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Ingredient Spotlight: Bentonite Clay & Why It’s So Great for Oily Skin

bentonite clay powder

When we were kids, playing with clay was all the rage. Who knew that as adults we would be doing the same thing? That’s because bentonite clay is an active ingredient in many skin care products, not necessarily for its awesome sculpting potential, but for its beauty and healing benefits.

Bentonite clay is a natural substance extracted from volcanic ash, most commonly found in the state of Wyoming. We spoke with Ginger King, CEO of Grace Kingdom Beauty, Cosmetic Product Development to get a better idea of the uses and benefits of this natural substance.

Top 5 Bentonite Clay Benefits

Bentonite has a rich history as a healing tool. It’s frequently used as a home remedy, to protect the body from disease. The clay contains an abundance of minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium and silica. Its benefits on the skin include:

  1. Mattifies skin: King points to bentonite clay’s ability to work as filler; it tones and tightens the skin, offering a matte finish, which lasts all day.
  2. Controls oil: King also covets the ingredient’s absorbent qualitiesit swells when mixed with water. Bentonite clay “absorbs oil well and can clear out impurities,” working to suck out the extra sebum on your skin.
  3. Shrinks pores: Bentonite clay has astringent properties; it tightens the skin and can temporarily minimize the appearance of pores. It reduces pores long-term by unclogging them and removing excess oil from the skin.
  4. Removes toxins: In her book, Living Clay: Nature’s Own Miracle Cure, Perry A. explains, “Bentonite clay molecules carry a negative electrical charge while toxins and impurities carry a positive charge.” What this means is when clay is ingested, the positively charged toxins are attracted to the “negatively charged surfaces of the clay.” They are then broken down and expelled from the body (when the clay is removed).
  5. Soothes and heals: Bentonite clay helps to reduce the look of scars and is ideal for treating blemishes, but also works to minimize skin conditions (like eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis). The removal of toxins can calm the skin, reducing inflammation and healing cracks and scars. The delivery of much-needed minerals and nutrients will help to revitalize the skin.

Check out our top picks for skin care products powered by bentonite clay.

  1. 1. Sunday Riley - Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner

    A lightweight, multi-purpose toner, it unclogs pores and reduces redness. Bentonite clay is soothing and works to remove excess oil and toxins from the skin. Need a reminder of how great bentonite clay can be? The brand says it best: “Bentonite clay keeps us matte all day,” William Porter, Market Manager at Sunday Riley, tells us.
    Reviews Say: “Sunday Riley products are amazing. I break out a ton and am oily and this cools and mattes my face instantly while tightening my pores. It’s the coolest product ever and well worth the price.”

    Buy now with free delivery
  2. 2. Indie Lee - Clearing Mask
    Buy now with Dermstore

    2. Indie Lee - Clearing Mask

    This purifying treatment mask helps clear and smooth the complexion. The bentonite clay draws out impurities from the skin and helps to heal blemishes and various skin conditions.
    Reviews Say: “This clearing face mask is incredible. I can feel it working the second I apply it to my skin. I have seen lasting improvements to the overall complexion of my skin—the majority of my acne scars have vanished. Definitely repurchasing this!”

    Buy now with free delivery
  3. 3. The Organic Pharmacy - Purifying Seaweed Clay Mask
    Buy now with Dermstore

    3. The Organic Pharmacy - Purifying Seaweed Clay Mask

    Brightening and tightening, this mask energizes and revitalizes all skin types. Bentonite clay reduces inflammation and tightens the skin, minimizing the appearance of pores as well as wrinkles.
    Bonus: Just like the rest of The Organic Pharmacy’s products, this mask is made from certified food-grade organic ingredients—for a simple, non-toxic treatment.

    Buy now with free delivery
  4. 4. MyChelle Dermaceuticals - Sun Shield Liquid Tint SPF 50

    A sheer sun shield, it protects and hydrates the skin. Bentonite clay protects by removing oil and dirt from your pores. It also offers that ideal matte finish for all-day wear.
    Reviews Say: “I’m so happy I tried it. It’s quite a thin texture, and [once] you rub in it blends into your skin so naturally and it doesn’t have this nice matte finish that I feel like lasts through most of the day. And I love that it has SPF 50. I highly recommend.”

    Buy now with free delivery
  5. 5. Dr. Hauschka - Soothing Cleansing Milk
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    5. Dr. Hauschka - Soothing Cleansing Milk

    This mild and comforting cleanser gently calms the skin. Bentonite clay soothes and cools, reducing inflammation and healing the skin.
    Reviews Say: “I have very oily, acne prone skin that is easily dehydrated. This cleansing milk has helped bring the moisture back to my skin. It leaves my skin so soft and smooth and I’ve had no problems with acne. I will buy this product again for sure!”

    Buy now with free delivery

Beauty Writer

Jessica Griffiths

Jessica Griffiths is a writer living in Los Angeles. Her essays have been published on The Hairpin and Narratively. She loves many things including puns, pups and police procedurals. She strongly believes there’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s.