What’s there not to love about clay! They detoxify your pores, tighten your skin and reduce breakouts. But did you know that there are almost 30 varieties of clay, each with its own unique properties? Here’s what you need to look out for when choosing your next clay mask!
For those who are unfamiliar with clay masks (where have you been all this time?), it might seem a little counter intuitive that you would be rubbing clay - essentially a type of dirt - onto your skin in order to “clean it”. If you aren’t familiar yet with how clay can work for your skin, you can read more about it here.
Clay has long been known for its astringent property - its ability to draw out bacteria toxins, excess sebum and other impurities. In skincare, it is commonly found in the form of clay masks although they are also used in other products such as cleansers and even sheet masks. Used for centuries, even millennia, as a natural skin remedy, clay-based skincare products are not new.
A fine grained mineral substance that comes in an array of colours, Clay is usually classified by their mineral compositions and there are over 30 varieties. It is the difference in its mineral composition that makes different varieties of clays better for certain skin types than others. We match three types of clay found in skincare products to different skin types.
For Dry Skin: Rhassoul Clay
Rhassoul Clay, also called Red Moroccan Clay or Ghassoul Clay is an ancient clay that can only be mined from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Centuries of geothermal and volcanic activity in the region where this clay is formed has resulted in this mineral rich clay that has been celebrated in the region since ancient times.
The unique molecular structure of this type of clay coupled with its high negative charge makes it ideal for drawing out impurities (which have a positive charge) from deep within your pores. This makes Rhassoul Clay an excellent pore cleanser and detoxifier. It also draws out excess sebum and help tighten the pores.
Also rich in minerals like skin softening Silica, Magnesium that helps strengthen your skin’s natural barrier and Potassium that can help with water retention in your skin, Rhassoul Clay is the perfect choice of clay for dry skin and can actually be hydrating when used properly. These unique properties make Rhassoul the ideal choice if you have dry skin.
For Oily Skin: Green Clay
Green Clay, otherwise also referred to as the French Green Clay can be found mainly off the southern coast of France. It can also be mined in other parts of Europe and the northwestern United States. Its unique green colour comes from plant matter like chlorophyll, algae and iron oxides. The more vibrant green the clay is, the more valuable it’s considered to be.
This type of clay has fantastic absorption capabilities making them most ideal for oily skin (or your T-zone if you have combination skin) and is perfect if you suffer from acne prone skin. This powerful clay sucks up excess sebum and other impurities that might otherwise clog your pores leading to acne outbreaks. As a bonus, the gentle exfoliation also helps to stimulate cell regeneration that is crucial for a healthy complexion.
Green Clay is rich in minerals which is what gives it its superior absorption abilities. However, this also comes as a double edged sword as its absorptive abilities can also be harsh. Perfect for oily complexions in need of a skin detox and purification but you should only use it cautiously if you have dry or sensitive skin as it may disrupt your skin’s moisture barrier and cause irritation.
For Sensitive Skin: Kaolin Clay
Kaolin Clay is also sometimes called White Clay or China Clay - the name Kaolin is thought to be derived from “Gaoling”, the name of a Chinese village in Jiangxi where this clay is mined. Abundant in nature, it is used widely in skincare, medicinal preparations and even pottery. It is the gentlest and mildest of all clays making it perfect for all skin types especially sensitive skin.
While not as absorbent as its green counterpart, its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties are just as effective in purifying and healing your skin. In addition to the detoxification and gentle exfoliation, Kaolin Clay is also an excellent skin soother that can help reduce skin irritation and certain types of Kaolin Clay (such as Brazilian Red) have been proven to drastically improve elasticity and firmness.
In its purest form, Kaolin Clay is a bright white colour, but the clay comes in a wide spectrum of coloured hues depending on the mineral content in the areas where they were mined. Reddish hues are caused by higher levels of iron oxide deposits, while green hue is due to plant matters. Due to the various mineral levels in the kaolin clay, the various colours each possess its own individual properties.
Yellow kaolin clay is slightly more absorbent and exfoliating than the white kaolin clay but still gentle enough for sensitive skin. They are generally more effective in boosting circulation too. Red kaolin is the most powerful in absorbing impurities, making it ideal for oily skin. Pink kaolin, a mixture of white and red kaolin clay, is a good balance for those with sensitive skin that need a little bit of that gentle exfoliation.
I Dew Care Yoga Kitten Balancing Clay Mask, $55.00
Formulated with Kaolin Clay, Yoga Kitten Balancing Clay Mask is a soft clay facial treatment that detoxifies blemish prone skin and helps to calm irritated sensitive skin. This oil controlling formula is made with Heartleaf Extract to clarify and calm skin and Eucalyptus to purify. Refreshing and invigorating, this clay mask is ideal for oily and acne prone skin.
W.ANT Ginger Clay Scrub Mask, $49.00
Formulated with the French Green Clay and Bentonite Clay, this unique skin polisher is chocked full of antioxidants and can also double as a purifying mask that gently exfoliates and stimulates blood circulation to rejuvenate your skin and skin health. Proudly made in Singapore, this all natural multi-purpose scrub mask is a must have.
7 in 1 Total Solution Black Clay Mask, $35.00
Formulated with Kaolin Clay and Bentonite Clay, this unique time saving clay sheet mask cleanses the dirt and excess sebum in your skin and gets rid of bacteria which can cause acne. Nourishing and moisturising active ingredients are also included to create a multipurpose all-in-one skincare product that will save tons of time off your daily skincare routines.
Isntree Mugwort Clay Mask, $32.00
Made from 6 different types of clays (Kaolin, Bentonite, Illite, Montmorillonite, Calcite and Canadian Colloidal Clay), this wash-off mask removes excess sebum, micro dust and dead skin. Fortified with the additional calming and purifying properties of Ganghwa Medicinal Mugwort and other botanical extracts this clay mask is particularly suitable for acne prone and sensitive skin.
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About the writer
Linn Let Min, a girl born in Myanmar but raised in Singapore. She makes it her mission to embark on a new adventure every day and not to waste her youth. Her motto in life would be to "live in the moment, think later".