In recent years we have seen clay become a prominent ingredient in skincare products, especially ones that we use on our faces. This is because it is known to be effective at drawing impurities out and softening the skin. But not all clay is the same.
There are so many different kinds, all of which contain benefits specific to certain types of skin, whether it’s young and acne-prone or more mature. Here are some of the most common kinds and the skin types they suit best.
This type of clay is a popular choice for cosmetic brands and is, as such, found in numerous skincare products. Kaolin comes in a few different colours, including white, yellow, red and pink. White is the gentlest and most popular – its smalls particles offer mild exfoliation and it doesn’t absorb as much, so it’s a great choice for dry, sensitive and mature skin.
The red variety is the most absorbent, so it works really well on oily skin and skin prone to breakouts. Pink kaolin is a mixture of the two and offers the best of both worlds.
Related: Your guide to exfoliation
French green clay
This clay is quite heavy-duty and is great for a more thorough exfoliation as well as for tightening pores and absorbing excess oil. This is probably not the best choice for those with sensitive skin, as it can be a bit on the harsh side, but it’s great for those with problem skin and acne.
It can also help to brighten a dull complexion, as it is not only absorbent but it also pulls the blood closer to the skin’s surface, which boosts circulation and makes your skin look more radiant.
Related: The pros and cons of pore strips
This variety is probably the most commonly used in skincare products because of its powerful acne-fighting properties. It is extremely absorbent and can soak up excess sebum. When mixed with water it also acts as a magnet that can draw toxins out of the skin and into the clay to be washed away.
While it is powerful enough to combat acne, it is also gentle enough to help deal with other concerns such as eczema and psoriasis, making it very versatile and a go-to for people with all skin types.
PHOTO: iStock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund