The Real Dirt On Clay - Groomer to Groomer

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The Real Dirt On Clay

By Michelle Knowles

Oh yes, give me some of that French green; that special Kaolin or Australian black. Yes, I am talking about clay. As far back as prehistoric times, humans have used clay internally and externally to relieve ailments and treat wounds. We may have followed the example of animals, who by instinct, eat and roll in mud for this very purpose.

Clays are formed from volcanic sediments that have been broken down in or near natural bodies of water. Clays are extremely rich in minerals and, depending on where they are collected from, can have different effects when used in your topical applications.

Animals, like humans, carry and store many pollutants and heavy metals in their bodies and it is beneficial to all to have a regular cleansing that includes some sort of detoxification for the health and well—being of the body. Some clays are negatively charged so when they are applied to a positively charged skin, they have the ability to draw out oils, toxins and heavy metals like a magnet. The rule of thumb is, the lighter the clay the less absorbent it is and the darker the clay is, the stronger the detoxification action. Let’s explore some of the different kinds of clays that are available.



This silica based clay is the least absorbent clay and comes in a variety of light colors, such as, pink, yellow, white and red. This type of clay is very soft and fluffy and can be used on elderly or very sensitive skin. It doesn’t absorb so much as it softens crusts on the skin. White kaolin is gentle and can be used like baby powder. Yellow is a little more absorbent and is good for gentle exfoliation. Red kaolin pulls the hardest in this group and is best used on oily skin. Pink kaolin is simply a mixture of white and red that contains the benefits of both without being as harsh as the red alone.

Bentonite Clay

This type of clay is the standard for topical treatments and comes from an ancient volcanic deposit found in Wyoming. It is quite porous and swells when added to liquid making it ideal for pulling impurities, oils and other types of dirt out of the skin. It is good for skin that is compromised by fungus and bacteria and can help alleviate symptoms of many skin disorders including psoriasis and eczema.

Fuller’s Earth

This is a powerful clay, made of different kinds of minerals but mostly calcium, which absorbs oils and has a lightening effect and can be used on hyperpigmentation. This can be a very drying clay so it is best used on oily skin or used sparingly on a normal skin.

French Green Clay

This type of clay comes from France and is rich in trace minerals from the ocean. This clay pulls so strongly that it can be used to help boost circulation to the surface of the skin, tighten pores and of course pull oils. The green color comes from the breakdown of organic material contained in the silt.

Moroccan or Rhassoul Clay

This clay comes from Morocco and is packed with minerals. This type of clay is a very powerful solution for plugged pores and follicles and has the added benefit of improving the elasticity of the skin. It can also be used as a mask for hair and will leave coat silky, shiny and free of oil.

Oils, hydrosols and fruit extracts can be added to any clay mixture to further tailor your mask to suit the pet friend that you are working on. Ginkgo oil, Green tea, Argan oil, Avocado oil and Coconut oil, just to name a few, can be quite beneficial when combined with clay. These are a small example of clays that are available for cosmetic use. All of them can be mixed together to achieve the benefits of the individual clays.

Commercially prepared cosmetic clays are also available from various companies with different scents, oils and other ingredients. It is important to remember that only cosmetic clay should be used for treatments that are applied to animals. Commercial type clays are full of impurities and heavy metals and can be harsh or even poisonous to put on the skin.

For those of us that always liked playing in the mud, this is a perfect opportunity to perhaps get a sampler pack of clays and start mixing clay for the health and wellness of your furry friends! ✂

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