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Kaolin Clay - Benefits & How To Use

I absolutely love kaolin white clay. It’s one of the gentlest of its kind and creates a really smooth paste when mixed with water. I’ve been a strong advocate for using clay in my skincare routine for many years now and it’s done wonders for me, especially during travels when I couldn’t carry all my skincare products around for convenience sake.

Please keep in mind that I'm NOT a professional practitioner of any sort. The below is purely from my own research, and experimentation. I do quite a bit of research on ingredients prior to trying it on myself and I always do it on a small area before applying it completely to my face or body. Always experiment with caution, you never know what you might react to.

That being said, clay is well known around the world throughout history to have beauty benefits such as detoxing the skin, moisturizing it, etc. Kaolin clay, otherwise known as White or China clay, gets its name from it’s original discovery in Kaoling, China. It can now be found across the globe and is mined for not just it’s beauty benefits, but also as a key resource for the paper, ceramics and textile industries. [1]

The white clay is super gentle. It draws out impurities without absorbing too much of the skin’s natural moisture (unlike bentonite)[2]. So it’s a great alternative for sensitive skin or those who find bentonite too harsh. Myself, for example, refrain from using bentonite clay in the winter. We burn an actual firewood stove to heat our home in the cold days and it dries out our air quite a bit. In turn, my skin tends to become ultra dry - borderline eczema in some areas.. Bentonite tends to make my skin even drier – that’s when white clay is a great alternative.

Using kaolin clay in a face mask is SUPER easy. This is how I personally like to apply it, but there are tons of other methods out there!

  1. Cleanse the face as usual, ending with warm water.

  2. Mix ¼ tsp of kaolin clay with equal parts of water with your finger in the palm of your hand. Make sure it’s mixed thoroughly.

  3. Gently rub the mixture onto the face without adding too much pressure in the application.

  4. Wait for the mask to dry (10-15 mins, can be less if you’re using a thinner formula)

  5. Once dry, gently rinse off with lukewarm water, ending with a splash of cold.

  6. Moisturize as usual.

The texture of the mix is generally very smooth and glides on quite easily. I sometimes find it tricky to mix some of the other clay. Fuller’s clay always give me a hard time and tends to not spread as evenly.

One downside to Kaolin Clay masks is that once it dries up the super fine clay dust starts to sprinkle around everywhere. I usually just brush it off as I go, but if this is an issue you can always apply the water/clay mix as is as a cleanser and rinse off right away. It won't draw out impurities the same way the mask does but it still helps. You can also substitute the water for another liquid agent that doesn't dry as up as easily like honey.

My skin typically feels firm, but not tight, after this clay mask. I’m not very routine with how I go about using clay masks. I really only ever do it when I feel like my pores are a little clogged up. Recently, I’ve been using my Rhassoul & Kaolin Clay soap which is gentle enough and doesn’t strip away all the good oils from my skin.

I only recently started exploring the use of kaolin clay in soaps, but from my first few attempts, it created an amazing silky soft lather with tight bubbles. The combination of clay with what I like to call “floating oils” (% of oils that doesn’t saponify with the lye) leaves the skin SO smooth.

There are so many natural and SIMPLE ways to care for our skin. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Sephora buy like any other person but it’s good to know that there are other alternatives out there that you can make yourself at the fraction of the cost. Plus, you know all the ingredients you’re putting on your face.

What are some of your home remedies? Do you have a clay that you love using?

[1] [2]

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