A lady applying a green clay mask with a brush on half of her face and a towel on her head.

Green clay benefits

Green clay is one of the most popular clays used in beauty treatments. Often, green clay is referred to as French clay, because the natural minerals which give this mud its colour were first found in France. Today, you can purchase green clay face masks that are sourced from all around the world. However, French green clays are still prized as a luxury item, as they typically contain more naturally-occurring minerals than other green clays.

What is green clay?

Green clays are technically called Illite clays, and they’re sourced from marine waters or mineral springs.

Illites get their bright green colour from decomposed marine flora, like algae and chlorophyll. They’re also well-known for containing a variety of other minerals, including zinc oxides, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus1.

The more vibrant the colour, the more expensive the green clay is, as colour vibrancy is believed to indicate a high mineral content.

Benefits of green clay

There’s not a lot of scientific evidence supporting the beauty benefits of green clay, except one study which suggests green clay can halt bacteria growth2. That study deduced that topically applying green clay could help manage ulcers and other skin complaints.

Cleanse pores

Green clay lovers self-report that using green clay leaves them with clearer, brighter skin. Most beauty enthusiasts will tell you green clay is excellent for deep cleaning pores.

Everyday environmental stressors, like pollution and grime, permeate pores, clogging them and leaving skin looking unclear. A green clay mask can draw impurities from pores, resulting in a cleaner, brighter complexion.

Mattify skin

A little bit of sebum production is no bad thing – facial oil is partly responsible for giving skin a youthful glow. However, we all know that there’s a difference between glowing and greasy.

If you’ve found your skin going the wrong way, use a green clay face mask to restore the balance. Green clay is said to remove excess oil from the skin to mattify your complexion, making your skin look clean and bright.

Hydrate

French green is sourced from mud beside mineral springs or sea, so is deeply, naturally hydrating, and enriched with green marine flora. The brightest, naturally coloured clays are the best to hydrate skin, as they contain a wealth of healthy minerals, plus have a thick, nourishing texture.

Read more: The 7 skin method for dehydrated skin

Soothe skin

Green is opposite red on the colour wheel, so it can help to counteract redness in the skin when topically applied. In general, all clay treatments are considered to be sensitive skin safe, so can be a natural, gentle salve when your skin’s suffering from sensitivity.

How to use green clay

Before applying green clay, make sure your skin is cleansed. Wash your face with your usual cleanser, perhaps using a flannel to ensure you’ve removed all soap and impurities. Pat your skin dry, then apply your green clay mask while your skin is still damp.

Leave the mask on for around ten minutes. As soon as the clay feels tight, rinse it off, as it can dry skin out if left on too long. After drying, complete your regular skincare routine and enjoy the benefits of bright, clean skin.

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Last Updated: 7th December 2020

Expertly reviewed by:

 

Sources:
  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/green-clay#what-it-is
  2.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2600539/

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Manisha Taggar,
Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: May 2019

BSc Hons in Pharmaceutical & Cosmetic Science

Manisha started her career at a Cosmetics distributor as a Regulatory Technologist followed by a Regulatory Affairs Officer, ensuring the regulatory compliance of cosmetic products from colour cosmetics to skincare.

After 3 and half years in this role, Manisha joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.

Manisha specialises in Cosmetic products, both own-label and branded lines, ensuring that these products and all relating marketing material comply to the EU Cosmetics Regulation.