Green, red, white, rhassoul... It's not always easy to know which clay will be best suited to our skin type, hair type or problem. Thanks to its absorbent and adsorbent properties, clay is a very effective natural remedy for relieving many everyday ailments. Rheumatism, acne, digestive problems, each condition has its solution. It is also widely used in cosmetic care, body care, facial care and hair care, to take care of yourself naturally.

This article was updated on 11/07/2023

The 8 most used clays

Green clay

Oily skin and hair - Mature skin - Wrinkles

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Green clay

 The origin

Green Clay is one of the best known and used. Its green color is explained by the reduction of ferric acids thus impacting its composition. There are different types of Green Clay. The most common are Illite and Montmorillonnite, thus implying somewhat different compositions and properties. Illite Green Clay is composed of silica (40%) but also around 9% iron. It has a strong absorbent power but its adsorption power is weak. Montmorillonite Green Clay is generally richer in silica (58 to 62%) but also rich in magnesium (10%). It has better adsorbent than absorbent power.

 Benefits of Green Clay

Remineralizing
Detoxifying
Absorbent 
Adsorbent 
Cleaning

Green Clay, the best clay in case of...

Normal to oily skin
Cutaneous use: make a clay paste to apply directly to the skin, once a week.

Acne
Cutaneous use: make a clay paste, preferably using Montmorillonite Green Clay. This limits inflammation and infection as well as excess sebum. Make thick poultices on targeted areas every day for 5 minutes then once a week a complete mask for 30 minutes.

Burn
Cutaneous: apply a cold poultice to a small 1st or 2nd degree burn. To be renewed several times a day.

Bed sore
Cutaneous route: on beginning bedsores, apply poultices to the affected area previously bathed. Renew the poultice 2 to 3 times a day.

Digestive problems
Oral: Drink clay water followed by several clay waters per day, approximately 3 to 5 glasses.

Rheumatism
Internal use: Drink 2 glasses of clay water per day, in the morning on an empty stomach and in the evening before bed.
Cutaneous use: Apply a poultice, repeat 2 to 3 times a day or take a clay bath daily.

Green clay
White clay

Sensitive skin - Dry skin - Toothpaste

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White clay


 The origin

White Clay is a mineral with many resources… It is mainly composed of hydrated aluminum silicate. Its white color is partly due to the high percentage of alumina (more than 30%) it contains but also to the low presence of iron in this clay. White Kaolin clay is the most widespread. This clay is used for medicinal purposes and also for cosmetic treatments... skin care, hair care but also makeup, White Clay is very soft and easy to use.

 Benefits of White Clay

Purifying
Softening
Repairer
Antiseptic
Detoxifying
Absorbent

White Clay, the best clay in case of...

Stomach pain
Oral route: carry out a clay water treatment for 3 weeks, with a glass before each meal.
The ideal is not to exceed one teaspoon of clay per day.


Irritated buttocks
Cutaneous use: use White Clay like talc to remove redness and irritation.

Infected and inflamed gums
Oral use: make mouthwashes with White Clay with salt to disinfect the gums.

White teeth
Oral route: to keep your teeth white, rmake a mouthwash with clay water supplemented with salt.

Sweat
Cutaneous use: use clay powder like talcum powder directly under dry armpits, tapping with your fingertips. This powder can also be used under the feet or in shoes.
You can add Palmarosa essential oil to your preparation

Sensitive skins
Cutaneous use: make a clay paste with ultra-ventilated clay to apply directly to the skin, once a week.

White clay
Red clay

Skin prone to redness - Couperose

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Red clay

 The origin

Red Clay is unique and is easily distinguished from other clays thanks to its red to brown color. It is composed mainly of hydrated aluminum silicate but above all of a high percentage of iron (6 to 9%) explaining its typical color. It is most often of the Illite and Kaolinite type but can also be Montmorillonite.

 Benefits of Red Clay

Adsorbent
Colorant
Cleaning
Toning

Red Clay, the best clay in case of...

