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One Ingredient Wonder: Bentonite Clay

If you're striving for a minimalist kitchen or bathroom cabinet filled with cute glass jars and no sign of plastic or ugly labels, finding multi-purpose products will serve you quite nicely. But first, allow yourself some space to unlearn all the messaging that has told you for your entire life that you need super-specialized products for every application or else they won't work. I mean you couldn't possibly use your day eye cream at nighttime, right??? 

We can't really think of many things more fundamentally "low waste" than a multi-purpose product with very few ingredients -- or even just ONE ingredient. So, we've been rolling out a series of "One Ingredient Wonders" which has included tea tree oil and coconut oil so far. Our next One Ingredient Wonder is surely a superstar on par with the others: bentonite clay!

A couple notes about bentonite clay... there are two types of bentonite clay: sodium bentonite and calcium bentonite. Sodium bentonite clay is commonly used for industrial and construction applications. Calcium bentonite clay is what you might find at a health food store, and what is discussed here. When using bentonite clay, avoid allowing it to contact metal, as the clay will absorb molecules in the metal, and this will alter its potency.

Why is bentonite clay so effective for so many purposes? 

1. Bentonite clay contains negatively-charged molecules and many of the toxic substances that we encounter regularly contain positively-charged molecules. It acts like a magnet, drawing those toxic substances away from places like our skin, our mouths, and our internal organs. 

2. Bentonite clay is naturally antibacterial. It has even been shown to be effective against E Coli! 2

3. Bentonite clay contains several nutrients including calcium, magnesium, silica, sodium, copper, iron and potassium, which makes it an effective dietary supplement.1

Bentonite clay's many uses

External

Toothpaste | The antimicrobial properties of bentonite clay will kill harmful bacteria and viruses in your mouth and will keep your toothpaste fresher for longer. You can brush with bentonite alone, or dilute in water for a daily rinse. Or, you can mix it into your DIY toothpaste.

Check out our toothpaste recipe

Deodorant | The clay will help absorb sweat, keeping you drier, and will kill bacteria that causes odor. You can brush the clay on your pits, or add it to your DIY deodorant.

Check out our deodorant recipe!

Acne | Bentonite clay is known to balance sebum production and absorb excess oils and dirt on the skin. It also helps with inflammation. It can help with both preventing and treating breakouts. Mix the clay with a small amount of water as a spot treatment for blemishes, or make a facemask using clay, water, honey, and/or whatever other else you want to throw in there! 

It's no wonder bentonite clay is the primary ingredient of this Pimple Mud!

Increases effectiveness of sunscreen | When mixed with sunscreen, bentonite clay has been shown to increase water resistance and skin adherence.2

Treats poison oak and poison ivy | Bentonite clay has been shown to effectively prevent and treat allergic reactions to poison oak and poison ivy. After washing exposed areas, cover with a mixture of bentonite clay and water. 

Treats other skin irritations like diaper rash | When mixed into lotion, bentonite clay has been shown to help heal allergic dermatitis. It's more effective in healing diaper rash than calendula, one of the more common treatments.2  One study found that 93% of babies treated with bentonite clay had improved diaper rashes within just 6 hours!5 To use, mix clay with water and apply to the rash. Avoid applying the powder directly to baby's skin, as it shouldn't be inhaled. 

Hair | When applied to the scalp, bentonite clay helps to draw out toxins and impurities that can cause dandruff and other scalp conditions. While there are no definitive studies on human hair, bentonite has been proven to speed up wool growth on sheep, suggesting that it may aid in human hair growth as well. The minerals in the clay aid in moisturizing hair and reducing frizz, and are known to be especially effective in curly hair. Mix clay, water, and apple cider vinegar (ACV) to make a hair mask. The ACV will also aid with softness and shine by closing the hair cuticles. Apply the mask to damp hair and scalp, and let sit for 30 minutes before rinsing. 

Internal 

Boosts immunity | When taken by mouth, bentonite clay helps in fighting off bacteria that can cause illness.3

Digestive support | In studies, bentonite clay has been shown to treat 97% of diarrhea cases. It's also been shown to help with constipation and to increase gut flora activity, which aids in your body's ability to absorb nutrients.2

To take internally, mix one teaspoon of clay with one cup of water, and drink once per day. It's recommended that you don't take bentonite clay for more than 4 weeks in a row. 

Keep in mind that bentonite clay is sourced from the earth, and may collect heavy metals or other things you probably don't want to ingest. Before you purchase bentonite clay, make sure it's safe for internal use. 

Do you know of any other uses for bentonite clay? Share in the comments, or reach out to us in email or on Instagram!

 

Sources:

1 | 12 Bentonite Clay Benefits - For the Skin, Gut, and More, Dr. Axe

2 | Bentonite Clay as a Natural Remedy: A Brief Review, US National Library of Medicine

3 | What is Calcium Bentonite Clay?, Healthline

4 | Bentonite, New World Encyclopedia

5 | Bentonite Clay: 11 Benefits and Uses, Medical News Today

 

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