Types of Clay

Below is a brief description of a few natural
cosmetic clays that Sensi Cosmetics use and their benefits for skincare


While all cosmetic clays have the ability to draw oil and impurities from the skin, some have stronger drawing abilities than others. Thus, based on your unique skin type, one clay type may be better for your skin than another. Understanding the benefits, the differences and how they may work for your skin is the first place to begin when choosing a clay.

For example:

Kaolin clays are good for dry to normal skin
Bentonite and Rhassoul clays are good for normal, combination or oily skin
Illite clays, like French Green clay, are best for oily skin


Just remember that your skin is unique. 



Bentonite is part of the Smectite clay family, which are clays that have a three-layer structure which gives the clay a tremendous ability to swell when water is added

There are different types of bentonite clay; each one is named after the dominant element in the clay, such as potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium or aluminum.

Good for all skin types, bentonite it is commonly used in shaving soaps to provide slip, so the razor glides over the skin which helps prevent cuts and razor burn. When used in natural clay deodorants, nutrient-rich bentonite clay helps absorb sweat naturally.

Bentonite for Skin Care

INCI Name: Montmorillonite or Bentonite

Appearance: Fine odorless powder, natural cream/grey colored clay

Texture: Slightly grainy, but feels smooths and soft when pressed between the fingers

Skin Type: Works well on all skin types, but is especially helpful for normal, oily, combination or acne-prone skin

Skin Care Benefits: Bentonite is a very absorbent and adsorbent clay and works well to draw out most skin impurities and excess oils. It is particularly recommended for oily, acne-prone skin, has exfoliating properties and helps reduce the appearance of pores and blackheads.

Has astringent properties which help shrink enlarged pores

Helps with oily, congested and acne-prone skin types

Provides gentle exfoliation to help remove excess oils, unclog pores and tighten skin

Promotes blood circulation to the skin which helps the healing and regeneration process 

Softens skin

Helps ease irritations and calm itching caused by cuts, burns, eczema, and psoriasis 

It also draws out the dirt, impurities, and product buildup on the hair and scalp

In haircare, bentonite clay is rich in minerals that encourage hair growth. Bentonite helps draw out impurities, helps remove dead skin cells from the scalp, cleanses hair follicles, restores hair’s natural balance and helps remove product buildup.



The primary component in kaolin clay is the mineral kaolinite, a hydrous aluminum silicate formed by the decomposition of minerals such as feldspar. 

Kaolins are non-swelling clays and do not absorb like other clays--they adsorb which means they do not soak up impurities like a sponge, but rather hold them on their surface like a magnet.

Kaolin is often used as the clay for china pottery. Its name comes from a Chinese word which means "high ridge." The high ridge is a reference to the hill in south-eastern China where the clay was thought to be originally mined. Although white Kaolin is often called "China Clay," the best deposits are not located in China.

White kaolin clay is also known as "White China Clay," but can be found in a variety of natural colors depending on its combination with other trace minerals.

For example, Kaolin clay can be a pink, red or orange in combination with naturally occurring iron oxide, or a yellowish pink when in combination with feldspar. Pink or rose kaolin can be from naturally occurring iron oxides or sometimes it is a combination of white kaolin mixed with red kaolin.


Kaolin for Skin Care

INCI Name: Kaolin

Appearance: Fine odorless powder

Texture: Very fine, soft, fluffy and lightweight 

Skin Type: Works well on all skin types, but is especially good for sensitive skin

General Skin Care Benefits of Kaolin Clays: White clay is the softest and least drying to the skin. It is best for people with dry and sensitive skin and can even be used in all-natural body powders and all-natural baby powder, instead of cornstarch, to prevent diaper rash or chafing. 

It is the mildest of all clays and is suitable for people with sensitive skin

 Helps draw out oils without being harsh on the skin

Since it does not draw oil like other clays, it is very helpful for people with naturally dry skin

Stimulate blood circulation to the skin which helps brighten skin

It has a larger particle size which can provide gentle exfoliation and cleansing

Softens skin

Skin Care Benefits Based On Color: 

Pink-Rose-Kaolin-Kaolin clays can be found in many colors.

Again, the area from which the kaolin is mined will determine its mineral content which in turn determines the color and how it acts on the skin. 

Although all of the kaolins are gentle clays that share the properties described above, their properties, especially the ability to draw oil from the skin, vary a bit based on the trace mineral content and thus the color.

White kaolin is considered the mildest and least drawing of the kaolins. As the hues deepen, so does its ability to draw oils and impurities from the skin. 

White kaolin: For all skin types. White kaolin clay is the gentlest and thus great for sensitive dry skin. It absorbs less than other clays but softens skin with fine gentle particles that provide mild exfoliation and while preventing the skin from becoming overly dry.

Yellow kaolin: For dry sensitive skin. Yellow kaolin clay is slightly more absorbent and exfoliating and better at stimulating circulation but is still very gentle for sensitive skin.

Red kaolin: For normal to a bit oily skin. Red kaolin clay contains a higher amount of silicate and has the most absorbing powers of all the kaolins. It is rich in natural iron oxides and is a great addition for slightly sensitive but acne-prone skin.

Pink (Rose) kaolin: For combination skin. This clay whether naturally pink or a mixture of white and red kaolins has the properties of both white and red kaolin. This can be the ideal balance for those with sensitive skin that has a bit excess oil and needs gentle exfoliation. It also makes a great natural face powder or blush.

