The Clay Mask Recipe that Gives You(r Hair) Life

The Clay Mask Recipe that Gives You(r Hair) Life
Update: Bentonite Clay Curls, May 2017!
Note: This post has been updated as of May 2017 to reflect my current natural hair practices and product preferences. The recipe itself remains unchanged. #ifitaintbroke...

I'm more product junkie than DIY mixtress, but every so often I copycat or stumble upon a DIY recipe that makes me think I could launch the next big natural hair product line.

Maybe I'm exaggerating a little. Maybe.

But this DIY Clay Mask has forever changed my regimen. It hydrates, moisturizes, de-frizzes, softens, and banishes dryness, while encouraging curl clumping and shine. Any problems you're having with your hair, this mask can probably solve. Initially, I did the mask twice a week as a part of my Max Hydration Method challenge experiment. But not, I reach for it whenever my curls are giving me serious side-eye. It's the remedy for my persistently frizzy, unruly patches rough, dry, tangly ends.

Here's the scoop on the ingredients I use in my personal mix:

Bentonite Clay: Bentonite is incredibly powerful, possessing a negative charge (anionic). This makes it an ideal clay for cleansing and detoxifying, as it has the ability to remove positively charged (cationic) conditioners and products that can build up on the hair and scalp. It is also said to have the ability to draw out toxins, heavy metals, chemicals, and impurities. It helps cleanse and lift impurities from the hair, aiding in conditioning, shine, softness, and definition.

The Clay Mask Recipe that Gives You(r Hair) Life
Smooth like Greek yogurt.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Serves as an antimicrobial agent (warding off infection), and helps ease the itching and flakiness associated with scalp conditions such as dandruff, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis. ACV is also able to improve the shininess of hair and increase moisture retention by causing cuticles to lay flat via pH balancing the hair. Through this same mechanism, it is also believe that Apple Cider Vinegar can correct hair porosity issues.

Water: The ultimate hydrator and hair problem solver.

Coconut Oil: Oil with a high saturated fat content, rich in vitamins and nutrients beneficial to the hair. Due to its low molecular weight, coconut is one of the few oils proven to actually penetrate the hair shaft. It protects and coats the hair, and prevents protein loss.

Castor Oil: Castor oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties, so it will help with dandruff and other scalp ailments. It is also a great moisture sealant, and promotes hair thickening and growth.Castor oil also acts as a humectant, drawing in moisture to the hair for total hydration.

Sweet Almond Oil: Oil that locks moisture into the hair while nourishing, smoothing cuticles, controlling shedding, and boosting shine. It is rich in omegas 6 and 9, which help ciment the cuticle, reduce moisture loss, and improve elasticity. 

To make this clay mask, you'll need:
  • a plastic or glass bowl
  • a plastic, wooden, or rubber stirring utensil
  • 1/2 cup (or 4oz) of bentonite cay (I use the Indian Healing Clay)
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of castor oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet almond oil
  • 6 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (unfiltered, with mother)
  • 3 tablespoons of water
Add the clay first, then the oils, in your mixing bowl. You can begin stirring if you like, or leave it all until the very end (I prefer to stir after everything is all in). Next, add your 6 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Allow it to aerate and foam for 10-15 seconds before adding in the water. The reaction between the clay and apple cider vinegar is essential to avoiding a lumpy mix. After the mixture has foamed for a few seconds, add your 3 tablespoons of water. 

Stir everything together vigorously, until you have a smooth, minimally lumpy mixture that is roughly the consistency of Greek yogurt.

Apply the mask to clean, damp or wet hair from root to end. To ensure even coverage, work in small sections. If your hair begins to dry while applying the mask, keep a spray bottle nearby to spritz and keep the hair damp, but not dripping wet. After you've completely coated your hair with the mask, cover it with a plastic cap, saran wrap, or plastic bag for 20-30 minutes. You can use a hooded dryer or steamer for extra penetration, or just let the heat from your head do all the work.
The Clay Mask Recipe that Gives You(r Hair) Life
Length goals, circa 2014...
After Your Mask Has Marinated...
When you're ready to rinse, I highly recommend hopping in the shower. It will be incredibly difficult to get the clay out under the power of a sink faucet alone. Trust me, you don't want leftover clay in your curls. You'll look like you lost a fight with a bag of flour when it dries.

Once the clay is 80-90% rinsed out, follow up with a conditioner of choice. It doesn't have to be a deep conditioner (but you can use one if you wish), your favorite, regular, cheapie conditioner will do. My personal picks are Suave's Almond & Shea Butter Conditioner and Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner . Rake it through your hair from ends to root, and let it sit for about 5 minutes then rinse.

Your end result will be hydrated, ultra-moisturized, soft, frizz-free, uber-defined hair.

Now go and get your wash n go on, sis!


  1. Where did u purchase the clay at?

  2. I purchased mine from Whole Foods. Or, you can definitely order it from