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here are a variety of cosmetic clays available on today's market and each has some unique characteristics that make them beneficial for skin and hair care. There three clays that I will be focusing on today for skin and hair care are:

  • Bentonite clay
  • French Green clay
  • Rhassoul clay

These are the three clays that I keep on hand and use in my own home. I purchase my clays from my affiliate partner, Mountain Rose Herbs, and have been very pleased with their quality. I've tried other brands and the ones from Mountain Rose Herbs have been much softer and very finely ground.

Clays are widely used in spas and expensive skin care treatments. You can now give yourself a spa-like retreat in the comfort of your own home, without having to pay an arm and a leg!

Bentonite Clay

Many people are familiar with bentonite clay, as it tends to be one of the more popular varieties and is widely available. Bentonite clay is sometimes called Montmorillonite, and is known to be one of the most effective and powerful healing clays.

This clay is typically used externally, in the form of mud packs, poultices, and in skin care recipes. We personally use bentonite clay regularly in our home. We use it as a mud pack on certain skin irritations. My husband had a very strange and painful bump on his side and we did clay packs on it to help draw out the toxins. It was kind of gross, but it worked!

I use bentonite clay as a face mask often on my skin and I also use it in my homemade toothpaste recipe and my homemade deodorant recipe.

According to Mountain Rose Herbs,

A good quality Bentonite should be a grey/cream color and anything bordering “pure white” is suspect. It has a very fine, velveteen feel and is odorless and non-staining.

The type of bentonite clay that Mountain Rose Herbs sells is a Sodium Bentonite and it is quarry mined in Wyoming from naturally occurring deposits and is completely untreated. It is also is NSF certified and manufactured to ANSI/NSF 60 standards.

The thing that makes Bentonite clay so interesting, and also provide its healing properties, is that when the clay molecules become hydrated, the molecular and electrical components of the clay change quickly and produce a sort of electrical charge. It is swelling clay, so when it is exposed to water, it swells up quickly like a sponge. This unique ability helps draw toxins from the skin, pulling them out like a magnet.

There are a variety of bentonite clays on the market and some people have used bentonite clays internally with much success. That said, the variety that I am speaking about today, Sodium Bentonite, is not safe for internal use and should only be used externally. The most I would ever use it internally is in my toothpaste, which I have been making for a long time and have never had problems.

The type of clay that many experts recommend for internal use is Calcium Bentonite. When used as clay therapy internally, the clay helps absorb and bind up toxins, parasites, and heavy metals and move them out of the body. I personally have never used clay internally, so I'd love to hear from you if you've had any success using this form of clay therapy. I have not doubt that it does work, due to the unique properties of bentonite clay.

The rough proportions are going to be 1 part clay to 3 parts liquid, give or take a little bit. Bentonite tends to be more absorbent than other clays, so you may find that you need a tad more liquid.

Basic Bentonite Facial Mask Recipe

  • 1 tbsp. Bentonite clay
  • 1-2 tbsp. filtered water
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil (affiliate link)

Mix ingredients together to form a smooth paste. Spread mixture on your face and leave it on for 5-10 minutes. You may experience some tingling and your skin may feel “alive”. The clay helps draw out toxins, the apple cider vinegar is a great skin toner, and the coconut oil soothes and conditions the skin.  Rinse the clay off your face and then gently massage some coconut oil into your clean skin. Your skin may look a little red and flushed – this is normal and will subside quickly. I typically do my masks in the evening when I have no where to go.

My recommendations for Bentonite Clay:

French Green Clay

Despite its name, not all French Green Clay come from France. This type of clay can also be found in Montana, Wyoming, some parts of Europe, and China. The type that I purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs does come from France.

French Green Clay is often called Illite Clay or Sea Clay. This clay contains a wide variety of healing elements, including montmorillonite (Bentonite), magnesium, calcium, potassium, dolomite, silica, manganese, phosphorous, silicon, copper, and selenium. The green color comes from two important factors, both of which will determine high quality or low quality. These two factors are: decomposed plant matter and iron oxides. The natural green colors on this clay are due to the Earth's life cycles and the ability of the Earth to renew and regenerate itself by decomposing plant matter and returning it to the Earth. When you are looking to purchase French Green Clay, it is really important that the clay is actually green. True French Green Clay will never be white or gray in color.

According to Mountain Rose Herbs:

French Green Clay is quarry mined from deposits that can range anywhere from 100 feet to several thousand feet. This depends on the health and vitality of the land it is on and how far a producer will have to go to find the right clay with the right color and consistency. From here it is mined and brought out into the sun to remove excess water and moisture and to make it easier to work with. Now begins the final transformation…it gets heavily processed (ground) with huge hydraulic crushers and then micronized (finely pulverized) with more micromanaged, fine mesh equipment. After it is processed, it is laid out in the sun one more time to dry in hopes of removing the final amounts of moisture.

