How to Detox Your Hair

Put mud in your hair natural clay hair detox for thick and shiny hair How to Detox Your Hair

A reader emailed me and asked if I’d ever heard of using clay to wash/detox hair. I hadn’t, but was intrigued, so I started researching…

Mud in Your Hair?

Turns out, clay can be very beneficial for hair in the same way it can be beneficial in the rest of the body: it removes toxins to leave hair super-clean and with a lot of shiny volume.

I still like my coconut milk shampoo, but from the comments, it definitely doesn’t work for everyone. This recipe is another great option that could be used regularly. It seems especially good for those with fine or naturally oily hair as it leaves the hair very clean, but I also found sites recommending it for those with coarse or frizzy hair for its ability to tame the hair (I can’t speak personally on this one as my hair is very fine.

If no-poo hasn’t worked for you, and homemade shampoo hasn’t worked for you, I’d encourage you to try this option. It can be customized for your hair type and lasts up to a week in the shower.

Sound strange to wash your hair with mud? Give it a try…

Optional Add-Ins

As I mentioned in my herbal hair colors post, different herbs can have darkening or lightening effects on hair. Nettle is said to be great for hair, so I would use this on any hair color. I used chamomile flowers on my hair since it is blonde, but rosemary would be a better choice for dark hair (and it is also supposed to be good for dandruff).

These are the mixtures I’ve tried:

After the mixture cools, I strained out the herbs and used 1 cup for the clay recipe and 1 cup for the final rinse with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar added.

4.6 from 13 reviews
How to Detox Your Hair - Natural Clay Mud Mask
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This natural clay mask for hair is an effective shampoo and detoxifying mask that leaves hair shiny and with healthy volume.
Author:
Recipe type: Beauty
Ingredients
  • 1 cup brewed herbal tea or water (see above for best herbs for hair type)
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • approximately ¾ cup bentonite or redmond clay
  • 10 drops of essential oil of choice (optional)- I use peppermint and lavender
Instructions
  1. Note: Bentonite clay is most effective if it doesn't come in contact with metal before use. Mix with wood, plastic or glass for best results, though I haven't found that this makes much of a difference for hair products. I use an old mini-food processor with a plastic dough blade that I found at a thrift shop.
  2. Brew the herbal tea and let cool slightly, make sure all herbs are strained out.
  3. Pour tea and apple cider vinegar in a blender, food processor or non-metal bowl.
  4. Start adding clay a tablespoon at a time while blending or whisking to incorporate it.
  5. Keep adding clay until mixture is smooth and about the consistency of yogurt.
  6. Add essential oils if using and mix in.
  7. Store in an air-tight container in the shower for up to a week.
  8. To Use: Wet hair. Starting at roots, massage a handful of the clay mixture into hair and work down to the roots. Repeat until all hair is coated. Leave 5 minutes or up to 20 minutes (do not let dry!) and rinse out with warm water.
  9. optional: Rinse with a cup of herbal tea with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar added.

Would you put mud in your hair? Why or why not?

Reader Comments

  1. Ali says

    It’s important to use high quality calcium montmorillonite clay for the best results and to avoid clogging your drain. Sodium bentonite clumps which makes it harder to rinse and it can clog drains. If you buy edible grade montmorillonite clay, there is no end to the external and internal applications and benefits!

    • Maria Palompo says

      I just made Wellness Mama’s remineralizing toothpaste with Sonne’s #7 Detoxificant (Sodium: 5 mg, Iron: 2 mg). Other ingredients are bentonite clay and purified water.

      Is this also okay to use in this shampoo mud recipe?

  2. Holly Hedge says

    I’ve been doing this along time instead of shampoo, no poo didn’t work for me. Heads up to anyone who is planning on trying this, rinse extra well, my hair can still feel gritty especially if you us regular shampoo and conditioner often. Also mix it up and try clays other than bentonite (which can be found at whole food under the azteca brand) like green clays which I hear some people’s hair just love.
    Anyone who is considering going this route instead of shampoo or no poo, look up the company terressentials they make an amazing hair cleansing product. They’re website also has all kinds of tips and instructions to detox your hair completely off shampoo and it honestly makes my hair 500 times better then when I make my own with bentonite. Thank you wellness mama for sharing the knowledge to the paleo community, I honestly wasn’t sure this was ever going to make the leap.

