The five most com­mon clays on the beauty aisle

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White Kaolin

The main in­gre­di­ent in porce­lain, white kaolin is the gen­tlest and most-used clay in cos­met­ics. It won’t sap much mois­ture and still soft­ens and ex­fo­li­ates.


This mag­ne­sium-rich

volcanic ash is ab­sorbent and has a pos­i­tive elec­tri­cal charge, mak­ing it a mag­net for dirt and oil. It’s es­pe­cially use­ful for

those with acne.


Mined from min­eral de­posits in Morocco’s At­las Moun­tains, where it’s been prized since

the eighth cen­tury, rhas­soul is most of­ten

sought for its skin-firm­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

Fuller’s Earth

Once used by tex­tile work­ers (or “fullers”) to clean shorn wool, this is

a mix­ture of clays, in­clud­ing ben­tonite and kaolin, but es­pe­cially mont­mo­ril­lonite, which is unique for its mild bleach­ing prop­erty.

French Green

Found mostly near an­cient marine beds, it gets its color from iron ox­ide and de­com­posed plants. It tight­ens pores, helps cir­cu­la­tion, ex­fo­li­ates, and is some­times used to treat arthri­tis and sore mus­cles.

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