What Is Clay shampoo?

If you are on your No Poo journey and are ever asked what is clay shampoo, this article should give you all the information you need.

Clay shampoo is not a shampoo in the traditional sense. However, you can use certain clays to keep your hair clean and in good condition. Using clay to clean your hair helps remove any dirt without stripping your hair of natural oils. The most common clays are bentonite, rhassoul, and kaolin.

Clay is a wonderfully versatile product for your hair.

Keep reading to find out how to use clay to keep your hair healthy and clean.

What Is Clay Shampoo?

Clay is regularly used by many people to keep their hair healthy and shiny.

The clay is mined from around the world (and it’s different properties, have different names).

It can be added to water, oil, or even aloe vera to make a paste or liquid for making shampoos or masks for your hair.

Clay often swells when added to water and attracts:

  • Toxins
  • Dirt
  • Styling Products
  • Chlorine

These stick to the clay making it a simple job to rinse all of these out from your hair.

If you are a swimmer, using Kaolin clay will help remove the chlorine buildup that you can get if not wearing a swimming cap.

Clay can be used on all hair types, from highly porous to low porosity hair, curly to straight, and all types in between.

Clay has many benefits for your hair, including the following:

  • Removes dirt and debris
  • Is gentle and does not strip natural oils
  • Contains minerals to nourish your hair
  • Moisturising for your hair and scalp
  • Removes toxins and bacteria
  • Great for defining curls

Can you use bentonite clay as shampoo?

Many people ask about this after learning the benefits of using clay on the skin.

Bentonite and other clays are well known for their positive effects on hair and scalp health and growth.

There are several well-known types of clay for use on your hair, these are as follows:


Bentonite clay for hair has a long history of use.

Bentonite clay is packed with minerals to help your hair grow and has anti-inflammatory properties to improve scalp health whilst also exfoliating.

It is especially good for thick and oily hair that is prone to looking greasy.


This clay is known for softening hair and helping with scalp health to reduce dandruff.

It also helps your scalp to regulate its sebum production.


Kaolin is probably the least-drying clay you can use on your hair.

All clays absorb moisture well, which is why those with dry hair should be cautious not to overuse it.

Kaolin allows everyone to benefit from the mineral benefits of clay.

French Green

If you have oily hair, french green is the perfect choice of clay for you.

It has the same benefits as other clays but with increased absorption properties (source 1,2,3).

Is Clay Shampoo Good For Hair?

Many people claim that clay shampoo is the very best thing to use on your hair.

Indeed, there are many positives to using clay. There are, however, some negatives.

The pros and cons are listed below:

Clay Shampoo Benefits

These are the benefits of using clay shampoo:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Removes toxins
  • Removes bacteria
  • Nourishes hair and scalp
  • Curl-defining

Clay Shampoo Disadvantages

Below are the disadvantages of using clay shampoo:

  • Avoid or limit using clay if you have dry hair or a dry scalp, as it may dry your hair further.
  • Can be difficult to remove from your hair.
  • Can leave deposits on hair if not used correctly.
  • Little scientific evidence.

So, with its anti-inflammatory effects is clay shampoo good for dandruff?

Whilst this question should be quite simple to answer, unfortunately, it isn’t!

However, what we do know is that if your dandruff is caused by poor scalp health, bacteria, and/or lack of exfoliation, then clay shampoo may be able to help.

However, if your dandruff is due to an overly dry scalp, clay might actually make the condition worse.

Best Clay Shampoo

As the No Poo movement gains momentum, more and more people are turning to natural alternatives to keep their hair healthy, shiny, and clean.

Clay, having been used for centuries, is now readily available online.

The shampoos below are some of the best available:

Clay Shampoo For Dry Hair

If you have dry hair, we recommend you use the following shampoo bar to help add moisture to your hair:

Shea Butter Shampoo Bar

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The Shea butter shampoo bar contains manuka honey and mafura oil clay, which do wonders for your dry hair and scalp.

As it is a shampoo bar, a little goes a very long way.

Clay Shampoo For Oily Hair

If you suffer from oily hair, give the following clay shampoo a go!

Live Clean

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Live Clean combines three different clay types, with apple cider vinegar, leaving your hair balanced and healthy.

