Beauty glossary

What Is Kaolin? 

A natural clay supercharged with the mineral kaolinite, kaolin combats oiliness, battles breakouts, and cleanses pores – a game-changer for oily skin types who suffer from acne.

What Does Kaolin Do?

Also known as china clay, think of kaolin as an SOS for naughty skin. With amazing natural absorbency levels, it soaks up excess oil, leaving you sheen-free, but without the usual trade-off of flakes and dry patches. Over time, it even helps to regulate oil production, leaving skin blissfully balanced.

A gold standard acne fighter, this active ingredient also draws out spot-inducing bacteria and dirt from the skin, purging pores and detoxing your complexion – so you can quit reaching for the toothpaste as an emergency spot treatment (please don’t use toothpaste)!

Thanks to its crystalline consistency and purifying properties, kaolin is also a great natural exfoliator, buffing skin gently. The definition of ‘multipurpose,’, it’s also a badass at reducing inflammation, redness, and swelling – helping irritated skin feel soothed and pampered. In addition, it’s thought to increase circulation to damaged skin, which helps stimulate and speed up healing.

And while your skin will thank you for busting out the kaolin, so will your hair. It’s a staple of natural dry shampoos given its ability to absorb oil.

Who Should Use Kaolin?

Because Kaolin is so gentle, everyone can use it, even those with sensitive skin.

How To Use Kaolin In Your Routine?

Add a quality kaolin clay mask to your skin ritual once a week. Like all clays, it can be super drying if overused. So remember, you don’t have to apply it to your whole face – if you have combination skin and find it drying out your cheeks, just pack it onto your problem area.

If you want to buy raw kaolin clay and make your own mask, make sure it’s 100% pure. A general rule of thumb is the whiter the clay, the better the quality.

 Our Fave Kaolin Skincare Products:

Kaolin Source: The Inkey List

The Inkey List Kaolin Mask, $8: Gentle on the skin but tough on toxins, this pocket-friendly clay mask effortlessly absorbs excess sebum and minimizes pores, all without stripping skin of its essential oils – a dream for greasy or combination skin.

Kaolin Clay Source: L’Oreal

L’Oréal Purify & Mattify Face Mask, $13: If you’re a tad oily and acne-prone, this eucalyptus-infused face mask, formulated with a trio of nourishing clays – kaolin, montmorillonite, and Moroccan lava – is going to be your new BFF. Read our full review here.

Kaolin Clay Source: Olay

Olay Fresh Reset Pink Mineral Complex Clay Face Mask Stick, $10: This travel-friendly, no-mess mask micro-exfoliates to remove skin-dulling impurities. Plus, its clever precision design means it can be accurately applied to problem areas if you don’t want to cover your whole face.

For more skincare ingredients that’ll transform your skin, check out our Beauty Glossary.