Skin care masks are all the rage in the beauty world. Everyone and their mom and their favorite beauty influencer uses them — and a LOT of DIY mask ideas have come out of the trend. 

I was surprised to see that bentonite clay — one of the most popular facial masks out there — also has an alternate use for natural hair!

Word on the YouTube streets is the same Indian Healing Clay mask ($8.51, Amazon) used to clear and prevent acne ALSO moonlights as an amazing curl definer for coily hair. 

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After making sure there were no hair loss horror stories lurking in the depths of Youtube — I decided to test the clay on my curls. 

According to the YouTube reviews, the mask leaves natural hair softer, stronger, and completely free of buildup. 

Surprisingly the "clay" is actually a mixing powder.

indian healing clay
photo: Revelist/Marquaysa Battle

The powder is a 100% natural calcium Bentonite clay, which is meant to clear the skin (and now the hair?) of all kinds of toxins. 

I was also happy to read that this clay has "no fragrances - no animal testing - no animal products," according to its label. 

The first part of the process is mixing the Bentonite clay with apple cider vinegar. 

apple cider vinegar
photo: Revelist/Marquaysa Battle

The Indian Healing Clay container also has these directions on the back:

"Mix clay with equal parts of raw applie cidar vinegar and/or water. Use a non-metal bowl and utensil. Stir the mixture well to a smooth paste. As more Clay or liquid as needed." 

I happened to have apple cider vinegar sitting in my bathroom cabinet, so I luckily didn't have to buy anything outside of the clay for this DIY project.

When I poured the vinegar into the clay, it bubbled and fizzed up.

And yes, I did feel like a cool in-home chemist as I cooked up this potential curl definer. 

This is what the concoction looked like after a good stirring.

Smooth and pretty. 

I split my hair up into four sections and decided to try the clay on my dry hair and then wash it out. 

photo: Revelist/Marquaysa

Though I did see some Youtubers adding the clay mask to their recently washed hair, I figured putting the mixture on my unwashed hair would help me test out its full cleansing capabilities. 

With no gloves, I dipped my hand into the product and just started working it into each section of my hair. 

The clay spread easily throughout my hair, and didn't take long to apply.

This is what my hair looked like with the clay spread through every single strand. 

The clay didn't feel uncomfortable or oily. My hair did feel *slightly* crunchy, but I'm pretty sure it was due to my hair being dry in the first place and me not doing this on wet hair. 

Because I have sensitive skin and this was my first time using the mask, I decided to keep it in my hair for only 15 minutes exactly. 

I didn't want to risk irritating my scalp and having an itchy night's sleep.

This is what my hair looked like after hopping DIRECTLY out of the shower without towel drying.

I'm SO FREAKING pleased! 

The mask left my hair feeling soft and my natural dark color looked VIBRANT — which lets me know the clay really did strip my hair of all the product buildup that can give hair a grey-ish cast. 

As for my curls, I was even more pleased with how lovely my kinks looked after the clay mask. I certainly saw a difference in how my curls usually look when I get out of the shower.

Full disclosure: I have 4C natural hair — a texture that usually shrinks the most, gets dry much easier, and is more susceptible to breakage and tangles. 

So, "curl defining" for me will never mean I automatically have looser, silkier curls after washing. 4C curls are super small and sometimes look nearly invisible if you're looking for looser curls, or if product weighs your hair down so much that the curls don't pop through. 

So will I be using this acne clay mask on my natural hair again? ABSOLUTELY.

photo: Giphy

I've found the best product results come after I've been using it for multiple washes. 

If this clay mask made my hair feel this healthy in one wash, I am excited to see how the clay mask makes my hair feel over time!