5 Types of Clay for Skincare

Clay, in its purest form, is a fine-grained, soft mineral substance known for its cleansing and purifying properties. Clay can be distinguished by various colours: green, white, red, yellow and pink). Silica, one of the many components of clay, possess detoxifying and regenerative effects. Clay is rich in trace elements which impart remineralising properties. In this blog post, we're taking a closer look and 5 clays and the benefits that they have on the skin.

Clay Masks

First of all, let's clarify what exactly a mask is and how it can be applied to and benefit the skin and hair. Clay is a very complex mineral much like silicon, magnesium, zinc, calcium, copper and selenium compounds. Choosing the right type of clay for your skin type is essential. Clay absorbs excess sebum and draws out impurities in oily skin types whilst providing dry skin with added moisture and natural balance.

Prep & Application

Preparing a clay mask is very simple:

  1. Mix a tablespoon of clay with three tablespoons of water to form a smooth paste.
  2. Add a few drops of oil - rose, olive or tea tree oil - to enhance its effects.
  3. It is important to let the mask absorb into the skin (approximately 10 - 15 minutes) so that the effects are able to unfold fully.
  4. Note: Do not allow the clay mask to dry on the skin completely since clay masks not only absorb excess sebum but also depletes the water content of the skin tissues (a valuable source of hydration).
  5. Once the clay mask starts to dry, remove it immediately using lukewarm water.

Never incorporate ingredients containing vitamin C into the clay mask mixture. Vitamin C is a compound, that when in contact with the clay, creates a chemical oxidation reaction, promoting the production of free radicals. It is far better to add oils to clay masks, such as disinfectant tea tree oil or nourishing olive, jojoba or almond oils.

It is important to note that the tools used to prepare the mask should never contain metal as this material would reduce the benefits provided by the clay. We suggest that the tools used are made of glass, wood, porcelain or clay. In addition, the water used to mix the clay should be free of chlorine to further accentuate its properties. Of course, you could mix the clay with an infusion of green tea that helps extract toxins from the skin. The clay, as previously mentioned, may be mixed with essential oil instead of water. A mask combined with aromatherapy benefits the skin and the senses.

Types of clay

  1. White clay or kaolinite** contains a high percentage of silica and alumina and is considered the purest and gentlest clay of all. It is used to eliminate toxins and lift away dead skin cells. White clay regenerates the skin cells, prevents skin ageing, improves the structure of the skin and enhances elasticity. It is ideal for all skin types (including sensitive skin).
  2. Green clay is highly valued for its mineral content and anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and balancing properties. It is ideal for oily skin that is prone to acne, blackheads or dilated pores.
  3. Red clay is most often used in body and hair care. It purifies the scalp and combats circulation concerns, cellulite and fluid retention due to its high iron oxide content. Red clay stimulates the regeneration process of the skin.
  4. Yellow clay is rich in magnesium and iron. It is used as a stimulating and refreshing treatment. Yellow clay supplies the skin with oxygen thanks to its high water content. Ideal for dry skin types, as well as oily and acne-prone skin.
  5. Pink clay is rich in minerals, silica and iron oxide. This clay is a mixture of red clay and white clay. It is often used as a facial mask for its purifying, antioxidant, decongestant, soothing and regenerative effects. It is ideal for sensitive and dehydrated complexions because it repairs the connective tissues and softens the skin.

In this category, you will find several natural and organic masks (from brands such as CATTIER Paris, La Saponaria and Le Erbe di Janas) as well as clay-infused sponges by The Konjac Sponge Company.

**Aluminium is naturally present in clay. Note: there is a distinction to be made at a chemical level between the substance present in deodorant versus the substance that is naturally found in kaolinite. Deodorants contain aluminium salts, particularly aluminium hydrochloride, that are deliberately added to the formula in significantly high percentages. At a chemical level, this salt is not comparable with the substances present in kaolinite.