Friday, 1 August 2014

Why Use Clay To Wash Your Hair?

Photo credit:shakara-naturaltips

Using clays to clean hair is growing in popularity in the natural community but, for the longest time, I resisted jumping on this particular bandwagon because I simply didn't understand or even really believe the hype around it.

I decided to do some research and although I'm still not 100% sure I 'get' it, these are the main reasons some naturals prefer clay washing their hair:

1. Clays are able to draw out toxins and impurities from your hair. 

There are three clays commonly used as cleansers.

a) Bentonite

Bentonite is a good detoxifying clay that can be used externally as well as ingested. 

Made of aged volcanic ash, it is grey in colour and becomes negatively charged when mixed with water. This negative charge attracts positively charged impurities, toxins and heavy metals which are then washed away with the clay. 

So is it a good chelator? My understanding is that chelators (Sodium Edetate or EDTA) draw out heavy metals such as chlorine that bind with your hair proteins while bentonite removes those that sit on the surface of your hair. (Any scientists around to yay or nay this?)

b) Rhassoul

Photo credit:

Rhassoul is a red, Moroccan clay that is great for softening and moisturizing hair. It is the most expensive of the clays and is used more for it's conditioning properties, although it also has cleansing and detoxing abilities. 

c) Kaolin

Photo credit:aromatics international

Also known as 'white' or 'china' clay, Kaolin is a gentle, cleansing clay and is commonly used in beauty treatments. Its exfoliating nature makes it more suitable for scalp cleansing. 

2. Clays are less stripping than shampoos 
Natural Haven recently wrote a blog post comparing clay cleansed hair compared to shampooed hair. The clay washes removed a good deal of dirt and oils without leaving the hair as stripped clean as shampoo. 

3. Clay washing is more effective at clarifying than cowashing
Natural Haven's experiment also did a comparison between hair washed with clay vs conditioner. She found the results to be the same, the hair was cleaned of a lot of oil and dirt with some oil still remaining on the strands. No comparison was made between the effectiveness of conditioners to removed heavy metals and this, as discussed above, may be the advantage offered by clay washing. 

Bentonite clay is the most commonly available clay locally and, when mixed with Apple Cider Vinegar and/or Aloe Vera Juice to balance the pH, as well as natural oils, it is increasingly popular as a
shampooing and cowashing alternative. 

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