8 Ways to Use Bentonite Clay in Your Beauty Routine

This versatile, natural clay can do wonders to your hair and skin.

two hands hold gray bentonite clay in bowl for beauty treatments

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Bentonite clay is an aluminum phyllosilicate clay that has been used in a variety of ways for centuries. Named after Fort Benton, Wyoming, where it is abundantly found, this clay's absorption and antimicrobial properties make it a popular skincare ingredient. It can exfoliate the skin and clear up impurities, and it has even been used in the past to treat certain diseases.

Buy yourself a package of high-grade bentonite clay for DIY beauty recipes, and it will quickly become a staple in your natural beauty cabinet. Here are eight ways you can add bentonite clay to your beauty and skincare routines.

1. Make a Face Mask

woman's profile as she applies bentonite clay mask with makeup brush

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Treating yourself to a self-care day? We recommend a bentonite clay face mask. This clay is commonly found in store-bought face masks, but making your own bentonite clay mask ensures what you're putting on your face is completely natural and free of chemicals.

To make the mask, combine bentonite clay and water (one to three is the recommended ratio) to create a paste. Then, apply it to your face. Leave the mask on for 20 minutes and rinse off for noticeably smoother, clearer skin.

2. Add to Your Oral Hygiene Routine

bentonite clay mixed with water with bamboo toothbrush to make natural toothpaste

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Bentonite clay is a popular ingredient in natural toothpaste, particularly charcoal toothpaste and other products, because it cleans thoroughly while providing antibacterial properties.

To use bentonite clay as a dentifrice, blend two tablespoons of bentonite clay, four tablespoons of water, and 1⁄8 teaspoon of sea salt. Bonus: A mixture of 1⁄2 tsp of clay with 1⁄4 cup water can be used as a remineralizing mouthwash.

3. Bathe With Bentonite Clay

hand adds bentonite clay to hot bubble bath for skin irritation

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Research shows that bentonite clay has been used to alleviate skin irritation. Its soothing capabilities can be maximized in a nice, hot bath. Fill a tub and add one to two cups of clay. Mix to combine, then soak yourself and relax. Rinse off any excess clay.

4. Create a DIY Soap

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Long before modern-day soaps, clays were used to cleanse the body. Bentonite clay's absorption properties allow it to function as an effective detoxifier that attracts and absorbs grease and impurities. Try adding bentonite clay to a DIY soap recipe to reap these benefits.

5. Add to Your Hair Care Routine

woman scrunches clean wet hair after being washed with bentonite clay

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

In addition to their use as soap, clays are often used in shampoos and conditioning agents. Just as bentonite clay works well in soaps for high absorption properties, it functions in hair care the same way. There are plenty of easy DIY shampoo bar recipes if you want to get creative and make your own natural shampoo.

6. Reduce Puffy Eyes

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

If your eyes are tired and puffy, undereye bags are becoming more prominent, fear not—you can apply a thick layer of clay paste to alleviate these effects. After applying, let the paste sit for at least 20 minutes.

By doing this a couple of times per week, the clay may reduce some of the undereye inflammation by absorbing excess fluid.

7. Apply an Acne Spot Treatment

hand coats fingers with wet bentonite clay to apply under eyes

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Again, bentonite clay's antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties come in handy in natural acne treatment. If you've got a pimple, make a bentonite clay paste and dab it on. As with the face mask, a one-to-three ratio of clay and water is recommended for best results.

8. Sanitize Hands

washing hands with bentonite clay over white bowl to kill microbes

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Among hand sanitizers, alcohol-based ones are the most common—but they can be harsh on the skin. Cleaning the hands with a paste made from bentonite clay is a potentially gentler way to protect the skin from microbes. Note, however, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol for best results.

View Article Sources
  1. Moosavi, M. "Bentonite Clay as a Natural Remedy: A Brief Review." Iranian Journal of Public Health46(9), 1176–1183. 2017.

  2. "Hand Sanitizer Use Out and About." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021.