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Does Bentonite Clay Remove Hair Color? | Yes It Does!

Bentonite clay is made from a naturally occurring powder. This powder forms when volcanic ash ages, and can be found all over the world (wherever there were volcanoes thousands of years ago). 

Clay and mud masks are supposed to hydrate and smooth hair without any downsides. However, if you’ve dyed your hair, you might be worried. Does bentonite clay remove hair color? Read on to find out.

Does Bentonite Clay Remove Hair Color?

Photo helping answer the question,

Iryna Kaliukina/Shutterstock

Bentonite clay has been used in medicine and natural remedies for thousands of years, treating everything from gassy stomachs to skin rashes. Bentonite clay is famous for its absorbing properties–extra moisture, dirt, and impurities will leave your skin or hair and enter the clay.

It’s also used for kitty litter because of its clumping power. Bentonite clay is an excellent detox for your hair, and many natural hair specialists use it after shampooing to remove the extra dirt and chemicals from your hair.

However, it removes everything that isn’t naturally there, and that includes chemical washes, hair dye, and artificial color. Bentonite clay has a range of uses to try:

  • How to remove hair dye with bentonite clay
  • How to use bentonite clay
  • Bentonite face mask

If you want to detox your hair but it’s artificially colored, you’ll have to choose another type of hair mask or say goodbye to your color. Bentonite clay doesn’t see the difference between good and bad chemicals and will simply absorb them all from your head.

Read Next: What Is a Hair Mask?

How to Remove Hair Dye With Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay hair mask on a table for a piece titled Does Bentonite Clay Remove Hair Color


If you’re trying to remove your hair dye with bentonite clay, there are a few steps to do it. First, you need a good brand of bentonite clay. The brand name itself might not matter, but the ingredients do. Anything with added chemicals will not be good for your hair.

To properly remove hair dye, you should buy the purest form of bentonite clay you can find. An organic or all-natural brand would be great. Since you’re trying to detox from the chemicals in your hair, you want to avoid chemical additives or bentonite replicas.

Be warned: the first time you detox your hair, it will dry your hair out.

The chemicals reacting with the clay will likely result in brittle hair. However, after a few masks, the deep conditioning will apply and your hair will be healthier than it ever has been before. If you decide to remove all the chemicals from your hair with bentonite clay, it will be a process.

You won’t see immediate, glowing results. It will take a week or so of multiple masks, but you’ll eventually have the healthiest, most natural hair you could. Bentonite will deeply moisturize and cleanse your hair every time.

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How to Use a Bentonite Clay Mask

Whether you’re removing hair dye or just increasing the overall health of your hair, a Bentonite clay mask will moisturize you deeply and clean all the impurities out of your hair.

Although you might need to do it a few times initially to truly clean your hair, developing a routine of clay masks can rejuvenate your hair and bring out all its natural shine. 

These steps work for both dyed and undyed hair. The results will be more immediately obvious for undyed hair, but after a few masks, you’ll be able to see the differences in your hair color and shine. 

Step One: Mix the Clay

If you bought a premixed bentonite clay hair mask, you can skip this step. Most store-bought masks already have the proper amount of water mixed in and you shouldn’t add water to them. However, for customers with pure bentonite clay, you’ll need to mix it. 

Generally, a good mix is one cup of clay, one cup of water, and half a cup of apple cider vinegar. You can make a single mask or a larger batch if you plan on masking your hair multiple times. For the first few times, however, you should try a single batch at a time. 

Water activates the clay and adds moisture. Apple cider vinegar can even out the chemicals and add some shine to your hair, as well as thin out the mixture (this is especially helpful if you have very thick hair). 

Step Two: Apply the Mask

Once you have the mixture (or a pre-bought clay mask), you can mix it to the desired consistency. It should be pretty thick and apply like a paste onto and throughout your hair. For thicker hair, you’ll want a thinner mixture for ease of rinsing. 

Apply the mask through your entire head to the roots of your hair. It should feel thick and pasty, but not like cement. If you struggle to put your hands through your hair you might need a thinner formula (add some apple cider vinegar). Remember that you’ll have to rinse it out.

Read Next: What’s an Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse?

Step Three: Let It Sit

This step requires no work on your part. All you have to do is let the mask sit on your hair for five to ten minutes. This gives the bentonite clay ample time to absorb the chemicals in your hair and work its way through to your scalp. 

While the clay mask is sitting, be careful not to brush your hair up against anything. The clay is sticky and could get on walls, clothes, or furniture. Before a bath or shower is a great time to do a bentonite clay mask on your hair, as you can easily rinse it afterward. 

