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November 15, 2018 7 min read 3 Comments

Originally published on March 22, 2018

What is a clay wash?
Just like you can deeply clean the skin on your face with clay, you can also clean your hair. Clays are antibacterial, they detox and they lift oil from your hair and scalp. You may have heard people call this a “mud wash” too. Popular clay types: Rhassoul/Ghassoul, Bentonite, and Kaolin(there are more). All 3 of these can be used for a clay wash. You can also use the clay to make a hair mask(thicker consistency).
I’ll link the video of the science behind it once againhere. It’s really interesting!
Shhhh. The secret to healthy hair is a clean scalp. Co-washing is great, I am a huge fan. But, it cannot be the only way you cleanse your hair. Sulfate-free shampoos are great as well. However, you need to keep in mind that product build up is a very real thing. Sulfate-free shampoos don’t remove silicones and they do not clarify. Meaning, even if you don’t use products with silicones you still need to clarify, EVENTUALLY. Everything I’m using right now is pretty much Curly Girl friendly (silicone, paraben and sulfate free) and most of it is handmade; still, build up seems to be my middle name. Lol. Everyone’s clarifying routine is on their own schedule and that’s perfect! Do you. Just make sure it is something that you include in your regimen at some point.

My experience with clay washes

I tried a clay wash for the first time last fall and I was actually pretty impressed. I didn’t know what to expect; to be completely honest I hadn’t done much research on it, so I wasn’t even expecting it to work. It did work, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever lol. Since then I have been experimenting with clay washes on and off and taking notes. I did a lot more research and I watched a ton of videos. I attempted to recreate some fancy recipes and I also tried some simple ones. I finally feel comfortable with the recipe I am using and I have learned some things. I prefer to use clay washes right when I make them and I finish them too. I don't store them at all. I have read that you can store it in the fridge for up to 4 days but I know I wouldn’t use it. 

How can I get started with clay washes?

Clay washes are an awesome way to naturally detox your hair and scalp. You can start at any time that you feel comfortable. For beginners, I would say once or twice a month is enough. If you’re more into co-washing and you shampoo once or twice a month you can definitely replace (or complement) your shampoo with clay.

I think if you are going to do it once a month, a clay mask would be more beneficial.
Take your time, do your own research, and take notes. Writing down everything I do on wash day in my planner has helped me tremendously. You have to do what works best foryou.
What's the clay wash recipe?
Just chill! I wanted to let you know that you can customize this too. If you don’t have aloe juice, you can use water on its own. The essential oil you can switch around but, I’ve mentioned before why I like to use Peppermint or Tea tree on my scalp. The Hibiscus is optional but, if you can get some it's a great herb to have in your stash. The clay type is your choice. They all work well in both of these recipes. However, one of the things I have learned is that Bentonite is way more stripping than Rhassoul. Rhassoul is more of a conditioning cleanser. Bentonite is much more stripping and detoxifying. 
I prefer to use Rhassoul for my clay washes/rinses, and Bentonite for a clay mask.


Hibiscus Powder

This powder is so multi-functional, it’s easily my favorite.Hibiscus Powderis a conditioning herb that helps decrease hair shedding by strengthening and conditioning the roots, increases shine, creates volume, promotes hair growth, and helps with scalp disorders. It also has cleansing properties, balances the pH of the scalp and works like an astringent to reduce the oiliness of hair. Ilove adding this powder to my clay washes! I use this one here

When you’re doing a clay wash, you’re using it like a shampoo or a rinse. You can let it sit for few minutes (10-15) as you massage your scalp, but you are not letting dry up in your hair. Clay washes like this can be done regularly like I do every other week or so. Doing them this way can help prevent product build up if that’s an issue for you and you won’t need to let it sit in your hair long at all. Sometimes I do a quick wash with a moisturizing shampoo or co-wash, but most of the time I don't. I always listen to my hair. After I rinse off the clay I decide what I need. 

Another option for a "clay wash" would be to add the clay and whatever other ingredients you'd like to use to your co-wash and use it that way. This is the clay I use for my washes. 

