9 Reasons You Should Add Bentonite Clay to Your Beauty Routine

Updated: Mar. 18, 2021

Behold the many impressive benefits of this mineral-rich ingredient. Your face, body, and hair will thank you!

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Young woman applying green Bentonite-Clay mask
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Bentonite clay purifies pores

“We’re now painfully aware of the negative effects of pollution and free radicals on the skin,” says Biba de Sousa, an esthetician in Los Angeles. Bentonite clay is a pore-cleansing powerhouse, she says. When activated with liquid, it acts like a magnet and a sponge, binding to and sopping up positively charged impurities (such as heavy metals, excess sebum, and bacteria). “Simply put: It pulls pollutants and ‘sludge’ out of the skin,” de Sousa says. Bentonite clay isn’t the only detoxifier that deserves a spot in your beauty routine. Check out these purifying skincare ingredients.

Closeup of Bentonite-Clay mask
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Absorbs excess oil

One of the biggest myths about oily skin is that you should use harsh, alcohol-based products to dry it out. This simply isn’t true! When you strip away natural oils, your skin over-produces it to compensate. Instead, you want to look for natural ingredients—like bentonite clay—that help balance sebum levels. “This super-absorbent, swelling clay has unparalleled oil-drawing capabilities,” says Alexandra Wagner, an esthetician in Los Angeles. This makes it excellent for oily complexions. Those with dry, sensitive, and aging skin types should look for milder clays, like French pink and white kaolin. Looking for a DIY facial treatment to combat oil and shine? In a nonreactive (wood, plastic, or glass) bowl, combine equal parts bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar. Apply the mask evenly to the skin, let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes, and rinse with lukewarm water.

Woman in bathtub
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Bentonite clay purifies pores on not only your face but your whole body. By adding 1 to 2 cups of bentonite clay powder to your bath, you can transform it from a relaxing ritual to one that also reduces swelling and soothes inflammation, de Sousa says. Need more reasons to make tub time part of your routine? Science suggests that taking a bath might be just as good for you as taking a walk.

Woman applying dark green Bentonite-Clay mask
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This mineral-rich clay does more than eliminate impurities. After it does its job detoxifying, it infuses skin with minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and silicon. You can reap the benefits with a bath or a full-body mask, Wagner says. Pro tip: Just be aware that this can get messy. Planning an at-home spa day? Here are 12 pampering products you’ll definitely want to have on hand.

woman applying white face cream

Gently exfoliates

“Bentonite granules provide additional cleansing by sloughing away dead skin cells,” says de Sousa. Unlike harsh exfoliants that can damage skin, this fine powder gently buffs away dry, flaky skin, leaving your complexion softer, smoother, and healthier. For a DIY facial polish, mix bentonite clay powder with a splash of water or rose water until it forms a thick paste. Using your fingers, gently apply in circular motions. Rinse with lukewarm water. Bentonite clay is just one of the skincare clays that offer exfoliating benefits.

two women with green clay masks
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One of the most common applications for bentonite is as a natural alternative to store-bought blemish treatments. According to the Mayo Clinic, the four main causes of acne are oil production, dead skin cells, clogged pores, and bacteria. Bentonite addresses them all. Remember its absorbent abilities? When mixed with water and used as a face mask or spot treatment, bentonite pulls out excess sebum and bacteria from the skin, Wagner says. And its mild exfoliating effect helps remove dead skins cells and unclog pores. These are the ingredients everyone with acne-prone skin needs in their beauty arsenal. (Hint: Bentonite is one of them.)

Closeup of hands cupping Bentonite-Clay

Heals eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis

Bentonite has been used (both internally and externally) as a traditional healing method for centuries. One of its applications is as a topical remedy for skin irritation and rashes. Think eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, poison ivy, and bug bites. Not only does it draw out fungus and bacteria from the skin, but research in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy showed that bentonite can act as a topical antibiotic, helping to calm skin infections, soothe inflammation, and speed up healing. Try a bentonite-infused soak or “mud pack.” Wondering if your skin issues are eczema or something else? Here are the five clear signs not to ignore.

Woman in shower with wet hair

Cleanses hair

Clay in your hair? Just hear us out. Bentonite clay benefits your scalp and strands much the same way it does your skin, Wagner says. It clarifies, eliminates toxins, removes product build-up, sops up excess oil, and leaves hair super-clean. Here’s the how-to: Combine bentonite clay powder, apple cider vinegar, and essential oils (like rosemary and lavender) until it reaches a yogurt-like consistency. Divide hair into sections and apply liberally. Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes (just don’t let it harden!) and rinse thoroughly. Try these stylist-approved tricks for having the shiniest hair ever.

Bentonite-Clay in a white cup


Looking for a natural alternative to conventional deodorant? Try mixing up a DIY recipe with bentonite clay, coconut oil, aloe, baking soda, arrowroot flour, and essential oils. Bentonite absorbs moisture and eliminates odor-causing bacteria. Coconut oil nourishes sensitive underarm skin, while arrowroot powder helps control perspiration and baking soda balances pH. (Lots of other natural ingredients can work as homemade deodorant, too.)