Your Complete Guide to Kaolin Clay

Your Complete Guide to Kaolin Clay

Boasting a wide range of skin-enhancing benefits, kaolin clay is one skincare ingredient that’s worth looking into. Increasingly a favorite of beauty and skincare gurus everywhere, kaolin clay is loaded with purifying, hydrating, and oil-absorbing benefits that can address many skincare concerns and lead you further down the path on your journey to brighter, more radiant skin.

“Kaolin clay is a great addition to any well-rounded skincare regimen, whether you’re combating oily skin or are simply looking to refine your skin’s tone and texture.”

  • Shani Darden, esthetician

To help you understand this helpful ingredient, let’s talk all about kaolin clay, what it is, what it can do for your skin, and how you can use it in your skincare regimen.

What Is Kaolin Clay?

Kaolin clay gets its name from the Kao-ling hill, from which it used to be primarily mined in China. It’s naturally occurring and has a white pigment with a soft, earthy texture and impressive absorption capabilities.

It’s also sometimes known as white clay or “China clay.” It’s been used in China to produce porcelain products and ceramics going back centuries. But that isn’t its only use, of course. This dry clay powder is a common addition to a wide range of beauty and personal care products such as toothpaste, deodorant, hair products, and — surprise, surprise — skincare.

White kaolin clay is one of the mildest types of clay used in skincare products, which makes it a great ingredient for sensitive skin types. This natural clay is commonly used in the formulation of a wide range of products, including masks, cleansers, and even exfoliating scrubs, due to its versatility and effectiveness in addressing skin concerns in just about any skin type.

What Can Kaolin Clay Do for Your Skin?

If you struggle with breakouts, it’s likely that you’ve come across the idea of a clay mask over the course of your skincare journey. This is because clays like kaolin have the ability to help absorb excess sebum, leading to fewer clogged pores and a more balanced complexion.

If your breakouts are related to an oily complexion, using a kaolin clay mask or product can help minimize the appearance of breakouts. Even if you have combination skin, applying a kaolin clay mask to your oily areas or t-zone can help manage excess oil and leave your face balanced and even. 

Not only can clay products help to balance out your skin’s sebum production, but they can also detoxify and clear away impurities, cleaning out your pores and minimizing instances of blackheads or whiteheads. It does all of this without causing irritation or redness, unlike other pore-cleaning ingredients such as AHAs and BHAs, which can be irritating, especially to dry or sensitive skin.

All of this makes kaolin clay an effective ingredient if you struggle with breakouts. There are even studies that have shown that clay masks can be effective against blemishes, so it’s not just the individual effects of kaolin clay that make it so great — it’s how it works overall.

Less collagen means less firm, less elastic, and overall less youthful-looking skin. So, using skincare products that are thought to support collagen production may help minimize visible signs of aging, like wrinkles, fine lines, and even sagging skin.

How Can You Use Kaolin Clay in Your Routine?

One of the best and most common ways to add kaolin clay to your skincare routine is by using a clay mask. Clay masks can not only be effective, but they’re also fun to use. If you’re looking for a skin treatment that lets you feel like you’re visiting a spa, at least for a few minutes, you’re probably going to want to try out kaolin clay.

One of my favorite ways to get the most out of my kaolin clay mask is to use it as the second step in my Triple Acid Signature Peel. Because both kaolin clay and the ingredients in this signature peel can help to address visible signs of aging and breakouts, they create a beautiful symbiotic combination. So let’s walk through how you can take advantage of this two-step process to get brighter, more even skin.

This example routine should happen in place of your evening routine once every other week. It’s important not to utilize this peel too often because over-using chemical exfoliants can lead to sensitized or dehydrated skin, even if you’re usually tolerant of AHA products. 

Additionally, it’s crucial to use this as part of your evening routine because chemical peels can leave your skin especially vulnerable to the sun. Even if you’re only using AHAs or BHAs as part of your evening routine, you should be extra vigilant about applying sunscreen during the day. 

Although part of the way that chemical exfoliants work is by sloughing away dead skin cells and old layers of skin to reveal brighter skin, they can also make you prone to sunburn and sun damage.

With that said, let’s talk about how to make your kaolin clay mask work for you.

Start With a Clean Palette

The first step of your skincare routine should always be cleansing. If you miss every other step in your routine, don’t forget about this one. My Cleansing Serum is a gentle daily cleanser that you can use in the morning and evening. 

It can help to wash away makeup, sunscreen, pollutants, and other impurities that have attached to your skin throughout the day. At the same time, it’s designed not to strip your skin of necessary moisture or leave you feeling dry and tight.

This formula uses hyaluronic acid to help attract and retain moisture, leaving your complexion feeling plumper and smoother. Meanwhile, olive and chicory leaf extract can help to minimize redness and calm stressed-out skin, while oat bran extract provides some backup to your all-important skin barrier to defend against moisture loss.

If you’re looking to use kaolin clay due to breakout-prone or oily skin, it can be tempting to go for a cleanser that leaves you feeling squeaky clean and removes every trace of oil from your skin. Unfortunately, this can leave your skin even more unbalanced and even lead to extra oil in the long run — so a gentle cleanser is key!

Apply the Triple Acid Solution Peel

After cleansing, apply an even layer of the Triple Acid Solution Peel with the brush provided in your Triple Acid Signature Peel set, making sure to avoid your lip and eye area. You can leave the peel solution on for one minute while your skin’s adjusting, and over time build up to leaving it on for up to two minutes.

A slight tingling sensation is totally normal. Do not rinse the signature peel solution off during this step. You can use this peel whether you have dry skin or breakout-prone skin, as the clay mineral mask can help add moisture.

Apply the Kaolin Clay Neutralizing Mask

Without washing off the Triple Acid Solution Peel, apply my Kaolin Clay Neutralizing Mask directly over top of the peel. The kaolin and bentonite clay work to neutralize the peel, offer your skin a deep clean, and refine your pores by removing excess dirt and oil. My mask does all of this without drying out your skin, leaving you with rejuvenated, resurfaced, and overall radiant skin.

You can wash the kaolin clay mask off after ten minutes of letting it luxuriate on your skin with warm water. Again — a slight tingling sensation is normal! Since you want this mask and the peel to really be able to go to work on your skin, it’s important to give it time to settle in and work its magic.

Follow up with my Hydration Peptide Cream for intense hydration that’s light and oil-free to preserve all of the hard work that kaolin clay has done to re-balance and deep-clean your complexion.

The Takeaway

With its rich history and myriad benefits, kaolin clay is a great addition to any well-rounded skincare regimen, whether you’re combating oily skin or are simply looking to refine your skin’s tone and texture. 

This versatile ingredient is an effective yet gentle solution as part of a face mask or even as the second step of an at-home chemical peel to help soothe and rebalance your skin after exposure to potentially irritating ingredients such as AHAs. Whatever your skin concerns, working kaolin clay into your routine can be a great way to deliver smooth, softer, and more youthful-looking skin in no time.

For more skincare tips and tricks, check out my blog or schedule an online consultation with one of my trusted providers.


Alpha Hydroxy Acids | Food and Drug Administration

Clay Jojoba Oil Facial Mask for Lesioned Skin and Mild Acne — Results of a Prospective, Observational Pilot Study | National Library of Medicine

Effect of Topical Clay Application on the Synthesis of Collagen in Skin: An Experimental Study | National Library of Medicine

Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin | National Library of Medicine


Your Bag

Pick 2 Free Samples with any order

Retinol Reform Sachet 2 ML
Body Reform Treatment Serum Sachet (US/CA)
Intensive Eye Renewal Cream Sachet

Pick 2 Free Samples with any order