Clay is not by any means a new ingredient to the beauty shelves. Mud style face masks infused with clay have been around for a LONG time, but with charcoal becoming a mega ingredient and a big focus on using mother nature inspired beauty ingredients, clay is back in a BIG way to inspire bath and body and haircare launches in new ways!
Clay, as an ingredient , is basically full of minerals with powerful qualities to draw out toxins. Easily sourced, this skincare gem has been around since the beginning of time. There are various types of clay that work to exfoliate the skin or tighten your pores and since it’s super cleansing and detoxing means the cross from skincare to bath & body and hair care market is a match made in product heaven! So far in 2019 we seem to have a fondness for red, pink and green clay, plus a bit of bentonite sprinkled in!
Green Clay (also known as French Clay or Sea Clay) has a high plant content and is especially good for oily skin. Pink clay is a form of kaolin clay. Kaolin clay is a white clay found in nature and is pretty gentle. The higher the percentage of iron oxide present in the kaolin clay, the more red it will appear — and thus, the more absorbing it will be. That’s why red kaolin clay is great for thick, oily skin. Pink clay sits right in the middle of white kaolin and red kaolin…safe for sensitive skin, but still pretty powerful.
Obviously as clay is a natural material its mineral contents will vary dependent on where it’s ‘harvested’. French Pink Clay has a different content compared to Australian Pink Clay and therefore each give different beneficial effects (important for product formulators and marketeers to know because consumers do their research these days and you don’t want to get your benefits mixed up!).
French pink clay contains trace amounts of iron, illite, montmorillonite and calcite. Illite is great for decongesting pores (especially on acne-prone skin) and also boosts blood circulation to make skin look younger and more toned. Montmorillonite is absorbent, to gently sop up excess oil, and calcite is a crystal that’s said to be great for purifying your energy – (minerals and quartz trend in one!).
Australian pink clay, on the other hand, contains silica, magnesium, selenium, and zinc in trace amounts (in addition to the same iron and calcite that French green clay has). Silica is a natural anti-inflammatory substance that also helps lock in moisture (which is why pink clay is so great for dry or eczema-prone skin), magnesium helps the skin retain its natural fatty acids, selenium is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, and zinc helps the skin heal.
So, with this wonder ingredient, with eons of provenance, it’s no surprise that brands such as Sand & Sky became so popular and that clay was on the radar for lots of new launches!
And talking of new launches here are a few newbies; our February 2019 Bath & Body New Product Report highlighted the first wave of launches – it was the month for clay clearly!
The Palmolive Pure range includes a Eucalyptus, Aloe Vera and Rose edition all infused with clay, whilst Bath and Body Works focused on Bentonite clay in masks. Nivea launched some cool sounding scents in; Ginger & Basil, Hibiscus & White Sage and Blue Agave & Lavender, all with clay as their cleansing ingredient and Dove launched Purifying Detox Green Clay Body Wash and Renewing Glow Pink Clay Body Wash. So now we are waiting for the men’s market to catch up..L’oreal Men is focused on charcoal at the moment with a smattering of clay mixed in and Dove Men is also mixing the 2 ingredients so there won’t be long to wait for green and red or maybe yellow and white clay for men..
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Also just as a random final thought..volcano clay… I have zero job envy for anyone having to dig this stuff up!! They say it’s super rich in minerals but..I’m not sure the thought of skincare nirvana would be enough for a spa day at the foot of Mount Etna at the moment!! Happy product hunting to all until next time….