Skin prone to redness
Cutaneous use: make a clay paste with superfine clay to apply directly to the skin, once a week.

Dull and tired skin
Cutaneous use: make a clay paste with superfine clay to apply directly to the skin for 5 minutes, as soon as you feel the need. 

For dark and red hair
Use as a mask: make a clay paste to distribute over the entire scalp using a massage. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse with clean water.

Red clay
The Rhassoul

Oily hair - Oily skin - Body scrub

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The Rhassoul

 The origin

Rhassoul is a clay that is only found in Morocco, in the underground galleries of the Atlas, a mountain range in North Africa. It comes from the pronunciation of the name Ghassoul, itself coming from the Arabic name ghassala meaning “to wash”. This clay is particularly rich in silica and magnesium.

 Benefits of Rhassoul

Absorbent
Purifying
Cleaner
Degreaser, Sebum regulator

Rhassoul, the best clay in case of...

Greasy hair
Cutaneous use: make a clay paste to apply directly to the entire hair, once a week. Leave the mask on for 20 to 30 minutes.

Fine hair, without volume
Cutaneous use: make a clay paste to apply directly to the entire hair, once a week. Leave the mask on for 20 to 30 minutes.

Combination to oily, acne-prone skin
Cutaneous use: make a clay paste to apply directly to the skin, once a week.

Rhassoul
Yellow clay

Blemished skin - Oily skin - Makeup

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Yellow clay

 The origin

Yellow Clay is unique and its particular color comes from its origin: a soil rich in iron oxide. It is composed mainly of hydrated aluminum silicate but also of a high percentage of iron (5 to 7%) explaining its typical color. It is most often of the Illite type.

 Benefits of Yellow Clay

Purifying
Colorant
Cleaning
Toning

Yellow Clay, the best clay in case of...

Blemished skin
Cutaneous use: make a clay paste to apply directly to the skin, once a week.

From mixed to oily skin 
Cutaneous use: make a clay paste to apply directly to the skin, once a week.

Makeup 
Cutaneous use: Powder the cheeks for a radiant, tanned complexion.

Yellow clay
Pink clay

Rosacea - Sensitive scalp - Makeup

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Pink clay

 The origin

Pink Clay is a perfect blend of white clay and red clay. This alliance makes it a unique clay with multiplied properties. It is composed mainly of hydrated aluminum silicate but also of a high percentage of iron (4 to 6%) coming directly from the red clay it contains. 

 Benefits of Pink Clay

Purifying
Colorant
Cleaning
Toning

Pink Clay, the best clay in case of...

Fragile or blotchy skin
Cutaneous use: make a clay paste to apply directly to the skin weekly.

Sensitive scalps
Cutaneous use: make a clay paste and distribute over the entire scalp and hair as a mask. 

Makeup
Cutaneous use: Powder the cheeks or even the eyes using pink clay to give the skin a radiant pink tint.

Pink clay
Blue clay

Oily skin - Oily hair - Dull complexion

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Blue clay

 The origin

Blue Clay is unique and distinguishes itself from other clays by its blue color. It is a mixture of Montmorillonite and Illite. VSthis clay is used mainly for cosmetic care, skin care, hair care but also makeup, Blue Clay is very easy to use.

 Benefits of Blue Clay

Detoxifying
Colorant
Healing
Fabric softener

Blue Clay, the best clay in case of...

Normal to oily skin
Dermal : as a scrub, make a mask based on clay, vegetable oil and a little water. Apply with a light, circular massage then rinse with clean water.

Greasy hair
Dermal : make a clay paste to distribute over the entire scalp using a massage. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse with clean water

Dull complexion 
Dermal : make a clay paste to apply directly to the skin as a mask, for 5 minutes. You can make this mask whenever you feel the need.

