Reader Question: Bentonite Clay

Recently, I received this question from a subscriber: “What do you think about using Bentonite on your low porosity hair?  What suggestions do you have?”

I have heard rave reviews on bentonite clay. I’ve yet to try it, but do plan on testing it out in the near future. When I do, I’ll be sure to write a review.

Bentonite clay is derived from volcanic ash. It has a PH of about 8.3-9.1. It is made of (from Mountainroseherbs.com):

Silica- 61.4%
Aluminum- 18.1%
Iron- 3.5%
Sodium- 2.3%
Magnesium- 1.7%
Calcium- 0.04%
Titanium- 0.02%
Potassium- 0.01%
Moisture- 7.8%

Like many clays, bentonite clay is known for its absorbent properties. The clay, once mixed with water and applied to hair, is supposed to pull toxins from the hair. Like rhassoul, bentonite has a negative ionic charge.

I’m not a scientist, but here’s my explanation of ionic charge. Ions are atoms or molecules that have lost or gained an electron (-), which carry a negative charge. Positive ions have lost an electron and negative ions have gained an electron. Molecules are constantly seeking balance. Thus, if an ion has an extra electron it will try to balance this by taking an extra molecule from the surrounding environment (e.g. hair), or by losing its extra electron.

From Braun.com: “positive ions are created through friction – like brushing your hair. They repel each other – making your hair static, frizzy and dull-looking. Negatively charged ions are attracted by positively charged ones, immediately neutralizing them and leaving your hair static and frizz-free.”

As mentioned in an earlier post, products with a positive ionic charge  tend to give the hair a more compact structure. Acidic products (aloe, vinegar, many conditioners) are positively charged, while alkaline products (rhassoul clay, bentonite clay, Terressentials hair wash) are negatively charged.

Based on this information and some rave reviews on the web from other low porosity naturals, I believe that bentonite clay should work on low porosity hair as well.

Again, I’ve never tried it, but when I do try it in the future, I’ll be sure to post results.

In the meantime, here is a short and nice video review on bentonite DIY mudwash: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCQhSOGLAwU

Have you tried bentonite clay? What were your results?

Remember, never mix clays with metal spoons or in metal bowls.

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9 thoughts on “Reader Question: Bentonite Clay

  1. Hey Annabel, I use Bentonite Clay all the time and I love it! When I first went natural I ordered the Terresentials mud wash from the States (I live in the UK – and paid more for shipping than the actual product!). Anyway although I loved the way it made my hair shine, and my coils were beautiful, the more I used it the drier my hair became. So having looked at the ingredients (basically Bentonite Clay and Aloe Vera juice with a few herbal extracts thrown in), I decided to make my own. But still the same drying results. Since I discovered (sept ’12) that I have low-porosity hair, AND that my hair doesn’t like Aloe Vera juice, I decided to try again with it, because i found it to be a really good Clarifier. I add Honey and water infused with nourishing herbs like Irish Moss, Marshmallow Root etc, and recently I’ve thrown in some Amla powder, and my hair (and myself of course!) absolutely loves it. I’ll leave it on for about 20-30mins, sometimes putting a plastic cap on it, and then rinse off. Lovely, soft, clean, NON-STRIPPED HAIR, with ALL my coils intact and shiny! Just make sure to follow up with a moisturising Conditioner. I’ve used Rhassoul Clay this way too, but for some strange reason it’s quite drying on my hair.

    • Hi Gina, sounds like you’ve found the perfect combination for using bentonite clay! I’ve never used marshmallow root. Would you be interested in doing a how-to bentonite clay clarifier? Rhassoul clay works well for me as long as I add some aloe or vinegar (only time these things work nicely for me) and some oil. I make it into more of a paste/mask rather than liquidy wash. Without aloe or vinegar in my rhassoul my hair feels too stripped. Thanks for stopping by!

    • I couldn’t help but second this whole-heartedly, as this is EXACTLY the trial and error I had to go through with my own bentonite clay mix. The moment I added the honey and Irish moss, it was perfect. My hair is never as soft and defined than when I use this. It is definitely my main cleansing staple.

    • Hi Gina
      I just recently moved to the UK too. Can you tell me where to get natural hair supplies? I’m interested in trying the Irish Moss and Marshmellow root.

  2. I’ve used bentonite clay twice now for my hair but im still not sure of my opinion.. I dont really have anything negative to say, but I think I need to use it a few more times before I can formulate a proper review.

  3. Well, I’ve started washing my hair with Bentonite Clay mud wash rather than shampoo, or low poo, and the effect for me is amazing! The curl pattern in my hair is so much more defined, and the hair itself really soaks up the moisture. Normally I have to soak my hair for up to an hour for water to have an effect. I based the mud recipe on the one that features in a Youtube video that you linked. I modified it a bit, as I didn’t have all the ingredients. It’s working for me, and I think I will definitely stick to that regime. Afterwards, I use my normal hair products as normal. My hair is in better condition. I love it!

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