French Green Clay is widely used in spas and it works by helping remove the dead skin cells and promoting circulation in the healthy new skin cells below the epidermis. Mountain Rose Herbs says:

French Green Clay also sometimes traded as Sea Clay is by far one of the most majestic, most effective, and most Our French green clay has enormous absorbent powers due to the constitution of its micro molecules. It literally “drinks” oils, toxic substances, and impurities from your skin. Its toning action stimulates the skin by bringing fresh blood to damaged skin cells, revitalizing the complexion, and tightening pores.

As you can see, like other clays, it acts like a sponge to help pull toxins from the skin. The rough proportions are going to be 1 part clay to 2 parts liquid, give or take a little bit. Like the Bentonite clay mask you may feel like your skin is tingling and “alive” when using this clay. Most commonly, French Green Clay is used on oilier skin and those with acne. You can also use this clay for mud packs and poultices. Some people have reported that adding French Green Clay to a bathtub and soaking in it has helped alleviate minor skin irritations. I have not personally tried that yet.

To use French Green Clay, just mix a tablespoon of the clay with a little filtered water to make a thin paste. Then, spread the mask on your face and let it sit for 5-8 minutes. Wash the mask off and then moisturize with coconut oil or whatever product you like. I personally LOVE the Eye Pop cream from L.c. of Acirema, and it makes my skin feel AMAZING after a clay mask.

My recommendations for French Green Clay:

Rhassoul Clay

Rhassoul clay was one of the newer clays to me and I got some on a whim to try. I love it. This clay is truly a spa-quality clay and will make your skin feel loved and pampered. Rhassoul clay comes from ancient deposits in the fertile Atlas mountains of Morocco. This clay is very mineral-rich and it blends well with water. It is smooth and creamy and very easy to spread on the skin. This variety of clay is utilized in the highest class spas across the world. It has natural toning and skin enriching benefits from high levels of silica, magnesium, calcium, iron, sodium, and potassium, all of which are transferred to your body through your skin.

This clay is imported from Morocco and is a reddish brown color. It has been used for well over 1,000 years in a variety of applications, such as skin conditioner, soaps, shampoos, and therapeutic practices. This clay has to be mined under very special conditions and only comes from beneath the Atlas Mountains.

This clay has a wide variety of uses in the home. You can use it as a deep hair conditioner, as well as face and body masks. I love the feel of this clay on my skin and it's probably the favorite of all of the clays I've used. It is silky and smooth and leaves your skin feeling invigorated and refreshed. The rough proportions are going to be 1 part clay to 2 parts liquid, give or take a little bit.

Here's how I use Rhassoul clay in my home:

1. Deep Hair Conditioner: The amount you need for your hair will depend on how much hair you have and how thick/course it is. My hair is pretty short and fine, so I mix 3-4 tbsp. of the Rhassoul clay with 4-5 tbsp. of coconut milk and 1-2 tbsp. of honey. I really never measure it, so this is a rough guideline. You want the clay mixture to be smooth and little thinner than you would for a face mask. Spread this on your hair and massage down to the scalp. Cover with a shower cap and leave on for 30-60 minutes, then rinse out in the shower.

2. Face/Body Mask: The simplest way to use this clay on your skin is to just mix some with water, spread on your face and/or body and let it sit on your skin for 10 minutes or so. Then you can wash it off in the shower. If you want to take it a step further, you can replace the plain water with an herbal infusion (learn how to make herbal infusions here). Calendula, lavender, and chamomile are lovely additions and all have skin soothing and nourishing properties. You can also mix the clay with some aloe vera instead of water.

3. Blemish Treatment: If you find yourself with the occasional breakout, you can use the clay to help soothe the irritation and draw out toxins. Mix a small amount of clay with some witch hazel and use directly on the blemish. Let it sit on the blemish for about 10 minutes and then gently rinse or wipe off.

My recommendations for Rhassoul Clay:

There are many more cosmetic clays out there, but these are the three that we use regularly in our home. There are probably many more uses too! What types of clays do you use? How do you use them? Leave comment below!

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References

Check out my skin care videos!

Since I am a fanatic about keeping my skin and body care non-toxic, I get a lot of questions about what my routine is and what products I use. I created this video to discuss all of that and more. The video below that features a lot of the hair care products that I use, including henna and my favorite clean shampoo.


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