How to Detox Your Hair

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Put mud in your hair- natural clay hair detox for thick and shiny hair
Wellness Mama » Blog » Beauty » How to Detox Your Hair

A reader emailed me and asked if I’d ever heard of using clay to wash or detox your 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…

How to Detox Your Hair

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 a good natural remedy 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.

Put mud in your hair- natural clay hair detox for thick and shiny hair
4.44 from 39 votes

Hair Detox Recipe

Use clay, herbs, and apple cider vinegar to remove toxins from your hair and leave it shiny and smooth.
Prep Time19 minutes
Author: Katie Wells


For Blond Hair:

For Dark Hair:

Remaining Ingredients:


  • Combine the herbs of choice with the boiling water and allow them to steep until the water cools slightly.
  • Strain herbs out.
  • Combine 1 cup of the herbal tea and the apple cider vinegar in a blender, food processor, or non-metal bowl.
  • Add the clay 1 tablespoon at a time while blending or whisking.
  • Keep adding clay until the mixture is smooth and about the consistency of yogurt.
  • Add the essential oils if using and mix in.
  • Store in an air-tight container in the shower for up to a week.

To Use:

  • Wet hair.
  • Starting at the roots, massage a handful of the clay mixture into hair and work down to the tips.
  • Repeat until all hair is coated. Leave 5 minutes or up to 20 minutes (do not let dry!) and rinse out with warm water.
  • Optional: I use the remaining 1 cup of herbal tea combined with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar to rinse with.


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.

Do you prefer a pre-made option? Morrocco Method offers an excellent hair and scalp detox product that is made from raw, wildcrafted ingredients.

Would you put mud in your hair? Why or why not?
Natural clays help detox your hair to leave it shiny and thick without the need for chemicals. This recipe explains how and why your hair needs a detox.


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Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


197 responses to “How to Detox Your Hair”

  1. Angel Avatar

    04 Jul 2019

    So here are my two pennies on this recipe. I made it for my kidlet 2-3 days ago. There is oily acne prone skin on face and scalp involved here, so there always seems to be a greasy, oily and dirty hair appearance. I made a full recipe according to this post and this was my observation:

    1) After the chamomile flowers were done steeping & cool to the touch, I had roughly 1 1/2 C of tea made with distilled water.
    –I wonder if it would work to puree the water & with the flowers & then add to the ACV & clay?!
    2) I used the entire amount of tea added into the ACV & clay with no essential oils (I just plain forgot to add them).
    3) This was indeed a loose mixture BUT it made it extremely easy to pour from my 4 C glass mixing pitcher into spouted squeeze bottles (2 of them & the kind you would use to color hair or frosting for cookie decoration) with enough leftover to let sit and thicken overnight in order to use as a face mask.
    4) My child (teenager) said this was the perfect consistency for easy application to the hair & does not wish to use it any thicker.
    5) I no longer dilute the ACV in my 12 oz. spray bottle left in the shower, but I DO ADD 10-20 drops of peppermint EO. It tingles the scalp but burns the eyes if you are not careful….
    6) There were no drips down the nape of the neck to worry about. There was a zippered robe worn so as to not stain clothes removed over the head.

    Hope this gives comfort to those worried about the consistency of this recipe.

  2. Coleen Goree Avatar
    Coleen Goree

    I used this as I’m treating my scalp for candida or cradle cap. I have cut out sugar but the flakes and crusties are annoying. I did it last night and it does feel a little better today.

  3. Priyanka Agrawal Avatar
    Priyanka Agrawal

    hi, i did the bentonite mask last night.. post rinse, i used a store bought CG friendly conditioner to detangle my hair.. it felt like straw .. even when i styled it, i noticed that i had to use more leave in and gel.. the clumps were fab and hair is soft BUT am wondering now whether the mask worked for me or NOT?
    can you please advise on HOW the hair should feel after you rinse off the mask.. i have dry 3a curls and i live in Mumbai which is humid (78% all year round). The frizz is the biggest bane..
    I used ACV and a few oils in the mask.. thanks

    1. Sandra A. Avatar
      Sandra A.

      If you have curly hair, don’t use any types of gels or holding products. It will make your hair frizzier and will dry out your hair more. Research, and use only products that condition your hair. Many wonderful, natural options are available to try until you get the right one (or mix of several things) for you. With straight hair, the oils can coat the hair strand more easily, than with curly hair. With curly hair, the oils tend to stay towards our scalps, and because the hair twists and turns, the oils can’t readily go down the strand as readily as it does with straight hair. So… Love on your curls, don’t use gels or foams or any holding products because they are usually very drying for curls. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Just keep trying different things until you find a combination that works great. It’ll be worth it!!!

  4. Lisa A Smith Avatar
    Lisa A Smith

    Do you ever have drain problems when washing the mud out of your hair or off your body? I wonder if it builds up or if it is harmful to my plumbing. We’re hooked up to city water, not septic.

  5. Melanie Avatar

    Thank you so very much for posting this mask recipe. I have use it twice with an apple cider rinse and have seen a huge improvement with my hair already. One, how about very few tangles with my curly hair. Big win here! My curls are well-defined and beautiful. Plus, tons cheaper on the pocket book with all natural products.

  6. Wendy Avatar

    Hi Katie, thanks for another great post. I just wanted a bit of clarification. It may be too obvious but I’m not sure if (after applying & rinsing off the clay) if I should rinse out the ‘Apple cider vinegar & tea rinse’ with clear water. Thanks! ??

