- Kaolin clay, or China clay, is a fine white or orange, red or pink-colored powder that has many skin-benefiting properties derived easily when used via a face mask.
- Kaolin clay’s oil-absorbing, wound-healing and mild antiseptic properties make it a great treatment for acne.
- It also acts as a mild toner and tightens pores on the skin, preventing pollutants from entering them.
- Kaolin clay can also be used as a dental care agent, hair mask, bath additive and to make a natural deodorant.
What is Kaolin Clay?
Kaolin clay, or kaolinite, derives its name from Gaoling, a small village in China’s Jiangxi Province, which is known for its fine Jingdezhen porcelain. It is also known as China clay and is white in color, although it can also come in hues of orange, red and pink, owing to its iron oxide concentration. Kaolinite is a common mineral and is mined in many parts of the world.
Kaolin clay has been used in skincare for centuries. It is rich in minerals that have skin-benefiting properties and is the most gentle of all clays, making it great for dry and sensitive skin. When applied via a facial mask, it helps the skin in the following ways.
Excessive oil production is the primary cause of an acne breakout. This excess oil gets mixed with dead skin cells, dirt and grime and bacteria within the pores to produce pimples on the face and sometimes on the neck.
Kaolin clay is a great oil absorber. When applied via a face mask, kaolin clay helps absorb excess sebum and adsorb acne-causing bacteria. It also adsorbs dirt and grime and removes it from deep within the pores. Finally, its wound-healing ability treats pimples to give you clean, acne-free skin.
The small particle size of kaolin clay makes it a gentle, yet effective, exfoliant. While applying kaolin clay face mask, it is recommended to gently rub the kaolin clay paste into the skin and wash it off with a soft circular rubbing action to benefit from its exfoliating properties.
Reduces oily skin
As mentioned earlier, kaolin clay is known for its oil-absorbing properties. When applied via a face mask, kaolin clay will absorb excess oil produced by overactive sebaceous glands, thereby reducing oiliness on the skin. Kaolin clay is not as effective in reducing oiliness as bentonite clay which has a more powerful oil-absorbing activity.
Kaolin clay is a natural skin toner. It removes dirt and grime from deep within the pores, along with excess oil. Its gentle toning and astringent action tightens the pores and prevents pollutants and bacteria from accumulating in the pores.
How to Make a Clay Mask
A kaolin clay face mask is easy to make at home and is effective on its own, without the addition of other ingredients. However, adding ingredients like lemon juice, honey, avocado, turmeric powder, green tea, essential oils, fruit mash, coffee powder, apple cider vinegar, sweet almond oil, and cocoa powder can result in an even more potent combination.
To make a kaolin clay face mask, you will need a teaspoon and a half of kaolin clay and enough water to make a paste of the desired consistency. The paste shouldn’t be too firm nor too runny, but enough for you to apply it easily over your face and neck.
If you are adding any other ingredient, mix the dry ingredients together first and then slowly add water while stirring to make the paste.
There are no known side effects of kaolin clay when applied on the skin. However, any ingredient can act as a skin irritant. It is always advisable to do a small patch test on the inside of the elbow. If there is no irritation or redness, it is safe to use the kaolin clay face mask.
Kaolin clay comes in the form of a very fine powder. While working with it, make sure you add it gently so as not to create too much dust because it could be dangerous to inhale. The best way to protect yourself from accidentally inhaling it is to cover your nose and mouth while making the face mask.
The oil-absorbing properties of kaolin clay are also beneficial for the scalp. Applying kaolin clay powder to your scalp and rubbing it in can remove excess oil and tone the skin.
To use it as a shampoo, simply rub some dry kaolin clay powder onto your wet scalp. You can also make a wet paste and apply it to your hair and scalp as a detoxifying mask. Leave it on for about 10 minutes and rinse it off thoroughly.
The gentle abrasive action of kaolin clay makes it a great dental care agent. It removes stains effectively and its wound-healing properties make it an effective treatment for gingivitis and mouth ulcers. To take advantage of these benefits, simply dab some dry kaolin clay powder onto a wet toothbrush and brush your teeth as you normally would.
To make a toothpaste, mix kaolin clay powder with coconut oil, a bit of xylitol (to sweeten it), a pinch of baking powder, peppermint oil and some activated charcoal powder. Add enough water to make a paste that you can store in a glass bottle. Use a small quantity of it on your toothbrush and brush thoroughly for visibly whiter teeth.
Commercial deodorants contain harmful chemicals such as aluminum, parabens, and triclosan. These chemicals can cause mild skin problems like irritation and redness.
A kaolin clay-based DIY deodorant is a great substitute and helps to absorb sweat and create a mild antiseptic layer to stop the action of odor-causing bacteria. It also unclogs pores, heals irritated skin and tones the sensitive skin of the underarms.
A kaolin clay-based deodorant can be made at home by mixing it with beeswax, coconut oil and shea butter and essential oils of your choice.
A body mask gives the skin on your body the same benefits as your face mask does the skin on your face. A detoxifying kaolin clay body mask can be made by mixing it with water as described previously.
Once you create a paste of your desired consistency, apply it generously to your body and underarms. Leave the mask on for about 10 minutes and then wash it off with warm water. Apply the body mask before your bath and do not use a soap while removing the mask. Moisturize your skin after drying it, ideally using a natural moisturizer like olive or coconut oil.
Kaolin clay makes for a relaxing bath additive. To create a DIY bath bomb, mix a few teaspoons of kaolin clay to a small quantity of water and then add this paste to your bath water, along with an essential oil.
Kaolin Clay vs. Bentonite Clay
Kaolin clay is a very fine powder with mild liquid-absorbing properties. Bentonite clay, on the other hand, is a more powerful liquid absorber and hence is great for oily skin, while kaolin clay is suitable for normal to dry skin. Overall, kaolin clay has milder effects on the skin than bentonite clay.
Kaolin clay is a gentle substance that is used in a wide range of skincare products. When applied via a face mask, its mild oil-absorbing, exfoliating and wound-healing properties benefit dry to normal skin. It can be also used to make toothpaste, hair masks and bath additives.