    • Angela says

      It works Excellent. Surprisingly, the mud works as a cleanser though It takes a while to get used to putting mud in your hair, sometimes we also use one kind of Mud used to called multani mud in our face, which works so nice. Thanks for sharing such amazing information.

  3. Mina says

    Yes. My hair is so sad with no-poo plus pregnancy and I don’t want to go back to the store stuff! I will give this a try!

    • Mia says

      Sarah,

      I have henna in my hair and using clay doesn’t seem to effect it all all. I use a mixture of coconut milk, clay, and a couple of other ingredients.

  4. Leah says

    Hi! Have you (or anyone else) tried premade clay hair masks? I ask because I’m in Jordan and need something to naturally clarify my hair (for some reason it’s been pretty greasy for the last few weeks and I do not want to use regular shampoo), and I don’t know where to find specialized products here. I’ve seen clay masks in some stores here. The other option I’ve been looking into is baking soda, but clay seems to do more of what I need, so I’m curious to try it out.

  5. Yolanda says

    Made this with Green Clay. I only had Rosemary leaf for the tea. (No poo has never worked for me, even after the transition stage. Tried it 3 times) After using this recipe, my hair was soooo soft but not shiny at all. Do you know why that is?
    Also, can I use this everyday? I put ylang ylang essential oil and there was no smelliness.

  6. Yolanda says

    Oh, I forgot to add that this ended up all over my shower, I had to rinse the whole shower off. It was the Green Clay. I is there a clay that won’t clog up the drain that isn’t Green??

  7. Sue says

    Ooo!!! I really want to try this. my allergies have forced me to forgo store bought, chemical infested shampoos and conditioners. i keep getting contact dermatitis around my shoulders and back. I’ve always been allergic to perfumes, and lately it’s just been getting worse. :/ i tried the baking soda method and my hair felt horrid, which caused me to be hesitant about the coconut shampoo. hopefully this will work for me. i have no idea what else to do if it doesn’t.
    Anyway, my hair is fine and breaks easily. i was wondering if there were certain clays for certain hair types?

  8. Daniela Eve Hudkins says

    I’m going to try this tonight! In the past I have combed in a small amount of apricot kernal oil to moisturize my hair… Do you think it would work now??? You know what, I’m just going to try it now and let you all know how it goes :)

  9. andrea says

    What Is Your Opinion On Doterra Oils Vs Mountain Rose Oils? IKnow Doterra Claim I Is The Only One To Take Internally And IsThe Strongest. BuT IsTheir Reall A Difference Besides Costs?

    • Kat says

      It’s hype. There are only a few places in the world that produce EOs and most companys ‘products are not that different from each other. In addition to being a MLM, doDeterra also trademarked their “therapeutic grade EO” – which isn’t backed by any governing body, it’s all their marketing. Nothing more, nothing less.

      • Lori says

        Thank You for an answer that would much like mine especially after I read the Intelligence of Essential Oils,(or something like that, I checked it out at the library, and felt like I got my use out of it, and didn’t want to purchase, so I don’t have the exact name), and asking many questions of those where I’ve purchase mine. My note to everyone on more than just oils, research, don’t believe all the hype of brand name products, like on groceries, I find that many times the lower price brand is just as good if not better than some brand.

  10. Yolanda says

    Oh boy, I love this mud shampoo but I also tried the 1Tbls Apple Cider with 1 cup of herbal tea after I washed my hair. I also tried the 1-2 drops of Argon Oil. and both of those don’t work. My hair feels soft but it also feels like waxy straw.(and I don’t mean the kind that you drink from) It’s hard to explain. When I am drying my hair, the brush doesn’t go through my hair smoothly, I have to keep pulling it and pulling it. I can a 1 day without washing but that’s it. This mud shampoo is the only thing that works without having a ton of oil on my hair. I don’t even have oily hair.

