The natural hair community is no stranger to the Aztec clay hair mask. It’s been around for several years, and loads of naturals love it! The most well-known benefit of the mask is softer, stronger, more beautiful hair.
If you want to give it a try, this is the article you need to read. It will tell you everything you need to know about the Aztec hair mask and give you step-by-step instructions on how to use it in your natural hair routine.
What Is an Aztec Hair Mask?
An Aztec hair mask is simply a clay hair mask. The type of clay used in most cases is calcium bentonite clay. It may be sourced from several locations both in the U.S., India and elsewhere. The origin of your clay will depend on the brand you choose.
Long ago, when bentonite clay wasn’t so widely used, it came from volcanic ash. Now, it’s more of a mineral clay compound. Thankfully, it’s still as beneficial and nutrient-dense today as it was long ago.
Before we move on to how to use a bentonite clay mask, we’d like to specify that there is more than one type of bentonite clay; one for the hair and one for the skin.
The one for skin is called sodium bentonite, and the one for hair is called calcium bentonite. So, if you’re looking for clay to use on your hair, avoid sodium bentonite, and opt for calcium bentonite instead.
The Benefits of Bentonite Clay
Now that you know what bentonite clay is, where it comes from, etc., let’s get into its benefits. Chances are you’ll be surprised at how great this clay is for your hair and scalp.
The first and most immediate benefit of bentonite clay is its conditioning ability. It contains several vitamins and minerals like calcium, zinc, copper, and iron, which not only improve the physical condition of the hair but the hair’s internal health.
Bentonite clay also promotes hair hydration, which reduces your chance of hair breakage and damage from chronic dryness.
This benefit comes in handy if you suffer at all from crunchy, lackluster curls.
Another benefit of bentonite clay masks is their natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities. The antibacterial benefits help to reduce the risk of bacterial growth on the skin and underneath it. It’s said to have detoxifying effects that keep your hair healthier and reduce the risk of dandruff.
The clay reduces scalp inflammation so that you experience less itching and an overall healthier, happier scalp. The anti-inflammatory properties are helpful for those who deal with dandruff or general scalp dryness and irritation.
Bentonite clay is not only antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, but it also has cleansing abilities comparable to shampoo without suds. This is great for naturals who hate sulfates or simply want to try a different cleansing method.
How to Make an Apply an Aztec Clay Mask
With all that information understood, it’s time to get to the best part – doing the clay mask. You may think that it’s an involved process, and to some, it may be.
But for most, it’ll be extremely easy if you have the right instructions and supplies. In this section, we’ll share with you how to do an Aztec clay mask from start to finish.
1. Get the Right Clay Mask
When you shop online for an Aztec clay mask, chances are you’ll see one from the brand “Aztec Secret,” and that one is perfectly fine to use. But there are other bentonite clay masks that you can get for a discount that will work just as well.
Use your judgment and go with your gut. The reality is that bentonite clay masks are all essentially the same across the board. The brand name is what makes some clays more expensive than others.
Natural Calcium Bentonite Clay
Aztec Secret– Indian Healing Clay
The Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay is a versatile, natural mask that can deeply cleanse your face, hair, and body pores. Made from 100% Calcium Bentonite Clay, it’s suitable for various uses such as body wraps, foot soaks, clay baths, hair masks, and even as a remedy for insect bites or a chilled knee pack. The product comes shrink-wrapped with a security sticker made of the same non-tear material as the clay lid.
Curl Centric may receive compensation if you make a purchase using this link, at no additional cost to you.
2. Gather Your Other Ingredients
In addition to the bentonite clay (1 cup), you’ll need 1 cup of water or apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar will help to close your cuticles and lock in moisture to a higher degree than water. You’ll also need shampoo, conditioner, a non-metal bowl (i.e., a mixing bowl), and a spoon.
3. Shampoo Your Hair
Shampoo your hair to ensure there’s nothing coating your strands. If there is, it could diminish the mask’s effectiveness.
Your hair can only hold so much moisture, product, and oils before it will stop absorbing more. So, give your hair a clean slate before applying the mask.
4. Make Your Mask
To do so, you’ll combine your clay and apple cider vinegar or water in a non-metal bowl and stir to mix. The ingredients should form a thick paste.
Don’t forget that the water you use should be warm vs. cold. Cold water will inhibit the clay’s mixing ability. The water doesn’t need to be scolding hot – warm water is fine.
5. Apply the Mask in Sections
Apply the mask in sections, being careful to coat every single strand. It’s impossible to use too much of the mask, so be liberal with it.
Don’t comb through your hair while it’s coated in the mask. Simply use your fingers to distribute the mask, and don’t forget to apply the mask to your scalp.
6. Set a Timer for up to 15 Minutes
There’s no need to leave it on for longer than that. If you’re in a hurry, you can leave it in for as little as 5 minutes. Though, it’s better to leave the mask on for more time rather than less time.
7. Rinse Your Hair
Once time is up, you’ll notice that your hair is stiff and hard. But don’t be discouraged; this is what’s supposed to happen.
Rinse your hair with warm to hot water to loosen the mask up and remove it from your hair. It may take several minutes to get all the clay out, so be prepared for that.
8. Shampoo as Needed
If you’re not able to remove all the clay with water, you can shampoo your hair to remove any residue. If you do, ensure that you’re using a shampoo that’s not harsh on the hair.
A regular sulfate shampoo can undo all of your hard work as far as moisture and nutrients are concerned. So, choose a gentle sulfate-free shampoo that leaves out any drying or irritating ingredients to rinse out any clay that remains.
If you can avoid shampoo altogether, we recommend you do so.
9. Deep Condition Your Hair
Deep condition your hair with your favorite deep conditioner. If you don’t have one, Shea Moisture and Maui Moisture both have really great ones.
The key purpose of the hair mask is to rehydrate the hair, so choose one that’s moisturizing in nature and lists water or aloe vera as the first ingredient.
10. Apply Your Favorite Oil
Apply your favorite hair oil or leave-in. You’re all done!
Dos and Don’ts of Using Aztec Clay
Now, let’s move into some dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind if you want to get the most out of your mask.
- Do use the mask as often as once a week as needed.
- Do use bentonite clay as a shampoo replacement. Use your regular shampoo whenever you’re not using your bentonite mask.
- Do add a little extra apple cider vinegar to your mask if you want extra cleansing power.
- Don’t use a bentonite clay mask on wet hair.
- Don’t leave the clay mask on for longer than 15 minutes.
- Don’t be afraid to add other hair goodies to your mask. Limit it to carrier oils and essential oils, though.
So, there you have it – everything you need to know about Aztec clay masks. We hope you found all the information you were looking for. We wish you the best in your attempts to give your hair the best possible care.
Kenneth Byrd holds a BS in Accounting and Management Information Systems and an MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a serial hair blogger that has been writing about hair care since 2008, when he co-founded Curl Centric® and Natural Hair Box. Curl Centric is a website operated by a husband and wife team that encourages healthy hair care. At Curl Centric, we aim to help our readers take control of their hair care journey and make good decisions about products, hairstyles, and maintenance techniques. We also have strict editorial integrity; here’s an explanation of our editorial guidelines and how we make money.