Understanding Clay and Clay hair products

So we all know that clays are one of the most popular products to use when it comes to styling our hairs. This is not the same for everyone and it is completely based on preferences and what works for you. But a high majority of people do find that clays are one of the most versatile and adaptive styling products to work with.


What is clay?

What makes Clay so good to work within our hair? Well for a start, many clay’s contain either one of these key ingredients or even better, more than one – kaolin, bentonite or beeswax. Barring the beeswax, the key being in the name, the other two are actual forms of clay.

Clay comes in a variety of strength and shine, the majority aim to be a high hold and low shine to matte finish. But this does lead back to the versatility of them; they can be more a medium hold to some and have an increased amount of shine compared to others. Knowing this helps to generate a wider picture of what you want from the product and also helps to gauge the outcome

I am going to try my best to stay away from mentioning any specific products here as there is simply so many to choose from and the whole purpose of you reading this is to gain a better knowledge as a general, rather than thinking about just one product, you can take this information and use it to go out and find your perfect clay.


Who are clay products for?

The term ‘clay products’ are more aimed at people with the hair type being thick and dense. But I don’t truly believe this is always the case. Having thin hair does not eliminate you altogether from them, by far the opposite, a decent clay can provide said thin hair with a platform to either thicken the strands or help get to the roots and provide amazing texture to enhance your style.

One of the key things that should be mentioned about clay and a high amount of its users is they want to obtain the texture. This is always a key feature in anyone’s style. It is all well and good having a nice haircut, or even nice style, but it is texture that is seen to take your style to the next level.

For myself, I actually have quite thin individual strands of hair, yet a lot of it, so it is quite dense, so I can relate to those with thinner hair. I am just sort of in both ships, not thick but am dense but thin per strand. So I can relate to both.


How do I use clay products?

So understanding your hair type does not restrict you from clay, check. Knowing whether it is medium or high hold with a matte or semi-shine finish, check. So this is probably some of the key points to be made, but what hasn’t been mentioned yet and something that I do very regularly when using clay is to mix it with another product!

So some may find they get the texture with clay alone, but find the hold temperamental. Regarding the product you use and then the length of your hair. The longer your hair, the less control and hold your hair is going to naturally have, since it will weigh itself down and also over the course of the day, it will move around through the weather, wearing a hood, general movement, and headphones.

So to help reduce this matter, you can combo clay with other products, such as powders, hair sprays, serums, conditioners or pre-styling products. To briefly go over it, for me powder is a pre-styler with the clay being the final stage, helping create the basis, enhancing the texture and the hold. A hair spray is a finisher, used to lock down the style in place, dependent on how much is used will increase the shine. A serum is a pre-styler before blowdrying, making the hair much smoother and silky. Conditioners can be considered similar but will make the hair that much softer. Then a pre-styling product is the first stage of the hairstyle, helping with hold, texture and setting platform in place. So yeah, we got a lot to work with!


Clay products – water or oil based?

What else needs to be understood about them is whether they are water based or oil based. This will determine how often you will need to wash your hair.

I actually like a little bit of build up from the previous day, personally, I find that adds to the hold and texture for me. I’m not saying it is dirty by any means, I get my hair wet every time I shower and rinse it through, plus I shower twice a day, but I probably only shampoo and condition my hair maybe once to twice a week.

But understanding if it is water based or oil based will show through in the use of the product, from above, it will make you aware of how often you need to wash your hair and how it actually feels to run your fingers through. As a general guide, water-based contains Aqua/H2O (water) and oil-based contains petrolatum. All of the above is relevant knowing this, but just to mix it up, some special products could contain both!


Which hair types work with clay products?

One of the final things I think you need to consider now really is your hair type, not the density but if you have straight, wavy or curly hair. What I say next will not come as surprise but clay works with them all! I have straight hair, so can speak straight away that it works amazing for my hair (pun intended). Wavy hair it will only develop and improve your hairstyle. Curly is where it gets a little harder, depending on your style and length is whether clay is best, I would say a shorter style is more suited as it will get in there and help with definition and separation. Something a little longer may prove more difficult but that’s where the combinations mentioned above can really help you out.


I think we have discussed this one for quite a while now, so if you made it this far, well done and thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it, but most importantly, I hope this has taught something so you can take it away and it will help you decide on your next clay product and understanding what you want from the product itself.

Until the next one, peace out and always have your hair on point.

Scott Lawrence
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