Clay is a classic skincare ingredient, universally-prized for its detoxifying properties. But not all clays are created equal. From bentonite to kaolin to rhassoul and French Green, each clay variety offers unique benefits for the skin. French Green Clay is one clay that’s often easy to visually identify in a mask, thanks to its pale green hue, a product of naturally-occurring iron oxide and decomposed plant matter. A green clay mask has long been a quintessential beauty product, and for many of us it was even the first face mask we tried. Ahead, we give you an in depth look at French Green Clay, its origins, uses, and its benefits, so you can decide if this ingredient deserves a place in your own skincare routine.

Closeup on French Green Clay

French Green Clay was first mined in France (hence its name), but now has been found, and mined, in other clay deposits in the Western US, China, and elsewhere in Europe. French Green Clay is sometimes also called Sea Clay. It’s rich in minerals including iron, magnesium, selenium, silicon, phosphorus, calcium, manganese, and copper. French Green Clay is a strong drawing agent; it is excellent at absorbing oil and removing impurities from the skin, and it holds nearly its weight in water.

When to use French Green Clay

French Green Clay is best for oily skin types, skin with pores that tend to clog easily, and acneic skin. The oil-absorbing properties of this type of clay may be too strong or astringent for those with dry or sensitive skin.

French green clay has been reported to:

  • Absorb oil/remove impurities
  • Smooth skin
  • Deliver nourishing minerals to skin
  • Increase circulation
  • Tighten pores
  • Calm skin inflammation

A Simple French Green Clay Recipe

Dry French Green Clay is an excellent staple to keep on hand in your home or dispensary (be sure to store it in an airtight container, away from moisture, heat, and light). It’s an excellent base for customized face masks. With the addition of herbs, essential oils, and even carrier oils, you can whip up a one-of-a-kind treatment that will keep you clients (and your skin) coming back for more.

Here’s a simple recipe:

2 parts powdered French Green Clay

1 part powdered rose petals (cosmetic grade)

1 part organic raw cacao powder

Mix your dry ingredients by adding them to a small mason jar. Tighten the lid, and shake rapidly.

To use:

Reconstitute the mask right before use using your favorite liquid or viscous ingredient. Only make enough for one treatment to avoid waste. We particularly love calendula, hibiscus, or rosehips tea, or hydrosols for a mask that will dry. If you’d prefer that your mask stay wet, reconstitute with your favorite carrier oil or raw honey. Add enough so that the mask goes on opaque, but spreads easily.

Apply your mixed mask to the skin using a fan brush, allow to set for 15 minutes. Remove gently by applying a warm compress to soften, then gently wipe away.

Tips for Using French Green Clay

  • When using French Green Clay, it’s best to use wooden, glass, or ceramic instruments in place of metal, in order to avoid lessening its effectiveness.
  • If you are using or purchasing a premade wet clay, be sure you read your labels and are comfortable with all the ingredients on the label. It’s common that wet clay masks contain added preservatives and stabilizers, some of which might not be on the label. Clays are highly prone to microbial growth and are very difficult to preserve naturally, so if you come across a wet clay mask and don’t see preservatives on the label, pick up the phone and ask the manufacturer what it’s preserved with.
  • In general, clay masks work best when kept wet, so aim to wash off your clay mask before it reaches a completely dry, cracked stage. Or mist your clay mask with water or a hydrosol to keep it moist for longer wear on your skin.

We want to hear from you!

How do you use French Green Clay in your skincare routine?

What’s your favorite clay to use for your skin type?



Additional source: Mountain Rose Herbs