  7. Anne Avatar

    Please use caution in this area. It does no good to say how it does for you if you don’t describe your hair type. Also washing with it once does not indicate how it will work. I was low-poo for maybe 10 years before trying clay shampoo wash w/some almond oil and then ACV rinse. I wash weekly. My hair is lots of thin wavy hair. The first wash was fine, the 3rd one I noticed waxiness and then I had dry hair and hair loss/breakage. I then did a deep conditioner from Lush and a month later Hesh hair powders or besan flour w/ the almond oil. 8 months for my hair to recover from 4 washes. Did I mention the loss and breakage? Baking soda which I tried years back also dried my hair. It is very difficult to rinse coconut oil out of some hair types. Look up the pros and cons before trying things.

  8. Ashley Avatar

    I’m sure I have some mud somewhere but what about diatomaceous earth? Would that work? I’ve tried the no-poo. It was a no-go. My husband has recently started complaining about how my hair used to smell fruity and delicious and since I haven’t used store bought, chemical laced products in over a year, he no longer likes my hair or smell. (Boo) Is there any way to use EOs to add back that fruity smell only NATURAL and chemical free?

    1. Anne Avatar

      Indian grocery shops have rose water which I use when I rinse my hair between weekly washes. I have also used clove oil drops rubbed on palms and then the ends or underside of hair. I have also made a light gel of rose water and aloe gel. You could add a fragrance oil to that and try it.

  9. MARTINE Avatar


  10. Christina Avatar

    Thanks so much for this information!!! It’s a ton of work to make recipes so clear and also to explain the reasons behind each ingredient. I didn’t know any of this good stuff before. Your page is pinned for later when I have more time to read. If you already have the info on insect bites on your site, sorry that I missed it. I wanted to post this here because spiders are getting worse and worse the last few years. Feel free to use it and spread the news.

    The reason I believe in clay already is because I was taught to immediately draw out the venom from
    serious insect bites. The first sting was at age 5 for a bee sting. Mom made me a paste.

    5 times in the last years I’ve been stung so badly the pain made me almost pass out.
    One spider venom was so bad I thought my hand had been struck by lightning.

    Keep any clay powder in a container in bathroom and in purse.
    Then make a quick paste by adding water. IMMEDIATELY.
    Baking soda also works but clay seemed better and faster working..

    Pile on the paste, keep it on the bite. You can’t see the venom being drawn into the clay, but it does, it does!
    Re-apply when it crumbles off, for days if you have to.
    Cry a bit. 🙂

    Benedryl may help later with itching but if you keep the toxins from getting into your body in the first place, you will heal faster and suffer less. I’ve used it with Bee, Spider, Red Ants bites.

    The trick is to slap on the mud immediately.

    Bears are supposed to roll in mud after being stung by bees. I’ve never seen that, but it sure makes sense.

  11. Bethany Avatar

    Two questions for you Katie: 1. Is this safe for a septic system 2. What length of hair will the mud portion of the recipe cover? I have thick, curly, knee-length hair.

  12. Rebekah Avatar

    I have dandruff and have had dandruff all my life. I’ve tried everything!!!! Medicated shampoos, oils, no poo, coconut milk homemade shampoo, rinsing with ACV, rinsing with cold water, melaleuca…..EVERYTHING! Some will work but then my dandruff will come back. I don’t wash every day either. My latest is the homemade coconut shampoo which worked when I first used it and now the dandruff is back, yet again. I have such an itchy scalp right now and TONS of flakes coming off. I just shampooed my hair this AM, rinsed with ACV and water, put coconut oil on my ends and semi blow dried it before heading out the door. I wondering, would this clay mask work well for dandruff? How can I stop my itchiness and flakes from returning?its quite annoying because I have lots of hair and its black. Please help!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      It definitely might help, but it would also be worth researching and addressing internal causes as well (typically, one layer of skin tuning over at too fast of a rate, leading to flaking). Google Dr. Jack Kruse and Leptin Reset, which might be helpful for stopping the problem from the inside out

  13. danielle Avatar

    I just tried this and it worked great for my fine, slightly oily hair. My hair feels clean, soft and silky. I have been shampoo free for over a month now and this is the first “no-poo” alternative that has felt right for my hair type. i’m going to give the castor oil scalp treatment a go next…

    i look forward to trying more of your home made beauty products Katie! Thanks for sharing so much great info and recipes – i have really enjoyed following you over the years.

  14. EJ Bergman Avatar
    EJ Bergman

    I used this treatment and, maybe it’s because I have hard water (although I have a softener too) but it has left my hair completely unmanageable ever since. It looks kind of dry/frizzy/straw-like and it’s VERY hard to comb through. It’s been about a week and I’m hoping it will get better, or else I’ll be forced to cut my hair. 🙁

  15. martine Avatar

    Such good information on this page! 🙂 Luv it!! I am curious what are your thoughts on Wen shampoo that you see advertised on tv? They say that its all natural with no chemical but I expect that with all the knowledgeable people here, I could get an answer 😉

  16. Mandy Avatar

    I tried this mud detox about two weeks ago. Since using this I have noticed a tremendous amount of breakage in my hair. I used the exact recipe and instructions given. I do have highlighted and colored hair..blonde/brown. I don’t know if that may be the reason since it was previously processed but it’s still breaking off. I’ve been using excessive amounts of mango and coconut oil since to help my hair regain elasticity and add moisture. Just letting you know of my experience.

  17. Sara K Avatar

    why would we brew 2 cups of tea if the recipe only calls for 1 cup? I assumed we would use all of the tea and now I do not have enough clay to make it thick enough… what I can do with a soupy version of this?

4.44 from 39 votes (11 ratings without comment)

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