Clay, a natural detoxifying agent of the earth, has been used around the world by various cultures for both cosmetic and practical purposes for thousands of years. In addition to removing impurities from your hair and skin, clay can even be consumed (food grade clay, that is); and it is said to remove toxins from from the body and digestive system. While these were common practices of the past, and are still a staple for some ethnic groups today (think the Himba people of Namibia), in the last few years clay has made its way to the forefront of the Western beauty market, and for a good reason. Here are ten clay masks that will transform your curls and coils:

clay s and body

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1.) Bentonite Clay Mask

Arguably the most popular and the queen of clay hair masks, bentonite is great for damaged hair, itchy scalp/dandruff, and breakage among other benefits. It has a negative charge that allows it to remove old conditioners and build-up, which have a positive charge. For less-defined curls, it also often “clumps” the curls together and adds a shine. For the mask, you’ll need bentonite clay, coconut oil, castor oil, sweet almond oil, apple cider vinegar, and water. Read this article for all the details on the perfect DIY bentonite clay mask!

2.) Rhassoul Clay Mask

Rhassoul clay originates from the mountains of Morocco. It’s moisturizing and softens the hair, while still removing toxins. This is in contrast to bentonite clay, which may strip moisture from the hair. This property makes it great for the detangling process, and a potentially better candidate for those with tightly coiled and dry hair. This suggested recipe from WellnessMama contains only rhassoul clay and water. Carol’s Daughter also has an entire line of products that contain rhassoul clay for those curlies who aren’t interested in making their own products.

3.) Kaolin Clay Mask

Kaolin clay is a Chinese clay that is gentle in the cleansing department and, like rhassoul, works well with dry and fragile curls. Generally, it does not work well as a super cleanser, so curlies with oily scalp and hair/heavy build-up may want to steer clear of this one in favor of a stronger cleanser. This mask recipe from BGLH requires Kaolin clay, hot water, honey/glycerin, and essential oils of your choice.

4.) Australian Pink Clay Mask

Pink clay is considered to be one of the most gentle of all the clays. It’s light and does not remove natural oils due to being rich in the mineral Silica, according to NourishedLife. It makes the perfect mask for your skin by replenishing it with the proper minerals, but some people use it for their hair as well! A blogger named ClassyCurlies came up with her own recipe featuring Australian Pink clay.

5.) French Green Clay Mask

This clay is a popular ingredient in spa treatments, used on the body and face to remove dead skin cells. It contains minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium that allow it to have the desired effect. It works well as a cleanser for oily hair types. Take a look at the recipe for this “clay lotion” for curly hair. It calls for French green clay, milk, and whichever essential oil you like the best.

6.) Activated Charcoal Mask

I know, not technically clay, right? But it works in a very similar way to clay masks! Like many clays, charcoal can rid your hair of build-up and impurities, even better than the cleansing power of a conventional shampoo. It works particularly well for alleviating the threat of clogged hair follicles, which can lead to scalp issues and irritation. Like bentonite clay, activated charcoal has a negative charge to fight the build-up, but may pull beneficial oils with it, so make sure to follow-up with an oil. This simple recipe from DIYNatural calls for charcoal and aloe vera gel.

Not feeling a DIY project? Try one of these:

7.) Carol’s Daughter Rhassoul Clay Hair Mask, Softening, for Overworked & Over-Washed Hair

The main ingredients are Moroccan rhassoul clay, aloe juice, and cactus flower. It’s made to breathe life into dull, tired hair.

8.) African Pride Moisture Miracle Moroccan Clay & Shea Butter Heat-Activated Masque

Uses the clarifying benefits of Moroccan Red clay to get rid of buildup and excess oils, while the shea butter moisturizes the hair, resulting in soft, fluffy coils and curls.

9.) Poppy Austin’s Rhassoul Clay Hair & Facial Mask

This vegan and cruelty-free clay only requires a bit of water to create a creamy paste that can be applied on the face and hair. Contains 100% pure Rhassoul clay.

10.) Botanic Hearth Charcoal Hair Mask

Contains activated charcoal, shea butter, argan oil, vitamin E, and vitamin B5 to clarify and infuse your hair and scalp with necessary minerals and nutrients.

Do your curls/coils need a pick-me-up? Consider a clay-based mask to add some diversity to your hair routine, and take a look at this article to ensure you’re applying hair masks correctly. Have your own clay mask regimen or recipe? Go ahead and share it down below.