  11. says

    Made this tonight and it was lovely! Because I’m lazy and only wash my hair once a week I’ve popped the rest in the fridge in the hopes it will keep longer :)

  12. Deanna says

    Katie, I super-appreciate all your efforts with your recipes and have enjoyed ALOT of them. I always do my best to click on the links to Mountain Rose Herbs so you get a little kickback. I am disappointed however in the shipping charges that they charge. They are OUTRAGEOUSLY HIGH in my opinion! Have you had any complaints from others? I emailed them directly as well, but was wondering if I am the only one.

  13. Lisa Johnson says

    I’m assuming you’re caucasian? I have African-American daughters… any word on how well this works for dry kinky hair? I’m always looking for natural hair products for them that WORK… seems like it might not add moisture and softness though… clay? I use bentonite in the bath now and then for detoxing, but on hair seems like it might dry out a bit?

  14. Tonja Field says

    Trying this tomorrow.. attempted no poo and it just left me irritated. This actually smells good to me (plenty of lavender and peppermint essential oil) and I even put some on my face tonight as a mask! *crossing fingers*

  15. Irina says

    Hi! This is my first time posting here! :D I have read some of your recipes and I loved them! But my experience with mud wasn’t very good… I started to go no-poo on June 10th and the first month I washed my hair with clay (first with kaolin and then with bentonite) but my hair was very sticky and greasy. I have greasy hair so I thought it was the detox period that left my hair like that, but then I saw that my last shampoo left me residues on my scalp, and the clay was stuck in that residues. So now I’m washing my hair with an egg + lemon mix but I’m not sure if the residues will disappear if I only do this and still today my hair is greasy. Do you know any natural remedy to remove all this residues of the scalp? or will they disappear after time? :)

    • Gin says

      I’ve used a mix of baking soda and water as a thin paste, worked into the scalp and throughly rinsed. The baking soda is a mild abrasive that will clear up any residue

  16. itsmurr says

    I made a tweaked recipe of the Terressentials Mud Wash that is similar to this, but my recipe is

    4 oz Aloe Vera juice
    1 oz Rhassoul clay
    4 drops Nettle oil
    4 drops Ylang ylang essential oil

    BOOM. This stuff does wonders for my oily scalp but dry end natural curls. Adds body, moisturizes, and defines my curls. I do this once a week to clarify.

  17. Herron says

    I just recently started using bentonite clay as my shampoo and it does give my hair more volume, but sort of leaves a waxy and greasy look. It’s not like normal grease, but I definitely look like a grease bucket. HELP!?! Love your blog by the way :)

    • Sarah says

      Hi Herron,
      If you don’t already- take Zinc it regulates sebaceous glands and keeps them from distributing to much oil to the hair and skin :-) (THORNE Zinc Picolinate) I take a truckload load cause I have a severe deficiency.. Anyhow my skin is smooth and clear and my hair is considerably less oily now…

      Katie thank you so much for your infinite wisdom and generosity in sharing xx

  18. Stephanie says

    Are the proportions correct for this recipe? I just tried making a half batch of your recipe. I used 1/2c water, 1/4c ACV, and started adding green clay powder. First I added 4tbsp (1/4c)… then another 4tbs… then another… and finally I’ve dumped probably 1c clay into the mix and it’s not thickening up at all. This clay works, we use it all the time for face masks, but it’s not thickening this mix up at all and now I’ve wasted half my bottle. I’m using green clay powder rather than bentonite but I don’t see how that should affect the proportions.

  19. Deborrah Wall Cisneros says

    Oh my goodness this made my hair feel so soft and awesome! I had been using DIY shampoo (Dr. Bronners Soap, Jojoba Oil, Rosemary & Tea Tree essential Oils, rinsing with 1/2 ACV, 1/2 water) for almost 2 months and still my hair felt greasy (only washing twice a week). Thank you so much for sharing your DIY recipes for those of us who aren’t “home chemists.”

