Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Hair Help on matte clay recipe

  • Help on matte clay recipe

    Posted by ted on December 27, 2018 at 2:57 pm
    I am trying to make a simple high hold, matte hair clay with as few ingredients as possible. I tried a combo of beeswax, coconut oil and kaolin clay. 
    First try, equal amounts of the three, came out hard (not impossibly hard, but difficult to scoop out), greasy and with medium hold. Doubling the clay didn’t seem to make a difference.
    Second try, two parts beeswax, one part coconut oil, two parts kaolin was impossibly hard.
    Tried substituting the coconut oil with glycerin, came out hard and the glycerin sort of bleeds out when I press on the product.
    All measurements are by volume, unfortunately, as I don’t have a scale *yet*. Soon will.
    I read that there are oils which are less… oily… If I get such oil (recommendations highly appreciated) what proportions would you recommend? I saw recipes that had lanolin, essential oils, tapioca starch, etc., but I want as simple a recipe as possible. Beeswax smells nice on its own anyway. How do I soften the product up enough to be fairly easy to scoop out?
    Any recipes that provide a high hold and a matte finish would be nice, even if the product turns out a bit on the harder side. 
    Also, what is the difference between a carrier oil and the coconut oil in recipes, what different purposes do they serve?   
    I will post results after each new attempt.
    Thanks and Happy holidays!
    ted replied 7 months ago 8 Members · 15 Replies
  • 15 Replies
  • Fekher

    December 27, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    @ted take a look for discussion made for hair pomade 

  • ted

    December 28, 2018 at 10:47 am

    @Fekher I did, but I don’t get what most of the ingredients do on their own; often are mentioned hydrogenated castor oil and regular castor oil, jojoba oil, etc. I want to try a less greasy oil instead of the coconut oil because the mix is too hard and very greasy on the hair. Any ideas on what to substitute it with?

  • thatjoevan

    February 5, 2019 at 5:15 am

    You won’t be able to get a product with just those three ingredients. Look into adding soy lecithin, peg-40 hydrogenated castor oil, water, arrowroot powder, and an emulsifier. Good luck!

  • Fekher

    February 7, 2019 at 7:14 am

    @ted  IPM and C12-15 alkyl benzoate can do a good job for reducing greasy effect.

  • ted

    February 22, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    Okay, so water and an emulsifier. @thatjoevan you mentioned soy lecithin  and peg-40 hydrogenated castor oil, aren’t they both an emulsifier? Can I use just beeswax, kaolin, water and lecithin? 
    @Fekher you mentioned IPM and that….other thing… for greasiness. If I use only beeswax, water, kaolin and an emulsifier, won’t the mix be not at all greasy? So far it’s been like that because of the large amounts of carrier oil to reduce stiffness. Or perhaps just a little bit of oil, but again, not as much as now? 
    Thanks for the answers. 

  • Fekher

    February 22, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    @ted using suitable level of kaolin will reduce the greasy effect.

  • Dirtnap1

    February 22, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    Are you making a hydrous or anhydrous product? 

  • ted

    March 15, 2019 at 10:40 am

    I’m making a basic, as-simple-as-possible clay. I suppose I started the topic here all wrong,  instead of asking for help with my own recipe, I should have just asked for a basic ingredients list and start mixing. Would just kaolin, water, coconut oil, beeswax and an emulsifier work well for a high hold, strong matte clay without any fancy oils, scent, etc.? 

  • Fekher

    March 15, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    @Ted actually with kaolin , beewax , butter or fatty acid  and  liquid oils you can make what you want even in web you can find some formulation about that.

  • ted

    March 16, 2019 at 7:16 am

    Alright, I’ll be sure to look into it, thanks.
    Still, if anyone passing by this thread has a suggestion about any ratios and recipes, drop a comment, it will be much appreciated :D 

  • KingRoland78

    April 20, 2019 at 5:37 am

    @ted If you’re looking into making an oil-based clay pomade, you need to use a high amount of clay.  That’s if you want a matte finish.  Mailroom Barber Co. makes a perfect oil-based matte clay pomade.  They use over 50% clay.  I know that sounds like a lot, but trust me.  I made it and it came out amazing!  The only issue is you’ll be using lots of ingredients (especially clay).  So the price point will be high.  You’re better off making a water-based clay, but it is lots of work to get it just right.  

  • idolaanda

    August 28, 2022 at 8:20 am

    @KingRoland78 can you share the formula makes a perfect oil based matte clay pomade?

  • Squinny

    August 29, 2022 at 1:48 am

    Have a look online (being a woman I’ve never heard of a pomade before so found this interesting!) Anyway I googled and found this so may help give you an indication of %’s for your formula - Have a play with something and see what you come up with if it is anything like you want - assume just making for yourself. The below isnt written in %’s but you get the drift.
    40 grams Kaolin
    30 grams Coconut Oil
    2 grams Shea Butter
    Essential Oils 2 drops total (I’d skip this until you get the basic product right)
    (You could probably add a small amount of beeswax to get a firmer product or use some instead of the Shea Butter if you dont have it?)
    DIY Hair Styling Clay Recipe - Savvy Homemade

    The Mailroom Barber one has the following ingredients (if this is the one you are talking about - there are a few so just look at the ingredient list for what you are after) - maybe use the same % ‘s as above or play with what ingredients you have to get right consistency?
    Kaolin Clay, Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Castor
    Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Carnauba Wax, Arrowroot Powder & Essential
    Have fun playing :)

  • Jojoph

    November 30, 2023 at 11:33 am

    Hi! I found this thread whilst beginning to make men’s pomade myself. Non toxic and useful.

    Did you ever figure out the right ratio/ingredients?

    I see it’s been a few years.


    • ted

      December 11, 2023 at 10:52 am


      Unfortunately I did not - the attempts came out either too stiff to scoop up or run through the hair or too oily and lacking hold. I believe the other replies here were spot on - your best bet is to try a water based product so you remove the greasy finish while retaining maximum possible hold.

      Best of luck with your attempts and please write back if you discover a good recipe 😀

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