THE WONDERFUL PROPERTIES OF CLAY
Clay has been used for centuries for its amazing properties: it is used to clean, detoxify, remineralize and regenerate the body inside-out. In the middle east, clay has always been used for washing and nourishing the hair, and it is still used to make natural soap, as a natural disinfectant for cleaning, as a detox drink, as a skin purifying and nourishing mask, as an anti-cellulite scrub…and in many other ways! It is truly a wonderful product of the earth, which once again proves how nature abounds with clean, super-effective remedies.
HOW IT WORKS
In short, clay binds to all toxins – both outside and inside your body, as some clays are also edible and used for internal cleansing, and draws everything out, while giving off its numerous minerals that are extremely nourishing and beneficial for the body.
TYPES OF CLAY FOR SKINCARE
• Kaolin Clay: comes in white, pink, red and yellow versions. The color is determined by the various minerals they are made of. White clay is the most delicate of all, and is recommended for sensitive skin. It is perfect for treating redness, softening the skin and brightening the complexion. It has anti-aging and anti-redness properties and, because it does not draw too much oil from the skin, it is perfect for people with dry skin who still need to nourish it with minerals and get rid of toxins.
• French Green Clay: Green clay has strong absorbing and purifying properties, making it the perfect option for people with acne and oily skin. A green clay mask will suck every single blackhead out of your face! It is not the strongest, but it might not be the best option for people with sensitive skin.
• Rhassoul Moroccan Clay: In my opinion, one of the most amazing products of the earth: its name comes from the Moroccan word ‘to wash’, and it has an incredible amount of minerals (it contains the highest quantity of silica, magnesium, potassium and calcium) and strong absorbing properties. It absorbs dirt so well that it is used instead of shampoo to wash hair as well, usually paired with Argan oil to avoid dryness. At the same time, its remineralizing properties are so remarkable that it reduces dryness and, when paired to a nourishing oil, it makes for a great skin and hair moisturizer. It improves skin elasticity and smoothness.
• Extra fine Bentonite clay: Bentonite clay is also for internal use (yes, you can make a clay drink! Yum!) as it binds all toxins and, while it expels them, it releases in the body all of its precious minerals that are beneficial for gut, hair and bone health. It also has a strong alkalizing power, contrasting acidity in the body. Aside drinking it or putting it on your face, you can also use it to rinse your mouth, much as you would use mouthwash, to get rid of bacteria.
TIPS FOR MAKING AND APPLYING YOUR MASK
1) Do not let it dry fully
You should not get to the point where your mask gets pale, dry and crumbly on your face. We want our clay to draw out toxins and dirt, but if it dries too much it will only suck out all the water it can from your face, without giving off its minerals and beneficial properties. Make sure you always put on a very thick layer of clay and keep it on for a minimum of 8 to a maximum of 15-20 minutes, depending on what clay you are using and on your skin type. When the time is up, you should feel a bit of that tightening feeling on your face, but the clay should still look wet on top. this way, the skin will absorb all of the mask’s nutrients. Obviously, never re-use clay a second time, as it will have collected all of your skin’s toxins.
2) add hydrating and healthy ingredients for your skin
this includes oils, essential oils, infused oils, honey and gels like aloe and linseed. See below for suggestions on what to add. If you soaked or cooked organic rice or oats (and I mean organic) in water, use the starchy water to add to your mask and to wash your face at the end. It has incredible smoothing and illuminating properties!
3) Always start from a clean face
Before putting on your mask, clean your face well. I suggest you swab your face with cotton imbibed with chamomile, rosewater, or starchy rice water to avoid using chemical cleansers.
4) No straight acidic ingredients
Lemon juice or vinegar have great astringent properties, but they can interfere with the action of the mask. Instead, use powders like rose hip or powdered vitamin C, or pomegranate, lemon or orange essential oils.
5) Avoid metal
Use a wooden or ceramic bowl and spoon. Metal reacts with the minerals in the clay, so always avoid it when preparing your mask.