Blue clay
Caramel clay

Combination skin - Sensitive hair - Rosacea

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Caramel clay

 The origin

Caramel Clay is unique with its color reminiscent of caramel. This clay, composed of Illite, Kaolin and Montmorillonite, has numerous cosmetic properties. Mainly used in cosmetic skin and hair care, it is very easy to use. 

 Benefits of Caramel Clay

Detoxifying
Mattifying
Regenerating
Nourishing

Caramel Clay, the best clay in case of...

Mixed skin
Dermal : make a clay paste to apply directly to the skin, once a week.

Sensitive hair 
Dermal : make a clay paste and distribute over the entire scalp and hair as a mask. Leave on, then rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Makeup 
Dermal : powder the face for a mattified and tanned complexion.

Fragile or blotchy skin
Dermal : make a clay paste to apply directly to the skin and to the affected areas weekly.

Caramel clay

How to use them?

The internal route

Clays can simply be ingested. Simply yes, but respecting a few rules of use!

By oral route, different ways of use exist:

  • L’clay water or clay milk. It is obtained after mixing a glass of water and a teaspoon of ultra-ventilated clay. Then, after letting it rest for 3 to 4 hours; the clay has settled at the bottom of the glass and theclay water corresponds to the supernatant. It is only this slightly cloudy liquid that should be drunk.

  • Clay water. It is prepared in the same way but for this one, before drinking, we mix everything.

A clay cure
The ideal for taking clay orally is toconsume one teaspoon per day. The clay must be taken either in the morning when you wake up, or in the evening when you go to bed, or 30 minutes before a meal... You have the choice! A first three week treatment can be considered then after a break of one to several weeks it is possible to continue with one-week cures interspersed with a one-week break.

The external route

In addition to the well-known internal route to relieve digestive problems in particular, the use of clay by external route stems from, shall we say, animal instinct! Indeed, who has never seen a little pig or, for the lucky ones, an elephant rolling in the mud? They are very clever and know the benefits of our dear clay... The external route is a simple and quick way of using clay. Different apps are then possible…
The clay mask

The clay beauty mask can be made on the face, THE hair or even certain parts of the body. It is an essential beauty treatment as evidenced by this image, common enough to get noticed, of a woman with closed eyes, cucumbers, an aesthetically applied clay mask... To make a clay mask , this is the formula for clay paste which is used.

Avoiding the eyes, it should be applied to the face and left to sit for around fifteen minutes, while preventing the clay from drying. Prefer one thick layer application on a moistened skin then rinse with clean, cold or lukewarm water. A mask can be done weekly. For a hair mask, the instructions for use will be the same. Do not hesitate to massage the scalp delicately before letting the clay act.

Whether for the skin or hair, the variety of clay to use (white kaolin, green montmorillonite - illite, etc.) mainly depends on the type of skin and hair. The exposure time must also be adapted.

The poultice

This method is one of the best known! For a successful poultice, a clay paste well balanced, neither too fluid nor too thick, must be prepared. Everything will depend on the quantity of water used. In this case, powdered clay of different shapes can be chosen. Provide enough mixture so that the poultice has a thickness of approximately 2 centimeters and that he extends slightly beyond the area to be relieved. Place the mixture using a wooden spatula. Its duration will vary depending on the problem... an hour or an entire night (provided that it does not dry out; for this the use of compresses or cellophane paper is useful).

  • For example, for purulent wounds, it is essential to renew the poultice every hour.
  • If the purpose of the poultice is to target a deep organ or bone tissue, it may last a whole night (see conditions in the paragraph above).
Clay after use is loaded with impurities and toxins, throw it away and definitely not reuse it!

