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February 12, 2013

Bentonite Clay for Skin and Natural Hair




What is bentonite clay?

Bentonite is an impure clay that usually forms from the weathering of volcanic ash and in the presence of water. There are several types of bentonite, each named after the respective dominant element, like potassium, sodium, calcium, and aluminum.

Clays like bentonite have long been used to help rid the body of toxins and to provide it with nutrients. Sometimes animals turn to eating dirt and clay to help remove poisons from their systems or in times of illness or distress.

Bentonite can be used externally as a poultice, mud pack or in the bath and, in skin care recipes. Good quality bentonite should be a grey or cream color and anything that appears to be “pure white” is suspect. It is often times packaged and distributed in powder form and should have a very fine, velvet-like feel. It is odorless and non-staining.

Bentonite clay is made of aged volcanic ash and is quite unique due to its ability to produce an electrical charge when hydrated. Upon contact with fluid, its electrical components change, giving it the ability to absorb toxins. Bentonite is known for its ability to absorb and remove toxins, heavy metals, impurities and chemicals.

How to use it

When it becomes mixed with water, bentonite clay rapidly swells open like a highly porous sponge, allowing toxins to be drawn into the sponge through electrical attraction and once there, they are bound inside of it. The clay then releases its minerals for the body to use.

Bentonite also helps oxygenate the cells, as it pulls excess hydrogen and allows the cells to replace it with oxygen instead. NEVER let bentonite come in to contact with anything metal, as this will reduce the effectiveness. You can mix it with water, apple cider vinegar, or extra virgin olive oil in a glass or plastic vessel and use plastic utensils to thoroughly mix.

There are many uses for bentonite:
  1. A paste of bentonite clay and water can be used on the skin for any irritation like blemishes, insect bites, cuts, skin itching or burns. Leave it on until it dries and then wash it off. This can be especially calming to skin suffering from eczema, psoriasis, chicken pox, etc.
  2. For more severe issues (like burns), you can create a poultice by putting a thick layer of clay on the skin and applying a wet gauze or cloth over it, then wrap the area and leave the poultice on, changing every 2 hours.
  3. For smooth and healthy skin, make a paste of bentonite and water and apply to your face as a mask. Leave it on for 20 minutes and wash off. This can be done once or twice a week.
  4. Adding a ¼ cup of bentonite to a bath can serve as a very relaxing and detoxifying bath that soothes and softens the skin.
  5. Bentonite can be used to clarify AND condition the hair (in one step!), by effectively removing product build-up without stripping the hair like shampoo, leaving your hair conditioned and moisturized throughout

CN Says:
It's been a while since I've revisited bentonite clay.  For my hair, I remember liking the results, but not caring much for the rinsing process.  I purchased the Aztec Secret brand which can be found at Whole Foods. One tub will last you a year or more. 


Do you use Bentonite Clay? What's your process?

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