The Benefits of Using Clay in Cosmetics
For centuries mineral-rich clay has been used as a natural agent to beautify the skin. Clay minerals may comprise 15% of the volume of the earth’s crust. In soil, clays are generally the most important adsorbents for inorganic metals and organic solutes as well, this gives them their mineral content. Their presence in our soils is imperative for plants growth and nutrient density. They are an extremely important natural resource and have many uses.
“it (the clay) absorbs all of those properties of nature. It takes on the energy, so when you look at it as a substance, you can say that it’s the sum of the pull of nature’s energy.”
Different powdered clays are used as the basis for facial body masks popular in many spas, think mud baths! They are largely used for their ability to absorb excess oils, dead skin cells and potential toxins from the skin. They are often paired with powdered herbs and nutrients to enhance their abilities to heal, tone, soften and detoxify the skin. Applying clay to cosmetics may help to exfoliate, clean and invigorate the skin whilst improving blood circulation (you can often feel some heat and see redness after a clay mask for this reason. When the effect softens down the skin normally looks glowing).
As well as being in masks, clays are added to natural scrubs (for their natural exfoliating properties, natural vegetable soaps (as they can enhance their lather capabilities), some clays are used in toothpaste, deodorant and also shampoo or face cleansing bars. We use clay in the bath with essential oils and as a ‘talc’, I also add clay to my dry shampoo recipe.
- Wet your face at night, apply your clay, and just begin to lightly massage the clay in for about two or three minutes for a soft, natural exfoliation. Apply a nutritious oil infused with essential oils afterwards for a real treat for the skin.
- Mix clay with a liquid to make a paste:
- You can add ground coffee, salt, oats, almond flour or desiccated coconut to increase the exfoliant properties.
- Add herbal teas like chamomile, calendula, rooibos or rosewater to the clay for a calming and nutrient dense combination.
- Add apple cider vinegar, kombucha or kefir to the clay to increase detoxification and to make your skin tighter, brighter and simply glowing!
- Rinse off your mask using just water. You may have to gently scrub a little with your fingers to get it off. It tends to try to stick to your skin.
- I mix raw cacao and red clay with arrowroot flour for my dry shampoo!
- Avoid getting clay in mouth, eyes, ears, nose.
- After a clay mask tone the skin with a little rose water or kefir/water spray.
- Moisturiser will be soaked into the skin with greater effect after a clay mask.
- Clays mix nicely with activated charcoal.
- Clay infused sponges work really nicely and gently on the skin.
- Traditionally clays have been taken externally or internally. Consider contacting a practitioner like myself for advice with this.
Different clays have different properties and are ideal for different skin types and also different needs. The clays come from all over the world and different locations will have different mineral constituents. The mineral content and physical structure of each clay will help to determine the desired effect for the skin.
Different clays for different reasons:
Bentonite clay is a generic term made of rocks that come from volcanic ash beds. Settled on the ground the ash has immersed itself into the soil, Bentonite is found wherever volcanic eruptions have occurred and where the ash beds have not been destroyed by erosion. Today most of the clay available to buy is harvested in western U.S. (mostly Wyoming), Greece, France, India, Australia and Italy. You may see it as Bentonite or Montmorillonite clay, the two names are interchangeable.
Bentonite is a very popular clay with many for skin benefits. With its strong negative electrical charge, it is seen to draw out positively charged toxins like a magnet. Also as one of the most absorbable clays bentonite is also helpful for oily skin. Normally used for tightening, brightening, acne-clearing and toxin reducing, bentonite is also very good for first aid.
Bentonite clay swells when mixed with liquid, making it a highly porous and absorbing substance. It can actually absorb more than its initial mass, including any swelling from excess fluid anywhere in the body. It is also great to add to scars, stretch marks and red skin.
- May reduce scars, stretch marks, rosacea or liver spots.
- Softens and detoxifies the skin
- Soothes dermatitis.
- Hydrates the hair.
