Like many women, I’ve made a clay mask or two (or a thousand 😉). I “knew” the french green clay benefits but never really bothered to dig deeper.
Because of my perioral dermatitis, I’m a lot more reluctant to put things on my skin’s surface. I have sensitive skin and most things leave me with itchy, irritated red skin.
But it turns out that this natural clay has ✨ trace minerals ✨ that give a loving and rejuvenating embrace to your skin.
I went digging into the scientific research and history of the stuff because honestly I wasn’t sure if all the hype was validated or not. Here’s everything I learned!
What Is French Green Clay?
French Green Clay, also called sea clay, montmorillonite, illite clay, or simply french clay, is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for centuries for its numerous benefits to the skin, hair, and overall health.
This remarkable clay is named after the region in France where it was first discovered, Montmorillon. However, deposits of this clay have since been found in other parts of the world, including other regions of Europe, China, and the United States, particularly Montana and Wyoming.
The distinct green color of French Green Clay comes from a combination of decomposed plant material, primarily kelp and other algae, and iron oxides. The color can range from a grayish-green to brighter, grassy hues depending on the different mineral levels and the location where the clay was sourced. Along with the montmorillonite mineral, French Green Clay is rich in other essential minerals including calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and selenium.
The extraction process of French Green Clay is a careful one that ensures the preservation of its mineral content and therapeutic properties. The clay is typically extracted from naturally occurring deposits using open-pit mining, where the clay is removed from the earth, then dried and crushed into a fine powder. This powdered clay is then ready to be used in various skincare and wellness products, offering a host of benefits that we’ll get into in the following sections.
The Unique Properties of French Green Clay
I was already blown away by the fact that green clay is mined and then I read through the benefits. The trace minerals really provide a lot of nourishing benefits to the skin. It can hydrate skin, tone skin, remove all the excess oils and dead cells from the skin, firm sagging skin, treat insect bites and minor burns, calm irritated red skin and skin rashes… I mean 🤯
Okay okay. So what exactly makes this green clay so damn powerful? It’s the decomposed plant matter. Let me break it down for you.
The Science Behind French Green Clay
There is a lot of data about green clay minerals, the majority of which pointing to the incredible health benefits across many disciplines.
The two main things that make it all possible are 1) its molecular structure and 2) its powerfully healing trace minerals.
French Green Clay has a unique molecular structure that allows it to absorb oils, toxic substances, and impurities from your skin. Its toning action stimulates the skin, bringing fresh blood to damaged skin cells, revitalizing the complexion, and tightening skin pores.
One of the most significant scientific findings about French Green Clay is its apparent healing properties. A study conducted by Arizona State University found that the clay has an inhibitory effect on Mycobacterium ulcerans, a germ responsible for Buruli Ulcer, a flesh-eating skin disease.
While the effects of French Green Clay can vary from person to person, and more research is always needed to fully understand its potential benefits and uses, it’s clear that this natural resource has a lot to offer in skincare and healing. Let me go through it all now!
The Multifaceted Benefits of French Green Clay
Green clays are beneficial in many ways, not just skincare. Here’s all of the scientific evidence I could find that seemed relevant to general natural beauty treatments and healing pastes.
French Green Clay for Skin Care
This natural wonder is not just a pretty color, it’s a skincare powerhouse that’s been celebrated for centuries for its purifying and healing properties. Here’s what stood out to me.
Detoxifying the Skin
French Green Clay is a detoxifying superhero. It’s rich in minerals and has a unique composition that includes dolomite, manganese, silica, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and calcium. When applied to the skin, it acts like a magnet, drawing out impurities and toxins. This detoxifying process leaves you with smooth, soft skin.
Benefits for Acne-Prone Skin
If you’re dealing with acne or oily skin, then French Green Clay could be your new best friend. It’s great for clearing blemishes! Green clay has been found to have antibacterial properties, which can help reduce the bacteria that cause acne. Plus, its ability to absorb excess oil and unclog pores can help prevent future breakouts. It also calms irritated red skin, which can be especially welcomed during a major breakout.
Benefits for Dry Skin
Even if your skin is on the dry side, French Green Clay can still be beneficial. It’s a gentle natural exfoliant, removing dead skin cells and promoting circulation to help keep your skin smooth and hydrated. You can mix the french green clay powder and jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, or other natural oils to prevent your skin or the clay mask from drying out. I personally love sweet almond oil; it’s the most compatible with your skin’s natural oils.
Benefits for Mature Skin
French Green Clay isn’t just for those dealing with acne or oily skin. It’s also great for mature skin. The clay’s mineral content can help improve skin’s elasticity and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This can firm sagging skin and tone skin at the same time, leaving you feeling refreshed and vitalized!
Benefits for Sensitive Skin Types
If your skin is sensitive, then French Green Clay is still a great option. It’s gentle enough for all skin types and its soothing properties can help calm irritation and reduce inflammation.
So, whether you’re looking to detoxify, fight acne, hydrate, rejuvenate, or soothe, French Green Clay has something to offer. It’s a versatile addition to any skincare routine, offering a range of benefits that can help your skin look and feel its best.
French Green Clay for Hair Care
French Green Clay is a fantastic natural ingredient for hair detox. The clay works by absorbing excess oils, dirt, and toxins from your hair and scalp, much like it does for your skin. This can help to reduce buildup and leave your hair feeling clean and refreshed. It’s also rich in minerals like silica, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which can nourish your hair and promote health and growth.