  20. angel says

    I really would like a natural homemade remedy way to straighten my hair. my hair is thick coarse and dry and i have kinky hair. have you an idea?

  21. Cristina Petrut says

    Made it today. The recipe has way too much water and vinegar so I made a smaller portion, to use for 2 washes. I started with the coconut shampoo, which by itself leaves my hair greasy, but I continued with the clay and followed with a quick vinegar rinse. Wonderful results. Thank you! Great blog! I’m addicted.
    I wish I could find a simpler regimen for my hubs. He’s still using Head and Shoulders:(

  22. Mel Stevens says

    Using the pro naturals hair repair sytem will help your hair get back to normal. I have been using it for a months and it has no split-ends anymore!

  23. Selena says

    I am going to try this tomorrow. ..with just water because I don’t have everything to make the tea. I have curly thin hair, so thin you can see through to my scalp…it drives me crazy(I’m only 27!) Its also very oily. I’ve been trying to go a more all natural route hoping it will help. Here is my question…do you use a conditoner after this or just the acv rinse? Since my hair is curly I have problems with getting very tangly

  24. Jen A. says

    I just tried this and I love it! The first time I only left it on for about 5 minutes and my hair was really soft and healthy feeling without too much greasiness or residue. Then I decided to try adding some black walnut powder to darken the color a bit. I left this on for about 20 minutes with a shower cap. It darkened it very slightly (I already have pretty dark hair) and the texture was just as nice as the previous time I tried it. Then I made the mistake of applying some store-bought conditioner afterwards, and what a mistake! If I had just let it dry naturally it would have been fine. When I put the conditioner on my hair I could tell immediately that my hair was actually rejecting the product. Then it started producing so much oil it was disgusting. I’m going to do this again today and see if I can get it right. I have the remains of an old perm in my hair, so it’s only wavy on the ends and straight at the top, so this looks a little ridiculous if I don’t blow dry it all straight. My problem is trying to fix my hair without drying it out too much. If I don’t add product then it is too dry; if I do add product after the mud masque then it is too oily. Looking for that middle ground. I want to completely rid my house of chemical-laden products but it’s been a challenge…

  25. Jo says

    Lovely. I have been using rhassoul clay on my hair which is fine but curly. The results are gorgeous, thick, curly and bouncy…not shiny but I like a beachy matt texture myself. I do still use low sulphate shampoo sometimes but the clay method is wonderful for volume and texture,. Good as a skin cleanser too…no nasty additives, OK it is messy but it all rinses away.

  26. Erin says

    I rarely post online but wanted to share my experience with Mamas mud poo. I have been a faithful Wen product user for years but still required weekly herbal treatments to fight off DHT – my hair is very fine, a bit thin on top and permed every 3-4 months. This poo was the answer for me. I started using every other wash, but my scalp and hair felt soooo much better on mud poo wash days that it is all I use now! I mix the recipe in a blender and get a silky smooth product with no clumping that easily rinses out. I do add a bit of honey for extra moisture along with other herbs that I have used for the last year to fight DHT hairloss (rosemary, nettle, saw palmetto, horsetail and gensing – and yes it has worked! Slow but I have lots of new hair growth!). I hope this helps others looking for alternatives.

  27. Jennifer says

    I’ve spent the past 5 weeks exploring a lot of natural options. I decided on week two to be faithful to the coconut milk shampoo featured on this site, but after 3 weeks of the grease ball look (I teach middle school and I seriously was in the running with some of the least hygienic for oil production), I tried this route–and LOVE it. I have naturally fine, straight blonde hair that after this past winter has been incredibly dry and dull looking. The natural gold color is back and my hair feels clean, soft, and strong!

    My only concern is static! I live in Denver where the air is very dry, but I have never had static hair (maybe it’s just never been this clean). I’ve tried to put oil on my ends by rubbing argan oil on my hands and brushing my hair with my fingers. The result is waxy oily ends that still have static power. Any suggestions?

