I’ve been riding the bentonite clay train for a minute now. Never has my scalp been so happy. Never have my curls had more boing. That said, bentonite has some cousins and step-sisters that I would love to get cozy with. Clay is awesome for detoxing the tresses and stimulating blood flow at the scalp. Their toxin-absorbing prowess is also good for facials and even body wraps. Because each type is made up of different mineral contents, each has a different effect.
Which clay is right for you? You won’t know for sure without [literally] getting your hands a little dirty. In the meanwhile, this should point you in the right direction. Note that clay with higher absorption can be more drying—use in moderation. Check it (shop ‘em by clicking the links):
Cosmetic Clay with Low Absorption
- White Kaolin (China): mildest of all clays, and is high in calcium, silica, zinc and magnesium; absorbs, dirt, toxins and bacteria, but does not draw oils.
- Yellow Kaolin: Milder than Red Kaolin, but slightly more absorbent than White Kaolin; draws very little oil.
- Pink Kaolin (Rose): created by combining white and red kaolin clays; this combination provides a balanced absorption of dirt, toxins, bacteria; does not draw oil.
Cosmetic Clay with Medium Absorption
- Rhassoul (Moroccan Lava or Moroccan Red): Like bentonite clay, this is also a fave amongst naturalistas; rich in silica, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium and sodium.
- Dead Sea (Black Mud): rich in potassium, magnesium, bromide, algae, and sulfur.
- White Amazonian: packed with calcium, iron, potassium, and sulfur.
- Australian Clay (various colors): contains magnesium, calcium, copper, zinc, and potassium.
Cosmetic Clay with High Absorption
- French Green (Sea Clay): one of the most sought after and commonly used cosmetic clays; loaded with montmorillonite, mineral oxides, magnesium, calcium, potassium, dolomite, silica, manganese, phosporous, silicon, copper, and selenium; superior absorption.
- Bentonite: combination of montmorillonite and volcanic ash.
- Red Kaolin: most absorbent of kaolin clays.
- Blue and Red Montmorillonite: similar in property to bentonite; often referred to interchangeably.
- Green Illite (mistaken for French Green Clay, also in red and yellow): does not expand with water.
- Multani Mitti (Indian Fullers Earth): similar to kaolin clay; contains alumina, silica, lime, magnesia, iron oxides.
- Zeilote: great odor absorbing capabilities; when blended with other clays, has a more balance absorption.
How to Use Clay for a Skin or Hair Masque
- Mix with water, aloe vera juice, aloe vera gel, coconut water, greek yogurt, coconut creme, milk, pureed fruit or veggies, oatmeal to make a thick and creamy hair or facial mask.
- Mix with aloe vera juice and your fave oil for a light cleanser.