Kaolin Clay

Learn why kaolin clay, a naturally occurring mineral and ancient beauty remedy, has stood the test of time across different cultures.

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About Kaolin Clay

Kaolin is a soft, naturally absorbent clay rich in minerals. Gentle on the hair and scalp, it is used in the Garnier Olia Highlights range to thicken the formula for a velvety, non-drip texture, stay-put application and an even, natural result.
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Also known as white clay, soft kaolin clay is one of the most common minerals. As well as being used in everything from paper to pottery, it’s also a key player in the beauty industry. It has been used for centuries around the world as a brilliant skin care ingredient, mainly in Asia.

    Most often used in skin care, it also offers many benefits for hair. Kaolin begins as a finely milled powder that’s then combined with other ingredients to form a paste. Since it is such an incredibly absorbent ingredient, it’s great for reducing both oiliness and sweat to fight unwanted shine in most skin types. 

    In skin care, kaolin is most often used in face cleansers or masks. In hair products, you also see it masks and styling creams, but it also works very well as a dry shampoo.
  • Incorporating kaolin into your skin care routine is one of the best ways to help reduce excess oiliness by targeting and absorbing excess sebum production and sweat on the skin’s surface. It also cleanses and removes impurities in acne-prone skin, which essentially means that it can minimize the appearance of pores and blemish marks. Kaolin also works to mattify any particularly oily complexions.

    It works in a similar way on your hair and scalp to remove impurities and absorb oil, sweat and sebum. Kaolin clay can be applied alone as a powder or as an ingredient in hair care products. This versatility means it can be used to deeply detox your hair, balance and mattify oily hair, and even control dandruff. It’s also known to lift the hair follicles, thereby adding volume and texture.
  • They are both absorbing mineral origin clays, but they have a different mineral composition.
  • While kaolin clay is good for use on all skin types, it’s an ingredient that’s most beneficial for anybody who has oily or acne-prone skin, or anybody who’s looking for products that will help mattify skin. However, as kaolin – and most clays in general – are ultra-absorbing agents, if your skin is on the super dry side or sensitive, then you should probably only use it as a wash, and reduce the frequency to avoid drying your skin out even further.

    The same principles apply to your hair and scalp. If your hair is already very dry and brittle, it’s best to not over-apply kaolin clay. And while it’s recommended for dandruff (which, contrary to popular belief, is caused by excess oil on your scalp), people with a dry, flaky scalp should not use kaolin clay too often. That said, it is a wonderful ingredient and safe to apply on all types of hair.
  • For skin, kaolin clay is most often found formulated into face cleansers or masks. Depending on how oily or acne prone your complexion is, it’s best used around once a day as a wash or scrub, and three times a week as a mask to leave skin looking and feeling soft, smooth, and oil-free – which is what we all want, right? If you have sensitive or dry skin, or have a reaction to kaolin clay, it is best to only use it as a cleanser, gently massaging it into the skin, and reducing the frequency.

    In terms of using it on your hair, look for hair masks that list kaolin clay or white clay as a primary or secondary ingredient. You’ll also find it in some styling products and dry shampoos. Again, if you have dehydrated hair and/or a dry scalp, avoid overusing this clay until the oil levels are more balanced. If using it to control dandruff, daily use is recommended until the symptoms clear up.

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