What Does Kaolin Clay Do For Skin and Hair?

Kaolin clay draws out impurities, detoxes the scalp and skin, it also exfoliates dead skin cells and other buildup from skin, scalp, and hair. Kaolin does this without robbing your hair and skin of valuable moisture. While it also adds softness, shine, elasticity, strength, and volume to your hair.

To better understand how kaolin works let’s take a look at the science, answer your most common questions, and some recipes for different uses: 

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Collage with different cosmetic clays on white background

What is Kaolin Clay?

Kaolin clay or Kaolinite, is a naturally occurring silicate mineral found primarily in hot moist climates around the world. Kaolinite is one of the most abundant clay minerals on earth. Widely used across many industries from manufacturing uses to medicinal uses. It is generally white, but depending on the other plants or minerals present, it can be several pale colors from yellow to green and red to pink.

Primary Uses of Kaolin Clay:

  • One of the primary uses of kaolin is for the making of paper, giving it another name, paper clay.
  • For centuries, it has been used to make porcelain, which is why it is also called China Clay.
  • Kaolin is used in medicine for wound dressing, reduces oral pain caused by radiation damage, and its oldest medicinal use is to treat toxic ingestion of certain substances.
  • It is also being studied for removal of fabric dyes from wastewater and other water filtration
  • It can be used in spray form for organic insect control.
  • In the beauty industry, cosmetic grade kaolin clay is used in a variety of products to include facial masks, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, hair-paste, toothpaste, deodorant, make-up and more.

What is Cosmetic Grade Kaolin Clay?

Cosmetic kaolin clay is finely ground white powder; produced specifically for skin and hair care.

How is Kaolin Clay Different from Bentonite Clay?

There is one primary difference between kaolin and bentonite.

  • Kaolin adsorbs toxins, impurities, and a small amount of water.
  • Bentonite absorbs toxins, impurities, and 8 times its weight in water.


So what is the difference between adsorbing and absorbing?

Simply put:

  • Adsorb means to stick to other substances. Adsorbing clays usually have a low shrink-swell capacity; meaning they do not soak up a lot of water and swell.
  • Absorb means to take in (or soak up) surrounding substances. Absorbing clays absorb impurities like a sponge taking in all the toxins, impurities, and copious amounts of water.
adsorption vs absorption diagram

Why do I use Kaolin Clay in QuickSilverHair Clay rather than Bentonite Clay?

This simple difference of adsorbing vs absorbing makes bentonite amazing for clay skin-mask preparations and detox baths. It does a fine job of drawing out any impurities from the skin, especially, oily and acne prone skin. However, it is not so great for hair because it strips all the moisture out of your hair.

Kaolin is much milder (in my opinion) than bentonite. Because Kaolin does not swell with water it doesn’t steal moisture from the hair like bentonite does. Kaolin has a unique quality, instead of your hair feeling dry and stripped after use it feels soft, looks shiny, and has increased volume.   

Kaolin is also safer clay for dry and acne prone skin because it is so gentle.

Is Kaolin Clay Safe?


Argil-therapy is the cosmetic term for using clay in skin and hair care. Clays have been widely used for skin, hair, and medicinal uses since ancient times. All clays have distinct and unique properties and purposes. Some clays, like French green clay are very high in minerals, while white clay like Kaolin is very high antimicrobial properties.

While the evidence is, still out on ingesting Kaolin Clay it is perfectly safe for topical use.*

*California Proposition 65 Warning: Consuming Kaolin Clay can expose you to lead, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/food.

Cosmetic Benefits to Kaolin Clay:

  • Kaolin is non-irritating and non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores); it is considered one of the gentlest and mildest clays for skin and hair care.
  • Kaolin is naturally anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory.
  • Kaolin is beneficial for oilier skin and hair types because it is great for removing excess oils and sebum.
  • Some evidence has been found that poultices made of kaolin help soothe poison oak and poison ivy because of its adsorption of toxins and its added anti-inflammatory effect.
  • According to a clinical trial in 2012, mixing kaolin and jojoba oil as a mask helped reduce acne lesions and inflammation.
  • For hair, it helps cleanse the scalp of oils, yeast, dead skin, and other pore clogging buildup like hair products and pollution. This potentially can reduce dandruff, scalp acne, and will promote a healthier scalp, which means healthier hair.