    • Nicole says

      Hey Wellness Mama,

      First off I wanted to say thank you so much for having this blog. It has helped me so much on my path toward being healthy…and not just me, but also several of my friends!
      I wanted to share what personally has worked for me as a natural shampoo. First off, I am completely allergic to regular shampoo, and the back of my head used to be always broken out, and I’ve struggled with dandruff for years. Over the past year I have made it my mission to find an all natural shampoo for myself.
      After trying all the “natural” shampoos at the health food store (they just left my head irritated), I tried, no poo (which was a disaster), your Castille and coconut shampoo (which I loved, and really wanted to work for my hair, but my scalp is pretty picky), and then lastly I tried your Bentonite clay shampoo which was by far the best thing I have found.
      I have super fine, super oily hair naturally…and the Bentonite clay kind of dried my hair out and left me a little frizzy and coarse, but still oily too. It was way better than my other options though.
      My hair (when I was using commercial shampoos) used to be super super soft, and I really missed that factor.
      After doing some research, I found some herbs that can really help…this is a recipe that I threw together and it has worked wondefully for my hair. It is moisturized and soft but not too oily. I just wanted to share in case anyone else was having the same problem…. I know how frustrating it can be!

      1 cup distilled water
      4 Tbsp Bentonite clay
      1 or 2 Tbsp Hibiscus leaves (for moisture)
      1 Tbsp nettle leaf
      1 tsp slippery elm powder (this helps with tangles and frizz)
      1 Tbsp lemon juice (this helps make the ph of the mixture more acidic, and it really helped with how oily my hair was. Apple cider vinegar could probably be used, but my hair doesn’t really like apple cider vinegar, even though I hear other people have amazing results with it.:)

      Directions: Bring water to a boil in a pan. Add Hibiscus, and nettle leaf, and let steep for 5-10 min. Strain out the herbs. Add the slippery elm powder. Mix the Bentonite clay in one tbsp at a time until the mixture is smooth. Add the lemon juice.
      Let it cool before use. (And refrigerate or freeze if you’re going to store it for awhile!)

      Thank you, Wellness Mama! I really appreciate all you do. You have no idea how much you help people like me. I pretty much stalk your blog in my free time haha!

      – a 21 year old in Arkansas

      • Holly says

        Hey fellow Arkansan!
        You list Hibiscus “leaves” in your recipe. Do you mean flowers or leaves? I’ve never seen the leaves for sale but I use the flowers often. Thanks!

  28. kari says

    I just want to say thank you for sharing this!!! I have tried soooooooo many diff recipes and even tried baking soda and acv. My hair and scalp hated all of them. This is the second time i have used this recipe and its by far the best one! I have fine,curly,frizzy hair. With all the other recipes my scalp was oily and ends were dry. It was a hot mess! So thank you:)

  29. Renee says

    Hi, I just started to used bentonite clay masque, but I would like to know how can I use it for better results; meaning can I use it once a month? once a week? or twice or even more a week?

  30. Dorothy says

    Hi, is the nettle a bull nettle , like stinging nettle. We live in Texas and have that growing all around.

  31. Sarah says

    I’ve been using a blender so far to make the clay mask but just recently I tried making the mask in a bowl with a wooden spoon. No matter much how I stirred the mask wouldn’t thicken and remained watery. Is there any other way to make the shampoo avoiding the use of a blender or any other machine?

  32. Sarah says

    Yay! Something new to try, with ingredients I already have at home! My hair went wonky about a month and a half ago…just randomly…and I’ve tried everything that has worked in the past…and it’s still weird. So excited to give this a try!

  33. Jodi Rolph says

    Well I was struggling big time going no-poo for several weeks and trying to use soap nuts, but they just didn’t seem to remove what felt like waxy ‘crud’ off my hair. I put a comment asking for help under the soapnuts blog and Wellness Mama suggested I needed to detox my hair – so I used a version of this recipe (I had green and jasmine tea bags only, and made a half batch) and it was brilliant!

