Cream, toner or serum aside – when it comes to skincare, Indians swear by multani mitti. But there is a twist to the muddy tale with clay-based skincare getting innovative and extensive by the day. Here’s a clay dictionary to help you find which one works for you and how.
Toxins? Try bentonite clay
Bentonite clay is a fine detoxifying clay composed of old volcanic ash coming straight from Fort Benton, Wyoming, US. “Its absorbent and healing properties make it ideal for very oily skin, chronic acne and skin conditions such as eczema,” says aromatherapist Blossom Kochhar. It produces an electrical charge when mixed with any fluid, this helps absorb environmental toxins and also heavy metals like lead and mercury from skin pores. Kolkata-based aesthetician Ruby Biswas suggests, “Bentonite clay baths are deeply purifying for all skin types. Use it to treat skin allergies and purify complexion.” Look for products with bentonite clay as a main ingredient.
Dry skin? Try white kaolin clay
Kaolin is a white-coloured clay with soft texture that works as a gentle exfoliator without disturbing the skin’s acidic balance. “People confuse kaolin for Fuller’s earth but it is very different in texture and temperament. Mix it with water, milk or oil for a nourishing face pack,” advises Kochhar.
Tired of tanning? Try multani mitti
“Great for acne prone and greasy skin, it treats tanning too because of its mild bleaching properties,” says Biswas. However, don’t go overboard with this dark-coloured clay as too much can dry out your skin leading to more oiliness – twice a week is good. “If you have dry skin, mix it with hydrating agents like yoghurt and honey,” she adds.
Dull skin? Try charcoal clay
“The dark clay comes from the sites of forest fires and bamboo plantations and is usually mixed with algae for beauty benefits,” reveals Kochhar. It absorbs surface impurities from the skin.
Open pores? Try rhassoul clay
Found in the lava of Atlas Mountains in Morocco, this light brown clay is exceptionally rich in minerals: silicon, magnesium, iron, sodium, potassium, lithium and trace elements. It is a heavy-duty exfoliator that drains away sebum and also takes care of large and open pores. Combine it with fine almond powder and oats to make a gentle exfoliator or mix it with Argan oil to restore vitality and shine to your hair.
Rosacea? Try French pink clay
Rich in zinc oxide, iron and calcite, this clay is ideal for sensitive skin and rosacea – a skin condition that makes it prone to inflammation and redness. A blend of red and white clay, pink clay is super gentle in nature and calms down irritation while helping the skin cells repair and regenerate. Use it once a week.
Ageing skin? Try green clay
“Made from sea algae, this clay is rich in enzymes and minerals, making it a good anti-ageing agent,” says Biswas. To even out skin tone, puffiness and for radiant complexion while fighting early signs of ageing, green clay is your best bet.
Combat greasy or tanned skin: Mix 2 tsp orange peel powder and 2 tsp Fuller’s earth with organic rose water. Apply on face. Wash off with cool water after 15 minutes.
Eliminate toxins from skin: Mix 0.2 gm charcoal clay with ½ tsp bentonite clay and water. Apply on face and wash off after 15 minutes.