Cosmetic clays, Which one should I use on my skin?

skin type clay

A good face mask is essential in any skincare routine. There are many different types of face masks out there, from exfoliating creams to peel offs, but some of the most popular ones are those containing clay. Clay face masks are usually indicated for treating skin conditions like acne as they are great at absorbing excess of oil from the skin. But as with face masks, there are different clay types depending on their origin, composition, characteristics, use, and each of them have their own unique properties.

cosmetic clays natural skincare

In a nutshell, clay is finely grained mineral material. All clays used in skincare cleanse the skin and absorb (to some degree) excess of oil, but not all of them are suited for all skin types. For instance, if your skin is very oily, you would like to use a clay with strong absorbing properties. On the other hand, if your skin is dry, it is preferable you use a mild clay.

cosmetic clays natural skincare and face masks

In general, all clays share the same kind of benefits: all of them exfoliate, remove dead skin cells, draw out impurities and absorb excess oil. The difference lies in how aggressive they are at doing it and their mineral composition, which might provide the skin with essential minerals for its health. Although, each one of them also boast unique benefits that distinguish them from the rest. 

In this blog post, we will briefly explain the differences between the most common clays used in face masks and their properties so you can choose the right one for you based on your needs and skin type. Remember to always do a patch test just in case to see how your skin reacts.

Kaolin Clay

kaolin clay natural skincare face mask Kaolin clay is one of the most common clays used in cosmetics due to its versatility. It is a white clay with a fine texture, although it can feature a range of colours depending on the concentration of iron oxide, ranging from yellow, light orange to a rusty red. Kaolin is probably the mildest and gentlest option of them all, making it ideal for dry and sensitive skins.

Red clay

red clay rhassoul natural skincare face mask

Also known as Moroccan Red clay or Rhassoul clay, this clay typically comes from the Atlas Mountains region of Morocco. Red clay is rich in silica, magnesium, potassium, and other minerals. This unique mineral composition makes this clay an all-rounder when it comes to properties, being great at moisturising, helping repair the skin, as well as soothing it.

Not to mention its detoxifying properties. The minerals in Rhassoul carry a negative charge, while the toxins in the skin are positively charged. Due to magnetic force, toxins are attracted to minerals, which makes red clay great at drawing out impurities to make the pores clearer. Suitable for oily and acne-prone skins.

Pink/Rose Clay 

pink clay natural skincare face mask

Rose clay, also referred to as pink clay, is a type of kaolin clay with a pale pink colour due to its concentration of iron oxide. It can also be a combination of white and red kaolin clays which results in a rosy colour. It is not significantly absorbent; therefore, it is a mild clay ideal for dry and sensitive skins. In addition, one particular benefit of pink clay, compared to other clays, is its calming effect. Boasting some noteworthy anti-inflammatory properties, pink clay is a great option to soothe the skin and it can help reduce blemishes.

French Green

french green clay natural skincare face mask

Green clay takes its colour and name from the combination of iron oxides and decomposed plant matter, usually algae. It is famously known as French because it has been typically mined from naturally occurring deposits in the south of France, but it is also mined in other parts of Europe. Its greatest feature is its remarkable astringent properties, excellent for absorbing excess sebum and tighten pores. Great for oily and acne-prone skins, but also normal and combination.


bentonite clay natural skincare face mask

Finally, there is bentonite clay. This clay forms from volcanic ashes and takes its name from Fort Benton, in Montana (US), the place where it was first found. However, it can be found in many other locations nowadays. Similar to Rhassoul, it cleanses pores deeply thanks to electromagnetic forces that cling impurities and toxins to the clay removing them when it is rinsed. In addition, it possesses powerful absorbing properties, excellent to absorb excess oil and sebum making it suitable for those with oily or acne-prone skin.