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Hair can be your crowning glory, but it can also be a real pain, especially if your tresses have been damaged, over-processed, or are naturally too oily. It seems as if you spend more money on your hair than your car, just trying to keep it looking healthy and flattering. Rather than shell out the big bucks for "miracle" products you buy in a store, think outside the product box and reach for the clay. It's not arts-and-crafts hour. Instead, clay offers a cheap, easy way to restore the health of your hair. Best of all, you can whip up a clay hair mask or concoction in your own kitchen, even if you don't know a stove from a dishwasher.
It seems unbelievable, considering clay is sort of on par with dirt, but it has fantastic cleansing properties. Clay can also be antibacterial and has antiseptic properties. It can dry up the excess sebum, the oil secreted by your skin, to make oily hair more balanced and leave hair looking and feeling refreshed. Clay also strips out toxins, leaving your hair healthier and better protected against environmental damage. Just don't overdo it. Using clay treatments more than once or twice a week can dry out your hair and scalp.
You can use several types of clay, but the most commonly applied hair clays are white, green or pink. White clay, also called kaolin, is best for oily hair. Think pink, or light red, if you have really damaged hair. It is best applied to dry hair. Green is the way to go if you suffer the curse of dandruff. Bentonite clay, which contains more than 70 naturally occurring minerals -- including silica, iron, potassium and calcium -- is often ingested and used medicinally, but may also be beneficial for hair, according to the Anita Grant cosmetics company. Bentonite is light gray, odorless and works to boost the moisture in your hair or skin.
A simple hair styling clay mixture calls for the clay color of your choice, water and tea. Steep a bag of tea, such as chamomile or green, in warm water for several minutes, until the liquid is dark. Mix the liquid with the clay until you have a smooth paste. It's difficult to be precise with the recipe, but try starting with a half-cup of clay and a quarter-cup of tea, slowing adding more tea if needed. Apply the mixture to your strands, from roots to tip. Leave on the clay-tea mix for 30 minutes before shampooing. Boost the shine power of your clay tea by adding one egg yolk and 2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar to the mix before you apply it to your hair.
The Anita Grant website offers a recipe for ethnic hair. To create the Naturally Curly and Afro Curly Popping Hair Care Treatment, you need just bentonite clay and water. Try a 2-to-1 ratio, two parts bentonite clay to one part water. Ideally, you want the mixture to resemble pancake batter when it's blended. Apply to wet or dry hair and leave on for 20 minutes before shampooing. If you have major hair issues, Anita Grant also recommends swapping out the water for something super-healthy for your hair, such as organic coconut milk.