- Decreases eye puffiness: Moisten the under-eye area (be careful to be away from the eye itself) and apply quite a thick paste application of clay/apple cider vinegar or water around the eyes. Leave it on for up to 20 minutes, then wash it off.
- For a first aid paste good for cuts, bruises, sores or blisters: Mix bentonite clay powder with baking soda, water and turmeric. You can also add cooled thyme or calendula tea to maximize the effect it has on your skin.
Used for its beauty benefits since the dawn of time, also known as Rhassoul clay, this ancient clay is mined from Morocco. It is considered more rare and pure than other clays, it was reserved for Egyptian royalty in the past. Extremely high in minerals and trace elements it owes its colour to a high concentration of iron oxide. This clay is used to stimulate microcirculation in the blood vessels helping to improve circulation to the skin and remove toxins and impurities.
Like Bentonite clay the minerals cause a negative charge, most toxins in your skin are positively charged, so this clay is also the perfect magnet. However, this clay is excellent for more sensitive and drier skins as it also has elasticity and texture-improving effects. Gentle enough for daily use in small doses like in soap, makes a great exfoliator and in a hair mask or shampoo may absorb excess build-up on hair, restoring volume, and shine. It is also very good on sensitive scalps.
- Gentle and effective exfoliant
- improves dryness and scaliness of skin
- clarifies skins texture and firmness.
- Mattifies and unifies the complexion
- absorbs impurities and detoxifies skin to revive and brighten the complexion
- Reduces redness and soothes discomfort caused by irritations
- Acts as a natural colour in makeup or dry shampoo
- Absorbs excess sebum from the skin and hair
- Restores body, silkiness and shine to hair
A mix of red and white clay, pink clay enjoys the benefits of both. It is great for sensitive and mature skin and has the benefits of both bentonite and rhassoul clay. Considered to be the mildest of all the clays, Pink Clay masks do not remove the skin’s natural oils, making it perfect for tight, dry and dehydrated skin.
- Restores radiance to the skin.
- Reduces irritation and inflammation.
- Treats damaged skin by promoting healthy cell renewal.
- Good to use on scars and stretch marks
- May help to reduce wrinkles
- Softens and hydrates the skin.
- Cleanses and refreshes dull, tired and dry skin.
- Eliminates redness.
- Smoothens the skin’s texture.
- Revitalizes the scalp and hair.
Green clay, also referred to as green illite, sea clay or Montmorillonite clay. Found in abundant deposits in France (also extracted from other places in the world including China and the U.S.), it is mined several thousand feet below the earth’s crust (up to two thousand feet below the surface). A naturally occurring material rich in nutrients, it gets its greenish hue from the presence of blue-green algae and chlorophyll left by decomposed plant life mixed with Iron oxides. Once the clay is mined it is brought out into the sun to remove excess water and moisture and to make it the powder we can use.
The clay’s amazing detoxifying quality of this material is best demonstrated by its use in 1986, when it was used in a massive quantity to cover and neutralise the nuclear reactor site at Chernobyl. It was also added to chocolate to help people to detoxify it from their body. Green clay has also been used for centuries in a poultice and Arizona State University reports their researchers have found French green clay effective in inhibiting Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium marinum. These bacteria can play a part in serious skin infections.
French green clay is also excellent for exfoliation and pore-tightening. It is another very absorbent clay that especially drinks up oil from the skin and hair, it also encourages blood towards the surface of your skin, giving you a bit of a tingling sensation as it boosts circulation. Extremely nutrient-rich, green clay also contains dolomite, manganese, silica, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and calcium.
- Helps hair that is oily, shiny or dull.
- Softens dry or rough skin.
- removes dirt from the skin and scalp.
- Great used in deodorant.
- Daily mask can help regulate your skin’s sebum production to reduce oiliness.
- Clears acne and reduces blackheads
- Calms and soothes eczema, rashes, psoriasis.
- Improves skin condition and appearance.
- Purifies and balances the scalp and clears dandruff.
- Detoxifys body.
- Great used in first aid and in poltices.
- Good to use in toothpaste especially with gum issues.
Get in contact below for some recommendations for brands and how to use them….