I Finally Clarified My Hair!
Updated: Jan 25
When I was relaxed and then, when I first went natural, I clarified my hair (removed product build-up) more so than now.
I used a lot of heavy products to keep my hair moisturized or "tamed" than I do currently, so making sure build-up was taken care of was more on my agenda back then!
It'll already be 4 years I've been natural, in November!
This is the first time I decided to use an Aztec Calcium Bentonite Clay Mask instead of my go-to tea tree shampoo. And, can I say, the results were bomb!
I decided to clarify now, because I've used many different products (containing organic, but heavy and complex ingredients, that can stick to the scalp and hair follicle more so than others).
My hair was super frizzy and weighed down because I strayed from my routine.
And, because I replaced my simple-based ingredient-products with heavier-more-complexed-ingredient-products.
So, Let's Talk Clay Masks!
I used Why Not Go Natural's Aztec Clay Mask recipe with a twist (they used olive oil and grapeseed oil, but I used castor oil, as it was what I had on hand).
It is a messy hair care routine, however, if you prepare for it (and peep my tips—see bottom of this post—I'd say you can have a successful clay mask/wash day)!
Keep in mind that this clay mask is very potent. It's clarifying to the point of stripping even natural oils from your hair (like tea tree shampoo) so this is something you'd want to do, at most once a month.
I plan on doing this every 3 or so months, personally, because I know my products are naturally thin and light on the scalp and hair (so less build-up)!
My Aztec Calcium Bentonite Clay Mask Recipe
Originally, I used about...
1/2 cup of clay
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of water (or less, to create desired consistency)
2 tablespoons of castor oil
But I then had to make 3 more of these batches, because it wasn't enough for my whole head (side note: I also preferred my mixture to be thicker). So, if you have hair almost as long, as long, or longer than mine, I suggest using the recipe below...
1 1/2 cups of clay
1 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of water (less or more, to create desired consistency)
1/4 cup of castor oil
You can add olive oil if you'd like, or even another oil like grapeseed. I just used what I had at home.
The benefit of grapeseed oil penetrates hair and is a great moisturizer (so honestly if I had it, I would choose this over castor oil, especially after the mask and if you have dry hair, this oil can rejuvenate it)...
...while castor oil and olive oil help dry/flaky scalps (but they don't penetrate as much as grapeseed oil, but they do seal-in moisture for the hair) and prevent dandruff.
So next time I'll probably add castor oil and grapeseed oil!
Peep below for the brands I used for my clay mask!
I decided to stick to Why Not Go Natural's tips, and wash my hair as usual after doing the clay mask!
How I Applied My Mask
First, I wet my hair and detangled it. I just decided to pop in the shower and detangle with my Denman brush under the running water (no conditioner).
NOTE * If you need to add product to detangle, I would, just because you want to be able to finger comb through your hair when adding the clay—using a comb when adding the clay can clog it and may end up being messier).
I sectioned my hair into small parts so that I could evenly apply the mask to all of my hair. I didn't put the mask directly on my scalp.
But, I did rake it through my hair with my fingers and made sure that the roots were nicely covered.
I applied the mask at 11:am and then was finished applying by 11:40 am. Then I washed out the mask at 12:45 pm.
You can leave the mask in until your hair dries (but that would have taken another hour because of my hair length), but I decided after part of my hair was dry and some damp/almost dry, that it was good enough!
NOTE* You don't add heat or do anything to the mask after applying.
This isn't like deep conditioning, so you only have to apply the mask and let it sit for about 45 minutes or so (or if you want, until dry) and then rinse completely.
I rinsed my hair so that when squeezing my curls, the water ran clear. At first, the water will be the color of the clay (the mixture creates a tan-ish color).
Then you can continue your wash day as usually. I (similar to Why Not Go Natural) wanted to rinse out the mask then shampoo because I wanted to make sure all of the mask was out/off of my hair scalp.
Some may prefer to do the mask afterward or in another order, which is fine (personally I think this way would work best, but haven't tried another order).
Make sure you moisturize your hair afterward, as your hair will be VERY dry. Again, all your oils, even the natural ones are GONE-O.
So if you'd like, you can deep condition, apply a leave-in and put your hair in a protective style, etc.
I decided to do twists and use my handy-dandy flax gel.
And, can we just talk about the definition, my hair had waves on waves on waves, and it hasn't looked like this since I was a toddler LOL.
Overall, I feel that my curls near the nape of my neck were the most defined (probably because I left the clay in the longest in these sections, because that's where I first applied it).
Next time, I think I'll wait longer so that the front of my curls get a little more of a detox. BUT in general, my curls are D E F I N E D. Even when I would add product, my hair never looked like this.
My curls are also bouncier (and they were pretty bouncy, to begin with). So I am assuming shrinkage will be greater. When I did my twists, they coiled up faster and my hair actually dried faster as well!
I think I'll research a deep conditioner or a DIY deep conditioner recipe that I can do after my clay mask for next time! (Remember this is just once a month or once every few months you have to do this!)
Tid Bits: How to Minimize Clay Mask's Mess
This mask is AMAZING, but a little messy. HOWEVER, there are some tips I have to minimize mess and make cleanup easier!
Wear something you don't care about getting clay all over.
Put an old towel on your bathroom floor and sink if you plan on doing it out of the shower.
You can create the mixture then apply it in the shower to minimize mess and then rinse the shower down afterward.
If you create a more chunky mixture, you'll be less likely to have the clay flinging around. My mixture was pretty thick, so that helped!
Finger combing with your hair in front of you/laying on your chest (if you have long hair) can minimize the amount of clay flying around behind you, when applying to the back of your head.
Keep a small rag or cloth next to you, so you can wipe your hands (in case you have to create more of the clay mixture, do a task, etc).
Keep all the ingredients nearby! You never know if you want to change the consistency or if you feel you may need more than originally planned.
From my experience, rinsing the clay from fabric isn't an issue if you don't wait too long. I haven't seen its effects after you leave it on fabric, but I'd assume you'd want to wash the clay off as soon as possible.