This clay wash recipe is thin! That's how I like it. You can make it thicker of course. I also listed both water and aloe - but you can definitely do either or! I revised the recipe a bit a and I posted it on my Insta, you can check it out here.


The recipe for the mask is slightly different. In my opinion, this is for naturals who want to do this once every 4-6 weeks. This is going to sit in your hair like a treatment, so it’s a good idea to add more oils for conditioning purposes and also for slip and manageability.

Cover your hair with a plastic cap to preserve more moisture, leave it on for 30-45 minutes and then rinse it off very well with a lot of warm or room temperature water.

My preference is to apply this to hair that has been shampooed or co-washed, feel free to do this the way that works best for you. For a clay mask, I like to use the same clay I use on my face which is this one. Follow up with your conditioner or deep conditioner and then rinse. 
  • When mixing your clay, do not use a metal bowl or utensils, stick with glass or plastic, clays draw out toxins like metals.

  • For both of these recipes, it’s best to use room temperature liquids so that the clay can dissolve easier.

  • If you still have chunks, you can let both sit for 20 minutes and then mix them again before you use them.

  • These measurements are for my hair and length and it took me some time to figure them out. Definitely play around with them as you sit fit for yourself.

  • When you’re done with either, make sure you rinse your hair very well with plenty of water.

  • If this is your first time doing a clay wash or clay mask, you’ll immediately notice that your hair is both really clean, and really strengthened. This is why it’s crucial that you always follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner.

  • A lot of people feel that after a clay wash or mask their curls are literally POPPIN (aka defined af).. That’s clean hair for you boo. You’re welcome.

  • The clay mask, works best on wet/damp and detangled hair. You can shampoo prior, but I don’t think that's necessary, that's just my preference. A co-wash is just fine or you can do it on wet dirty hair.

  • The clay wash I apply to dirty hair. I always finger detangle with water and a little oil prior to applying in sections.

  • After a clay wash, most times I follow up with an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse. I do 2 parts water, one part ACV. This isn’t required but it does help make sure you have absolutely no clay left in your hair. ACV with “the mother,” is also antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, meaning it fights things like dandruff! In my previous wash day regimens, I have used ACV and water as a shampoo replacement (1-2 times a month). My entire natural hair journey has been a struggle with shampoos. I loved them! But they used to dry out my scalp a lot and so I constantly found myself co-washing instead. Only that would lead to crazy build up for me. ACV helped me balance that out. 

Lastly, I’m going to link some other recipes to really show you the versatility of clay washes and masks. Most of these hair vloggers are the same ones that introduced me to clay washes and inspired me to figure them out for myself.




Using Aztec Clay For The First Time | Did My Curl Pattern Change??? I love her reaction!! There's something about clean hair that makes your curls POP like no other.


There are also pre-made clay cleansers and masks for natural hair sold in stores and online. I’ll link a few of those as well, incase you are interested in something like this, but aren’t as committed to the DIY life. I have never tried any of these. I’ve simply seen them on other blogs, or on YouTube; and I tried to list varying brands and price points. I also included a UK based brand because according to my analytics I’m getting a lot of views from there! Helloooooo UK curlies.

That’s it guys, I hope you really enjoyed this post! It was definitely long overdue! So many of you have hit me up about my clay washes and I hope this answered your questions. If not, definitely comment them on here or reach out to me again. If you think you’ll try any of these do me a favor and like this post. Don’t forget to subscribe and share these recipes with your curl friends.





3 Responses


February 12, 2023

Hibiscus powder is great but I hv grey hair which came early in life and I love it. Is there another herb ..maybe calendula or another which won’t stain my grey?


April 09, 2021

Thanks for all the information. I loved it. I have a question regarding the wash and mask. Can I mix the rhaussoul and betonite clay together and use as a conditioning shampoo? Washing and conditioning my hair at the same time. Thanks

Nour Elhouda
Nour Elhouda

February 09, 2021

Can I mix dried mint powder or dried thyme leaves powder with clay mask for my hair? because lately I’m experiencing scalp itchiness and I thought this might help i just needed to know if it is safe

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