical charge while toxins, bacteria and other impurities carry a positive charge. The positively charged toxins are attracted to the negatively charged surfaces of the clay molecule. An exchange reaction occurs in which the clay mineral ions are swapped for the ions of the toxic substance.
Bentonite clay’s power lies in its ability to absorb toxins, impurities, heavy metals and other contaminants. This unique clay will usually swell to double its dry volume when it comes into contact with moisture, and when completely hydrated it can swell up to 18 times its own dry volume like a dry sponge when it meets liquid. Just like a sponge, toxins are absorbed into the clay and bound there until the clay is removed/eliminated from the body or hair.
Benefits of Bentonite Clay for Natural Hair Care
Frequent use of butters, heavy oils and styling gels can leave your hair coated with product residue that shampoo or co-washing alone won’t remove. If your usual conditioners aren’t “working” or your hair looks dull and dry even after shampooing, your hair needs clarification. Clarifying with alkaline shampoos works, but the risk is that your natural hair will be left dry which means prone to breakage. Bentonite clay is a gentle yet thorough cleanser for natural hair that:
- Gently absorbs product buildup, oily residue, dirt, dead skin cells and other particles from hair and scalp
- Thoroughly deep-cleans your hair which results in better moisture retention
- Enhances your hair’s natural curl pattern
- Imparts sheen, especially when combined with an acidic liquid such as apple cider vinegar or Aloe Vera gel
- Natural detangler which reduces breakage by making hair easier to comb and style
- Contains over 70 forms of trace minerals beneficial to the hair follicle including magnesium, calcium, iron, silica and potassium
Bentonite Clay Hair Conditioning Mask
There are suggested recipes all over the internet and I’m sure they all “work”. However, my concern was how many of them stated that a deep moisturizing conditioner should be used after the clay treatment to prevent dryness of the hair. Somehow that seemed like too many steps and somewhat contradictory to our purposes. So, I created the following blend which utilizes the clarifying properties of Bentonite clay along with the rich nourishment provided by coconut creme and the moisture-attracting (humectant) properties of honey in one treatment!
You Will Need:
- One medium-sized glass or ceramic bowl
- A wooden or plastic spoon (do not use metal with Bentonite clay)
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 8 Tablespoons Bentonite clay
- 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar (Braggs is a great brand; shake before pouring)
- 2 Tablespoons Aloe vera gel
- 1/4 cup coconut creme
- water as needed
Step 1: Measure clay into medium sized bowl, then add other ingredients. Add water as needed to create a mix similar in texture to pancake batter.
Step 2: Stir mixture with wooden spoon until clay and all other ingredients are thoroughly blended and clay is smooth. Let mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
Step 3: Spritz unwashed hair until damp then divide and clamp into 4-6 sections. Remove clip from one section of the hair and apply clay mixture from scalp to end of hair in a shingling fashion similar to how relaxers are applied. Finger section off another row of hair in that section and repeat application process. Repeat through entire head then smooth through edges and ends of hair.
Feel free to put some on your face to tighten pores and eliminate extra oil, dirt and bacteria that can cause blackheads and pimples.
Step 4: Immediately cover hair with a plastic cap and let mixture stay on hair for 30-35 minutes. Longer is not necessary, and this is NOT a treatment you should leave in your hair overnight.
Step 5: Rinse well with lukewarm water, massaging hair and scalp to ensure all traces of clay are removed from the hair. When you think you have rinsed enough, rinse some more. Follow with your usual leave-in conditioning treatment then seal hair with oil or butter of choice. Proceed with styling.
Storing Bentonite Clay
Bentonite clay is sold in both powder and liquid forms and can be found at most natural food stores as well as at online retailers. Store liquid Bentonite in your refrigerator or a cool, dark storage area. Powdered Bentonite can be kept in a dry, cool cabinet away from moisture to ensure it does not clump together (I store mine in a recycled spice jar with a shaker top).
Stored correctly, Bentonite clay will retain its beneficial properties for up to a year.
About the Author (Author Profile)Blogger, writer, relationships/dating expert, fitness trainer and natural hair enthusiast since 1997. Sharing information from grandmomma, books and scientific journals, as well as my personal discoveries and experiences with natural hair as we journey from relaxers, flat irons and weaves together.
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