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How to use the Aztec Healing Clay Mask on your hair

People on TikTok have found a new use for the popular face mask.
Close-up of young woman against red wall with curly hair and a bottle of Aztec Healing clay
Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images / Amazon

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With all of the buzzy, new skin care products out there, you may be surprised to learn that Amazon's No. 1 bestselling face mask is a beauty staple with just one ingredient.

Yes, we're talking about the insanely popular Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask. It's been an internet-favorite product for years and has more than 42,000 five-star reviews as well as an official seal of approval from one Shop TODAY writer. Even Mindy Kaling has declared her love for the product.

The most popular use for the mask, by far, is as a skin-clearing solution. Many people have said that the product, which is made with calcium bentonite clay, has worked wonders on their blemish-prone and oily skin, cleansing their pores and shrinking breakouts. But it surprisingly also has plenty of other uses in your beauty routine outside of simply helping to clear up your complexion. It can be used as a bath soak, body mask and even as an anti-itch solution for bug bites.

And lately, it's been gaining a new level of popularity on TikTok for its potential hair benefits. User @curlsbykeish posted a video back in March, demonstrating how she used the mask to revive her natural curls. In the months since, the video, which now has more than 17 million views, has inspired other people to try it out and share their own impressive results on the app. Users have said that it can help moisturize your hair, soothe your scalp and define curls.

To get the scoop on how the mask stacks up as a hair treatment, we tapped three scalp and hair experts to break down all the potential benefits.

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask

Although there aren't any scientific studies to back up the benefits of using clay on your hair and scalp, Bridgette Hill, a certified trichologist (an expert specializing in hair and scalp health) and founder of Root Cause Scalp Analysis, said that there's anecdotal evidence that clay-based products can be beneficial for managing certain scalp conditions and for your general scalp and hair health, overall.

Using a clay mask, like this one, can be helpful for people who have oily scalps or clogged hair follicles, added Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. "Using a hair mask with bentonite clay helps to add moisture to the hair and removes toxins from the scalp," she said.

According to the Aztec Secret website, the toxins in your skin and hair have positively charged molecules. Those in the clay, on the other hand, have a negative electron charge, which helps to draw out the toxins. "Because of its negative charge, it has the ability to remove buildup caused by styling products and break down inferior quality oils that build up over time," Hill said. "The minerals and natural silica in bentonite clay are highly nourishing and moisturizing, leaving hair hydrated [and] shiny and are ideal in helping to define curly hair."

The mask comes as a powder, so you need to mix it with a liquid to get the right consistency before it can be applied. The brand recommends using equal parts apple cider vinegar, which ups the benefits of the mask. Apple cider vinegar can help fight bacteria and fungus (which causes dandruff), Jaliman said. The ingredient will help keep your scalp healthy by inhibiting their growth, as well as balancing the pH of your scalp.

While most people on TikTok have been using the mask to help define their curls, Davide Marinelli, founder and creative director of Davide Hair Studio in Manhattan said that it can also be beneficial for those with oily hair or people who work out a lot.

One Amazon reviewer who tried it as both a hair and face mask said she preferred for her hair. She said that she used the "miracle in a jar" on her thick, curly, coarse hair. "For the first time in my natural hair journey, I have been consistently wearing wash and go's," she wrote. "Takes me no time to style my hair, it’s moisturized, shiny and looks so healthy. I’ve had soooo many people tell me how much healthier my hair looks now. If I could give it 20 stars just for my hair, I would!

How to use the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask on hair

If you've watched any of the videos featuring the mask on TikTok, you know that the application process can get a little messy. In her now-viral video, @curlsbykeish said that although the process is a pain, "the RESULTS make it so worth it!!!!"

To try it out, mix the formula and then apply it to dirty, dry hair in sections, working from the root to the end, Hill said. If you're using it specifically to address a scalp condition, like dandruff or oiliness, divide your hair into smaller sections for maximum coverage. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then wash out with shampoo. It can also be used post-shower on towel-dried hair, using the same method and then rinsing with just water.

Because the mask can be drying on the scalp, Marinelli recommends only using it twice per month.

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