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Clays in cosmetics - What are they good for?

The use of clays in soap and skincare products dates back thousands of years, with various cultures recognizing their unique benefits for skin health and beauty. Ancient Egyptians were among the first to use clays in their beauty regimes, Cleopatra was said to use clay from the Nile on her face to maintain her complexion. The Greeks and Romans too bathed in mineral rich muds and are were aware of their detoxifying and therapeutic properties.


At Ray of Soap we use two clays in our products - French Green Clay and Brazilian Purple Clay, each with their own individual differences and benefits.


The Montmorillon region in southern France is the most famous source of French Green Clay, which is formed by the breaking down of volcanic rocks and minerals over thousands of years. When applied to the skin, Green Clay is a powerful detoxifier, drawing out excess oils and impurities from the skin. It also provides very gentle exfoliation, and regular use can help the skin look more even toned and smooth. Its particularly good at balancing the oils of facial skin - one of the main reasons we use it as a key ingredient in our shaving bar! As well as all these benefits, it is also packed with minerals....



  • Magnesium - which helps to maintain skin health and function

  • Calcium - plays a role in skin cell renewal

  • Potassium - helps keep the skin hydrated

  • Manganese - contributes to the skins natural healing processes.








Brazilian Purple Clay is sourced from various mineral rich areas in Brazil, with the distinctive colour produced by the minerals it contains - namely Magnesium, Titanium and Iron Oxides. Purple Clay is known for its anti inflammatory and soothing properties, making it perfect for use on sensitive or more mature skin. It's also high in anti oxidants and can help protect the skin from environmental stressors. It is well known that because of their detoxifying properties clays can be drying if used incorrectly - but Purple Clay can help maintain moisture balance, keeping the skin soft and hydrated, as well as also improving circulation. As well as all these benefits, it is also packed with minerals....



  • Magnesium which helps to improve skin health and function

  • Titanium acts a natural barrier to environmental stressors such as UV

  • Iron Oxides provides some antioxidant benefits and helps protect skin from free radical damage

  • Silica which helps maintain skin elasticity

  • Potassium which regulates moisture balance keeping the skin soft and hydrated.




Both clays are useful to us when we think about using them in cosmetics, each with their own key benefits:


  • French Green Clay is ideal for oily, combination, and acne-prone skin due to its detoxifying, exfoliating, and oil-controlling properties. The silky properties of Green Clay make it a great addition to our Shaving Bar, meaning a razor can just glide freely across the skin. Find it in our Green Clay & Juniper Soap and our Green Clay Shaving Bar.

  • Brazilian Purple Clay is more suitable for sensitive, dry, and mature skin because of its soothing, hydrating, and anti-aging benefits. Find in our Purple Clay Bar.


The history of clays in soap is rich and diverse, reflecting the longstanding recognition of their benefits across various cultures and time periods. From ancient beauty rituals to our modern artisan soaps, clays continue to play a significant role in skincare, offering natural solutions for cleansing, detoxifying, and nourishing the skin.

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