Clay: The Shampoo Alternative
hen you first go “natural”, you are inundated with lots of information: Hair products, techniques, and debates on products and techniques. A major topic of discussion is the debate on how to wash your hair. Some say that co-washing — the use of conditioners to cleanse the hair — are best since they do not dry out the hair. Others say that shampoo is necessary to remove dirt from the hair. Then there is the debate of sulfate versus sulfate-free shampoo. Some argue that sulfates are too harsh, while others argue that sulfate-free shampoos are not able to remove certain products like mineral oil and petrolatum. Confused yet? Well, here is another option to add to the confusion… clay.
Bentonite Clay is formed from the weathering of volcanic ash, while Rhassoul Clay is mined in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Clays remove impurities from skin and hair. In hair, it can nourish hair with nutrients, define and enhance curl pattern, impart shine, and improve detangling. For obvious reasons, it is of great interest to women with natural hair.
Clays can be mixed with various ingredients, depending on the desired goals. Some use it solely as a cleanser, while others use it as a cleanser and conditioner. These clays can be mixed with the following liquids: distilled water, apple cider vinegar, and aloe vera juice. For additional conditioning benefits, some may choose to add products like honey or oils. It is a personal preference. Experiment and see what works best for you. But no matter the recipe, the mixture should reach a yogurt consistency.
When using clay, it is important to remember a few things:
- Because Bentonite Clay removes impurities, do not use with metal spoons or bowls. Use plastic utensils and remove jewelry.
- Apply in sections — similar to how you applied a relaxer — but just don’t comb through the hair. An application brush is not required. You can simply use your hands.
- Don’t let the clay harden on your hair. If left on the hair too long, it will be difficult to remove from the hair. A good rule of thumb is to only leave on for about 20-25 minutes.
- It will be messy. As you get more experienced, there will be less of a mess.
Piqued your interest? You can find Bentonite Clay at Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods, and other health/food stores. You can also find clays online at companies like Henna Sooq. Not interested in mixing? Terresentials and other companies provide already mixed clay cleansers.
Have you tried clay as part of your wash routine? What did you think?