Spotlight on Ingredients: Clay

Georgia clay!  One of the first things I learned about my adopted home state when I moved here 10 years ago is the soil.  A brick red clay that is distinctive and unique to this part of the country.  For farmers the clay is a blessing and a curse, depending on what you are trying to grow.  I have attempted to blame my gardening failures on the clay but that is really not a fair thing to do. When I started making soap, I learned that adding clay to soap is beneficial.  But have you ever wondered why?  Well, read on to learn about several benefits to using clay in soap, as well as a description of a few different varieties of clay available.

Three Clay Soap (Australian Purple Clay, French Green Clay & Kaolin Clay)
Three Clay Soap (Australian Purple Clay, French Green Clay & Kaolin Clay)


  1. Adds "slip" which is helpful when using handmade soap for shaving.  It helps the razor to glide over your skin
  2. Helps to cleanse and invigorate the skin
  3. Provides nourishing minerals to the skin
  4. Absorbs oil from the skin (Various clays differ in their oil absorbing properties)

There are many types of clay that you can add to soap.  Here are a few of my favorites.

  1. Kaolin clay - This is a mild clay that I add to nearly every soap.  It helps to purify, nourish and heal damaged skin, but is less likely to dry the skin compared to other clays.  It has been used for centuries for many skin-related purposes (masks, soaps, scrubs) and is reputed to help boost skin circulation.  This is a great soap for people with combination skin
  2. French Green Clay - I love the color that this adds to soap, an earthy green. Like kaolin, this is a relatively mild clay that effectively absorb toxins and impurities from the skin.  I prefer to use just a small amount to ensure that it is not drying  The lighter green in the photo below is French Green Clay (the dark green is spirulina)
  3. Moroccan Red Clay / Rhassoul Clay - This is a more intense clay with stronger power to draw out impurities and toxins, and is beneficial  to people who suffer from breakouts and acne.  This clay also helps to exfoliate the skin and is used to remove blackheads.  Some people use this clay in their hair (mixed with argan oil it promotes shiny hair but proceed with caution if you have color treated hair)
  4. Rose Clay - This is a mild clay, similar to kaolin and adds a wonderful color to soaps.  This Patchouli Sandalwood soap below is colored with rose clay and red sandalwood powder (the dark color).  Rose Clay is rich in minerals such as iron and aluminum oxide and other trace elements that act in the elasticity, decreasing sagging skin and acting against all the signs of aging.  This clay also restores skin vitality.
Patchouli Sandalwood Soap
Patchouli Sandalwood Soap

5. Bentonite Clay – I use this clay in my natural deodorant as it helps absorb perspiration.  In soap, it is great for people with an oily complexion.  In addition, it is used in shaving soaps as it provides slip.

6. Brazilian Purple Clay - I added this clay to my line-up because I was hopeful it would be a colorful addition to my natural soaps, however, the purple is very earthy.  This clay contains a slew of natural minerals which are beneficial to the skin, including copper, selenium, magnesium, zinc and manganese.  is rich in trace elements such as magnesium which contributes to the formation of collagen, essential to keep skin looking younger. The skin becomes firmer, smoother.  The soap at the top of this post has purple clay.

There are many other clays that can be used that I have not yet tried, including Yellow Kaolin Clay and Australian Blue Clay.

Have you used clay in any of your person care items?  Please share your clay experiences in the comments section below.