It's all about getting a mixture that does not dry out, the quantity of water must be sufficient but the temperature is also a factor to consider. Cold, lukewarm or hot poultice? What about it? This will be above all depending on the problem encountered but also the sensitivity of each person. Temperature can help potentiate effects!
  • In the case of a wound or burn for example, we prefer a poultice rather cold so as not to attack the affected area.
  • During rheumatism, the poultice ofhot clay is recommended to further relieve the area. Be careful, however, if the area is inflamed, prefer a cold poultice.
Make sure to heat the clay in the sun or, if the weather doesn't allow it, in a bain-marie! Ban on using the microwave oven which would ruin the much sought-after energetic qualities of the clays! The poultice is appropriate for many situations, whether muscle or bone problems, pain, etc.
The clay mud bath

To turn your bath into a life-size mud bath, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of clay to the warm water in your bathtub. These baths can be daily and last 15-20 minutes, or weekly, everything will depend on the condition you want to relieve. These baths are, for example, recommended in cases of rheumatism, d’bone conditions or in the event of fatigue or stress. It is also possible to perform foot or hand baths. In this case, you can make the clayey mud in a basin. But which clay to use? This will depend on your skin type but know that montmorillonite or illite green clays are very versatile.

Powder coating

Dry powder alone can be used to children and babies notably. As an alternative to talc or to sprinkle on small wounds, clay plays a major anti-infectious role and also promotes healing.

Precautions for using clays

 Handling

It is important to handle clays with inert utensils and containers, glass, wood and not with metal or plastic instruments. Indeed, the latter could modify the characteristics of our dear clays whose properties lie in their capacities for exchanging positive and negative charges.

Also note that you should under no circumstances reuse clay that has already been used, it will be loaded with toxins and impurities...

Let's talk about heating, if you want to heat a clay paste for example, make sure to use a bain-marie or if you are lucky enough directly in the sun. You can also heat the water on its own before mixing it with the clays. In any case, forget the microwave!

 Watch out for your eyes and mucous membranes!

Unlike essential oils, clays are used on mucous membranes. This is again a question of dosage and use that comes into play, be careful!

“frail” users

Regarding the internal use of clay, it is strongly contraindicated in people prone to constipation. It is important to drink enough water during a clay treatment. Its use is also contraindicated in people with digestive hernia, high blood pressure, a history of intestinal obstruction or even nausea.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use clay and young children generally have appropriate dosages. Clay may be a natural product, but you should definitely not use it in overdose and always respect the recommended doses and usage times.

If you are taking medication...

If you take medications at the same time, internally, the clay can counteract the action of the latter... A small warning then on daily drug treatments such as antihistamines, antipyretics, contraceptive pills, antihypertensives... The Clays are highly absorbent, it is best to take them away from medications. In any case, do not hesitate to contact your doctor or pharmacist for additional information.

Conservation

To extend the shelf life of your powdered or crushed clay, use an airtight container in a ventilated, dry room at room temperature. Moisture is the sworn enemy of clay powder!
As for the clay paste, it will dry more easily. It is preferable to do it extemporaneously.

Sterile or not?

Please note that natural clays are not sterile compounds unlike pharmaceutical products based on clay for example. Indeed, it has been shown that natural clays contain bacterial flora. But don't worry, it is not pathogenic and is present in controlled quantities. As long as the flora does not exceed the limit of food standards, the clays remain suitable for consumption if I may say so! Indeed, you will understand that the fresh food products that you consume such as cheese are not free from bacterial flora either... 

Ok for the internal route there is no problem, as long as you respect the usual precautions.

As for the external route, don't worry, the bacteria in the clay will not migrate to your skin... On the contrary, the membranes of the bacteria are negatively charged while the clays have positive charges: the clays attract and fix so the bacteria!

Pay attention to dosages and treatment times!

Follow the dosage and application advice for each clay carefully. Precise instructions for use exist for each use of clay.

  • Respect the application times for any skin application. The clay will lose its effectiveness anyway if it dries, it could also irritate your skin.

  • Before any oral intake, carefully respect the recommended dosage and treatment times. Indeed, the components of clay act in minute doses, so there is no point in absorbing large quantities of clay at the risk of observing undesirable effects.

  • Oral intake should not be combined with a diet rich in fats because clays can form a compact mixture with fatty substances.

Quality of clays…

The precautions for use are useful, if and only if you use good quality clays above all. But then what is quality clay?

