From face masks to cleansers, clay has been a staple ingredient in skincare for years, thanks to its clarifying properties, ability to unclog congested skin and power to stop excess oil production in its tracks.
Fast-forward to 2018, and the failsafe ingredient is slowly but surely making its way into hair conditioners, dry shampoos and hair masks to name but a few haircare products – but why has it suddenly become so big in the hair game?
"Similar to skincare, clay clarifies the scalp," explains Rose Ovenshei, hair expert and founder of Flora & Curl. "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." And healthy scalp = healthy hair.
With that in mind, it makes perfect sense to incorporate clay into haircare, too. But how do you determine which clay – and there are heaps of them – is best for your hair type? Well, according to Rose, it's definitely 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 explains. For example, French pink clay and kaolin clay have gentle but effective dirt-busting properties. "On the other hand, rhassoul (also known as ghassoul) clay is more moisturising and softening (perfect for thicker, drier hair types) whereas bentonite is highly absorbent, making it a better option for greasier scalps," says Rose.