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Clay masks are all the rage at the moment. You can buy little sachets of goo to smear on acne, dull skin, oily skin or wrinkles! You can also buy the clay powders and make up your own masks with the ingredients in your kitchen!
Clays have been used as beauty products for thousands of years. Guess who was in on the beauty clay game? You guessed it, Cleopatra. She used clays from the Nile and the Arabian desert to pamper her skin and hair.
Cleo wasn’t the first though. There is evidence that early humans mimicked animals and used clays to clean themselves, rid their bodies of parasites, treat wounds and ease digestive discomfort. Some of the earliest references to clay as a medicine can be found in Roman texts around 60 BC. Aristotle mentioned deliberate “eating of the earth” and Marco Polo observed Muslim pilgrims taking “pink earth” to treat fevers.
There are a variety of clays that you can buy to make your own masks and treatments. They all have different minerals, colours and textures. Some are good for oily skin, some are a little more gentle. You can add fruit and oils to them or just a teaspoon of water for a spot treatment. It’s really up to you. So here are a few ideas.
Why is clay such a great health & beauty product?
- Removes toxins from the hair, skin and body
- Helps to regenerate tissues and skin
- Provides the skin with nourishing minerals
- Treats and prevents acne
- Removes dead skin cells, impurities and excess oil
- It softens blackheads to make extraction easier
- It evens out the skin tone by gently exfoliating and improving circulation
- Improves the appearance of scars, dark spots and blemishes
- Reduces wrinkles, fine lines and age spots
- Reduces inflammation and skin irritation due to eczema, psoriasis and rosacea
- Helps to absorb excess oiliness in hair
- Reduces the static in hair to reduce frizz
- Balances the skin’s PH to preserve the acid mantle that protects our skin
- Mild bleaching properties and the ability to even our skin tone.
- Softens the skin and improves its texture
There are many kinds of clay that you can use on your skin and hair. First, a little more about Bentonite Clay.
Also known as Montmorillonite after the area in France where it is believed to have been discovered. The largest source of bentonite clay is from around Fort Benton Wyoming which is where the name Bentonite comes from.
Bentonite is mostly comprised of volcanic ash. It is a very fine clay that contains calcium, magnesium, silica, sodium, copper, iron and potassium.
There are two kinds of Bentonite clay:
Calcium Bentonite: Can be consumed to help mineralise the body.
Sodium Bentonite: Used for external detoxing as it can draw toxins out of the skin more effectively.
How does it work?
Bentonite clay is negatively charged. When it comes into contact with water or fluids its composition changes and becomes more porous and absorbent. Toxins, bacteria, heavy metals and impurities are usually positively charged. Bentonite attracts these positively charged materials and absorbs them. They can then be washed away or expelled from the body.
How to use it:
- Heal skin conditions like dermatitis & eczema or small wounds: Combined with water and applied directly to the skin it will attract and absorb toxins and bacteria on the skin surface and from the pores. Its anti-inflammatory properties will relieve swelling and discomfort. By removing bacteria and keeping wounds clean it will help the skin to heal more quickly.
- Bath Soak: Add a 1/2 a cup of clay to your bath water and soak for up to 30 minutes to help heal dermatitis or small wounds. You can also use more clay in the bath to gently scrub the skin.
- Quick Mask: Mix a tablespoon of clay with a tablespoon of water or rose water to make a paste. Apply to your skin, avoiding the eye area. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water.
- Gentle Exfoliator: Mix a tablespoon of clay with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or green tea. Add a drop of tea tree oil to prevent spots. Apply the mixture in gentle circular motions. Leave the mixture on your skin for 5 minutes and rinse with warm water. Skincare: The silica in Bentonite clay softens the skin by strengthening the connective tissues in the skin which improves elasticity. Its anti-inflammatory properties will help to heal and prevent scarring due to acne.
- Digestion: Bentonite clay helps to keep the digestive system healthy by absorbing and removing toxins, chemicals, bacteria and heavy metals. It also helps to prevent toxins from leaking into the body through a compromised gut wall by keeping it healthy. It is helpful in treating constipation, IBS and vomiting. It can be added to a smoothie or simply drunk with water. Just add half a teaspoon to a large glass of water.
- Hair Care: Bentonite clay will absorb excess oil and reduce the inflammation due to dandruff or other skin conditions.
- Oily Hair: Make a paste with Bentonite clay and water. Apply it to the scalp and leave to absorb for ten minutes. Rinse away in the shower.
- Frizzy Hair: Add 1/4 cup of Bentonite clay to a litre of water. Use it to rinse your hair after washing it. Then apply your conditioner and rinse with clean water.
Next up, Rose clay! Stay tuned!
Lots of love!