There are many types of mineral clays used in skincare, and they all can detox, absorb excess sebum, prevent mild forms of acne, and cleanse dirt and impurities.
But here's where it gets a bit tricky and confusing. Whether you use white, pink, green, red, or other types of clay, you may not be aware that every clay has its chemical composition and its benefits are very specific by skin type and condition.
In this article, we will explain:
- types of clays used in skincare
- how do clays work
- benefits of clays
- how to pick the suitable clay for your skin type and condition
- tips for using clay masks correctly
- best skincare ingredients to be combined with clays
What is clay?
Clay is a type of soil, sediment, or volcanic ash naturally available in tiny particles. Rich in silica, quartz, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, and other minerals, clays are used to detoxify the skin and cleansing balms and soaps.
How do clays work?
It's all down to chemistry. Clay has negatively charged molecules, while most toxins and heavy metals have positively charged molecules. When you hydrate clay (with water), it attracts oppositely charged molecules, pulling out toxins and excess sebum without harsh exfoliation.
Types of clays used in skincare
There are many variations of clays used in skincare; they are classified depending on their mineral composition. Here are the leading ten clays used in skincare and their INCI classification, as they are listed on each product label :
- WHITE CLAY (Kaolin)
- IVORY CLAY (Kaolin, Quartz)
- BEIGE CLAY (Argilla, Quartz, Sunstone powder)
- YELLOW CLAY (Montmorillonite, Bentonite, Quartz, Anatase)
- PINK CLAY (Kaolin, Illite)
- RED CLAY (Illite)
- GREEN CLAY (Illite, Montmorillonite, Bentonite, Kaolin)
- FULLER'S EARTH (Solum Fullonum - aluminium silicate and aluminium magnesium silicate)
- RHASSOUL or GHASSOUL (Moroccan Lava Clay)
Benefits of clays for skin
Not all clays have the same benefits on the skin. Depending on the type of clay used or the blend of clays, generally speaking, they:
- detox the skin from impurities and dirt
- unclog pores
- balance sebum
- prevent mild acne
- calm inflamed skin
- soothe sunburnt skin
However, some clays work best if matched to the correct skin type and condition, except Kaolin or white clay, so gentle and neutral that it can be used for all skin types and conditions.
Clays by skin type
Choosing suitable clay (single or blended) for your skin type and condition is very important. If your skin type is dehydrated and you use a very drying clay like Red Clay, the result will be even drier skin or even annoying redness. Or take Rhassolul (or Ghassoul), an excellent clay perfect for ageing skin but definitively unsuitable for sensitive skin.
Dos and don'ts with clay masks
- • clay masks tend to be very drying - they may aggravate dehydrated skin if not combined with moisturising ingredients
• never leave a clay mask on for longer than 10 minutes
• less is more - apply a thin layer of clay mask and let it try
• be gentle when removing the dried mask: clay is also a very mild exfoliant
• clay masks should be used weekly
• if you have oily and combination skin, using an exfoliant before a clay mask is a perfect way to boost the skin's natural glow
• after using a clay mask, hydrate and moisturise the skin
Best skincare ingredients to be combined with clays
Clays are very drying, so when purchasing a ready-made mask made with clays, please make sure that it contains:
• hydrosols or distillates
• humectants (hyaluronic acid or and glycerin)
• non-comedogenic lipids
• low concentration of essential oils (best is none)
All DYI clay masks should be formulated with a balanced proportion of ingredients - 40-50% clays, 30-50% water, 5-15% humectants, 0-10% botanicals and VERY IMPORTANTLY, if not for single-use, a preservative.
Intelligent clay mask
CHUN is no ordinary clay mask. It performs like a detox mask (blend of 3 clays) + hydrating serum (double molecular size hyaluronic acid + glycerin + cucumber distillate) + fatty acid (camellia oil) + antioxidant (white + green tea extract + oryzanol) + probiotic booster (Alpha-glucan oligosaccharide).
Use it once a week, and you will see the difference even after the first application.