Step Four: Rinse Your Hair

Once the clay mask has sat for five to ten minutes, you can rinse your hair. Rinse it thoroughly to the roots–this will ensure that the clay has time to work but doesn’t stay in for too long.

Once the clay is rinsed out, you can let your hair air dry or blow dry it (although this will dry your hair out). You can shampoo and conditioner your hair post-bentonite mask, but you don’t have to.

If you choose to use shampoo and conditioner for more immediate moisture, pick a shampoo and conditioner without sulfates or other chemical add-ins. Otherwise, you’ll add more chemicals to your hair and undo the work of the bentonite. 

Step Five: Repeat

If you’re trying to detox your hair from dyes and chemicals, your hair will likely feel brittle and dry after your first bentonite clay mask. This is because the chemicals are still attached to your hair and react with the clay’s natural moisturizing properties. 

Wait a few days and repeat the process, letting your hair sit for the same amount of time in the mask. After a few mask treatments, you’ll notice your hair naturally moisturizing and becoming shinier. Eventually, the bentonite will remove all chemicals and restore your hair to its natural state. 

However, if your hair is natural and has never been treated, you should see results immediately. You can repeat the process but probably won’t need to do it more than once a week for maximum results.

Read Next: How Often Should You Do a Hair Mask?

How to Do a Bentonite Clay Hair Mask for Natural Hair

Of course, it’s a slightly different system for natural hair. If you have natural hair and want to do a bentonite clay mask, you still can. It’s vital to know your hair and be prepared to condition it deeply if you have to. 

The steps for applying a bentonite clay mask to natural hair are the same as straight hair. However, if your hair is colored, you should be extra careful with bentonite clay. It will absorb the chemicals and could leave your hair extra dry. 

Here are the steps for applying a bentonite clay mask to natural hair: 

  1. Mix the mask 
  2. Apply the mask
  3. Let it sit for several minutes
  4. Rinse out your hair 
  5. Shampoo and deep conditioner for your hair

As you can see, they’re very similar to straight hair. It’s extra important to apply a deep conditioner to natural hair as it tends to be dryer and break more easily. If your hair has color, ask your hairstylist whether bentonite clay will be good for your hair or damage it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman applying a bentonite clay hair mask to her head

Maryna Pleshkun/Shutterstock

Bentonite clay is a natural ingredient and has been proven effective on hair for hundreds of years. However, there are always more factors than just the ingredients, and no article can cover them all. Here are some frequently asked questions to help answer any concerns you might have! 

Will bentonite clay harm my scalp? 

Bentonite clay has been used as a skin moisturizer and natural medicine for thousands of years. Unless you have an allergic reaction to bentonite, it should benefit the skin on your scalp as well as your hair. 

Can I use bentonite clay instead of shampoo? 

If you have greasy hair that doesn’t usually need a lot of conditioners, you can use bentonite clay instead of shampoo. It has incredible cleansing properties and deep moisturizing and can become your only hair product after several masks. 

However, natural hair and dryer hair might need extra shampoo and conditioner to maintain proper moisture levels. Talk to a hairstylist to find out how dry your hair is and whether you need shampoo and conditioner as well as bentonite clay masks. 

Can I use bentonite clay if I have sensitive skin? 

Bentonite clay is natural and shouldn’t hurt your skin or hair. However, if you have extra sensitive hair or skin, you should test the clay out on a small strand of hair. Make sure it won’t affect you negatively before applying it to your whole head and scalp. Most people can use it with no issue. 

How often should I use a bentonite clay mask? 

Like face masks, bentonite clay masks should be used two or three times a week maximum. Most people can get away with only masking their hair once a week once it’s healthy. However, first-time users or those with extensive chemical damage might require more until their hair is less brittle. 

Does bentonite clay remove natural hair color?

Bentonite clay removes chemicals in the hair, including root washes, toners, and hair dyes. However, it won’t remove your natural hair color. While the colors won’t be gone after the first mask, a few treatments will remove all the unnatural dyes and bring out the natural shine of your hair. 

So, Does Bentonite Clay Remove Hair Color? 

While bentonite clay removes dye and unnatural hair color, it doesn’t remove natural hair color. If you’re worried about the natural melatonin of your hair being stripped away, don’t. However, any chemical dyes will be absorbed by the bentonite, bringing your hair back to its natural state. 

However, if you don’t love your hair dye and want to go natural (without chopping it all off and starting again), bentonite clay is a great natural detoxer and can take much of your dye out. It will leave your hair feeling natural and fresh.