Ingredient Focus: Clays

There's something about the unpretentiousness of clays and their humble origin from the earth's crust

that makes it fascinating to learn how incredibly beneficial they can be for our skin.

Benefits of clays in natural soap

What is clay?

It's a soft, finely-grained, mineral-rich material formed over long periods of time, as a result of the natural weathering of rocks. It normally combines several types of silicates (of aluminium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium etc.), along with traces of quartz, metal oxides and organic matter. All of these minerals are beneficial for our skin.

Clays vary in composition depending on the origin. The different colours signify this, for example reddish hues result from compounds such as iron oxide, while green tones come from decomposed kelp and other algae. This means that benefits of each clay will vary, but what unifies them all is their gentle skin purifying quality, for which they have been used in skincare for centuries.

Detox for your skin

Clays are probably the best natural skin purifiers. Combined with water, they bind to impurities and remove them from the skin when washed off.

Throughout the day, dirt and pollution particles can build up on the surface of your skin, leaving it feeling rough and dull. Excess oil and dead skin cells also accumulate on the skin and can lead to enlarged pores and even breakouts. Clays are great at drawing out the buildup of these impurities for skin that feels clean, bright and pure.

Clays are also known for their skin soothing properties - they help to calm inflamed or irritated skin (they've been used for treating poison ivy rash, for example).

When added to natural soap, clays impart a silkiness to the lather, act as gentle exfoliants and mild cleansers. They have an aesthetic function too, adding beautiful natural colour to the bars.

Clays in our artisan soap bars

Rose Clay

Ethical soap bar with pink clay

Also know as French pink clay, it is considered a type of gentle kaolin clay. It is a light to medium pink shade, which comes from a naturally occurring iron oxide. It has a very fine texture and is suitable for sensitive and dry skin, as it doesn't remove much oil from the epidermis. It draws out impurities without disrupting the natural balance of protective skin lipids, preventing water loss. This provides the ideal balance for those with sensitive skin that needs gentle exfoliation.