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How To Use Clay for Skincare (with Recipes)

Updated on April 13, 2017

Mineral clays are an important element to include in skincare products. They increase circulation and remove toxins while absorbing oil and dirt from the skin. Clays also impart valuable minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium into the skin.

Warning: When mineral clay comes in contact with metal, it loses its effectiveness, so use only non-metal utensils when working with these clays.

Bentonite clay is actually grayish in color.
Bentonite clay is actually grayish in color. | Source

Bentonite Clay

Bentonite is a healing clay. It is alkalizing and detoxifying, which makes it an excellent ingredient for a weekly facial mask. It will absorb any toxins on your skin and release beneficial minerals in the process.

Easy Weekly Bentonite Clay Facial Mask
via Free People Blog

  • 1 T Calcium Bentonite Clay
  • 1 T Oatmeal (pulsed briefly in a blender)
  • 1 T Water or Herbal Tea
  • 2-3 Drops Tea Tree Essential Oil

Mix ingredients until you have a creamy paste and apply a thin layer to your face. Allow to dry for 10-20 minutes and remove with a warm wet washcloth.

If you like to make your own soaps, bentonite clay is a useful ingredient for shaving soaps, because it creates a nice slip to the soap. There are many more uses for bentonite clay.

French Green Clay

French green is a great clay for treating oily skin. When used in a mask, it's incredibly absorbent and known for tightening the pores, but it also removes dead skin cells and toxins, leaving the skin feeling soft and smooth. Check out this recipe for homemade natural translucent powder, which uses French green clay for its oil absorbency. This clay is anti-inflammatory and encourages circulation to revitalize and tone the skin, as well as a slew of other uses.

Spot Treat Acne With French Green Clay

Just mix a little clay with water to form a paste and apply to blemishes. Let dry overnight (do not leave a full face mask on all night - this is only for spot treatment). This can be done daily to treat acne.

Warning: Do not use French green clay in mask form on normal to dry skin, as it is very drying.

Fuller's Earth Clay

Another clay for treating oily skin is Fuller's earth, and it is a favorite among those with acne. It has similar properties to and can be used in the same ways as French green clay, but Fuller's earth also has skin-lightening properties that help reduce the appearance of sun damage and acne scars.

Rhassoul Clay

Also known as Moroccan red clay, Rhassoul is the most moisturizing of all the clays in this list, so is a great option for dry skin. Soap makers are partial to this clay for the beautiful color it imparts on their soaps. It can be used to cleanse and detoxify the skin and hair, and is balancing to all types - oily, dry, aging or dull.

Rhassoul Mud Hair Wash

  • 8 oz aloe vera juice (aloe vera is preservative)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 4 T Rhassoul clay
  • 1 tsp Irish moss (optional)
  • 1 tsp horsetail powder (optional)
  • 4 drops of essential oil (tea tree is good for dandruff)

See video for instructions.

Kaolin Clay

Kaolin is a mild, versatile clay that is very lightweight, making it an excellent choice for homemade mineral cosmetics. Kaolin clay works well as an ingredient in natural deodorants; especially for those with sensitive skin. Baking soda is a common ingredient in homemade deodorant, but it can be a skin irritant. Here is a DIY deodorant recipe to try that uses kaolin clay as the main moisture-absorbing ingredient, with a much smaller ratio of baking soda.

It is also a great cleansing method for any skin type, because it gently removes impurities without stripping the skin.

Gentle Clay Cleanser
via Organic Bodycare Recipes by Stephanie Tourles

  • 1/2 C white clay
  • 1/3 C oat flour
  • 2 T powdered flower buds (lavender buds, rose petals, calendula, chamomile, etc.)
  • 5 drops essential oil (choose something that compliments the flowers you chose)
  • 2 drops rose otto or geranium essential oil

Combine dry ingredients in a sealed plastic bag and shake well to blend. Add essential oils and shake again. Store in a cool, dry place and use within 6 months. Tip: different flowers and herbs have different effects on the skin - some are better for oily, dry or aging skin.

Source: Rose Mountain Herbs (the article has since been removed from their site).


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    • Jimmy432 profile image

      Jimmy432 4 years ago

      Clay is awesome. First time I heard of it was from my former roommate. He was using it to take care of some acne, and recommended I tried it. I does wonders for your skin!

    • findwholeness profile image

      Kristine McAdams 4 years ago from Midwest

      Hmm well I'm not sure just any clay will work. These clays have all been approved for cosmetic purposes and come from a reliable place.

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 4 years ago from Australia

      You have inspired a fresh thought for me with this hub, findwholeness. I am off to dig some clay from the bottom of my yard to apply to my husband's foot. I have been exploring different options for increasing the circulation to my husband's broken ankle. Clay on the bottom of his foot sounds like a nice change to the cayenne pepper I'm currently using. While I'm at it, I'll give myself a facial. lol.

      Nice hub. Voted up. :)