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Curly Nikki

F.A.Q.- Bentonite Clay and Silicones

By January 27th, 20217 Comments

Hello Nikki,

I love your blog! I have a question that maybe either you or JC (the “resident chemist”) could answer. Do you know if Bentonite clay removes silicones from the hair? See, I’ve been CG for about three weeks and I’ve been less than pleased. My hair is poofy, stringy, and the curls have shrunk up tremendously. I just do not like the effects so far. From my understanding of the reasoning behind CG, silicones are not the problem for our hair, it’s the harsh sulfates in shampoos that are used to remove them. So, I’ve been doing my research on bentonite clay and found that SUPPOSEDLY it can replace clarifying shampoos. All I want to know is if this is true, and if it can remove silicones so they don’t build up.

JC: Just as a side note, I’m not really sure that silicones are the problem for this poster. I’m almost certain she has a porosity or moisturising issue. Shrinkage is pretty normal but when the hair is porous, it tends to shrink up really tight as the hair loses moisture quickly. I don’t tend to give hair care advice since I’m not a trichologist and I haven’t seen her hair but what she is describing is not consistent with silicone related issues. Excess silicone ends up as greasy hair.

Okay to the question

Betonite clay is not really researched for use in hair but it has been used as an industrial cleaner. Most forms of the clay have been shown to be able to remove ions (for example dissolved salts such as table salt/sodium chloride). There are definite pointers that it can adsorb proteins, fats and grease .This means that the fat/grease gets stuck onto (adsorbed) the clay and therefore removed away from the surface.

There is nothing that I could find to say that it can remove silicone (the kind found in hair products). Silicone does tend to be in grease form so it is a possibility that Betonite can lift this from hair.

I’d like to mention that Betonite clay does contain silicon in the form of silica (SiO silicon and oxygen) and not the classic silicone/siloxane (SiO with Carbon groups). The two forms are quite different in behaviour. The silicon in betonite clay is more similar to what you find in glass or sand while that in hair products is more similar to the sealing stuff used in bathrooms.


  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the information JC. At least I know what I am getting into when I use conditioners with cones in them!

  • Anonymous says:

    Let me just clarify that there’s more than just silicone in bathroom sealant. Silicone just prevents water from getting in to cracks but they have to add other chemicals to ensure that it sets correctly and adheres strongly to the surface. Also it needs colour since most silicone/siloxanes are colourless and people want white filler etc.

    I was just talking about the change in consistency (gel like and not sand like), not to make you think that you have some kind of quick setting glue in your hair products. Silicones and siloxanes come in a range of forms from liquid to gel to firm(ish) solids.

    Sorry if this was not clear.

  • Suburbanbushbabe says:

    “sealing stuff used in bathrooms”

    To me, that says it all about silicones in hair products.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for responding JC!

  • Anonymous says:

    Bree – Bentonite is mainly used to adsorb excess oils. Modified forms can adsorb chlorine quite well but organoclays are really not ideal for use on hair. I would probably recommend a shower filter if you have hard water as that will fix the water not just for your hair but also your body.

    Justme- Silicones are not easily washed away. If you are strictly co-washing, it is probably best to go for a conditioner that is silicone free. Silicone in conditioner is generally added at a low volume so it is not likely to cause any problems. However, if you are not going to shampoo every 3-4 weeks, then I’d stick to silicone free.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi JC, are silicones easily washed away if using them to co-wash hair and not as a leave-in eg hello hydration? thanks.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey JC, I was wondering if bentonite clay could help reverse the effects of hard water like a chelating shampoo. I suffer from hard water, but I would like something more natural to reverse the affects other than a chelating shampoo. Thanks!

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