Everything You Need to Know About Bentonite Clay in Skin Care

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Clay face masks are a staple in most people's skin-care repertoire for removing impurities from the skin and lifting gunk out of clogged pores. Have you ever wondered what ingredients within that clay do the heavy lifting? Enter: bentonite clay.

Bentonite clay is in many skin (and even hair and body) products — you may have reaped the rewards of the detoxifying ingredient without even knowing it. Keep reading for more info on bentonite clay's origin, uses, and what to look for in beauty products.

What Is Bentonite Clay?

As its name implies, bentonite clay comes from the earth — it's composed of a mineral called montmorillonite. It's formed from volcanic ash that's had time to age. Bentonite clay is named after Fort Benton, Wyoming where it is most abundant; however, clay like it can be found in other locales where there's a lot of volcanic ash. There are two types of bentonite clay: sodium bentonite and calcium bentonite. The latter is what's commonly found in skincare products.

What are the Benefits of Bentonite Clay In Skin Care?

Bentonite clay is not a new star ingredient. An antibacterial and anti-inflammatory salve, it's been used for centuries for its healing powers. Today, it's recognized for its effectiveness at absorbing dirt and oil from the skin. How does it do that? Essentially, it attracts gook and draws it out of hiding to then be washed away. So, bentonite clay-based products are often sought after by those with acne-prone or oily skin to help cleanse pores. It can also be good for everything from dermatitis to diaper rash.

What Products Contain Bentonite Clay?

You can buy pure bentonite clay powder like Pure Body Naturals Indian Healing Bentonite Clay ($10) if you're up for a DIY experience. Mix it with water to form a paste, apply it as a mask, and let it dry for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Bentonite is found in many products for acne-prone and oily skin, like deep-cleansing masks. The SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Mask ($60) is a great example, and includes other skin-saving ingredients like exfoliating fruit acid and soothing aloe.

Face cleanser, like Sunday Riley's Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser ($35), is another product category that uses bentonite for its pore-clearing abilities.

Bentonite clay can also be used on the hair and scalp (which is also skin, of course!) and is found in shampoos like Shaz & Kiks Balancing Clay Hair Cleanser ($42) to remove — you guessed it — product build-up, dirt, and oil.