Clay has been a staple ingredient in skin-care formulations for years, thanks to its unparalleled ability to clarify, unclog congested pores, and stop excess oil production in its tracks. Fast forward to 2018, and the multitasking material is now slowly but surely making its way into the hair-care aisle, showing up in shampoos, hair masks, and styling products galore. So why did it take so long — and where should we start with adding it to our own hair routines?
"Similar to skin care, clay clarifies the scalp," explains Rose Ovenshei, hair expert and founder of Flora & Curl, whose Moroccan Lava Curl Refresh Clay Wash is incredible for dry hair in need of a detox. "It helps get rid of excess product build-up, removes impurities, and keeps dandruff at bay. Micro-minerals are also found in clay, and when applied topically, they work to stimulate circulation and blood flow to the scalp."
A healthy scalp equals healthy hair, so it's kind of a no-brainer. But how do you determine which clay is best for your hair type? According to Ovenshei, this is not a one-clay-suits-all situation. "Clay washing in particular is good for all hair types because clay has fantastic cleansing and conditioning properties, but different products target different hair concerns," she says. French pink clay and kaolin clay have gentle but effective dirt-busting properties; rhassoul (also known as ghassoul) is more moisturizing and softening for thicker, drier hair types; and bentonite is highly absorbent, making it ideal for grease-prone scalps.