What Is Kaolin Clay? Plus, 5 Best Kaolin Clay Masks For Skin

Last modified: Friday, May 17, 2019

Daisy Marie Clay

Author: Daisy Marie Clay

Kaolin Clay is also known as China Clay, White Clay and even French Green Clay. Kaolin is derived from the mineral Kaolinite. It is used in various beauty products, popularly for the purpose of skincare.

Most variants of kaolin will come in a few colors such as green, pink and white. Pure kaolin is white and while this isn’t necessarily better, this is considered desirable to some.

Kaolin is also used for pottery, and has been used for pottery historically. Some people advise use of kaolin for consumption for IBS and other stomach related issues. It has also been used for diarrhea. I know… Gross.

In this article, thankfully, I am going to focus on the importance of kaolin for skin care.

What Is Kaolin & How It Works

Extracted from the kaolinite mineral found in rocks, kaolin is a naturally occurring mineral that we utilize for various uses. It has been used for hundreds of years and has a long tradition of usage as a beauty product.

The mineral contains many beneficial ingredients, and small crystals within the clay act as natural micro-beads. This combination when applied topically to the skin works to cleanse, exfoliate and more.

What Are The Benefits Of Kaolin Clay

Kaolin is used as a gentle cleanser, an absorbant and exfoliator. This means it is great for people with an oily skin type, it is also good at removing impurities from the skin. The exfoliating properties of kaolin are revered as it doesn’t fully dissolve.

Long-term usage is reported to help tone your skin by tightening the pores and strengthening the surrounding areas by keeping your pores clear and taught.

It is quite a gentle product, especially the purer white clays, although some products have been designed specifically to contain complimentary ingredients and aren’t technically as pure.

Kaolin may over time reduce dark marks, and brighten the skin by promoting skin health.

Best Way To Use Kaolin Clay

The best way to use kaolin on your skin is topically as a face mask.

Each mask is a little different, so you should opt to follow the instructions. That being said, if you’re looking for my own recommendations you can check out my easy to follow routine below.

  • Quick cleanse.
  • Exfoliate.
  • Steam (optional).
  • Apply kaolin face mask.
  • Allow to dry.
  • Remove with a warm and damp cloth.
  • Tone.
  • Moisturize.

How To Choose Kaolin Clay Products

When looking for a kaolin clay product for improving your skin there are a two main things you should pay attention to.

1. Kaolin is a drying agent.
Because of kaolin being a drying agent you should try and find a very mild and pure kaolin clay product if you have dry skin. While it is one of the gentlest clays you should still take care when selecting your product if your skin is on the dryer side.

2. Other Ingredients
Some kaolin products contain additional ingredients, and so you should always try to learn a little bit more about each product to make sure that it’s the right product for you personally. This will often vary on your skin type, but also your individual skin characteristics and other products you’re already using.

5 Best Kaolin Clay Products For Your Skin

Sand&Sky Australian Pink Clay Porefining Face Mask

The Sand&Sky Face Mask emerged in recent years and swept across social media as a breakout sensation. This product is a great all-rounder and it also comes in the form of a system. The clay itself is pure and it’s my own go-to product since my skin is more on the oily side. It is a little more expensive, but if you want premium kaolin then this is my #1 recommendation.

Michael Todd Kaolin Clay Detoxifying Facial Mask

This product contains other ingredients such as witch hazel, black willow bark, allantoin and aloe vera leaf juice. It’s a premium quality product, however with the ingredients included you want to avoid this product if you have dry skin. This would be a great choice for anyone with oily skin. Free from parabens and other synthetic ingredients the product is incredibly reasonably priced all things considered which is why it gets the 2nd spot on my list.

Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask With Rose Clay

Another pink or “rose” kaolin clay mask, the other main active ingredient is Willowherb. This product has been designed to be the best kaolin mask for combination skin and it does that well. It also includes jojoba beads. The main benefit of this product in the words of the company themselves is the clarity. Some other important facts about this product include that it is paraben free and animal-cruelty free.

Pure Biology Face Mask With Bentonite and Kaolin Clay

A lot of people ask me whether bentonite or kaolin clay is better? Well with Pure Biology you don’t need to make that choice because they’ve combined them both to try and give their customers the best of both worlds. The product is proud of being ideal for all skin types, however this might not be ideal if you need something more specific for your skin. The versatility of this product makes it an important addition to this list though.

Toulon Deep Pore Refining Mineral Masque

This product is technically the purest kaolin clay mask on the list. It is a white clay mask which is the purest form of kaolin. I wanted to include a white clay on the list and this one is by far the best. As I said earlier in the article, white clay isn’t 100% necessary for kaolin. However this product is great regardless, it contains sunflower extract and rosemary. This makes it more hydrating. If you have really oily skin the product might not be the best for you, however it is said to be great for all skin types, though my feeling is that it’s probably better for combination skin.

Possible Side Effects

– Kaolin is considered safe for topical use.
– When ingested kaolin has been known to induce constipation in some people.
– You should avoid inhaling the clay, as it could cause issues with your breathing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Kaolin Clay Safe?

Kaolin clay is considered safe for use topically and internally when used correctly.

Is Kaolin Clay Good For Dry Skin?

Kaolin acts in a drying agent and as such it’s not great for dry skin. However it is safe and even beneficial to use on occasion, especially when measures to moisturize after are taken.

Does Kaolin Clay Whiten Skin?

There are no bleaching agents within kaolin and therefore it is not going to whiten skin.