Clay has a long tradition of use, both internally and externally, throughout the world. The color of the clay is determined by where it comes from, how deeply it was mined, composition and make up of minerals and active enzymes. External treatments of clay stimulate circulation of blood and lymph fluid, help remove dead skin cells, and help strengthen and tone.
Clay is mined from deposits within the earth ranging from 100 feet to several thousand feet below the surface. It is brought to the surface and into the sun for the first time in ages, to remove excess water. After this process it then begins the process of micronization. That is, it gets heavily ground with huge crushers and then finely pulverized with fine mesh equipment. After this process is complete, it is once again laid out into the sun for more dry time allowing the final amounts of moisture to evaporate.
Kaolin Clay is derived from the Chinese word Kao-ling. It is a soft and usually a white natural clay produced by the chemical weathering of aluminum silicate. This clay is the most widely used clay in the cosmetic and beauty industry today. It is known as the mildest of all the clays and can be used on very sensitive skin types. Kaolin Clay is often found in soaps, scrubs, poultices, deodorants, facial powders, masks, and most dry and all wet cosmetics. Since it does not draw oil like some of the other clays, it is also very useful for people with naturally dry skin. In many parts of the world China White clay, yet another name for Kaolin, is colored pink-orange by iron oxide. This is called Pink Kaolin Clay. Still more mild than other clays, this Pink Kaolin is a little more detoxifying than it's partner White Kaolin Clay.
Bentonite Clay comes from thick layers of volcanic ash that has fallen back to the earth and absorbs many micronutrients from the areas which it lies. It has been used as a therapeutic clay since at least 2500 B.C. People around the world have used this substance for internal therapies as well as a detoxification for the external body. It is considered by some the most therapeutic and healing of all of the clays. A good quality Bentonite Clay should be a grey/cream color. Anything bordering white should be suspect to bleaching or high amounts of Kaolin Clay as a filler. The largest and most active deposits of Bentonite Clay in the world come from Montana and Wyoming, USA.
French Green Clay, as its name denotes comes from large deposits in France. However this exquisite clay can also be found in Montana, Wyoming, parts of China and other deposits through out Europe. The beautiful green color owes it's nature to two very important factors. One is iron oxide and the second is decomposed plant material. Due to the decomposed plant material this clay should always be very green, never a dull grey. Each element is responsible for working the outer skin layers in its own unique way. This clay is highly absorbent and literally "drinks" the toxins from the skin. It pulls vast amounts of toxic impurities (not to mention dust, oils, and make-up) from the pores, while toning and bringing fresh blood to the damaged and healthy skin cells alike. This revitalizes the complexion, helping sustain that natural health-filled glow.
Rhassoul Clay hails from Morocco. The word is derived from the Arabic word for washing "Rhassala". This clay has many names including: Moroccan Red Clay, Ghassoul Clay, Oxide Clay, but most often will be titled Rhassoul. It has been used in its country of origin for over 1400 years as soap, shampoo, and as a skin conditioner. It is mined deep beneath the Atlas Mountains in Eastern Morocco and can only be extracted under very special conditions. When first mined, this clay appears as a polished brown soap-like clay. It is chunky and resembles a rock more than anything else. After extensive micronization (crushing) this product becomes silken smooth and of very tiny particulates. This clay contains higher percentages of silica, magnesium, potassium and calcium. It combats dryness of skin, improves clarity and elasticity and has the ability to pull impurities and unclog pores even stubborn black heads. This clay also works wonders with the hair. It cleanses, removes impurities, and leaves the hair voluminous and ever so shiny.
Cambrian Blue Clay is the rarest and most ancient of all clays with deposits beginning in the earliest Paleozoic period of our history, about 542 million years ago. Cambrian Blue Clay is imported from the salt lakes of Siberia. There is only one company out of Russia that exports to anywhere else in the world. Its color comes from iron, zinc and algae and for all the above mentioned reasons is considered the most valuable clay in the world. It is prized for its anti-aging and anti-wrinkle and blemish fighting properties. It has an incredible ability to tighten and strengthen skin elasticity and tensile strength. This has been considered one of the most "aggressive" clays. Meaning it pulls the greatest amounts of toxins from pores and hair follicles. Yet it is gentile enough to use on most all skin types.
(Credit of some materials: RECHERCH'E ORGANICS. All the above clays are used in artisan bars manufactured by VOSS BOTANICALS)