Thursday, September 7, 2017

Weekend Wonderings: Making clay masks and using essential oils in facial products

In this question, Newbie Tuesday: Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser, Jessica asks: I am actually working on something at home and I have pink french clay and I want to make some sort of scrub for the face. Most of the websites that I can buy the clay from just suggest mixing with water and adding to the face but i would like to add more than just water to my product. I was wondering if I could add essential oil or some hydrolyzed proteins or some tea tree oil.

Clay is incredibly hard to preserve, so it's always best to make a clay mask just before using it by adding it to a small bit of lotion or a toner or something similar. In my recent botanical extract (part one) e-zine, I made a bunch of these by creating the clay portion, then adding a gel or toner to it before applying to my face. Add your hydrolyzed proteins, hydrosols, and other water soluble ingredients to the toner or gel, and add powdered botanicals to the dry clay mask portion.

If you want to add clay to a product that you'll preserve, please use a really strong, broad spectrum preservative designed for hard to preserve products, like Phenonip or Germaben II at 1%, and only keep it for a week or so. After that, you're asking for contamination.

As a note, this is red reef clay from Windy Point Soap in Alberta. It's a type of kaolin clay. It's an awesome burgundy colour, but note that a little goes a long way. Make sure you do a patch test before doing a full, thick facial mask. 

As an aside, please think twice before adding essential oils to your facial products. I know they can offer some pretty awesome properties, but they also add a fragrance that is pretty hard to wash off when you're sick of it. I know lavender seems lovely at first, but picture wearing it all day just under your nose. If you wish to use EOs this way, please start with 0.05% or 0.1% and see what you think.

Clays can be great fun in our products, but always remember they don't preserve well. Keep you, your family and friends, and your potential customers safe by keeping them separate until used, preserving the product well, and doing patch tests for those clays that might seem a little darker.

You have so many to choose from, and they're so inexpensive when compared to other ingredients. As someone with oily, sensitive skin, I like white and red reef kaolin, pink clay, and glacial clay. Buy a few and see what you like best! Remember to keep great notes!


Monique said...

you can try a clay cleanser with just using oil. Mix clay and oil and then use a small amount to cleanse face and rinse with water.

Anahit said...

I disagree with remark about essential oils: they evaporate much faster then any synthetic fragrances, and unlike the latter don't 'stay under the nose' all day long, especially at concentrations mentioned in the post.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anahit! Thanks for sharing your experiences with essential oils. My point was that anything that has an odour to it - extracts, hydrosols, even things like honeyquat - can be too much when applied to the face. This is based on my experiences and those shared by my testers and students as well as readers of the blog. I'm glad your experience is different.

Diana de Gratigny said...

Dear Susan!

I have a story about my clay masks. Two months ago, I have created 3 types of facial masks with three different Brazilian clays that I purchased at Brambleberry and 1 mask with our local Georgia bentonite (kaolin) clay. I added powdered herbal extracts (one per batch) and essential oils (one per batch) in very moderate proportions. One Brazilian clay mask did not contain any herbal extracts. I had used these extracts, EOs and clays before in many of my products and was ready to enjoy all of my masks. But all three masks with Brazilian clays (purple, yellow and natural) irritated my normal skin at a certain point: after I washed them away, the skin on my cheeks and a forehead was red and my face felt hot. I even had to put some serious of my products to return my natural skin color back. Only one mask with my own bamboo charcoal, local kaolin clay and geranium EO was great: no any bad feeling whatsoever, skin was smooth, bright and fresh, the texture of a product was smooth and creamy. I tried them several times and results were the same.

My thought is: maybe, clays are not that great for the skin? At least, not all of clays? Or is anything wrong with my recipe in the core?

The general recipe for my masks is:

Water 67% at a boiling point to the batch:

Oil Phase:
Macadamia oil 4%
Sunflower oil 4%
E-wax 6%
BTMS-50 2.5%

Cool Down Phase:
Kaolin 15-22% / Brazilian clay - 15%
EO - 0.2%
Herbal extract (papaya, green tea or bamboo charcoal) 0.5%
Preservative (Optiphen) 1%

I will be glad to listen to any advice or recommendations.

Robyn Mac said...

Good Day! I have a question I'm hoping you can help me with. Magnesium aluminum silicate is described as "a water-washed natural smectite clay"on While on other websites it is described as a mineral derived from refined clay. My question is this, is it actually a clay like kaolin or is it truly an extract? And if it is an extract would it fall under the hard to preserve category like all clays? This is actually two questions now, lol.
I'm trying to recreate BECCA'S EVERMATTE PORELESS PRIMING PERFECTOR. The ingredients are:
Water, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylene Glycol, Enantia Chlorantha Bark Extract, Oleanolic Acid

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Diana! I wish I had something to offer, but I don't, unfortunately. What I can tell you is that I couldn't use the product you made as it contains oils and essential oils, which would burn the heck out of my sensitive, rosacea prone skin. I don't think there's anything wrong with your formula - it looks nice, but I worry about how it would preserve as there are a lot of botanicals and clays in there and Optiphen isn't a broad spectrum preservative - but there's something in there your skin won't like.

Hi Robyn. Check out this post on Paula's Choice or Cosmetics Info for more information.