  • A good quality clay will be as pure as possible, that is to say not mixed with another variety of clay and with a low presence or even absence of non-clay minerals and quartz for example.

  • Quality clay must be 100% natural. To date, as a mineral, clays cannot receive the “AB” label; but who knows, maybe one day... They may, however, comply with cosmetic regulations and obtain a Cosmebio label.

  • Quality clay is widely controlled via physico-chemical, microbiological and heavy metal analyzes in order to guarantee an ideal composition.

  • The best is still to use recently extracted and sun-dried clay.

Concerning the variety of clay to use, it will depend on your needs. Above all, try to check the criteria cited above and favor raw products and not ready-made formulas which are more likely to have undergone modifications.

Clays in different forms

Have you decided to use clay, but are still wondering in what form? Indeed, in addition to the different types of clay known (white, green, red, kaolinite, montmorillonite, illite, etc.), it can also appear in several aspects: powder, paste, pieces, capsules… We'll tell you more about the different possible formulations of clays!

Clay powders

- There ultra-ventilated powder is the finest, its particle size is 20 µm. Subjected to strong ventilation, clay minerals are separated from other particles by difference in density. It is favored for the most sensitive skin and for internal use. 

- There superfine or ventilated powder is simply sieved to remove the largest particles. It is generally used for masks, poultices, baths. 

- There fine powder presents the thickest grains, from 50 µm to half a millimeter. It is used more for poultices than for beauty treatments.

Clay in pieces

The clays, once dried in the sun, can be crushed into pieces approximately 1 cm then sold either in bulk or in bags of 1, 2 or several kg.

They can be used as is, then leave the pieces in a little water for a few hours while taking care to stir from time to time. We will then obtain a paste to rework and use for external treatments such as poultices for example.

Or it is also possible to grind the pieces to obtain a rather fine powder as seen in the previous paragraph.

The clay paste

This is a formula where water and clay are found perfectly well dosed, in balance, in other words: you can buy and use the clay paste directly without making a fuss!

What advantages you will tell me! Yes since this paste is easy to use.

However, it has some disadvantages... For example, it can dry out, harden and become complicated to use. In addition, and this is understandable, it will be more expensive than clay powder.

Clay in capsules, tablets or sachets

Clays can also be used internally, particularly for digestive problems.

THE capsules, previously filled with clay, are simple and practical means of use.
The same goes for the tablets where the dose sachets.

They are generally well dosed, easy to swallow, practical to transport and also to store. Their cost is of course higher.

Clays, a story of colors...

Alone mineral composition, and especially hell, can set the color of the clay. Let's take a closer look at the iron content of a material... The state of the iron in the soil makes it possible to obtain clays of different colors.

  • More iron is oxide (Fe3+), the more the clay will be red, orange, yellow

  • Less he is oxide (Fe2+), the more the clay will tend towards colors blue or green.


To know that thewhite clay as for it will be almost devoid of iron... Which explains its lack of coloring. Regarding thepurple clay for example, its color is due to a high level of ammonium manganese diphosphate associated with white clay. And for theblue clay These are ultramarines which are coupled with clay and which make it possible to obtain this bluish color. Finally, thepink clay is none other than a mixture of red clay and white clay.

Please note that the color of a clay is not just pretty but, as it depends on its composition, it also impacts the quality of its properties.

Use clays correctly, clearly and in images

We tell you about it in video

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Bibliography

Publication: Hernot, F. (2006). Clay, its use in the pharmacy. http://dune.univ-angers.fr/fichiers/20073109/2016PPHA5426/fichier/5426F.pdf

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La Compagnie des Sens and its teams do not encourage self-medication. The information and advice provided comes from a reference bibliographic database (books, scientific publications, etc.). They are given for information purposes, or to suggest avenues for reflection: they should in no case replace a diagnosis, consultation or medical follow-up, and cannot engage the liability of the Compagnie des Sens.