Bentonite Clay

This is the product that catalysed the decision to throw shampoo out of my life. Now, I don’t think I need to tell my sad dry hair story again so I’ll skip to the part where I found a solution; a way to cleanse my hair without stripping it of its natural oils. Yup! That’s what Bentonite Clay does.

I was up early one morning, unable to sleep. I was quite stressed about the state of my hair and I had no idea what I was going to do to get its glow back. I decided to make good use of my midnight data and take my problem to YouTube. After watching countless tutorials for methods I had already tried, finally, came a solution which held great promise. Excitedly, I opened another tab in my browser and looked for the nearest place to find the product that would save me from my dull hair woes: pure bentonite clay. I was relieved to find that it was really affordable and available at Dischem. I got it and used it that very same day.

My urgency with this find should tell you what a desperate situation I was in. Luckily, my efforts weren’t in vain as I observed serious results immediately after I had used it. I mixed the bentonite clay powder with some lukewarm water (previously boiled) to get it into the clay consistency and I applied it to the hair just like that. I separated my hair into four sections and applied the clay to each section, line by line. It seems that the many other coil sisters on the blogosphere use apple cider vinegar, aloe vera juice and other essential or carrier oils to mix with their clay powder; but I just didn’t. Initially I was going to mix it in with apple cider vinegar but I absolutely hate the smell of vinegar and I knew I wouldn’t be able to sit through washing my hair without throwing up. The application process was very, very messy but to be honest I had some fun with it. The clay is also a really good detangler which was surprising to me since it is clay. When I rinsed it out, my hair didn’t feel dry or strained or anything like the way it feels after a usual shampoo, instead the hair felt soft and my curls were popping! I knew from that moment in the shower that this is about to become a staple in my regimen.

Apparently conditioning after a bentonite clay wash is optional, however, conditioning is never an optional step for me. I always follow this wash up with a deep conditioner, specifically a store-bought hair mayonnaise.

You can read up on bentonite clay, in terms of its cleansing and conditioning abilities as well its mineral make up, here.


Keeping It Clean (Low Porosity Woes)

Wash day things can be really annoying. Wash day things can take the whole day. Pre-pooing, shampooing and co-washing are what I mean by ‘wash day things’. As if that’s not enough, we still have to deal with the stress of knowing the different synthetic ingredients (if you prefer store-bought products) or natural ingredients (if you prefer making your own products) and how your hair will react. Sometimes it feels like we’re going through the most for our hair when really, we’re just keeping it clean. Getting the right wash routine can take some time and once you’ve got it; you’ll probably still update it as you expand your knowledge or as hair goes through changes.

I may have disrupted my routine when I randomly substituted Tressemme Naturals shampoo for African Black Soap, not because the African soap was a bad product (its actually really great) but because that’s the last time I remember knowing exactly what’s going on with my routine. I only had a small piece of black soap that lasted me about three washes and when it was done, I reverted to my trusty Tressemme Naturals shampoo and to my disappointment, my hair felt like straw. The crazy thing is that I had never observed a reaction like that from this shampoo. I went in with a deep conditioner to troubleshoot and luckily the hair did feel a lot softer but the need for a new shampoo was apparent. I’ve trialled a bunch of shampoos up to this point including the Earthy shampoo bar (which left my hair feeling kind of waxy, I didn’t like that). Eventually, I did find products that I was happy with but they aren’t shampoo.

So here I am giving up shampoo. Yes, I’m becoming one of those ‘no-shampoo naturals’ and my hair and I are so happy about this decision! We’ve never felt better (get it? Because my hair literally feels better). One thing that all the shampoos I tried had in common is that they really made my hair feel dry. I suppose the point of shampoo is to strip the hair of oils (dirt) but the synthetic ingredients in the products which function to do exactly that are what I have a problem with, as they leave my hair feeling dry and strained as opposed to moist and soft. So I’m giving it up.

“No wash day? How will you keep it clean?”, you ask. Well, this change isn’t all that drastic. My wash still happens once a week on a whenever-I-have-the-chance-day (usually on a Sunday) but this time, I alternate between co-washing one week and cleansing using bentonite clay the next. On days that I use bentonite clay, I follow up with a deep-conditioner and sometimes I go ahead and deep condition after co-washing too.

My new routine is awesome because it eliminates the need for a pre-shampoo detangling process (pre-poo). The bentonite clay functions so well as a detangler so by the time I am done applying it, all that is left to do is rinse. Similarly on days that I co-wash, the conditioner will do the work of detangling. Cutting out the pre-poo process is a great time-saver, which is something that is very important to me when it comes to hair care. This routine is also really great because it promotes great hair hydration, instead of shampoo which seemed to dehydrate the hair, so I would recommend it to all my coil sisters with low porosity woes.

Join the conversation in the comments and tell me, what’s your wash routine?