It’s clay time: Add kaolin to your skin-care regime to combat summer woes

Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi
Apr 17, 2018 05:37 PM IST

Kaolin is a soft, clay powder used for cosmetic purposes. Highly absorptive in nature, it helps control sebum production, heals blemishes and soothes the skin.

Sticky heat, arid weather conditions, dust and pollution are factors one has to deal with while planning a skin care regime in summer. If you have tried various store-bought products, yet not received the desired results, then this ingredient might be the answer to your skin and hair woes this summer.

Kaolin face mask will help absorb excessive oil and cleanse the skin.(iStockphoto)
Kaolin face mask will help absorb excessive oil and cleanse the skin.(iStockphoto)


Kaolin— a naturally-occurring mineral, is a soft, clay powder used for cosmetic purposes. The silica-based clay has, for centuries, been mined from the mountains of India, China and Iran among other places. It absorbs oils, controls the production of sebum (oily secretion of sebaceous glands) and removes toxins and dead skin cells. Usually white in colour, some packaged varieties of kaolin might also be red, yellow or pink, each slightly varying in properties. “This clay has absorptive properties and works best on oily skin.
It helps heal blemishes and keeps them at bay, too. Kaolin is also known to remove impurities from the pores, exfoliate and soothe the skin,” says dermatologist Saumya Shetty Hegde. Kaolin works at multiple levels, making it a popular choice for many packaged beauty products. Many cleansers, toners and lotions contain kaolin. You can also make hair and face packs with it at home. “It improves the skin’s balance and decreases levels of pore-clogging oils, dirt and toxins. General skin inflammation, caused by the usual environmental factors, can also be addressed with kaolin cleansers,” says dermatologist Chiranjiv Chhabra, adding, “Kaolin increases circulation to the impacted areas of skin, helping stimulate healing and reduce irritation. Using a cleanser that contains kaolin prior to applying makeup can help control oil production and prevent unwanted shine.”


It is wise to understand your skin type before trying out any new regime or ingredient. “Not too much for dry skin, but it does a great job for combination and sensitive skin types. It helps by soaking up excess moisture without causing flakiness or dry patches,” adds Chhabra.
One thing to be kept in mind while using kaolin is not to use it on excessively dry skin.
“It is not recommended for very dry skin or conditions like eczema, sebopsoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Do not use if you have severe grade acne with infection,” cautions Hegde.

Cleansing, soothing the skin is possible with kaolin. (iStockphoto)
Cleansing, soothing the skin is possible with kaolin. (iStockphoto)


Here are some easy face and hair treatment packs that can be made at home using kaolin:

1. Cleansing: Gently wet your face with warm water. Take a pinch of kaolin clay and massage it on your skin, letting it stand for a minute. Wash face with warm water and continue with your daily moisturising and toning routine.
2. War on acne: Kaolin clay works wonders by absorbing oils and treating white heads. Make a mask with the clay and water and apply to the face. Leave for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing it off.

3. Heal your skin: Use 2 tsps of clay with 2 tsps of aloevera pulp or gel. Add a few drops of tea tree oil and apply on the face. This mask works for acne-prone and oily skin.

4. Mane matters: It can be used as a dry shampoo. Use a powder brush to dust a small amount of kaolin clay on your scalp. To make most of it, apply before the hair gets greasy. But apply only once between hair washes as using too much clay could lead to hair clumps.

5. Instant freshness: Take 2 tsps of kaolin clay, 2-3 tsps of low-fat yoghurt and 2 drops of lemongrass essential oil. Apply the pack on face, let it dry for 20 minutes and wipe off with a warm, wet washcloth. Apply astringent or moisturiser afterwards.

6. Skin soother: For sensitive skin, mix 3 tbsps of kaolin with 2 tbsps each of crushed lavender and chamomile flowers, ¼ cup oatmeal paste and some honey or herbal water. Apply on face for 20 minutes and rinse off with warm water. Follow up with moisturiser.

7. Softer locks: Mix 1 to 2 tbsps kaolin with water and a few drops of argan oil. Massage scalp with the paste and rinse off thoroughly.

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    Etti Bali reports on Page 3 parties and cultural events for the daily entertainment and lifestyle supplement, HT City

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