Orange Kaolin: For normal or combination skin. This clay is similar to Pink Kaolin but has a bit more drawing power.  

Kaolin Clay Shampoo



In haircare, gentle kaolin, rich in silica, helps clean the scalp without drying. It calms inflammation, helps moisturize and revitalize dry, damaged hair. It improves circulation in the scalp and removes dirt and impurities from the hair follicles which helps strengthens the roots. 





Natural-French-Green-Clay-MaskIllite clays are highly absorbent but non-swelling clays.

They have a three-layer structure which gives Illite clays a stronger drying and drawing effect.

Although there are many types of illite clays, the best known is French Green Clay.

The color of French Green Illite Clay comes from a combination of iron oxides and decomposed plant matter, mainly kelp and other algae.

The active minerals in green illite clay include dolomite, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, aluminum, silicon, copper, selenium, and cobalt as well a small percentage of montmorillonite.

Originally mined from regions in the North of France and the Atlantic basin, French Green Illite is sometimes called marine clay since the quarries were found in ancient marine beds--which gives it a very rich mineral content.

Our French Green clay is quarry mined from naturally occurring deposits in France and is untreated. Although originally mined in France, not all French Green Clay originates in France. Clay deposits are now also mined in Wyoming, Montana, China, and other European countries.


French Green Clay for Skin Care

INCI Name: Illite

Appearance: Fine odorless powder with a soft texture and a light green color. When mixed with water its rich green color is revealed.

Texture: Slightly grainy, but feels smooths and soft when pressed between the fingers

Skin Type: From normal to oily skin and scalp

Skin Care Benefits: French green clay is highly absorptive and adsorptive, it acts as a magnet for impurities. It stimulates blood flow to the skin, removes oils and impurities and exfoliates dead skin cells. As the clay dries, it causes the pores to constrict, producing a firmer feeling skin.French-Green-Clay-Face-mask

Toning action stimulates the skin by bringing fresh blood to the surface

Helps with oily, congested and acne-prone skin types

Helps to remove excess oils, unclog and shrink pores and tighten skin

Exfoliates dead skin cells

Note: Even those with oily skin should limit the use of French Green Clay to a maximum of one use per week.

There are also other colors of Illite Clay. Just as with the Kaolins, they share similar properties to those described above, described above, especially the ability to draw oil from the skin, but they based on the mineral content and thus the color.


Red Illite clay is similar in properties to other Illite clays, the only difference is its higher concentration of iron oxides.

Yellow Illite is similar to Green Illite in its therapeutic and cosmetic properties and uses. Its soft yellow color is attributed to the presence of natural iron oxide (less than Red Illite). It leaves skin fresh and bright.

Naming Note: Although when people say "French Green Clay" they are most often referring to an illite clay, there are two types of mineral clays often called French Green Clay: montmorillonite and illite. While they are both nice clays and share similar therapeutic properties, they also have specific differences based on their mineral clay family.



Rhassoul-ClayRhassoul, or also known as Ghassoul, gets its name from the Arabic verb "rhassala,” meaning “to wash." The main component of this ancient clay is magnesium silicate.

It is a natural mineral clay extracted from deep deposits inside the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, and unlike many other clays, has not been exposed to surface contaminants

It is part of the Smectite group of clays, like Bentonite, which means it has a tremendous ability to swell when water is added.


The molecular structure of Rhassoul clay gives it a unique ability to absorb excess dirt and oil, as well as extract impurities from the skin. It is extremely rich in trace minerals especially silica, magnesium, potassium and calcium minerals that are beneficial for the skin and has been used for centuries as a cleanser and conditioner for the skin and hair.

Our Rhassoul is untreated and naturally dried with a silky texture. Once extracted, the clay is washed with water to eliminate impurities, then spread out to be sun-dried. The product is then purified and powdered. No solvents or diluents are used in the processing.


Rhassoul Clay for Skin Care

INCI Name: Moroccan Lava Clay

Appearance:  Very fine, dusty colored, odorless powder

Texture: Silky and soft texture when rubbed between the fingers

Skin Type: Normal and oily skin and scalp; suitable for sensitive skin and skin prone to blackheads

Skin Care Benefits: The high concentration of natural minerals in Rhassoul can help replenish depleted minerals in your skin, resulting in a firmer and more even-toned complexion.

Helps reduce skin dryness and nourish the skin 

Helps even out skin tone and reduce blemishes

Helps unclog pores and remove impurities without irritation

Provides gentle exfoliation to remove dead skin cells to reduce flakiness and improve skin clarity and texture

Helps to remove excess surface oil

Stimulates circulation

Hair Care Benefits: Recommended for sensitive scalps, normal to oily hair, and dandruff, rhassoul was used to shampoo hair in Ancient  Egypt. 

Although it is great for oily hair, Rhassoul also prevents dryness by nourishing and cleansing the scalp without stripping away the protective sebum.

The mineral content of Rhassoul clay and the higher ratio of silica, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and other trace minerals . . .

improves elasticity
helps unblock the scalp pores
stimulates the scalp
reduces flakiness
aids in detangling
enhances the texture, volume, and manageability
leaves hair soft and moisturized. 

Bentonite Clay 1.jpg
Bentonite Clay
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Kaolin Clay
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Yellow Illite
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Rhassoul Clay