Clay Shampoo For Hair

We love this cream of nature clay, make sure you take a look!

Cream Of Nature Clay

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Cream of Nature clay and charcoal shampoo includes aloe vera to soften and moisturize your hair

Hair Clay Masks

As well as using clay as a wash for your hair, you can also use clay as a mask to keep your hair in good condition.

When you use clay as a mask, the water makes it swell and attract all the dirt and debris in your hair.

As it dries, these nasties are locked into the clay and washed out when you rinse out the mask.

This makes clay brilliant as a clarifying product.

Each clay has its own properties and each is most beneficial to different hair types.

Keep reading to find out which clay mask you should use for your specific hair type.


Because this clay expands the most, drawing out all the moisture it can find, it is best used on thick and oily hair.

It is considered the clay that dries hair most, so should be used sparingly, and is not suitable for hair that is already dry.


This is a very gentle clay.

Unlike bentonite, it can be successfully used on dry hair and hair that is highly porous.

It has antibacterial properties so is the choice for those with dandruff or sensitive scalps.


If you want to moisturize your hair, then this may be the clay for you.

It is particularly useful for people with curly hair and hair that is prone to tangling.

It is the perfect clay to use as a mask for people with dry hair.

Hair Clay Mask Benefits

Using a clay hair mask can be very beneficial for your hair

Here as some benefits you may experience when using a hair mask with clay in it (source 1):

  • Clarifying: It has the ability to remove dirt, debris, styling products, bacteria, and toxins from your hair.
  • Types: Each clay has its specific properties so there is a clay available whatever your hair type.
  • Anti-Inflammatory: Clay is kind to your scalp, soothing problem skin.
  • Anti-Dandruff: Clay helps to reduce and even remove your dandruff problems.
  • Curls: Clay can help to define your curls in a gentle way.
  • De-Tangling: Rhassoul clay especially can help to make detangling your hair simple.
  • Moisturise: Rhassoul clay and Kaolin clay are perfect clays for dry hair.

Whatever your hair type there is a clay that will complement your hair care regime and help your hair to be the best it can be.

How Often Should You Use Clay Mask?

It is generally agreed that using a clay hair mask once a week is the best approach.

However, this will depend upon the type of clay you use and your hair type and needs.

If you have very thick and particularly oily hair then it may be possible for you to use a clay mask twice a week if you are using Rhassoul or Kaolin.

If you use Bentonite clay, then sticking to once per week will help your hair without drying it out too much and causing irritation.

Hair Clay Mask Recipe

If you cannot decide which clay is going to be the best for your hair, why not try the recipe below that uses all three!

This means you get all of the positives of each clay without it being too drying on your hair and scalp.


  • ½ cup Rhassoul clay
  • ⅓ cup Bentonite clay
  • ¼ cup Kaolin clay
  • 3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Coconut oil or Sweet Almond oil
  • 5 drops of essential oil of your choice (optional)


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a plastic or wooden bowl. Do not use metal for either the bowl or the mixing spoon as this will affect the effectiveness of the clay.
  2. Wet hair
  3. Massage a portion of the mix into your scalp and hair roots.
  4. Massage the remaining mixture through to the very ends of your hair.
  5. Cover with a towel/shower cap if desired.
  6. Wait 10 – 20 minutes. Do not allow the clay to fully dry.
  7. Rinse out thoroughly with warm water.
  8. Leave to dry and style as normal.

If you want to use essential oils in this recipe but are not sure which will be the best for your hair, try reading our guide to essential oils article (source 1).


This article should have answered any questions you had on what is clay shampoo good for when using it on your hair.

Not only can clay be used as a clarifier, but it can moisturize and nourish your hair, whilst improving the health of your scalp.

Clay is a versatile ingredient that can be used both as a shampoo and as a mask.

Choosing the right clay for your hair will improve the condition of your hair and may even rid you of troublesome dandruff.

Katrina Stewardson

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I've been obsessed for almost ever with discovering the best natural hair methods for my own hair. For years I longed for one website to tell me everything I needed to know about the amazing No Poo Method movement. I just couldn't find one though, so I decided to create it myself! I dearly hope this website will save all you lovely ladies (and gents!) from wasting hours scrolling the internet looking for natural hair-related information like I did.

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