How to use kaolin clay in skin care. Benefits: cleanse, remove impurities, gently exfoliate, and more

Kaolin Clay – Ingredient Spotlight

Written by: | February 22, 2019 | 6 responses

Kaolin clay is one of those ingredients growing in popularity and awareness, and we love using it in cleansing masks and facial powders. It’s a light colored powder that forms the main ingredient in porcelain, and it’s water- and impurity-absorbing characteristics make it a great ingredient for cleansing in skin care.

Kaolin clay has a neutral pH and is rich in silica dioxide. Compared to other clays (such as Bentonite clay), Kaolin clay does not make your skin dry. It is gentle on your skin ergo it is suited for people with dry, sensitive, and mature skin as well as any skin type. It can be used alone as a facial exfoliate cleanser or you can create a paste with a liquid such as water or tea and place it on your face as a mask.


Origins & Types of Kaolin Clay

Kaolin Clay has many common names including White clay, Kaolinite, China clay, or Porcelain clay, just to name a few. It’s found across the globe from China, to Europe, to the United States. The Kaolin Clay from Essential Wholesale is naturally mined and produced in the United States. Because this natural clay is mined from the earth it contains minerals that give slight color variations from a yellow or green hue to bright white.

Kaolinite is the main mineral found in Kaolin and is responsible for the bright white color. Generally, people consider whiter clay to be of higher quality. This abundant and versatile clay has been used for centuries for a wide variety of purposes. It was most likely originally used to make pottery, but today Kaolin is used in ceramics, medicine, coated paper, as a food additive, in toothpaste, as a light diffusing material in white incandescent light bulbs, and of course in hair and skincare.

The variations in color of the clay can bring their own benefits. The white, “purest” clay is the gentlest and somewhat less absorbent than other colors like the yellow, red, and pink variations. In general, all of these clays are gentle enough for sensitive skin. Red kaolin is quite absorbent, working well with oily skin and in detox masks. Pink kaolin is a mixture of red and white, and is great in masks for normal skin.


Kaolin Clay Benefits for Hair and Skin

I am often in awe of how nature provides us with exactly what we need to take spectacular care of our bodies inside and out. Kaolin Clay is one of those nature-provided ingredients that seems to do everything. Here are just a few benefits:

  1. Cleanses Skin: Kaolin is a very gentle cleanser and its completely and naturally surfactant free! You can simply hydrate the clay by itself and use as a cleanser or you can also add other ingredients to address your particular needs. Either way, this mild clay is a fantastic choice for sensitive or troubled skin.
  2. Soothing: Kaolin is the mildest of clays and is very calming for the skin, helping to reduce the appearance of redness and irritation.
  3. Exfoliating: Because Kaolin is an insoluble substance when hydrated it is gently abrasive helping to exfoliant and reveal your best complexion.
  4. Oil Absorbing: Kaolin clings to oils and helps to remove oils and all the dirt and other impurities trapped by oils on the hair and skin. Kaolin is especially beneficial for natural hair cleansing.  Simply hydrate the kaolin with Apple Cider Vinegar and a little water and you have a quick and easy “shampoo” that will leave your hair clean and shiny!

How to Use Kaolin Clay in Skin Care

Obviously there are a wide range of uses for this clay, so let’s summarize:

  • Kaolin clay can be used to help stabilize emulsions at 0.5 to 1%
  • Use at up to 50% for body powders
  • Use at no more than 25% for facial powders–it’s excellent at absorbing fats and sweat but can create streaks in wet weather in higher concentrations
  • In a face mask. Use up to 70% clay and add your desired liquid. If you are selling a wet mask with a water base where you want to have a shelf life longer than a week, the % will depend on your preservative. Parabens preserve a wet clay better than most any other preservative
  • Whenever you use clays in wet products, preservatives become critical. You are basically adding dirt to water and as we know, that’s how things grow!

If you’d like to learn more about Bentonite Clay (which can sometimes include other types of clay including Kaolin, but is mostly Montmorillonite), check out this blog and recipe.

Check out masks and cleansers with Kaolin from Essential Wholesale and give this Surfactant-free solid cleansing bar recipe a try! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way this bar melts on my skin in the shower!


Surfactant-Free Solid Cleansing Bar

This solid cleansing bar melts onto your skin like a dream in the shower or bath. The Kaolin Clay gently cleanses skin while the butters and macadamia nut oil leave skin feeling silky soft.

Equipment You’ll Need

Glass or non-metal Mixing Bowl
Measuring cups/spoons or scale
Stovetop safe beaker or pot
Silicone soap molds – any shape or size – we used 3oz molds

Approximate yield:
1 Pound (approximately 5 – 6  3oz bars)
Approximate cost per pound:
Suggested packaging:  
Soap bar packaging – check out our soap bar packaging video
Suggested retail price:
$5 – $8 per bar

IngredientWeight (Pounds)Kitchen MeasurementsApproximate

Percentage by weight

Kaolin Clay0.30301 ¾ Cup30%
USDA Certified Organic deodorized Cocoa Butter Wafers0.2020¾ Cup20%
Macadamia Nut Oil0.15151/3 Cup15%
Goat Milk Powder0.09091/3 Cup10%
USDA Certified Organic Shea Butter0.1010¼ Cup10%
Oatmeal0.1515¾ Cup15%



  1. In a glass or non-metal bowl, add kaolin clay, goat milk powder, and oatmeal. Mix together using a wooden or non-metal utensil. Set aside and move to next step.
  2. Add the cocoa butter wafers and macadamia nut oil to your beaker or pot. Heat until fully melted then remove from heat and add shea butter. The residual heat should melt the shea butter, but if it isn’t melting, gently heat until fully melted.
  3. Pour melted butters and oils onto the dry mixture in your glass or non-metal bowl. Mix slowly and gently with a non-metal utensil until uniform and smooth.
  4. Pour into your silicone molds and refrigerate until fully solid. This took about 1 hour for our bars.
  5. Use in the bath or shower in place of soap bars!

Please note that this recipe has not been challenge tested for preservation efficacy. Even though the recipe provided is anhydrous, if you use this recipe for market sales, it is up to you to ensure the safety of the product.



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