French Green Clay for Body Care
When it comes to body care, French Green Clay is a powerhouse. It’s a natural detoxifier, drawing out impurities from the skin and leaving it feeling clean and refreshed. The clay’s unique mineral composition, including silica, aluminum, magnesium, calcium, iron oxide, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, copper, zinc, selenium, cobalt, manganese, phosphorous, silicon, and dolomite, can also help to nourish and rejuvenate your skin. Consider taking a mineral bath by sprinkling some of the green clay into a hot bath!
Natural Deodorant Ingredient
French Green Clay is a popular ingredient in natural deodorants. Its absorbent properties help to soak up sweat and neutralize body odors, keeping you fresh all day. It may be a great natural ingredient for irritated skin in your armpit area, too!
How to Apply French Green Clay to the Skin
Applying French Green Clay to your skin is a simple process. First, mix the clay with a small amount of water until it forms a smooth paste. Apply a thin layer of the clay mask paste to your face, avoiding the eyes and mouth. Leave it on for about 10-15 minutes, but do not let it dry completely. When the facial mask first starts to lighten (it usually means it is beginning to dry), rinse it off with warm water. It’s normal to experience a slight redness of the skin after using the mask, but this should disappear after about 30 minutes.
How Often Should You Use It?
The frequency of use depends on your skin type. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you can use the French Green Clay mask 2-3 times a week. For those with sensitive or dry skin, it’s recommended to use the mask only once a week. Always remember to moisturize your skin after using the mask to prevent dryness. I recommend my DIY facial oil, which is very hydrating and safe for all skin types.
DIY French Green Clay Mask Recipes for Flawless Skin and Amazing Hair
French Green Clay can be used in various DIY recipes for both skin and hair.
- For a simple face mask, mix 1 tablespoon of French Green Clay with 2 tablespoons of water. For an extra boost, add a few drops of your favorite essential oils. My favorite essential oils are the calming geranium essential oil and astringent tea tree essential oil.
- For a hair mask, mix equal parts of French Green Clay powder and water, apply it to your hair, and leave it on for about 20 minutes before rinsing.
Tips Before Trying the DIY Recipes
Before you start with your DIY French Green Clay recipes, here are a few tips.
- Always do a patch test on your skin to check for any allergic reactions.
- When mixing the various green clay masks, use wooden, ceramic, or glass bowls and spoons instead of metal ones, as the clay can absorb metals.
- Lastly, remember that the clay can stain fabrics, so be careful when applying and removing the mask.
What to Look for When Buying French Green Clay
Most natural clays will have incredible mineral content and healing properties (yay!). So how do you know which green clay masks to start with? Here’s what I look for.
How to Vet Brands and Products
First, take a look at the brand. Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices? You want to make sure you’re supporting a company that values not only their bottom line but also the health and wellness of their customers.
Next, evaluate the ingredients and composition of the product. French Green Clay should be the primary ingredient, but it’s also worth noting any additional ingredients. Some products may include hydrating ingredients like aloe or squalane to prevent the clay from drying out your skin. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you might want to look for products with additional clays like kaolin clay or bentonite clay.
I like this combo:
Lastly, fact-check all health claims. While French Green Clay is known for its potential skin benefits, it’s important to ensure these claims align with the current body of scientific evidence. That’s why I cite the hell out of my blog posts and only include scientific articles! 🤓
Starter Scrub for Different Skin Types
French Green Clay can be beneficial for various skin types, but the way you use it might vary depending on your specific needs. Here are some starter scrub suggestions for different skin types:
- Dry or Flaky Skin: If your skin tends to be dry, dehydrated, or flaky, consider a product that includes a moisturizing ingredient, such as squalane. This can help prevent the clay from drying out your skin further.
- Oily or Combination Skin: For those with oily or combination skin, a product that contains additional mineral-rich clays, like kaolin clay or bentonite clay, or charcoal can help cleanse and refine skin texture.
- Irritated or Acne-Prone Skin: If your skin is prone to acne or irritation, look for a product that includes ingredients like sulfur, azelaic acid, or green tea. These can help soothe and clarify the skin.
- Skin that Shows Signs of Aging: For those dealing with fine lines or other signs of aging, a product that includes ingredients known for cell regeneration, like the herb fo-ti, can be beneficial.
Remember, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test before applying a new product to your entire face or body. This can help you avoid potential allergic reactions or skin irritations.
Side Effects and Considerations
When it comes to using French Green Clay, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects and considerations. While it’s generally considered safe for topical use, some people may experience heightened sensitivity, rashes, or dryness after application. This is particularly true if you have sensitive skin or if the clay is used in large amounts.
In terms of knowing whether it’s making a difference, the effects of French Green Clay can vary from person to person. Some people may notice immediate improvements in their skin’s texture and appearance, while others may need to use the product consistently over a period of time to see noticeable changes. It’s recommended to monitor your skin closely after each use and to take note of any positive or negative changes. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to consult with a dermatologist or a skincare professional.
Remember, everyone’s skin is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s all about finding what works best for your individual skin needs and concerns.
Turns out green clay is extremely beneficial and should be a staple item in every home! There are endless ways to use it, my favorite are listed here. Let me know in the comments your favorite ways to use it! Let’s share our ideas 🙂