Warnings: If you have dry skin or hair, you should make sure, to use with oil, apply gently, and follow with moisturizer or conditioner.

QSH Clay pH chart

pH of Kaolin Clay:

The pH of kaolin clay in its natural state is around 4.

The pH of the QuickSilverHair Clay mask mixed with the Acure Curiously Clarifying Conditioner and QuickSilverHair Squalane oil as per instructions is 5.5-6.

Making it a perfectly simple, and effective home remedy for hair.

Why Use QuickSilverHair Clay versus Just Plain Kaolin Clay:

I found when creating the QuickSilverHair Clay formula that kaolin alone was missing something. First, I added the perfect amount of cornstarch to help with absorbing oils. Then I added a special blend of cleansing essential oils, which also act as antiseptics, help with inflammation, and a list of other hair and skin issues: burns, sunburn, rashes, eczema, oily skin, acne, dandruff, psoriasis, and insect bites.

So yes, QuickSilverHair Clay is much more than just plain kaolin.


QuickSilverHair Clay Recipes for Acne Mask, Hair Mask, Clay Washing, Exfoliant, Scalp Scrub:

Special Note: before you make any homemade recipes, make sure your spoons, brushes, whisks, bowls are all clean; you do not want to add any bacteria to your mask. Clay masks won’t keep for long so best to make as needed.

Different cosmetic clays in bowls on white background

QuickSilverHair Kaolin Acne Mask:

  • Mix 2 tsp of QuickSilverHair Clay with ½ to 1 tsp of Jojoba oil. You want a thin paste more clay than oil.
  • Spread evenly over your wet face and leave for five to ten minutes.
  • Gently rub mixture to loosen up dead skin.
  • Rinse with warm water.

QuickSilverHair Clay Oat Mask:

  • Whisk together 2 tsp of QuickSilverHair Clay, 2 tsp of colloidal oatmeal (or fine ground oats), 2-4 tsp of any type of milk (dairy or non-dairy).
  • Optional ½ a tsp of warm Manuka honey.
  • Spread evenly over your wet face, rubbing it in softly, and leave for ten minutes.
  • Wash off with a wet warm washcloth.
  • Follow with your favorite moisturizer.

    QuickSilverHair Clay Face Wash:

  • Mix 2 tsp of QuickSilverHair Clay, 2 tsp of witch hazel, and a drop or two of your favorite face soap.
  • Apply in shower as an exfoliating wash.

    QuickSilverHair Clay Exfoliant:

  • Mix 2 tsp of QuickSilverHair Clay, 1 tsp of sugar, a pump of a QuickSilverHair Oil, and mix into a paste with 2 tsp of your favorite shower gel.
  • In shower apply in a circular motion to anywhere your skin needs it.

    QuickSilverHair Clay Scalp Shampoo:

  • Mix 2 tsp of QuickSilverHair Clay, 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar, a few drops of a pure oil of your choice, and 2 tsp of your favorite gentle shampoo.
  • Apply to wet scalp, lightly massaging with your fingertips, all over your scalp.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Shampoo and condition as normal.

QuickSilverHair Clay Dry Shampoo:

  • Using a funnel add QuickSilverHair Clay to a tipped applicator bottle or root comb bottle.
  • Apply at roots and fluff your hair.
  • Voila Dry Shampoo

QuickSilverHair Hair Brightening Mask:

Head over to this page for detailed instructions > Mixing Instructions for QuickSilverHair Clay and Oil Mask

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Author Joli Campbell with long silver wavy-curly hair.


I hope you found this post educational and helpful.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to share.

As always it is about so much more than the hair.

signature: Shine On, Joli Campbell








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