    The clay recipe did get rid of the ‘crud’ off my hair, and yes, I have more volume (could have done without this as I have sooooo much hair already lol!).

    I am very happy with the results so far, thanks Wellness Mama. Now I am not sure how I will go with the soapnuts from here, but I always have this as a fall back. Yay!

    Cheers
    Jodi

  34. Sarah says

    Any suggestions for a substitution for ACV? I absolutely CANNOT stand the smell of it…I know it’ll dissipate, but even that short amount of time drives me crazy! Otherwise, this was a wonder for my hair, which has been off recently!

    • Brooke says

      Sarah, I know that this is a really late reply to your comment and you’ve hopefully already found a solution, but I personally LOVE aloe vera juice for my hair. Like ACV, it’s acidic so it balances the higher pH of clay and smooths the hair cuticle, but without the horrible smell (or the greasiness I experienced with ACV).

  35. Michelle says

    Hi,

    Thanks so much for posting! I tried the no poo, then the sorta poo with coconut milk (to which my brother asked me if I still shower) and the shampoo bars. All of them “worked” in that they made my hair super shiny and I can already tell its growing longer – but it was just too oily and dirty looking! After a month I cant take it anymore. I tried this clay shampoo yesterday and it seems MUCH better! Is it safe for everyday use? I was my hair frequently

  36. Maria Palompo says

    Hi Katie!

    I just used the Sonne’s #7 Detoxificant in your remineralizing toothpaste recipe. Is this okay to use for this shampoo mud recipe as well?

  37. Holly says

    Hi Katie! Thanks so much for this recipe. I’ve used Morocco Method samples and I like them but I like to make my own products so I tried your coconut shampoo but the soap based stuff doesn’t work well for me. I am also giving African Black Soap based shampoo a try now. However, I like to get my hair highlighted at the salon every year or so. Recipes for the current DIY shampoos I’m using state that the pH is such that they shouldn’t be used with chemically treated hair.
    The MM website says it’s ok to use the clay shampoos with lightened hair. Do you know if your Mud shampoo recipe would be as well?
    Thanks!!

  38. Jenn says

    This stuff has saved my no-poo regimen. I have thin frizzy dry hair and the basic diluted baking soda and diluted apple cider vinegar was leaving it stringy and reallllly dry. I’ve been using this for 2 weeks now and my hair is strong, shiny and has lost a lot of it’s frizz. I’m not quite out of the woods with my hair detox but I’m getting close to my month mark which, from what I hear, is when no-pooers start seeing their hair normalizing. I used basically the same recipe but for the cup of water I simmered fresh rosemary in it for 20 minutes.

  39. Michelle says

    So, I must’ve done something wrong because it’s build-up city on top of my head right now.

    I used fresh herbs (mainly rosemary with a few chamomille flowers) and blended the ingredients in a food processor, adding Redmond clay 1 TBSP at a time. I finished the 3/4 of a cup and added an additional 2 TBSP, but it wouldn’t thicken. I decided to stop there and just try it as it was. The first time, I tried it with the final rinse and this morning I tried washing my hair twice with the mud mixture, but it still looks dirty.

    I also tried the coconut shampoo recipe with worse results. Wah-wah- wahhhhhhhhhh.

    Anyone have any suggestions?!

    • Natalia says

      Try mixing it with distilled water. This is what saved my no-poo efforts.
      I have tried washing with soda, but it turned out to be a greasy, waxy disaster, as I have hard water. Today I bought distilled water and used it with Rhassoul clay and camomile tea made with distilled water. I rinsed with the tea mixed with ACV. And finally – success! My hair is clean, soft and shiny. NO-POO DOES WORK!
      I don’t know if distilled water was the reason it worked. If it was, it is a bit strange, because the clay is full of minerals and the whole point of distilling water is to remove minerals. But who knows?
      Next time I will try washing with baking soda and distilled water to see if the water is going to make any difference.

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