Why Is There Dirt in My Skincare?

If you’re drawn to high end skincare and haircare, you’ve probably noticed at least one or two products that contain clay as an ingredient. At Alder New York, we love clay so much that we use it in all of our Cream Face Masks and Texture Powder. While we are always looking for the best and latest in skincare technology, we also love using this time-honored natural ingredient. Read on to learn a bit more about this glorified dirt, and what it’s doing in so many of your top shelf skin care products.

Not Just Plain Old Dirt

So, what exactly is in clay that makes it special? Clay is actually a very specific type of dirt that’s a very fine (less than .002 mm.) mix of soil, clay minerals, and organic matter. That mineral part of the equation is crucial to clay’s role in beauty products. Depending on the type of clay (kaolinite, montmorillonite-smectite, illite, or chlorite), there will be different mixes of minerals, but all of them can provide potent health benefits when applied topically. All of them detoxify, while some can even boost circulation and collagen regeneration.

Sponge Meets Magnet

What makes clay such an effective skincare ingredient is its ability to both absorb and adsorb. Absorption, which most of us are familiar with, is the process by which one substance is fully penetrated into another substance. Think of a sponge soaking up water into it. Adsorption, on the other hand, works like a magnet, pulling molecules unto it's surface area. Clay both absorbs excess oil from our skin, while also adsorbing dirt and oil trapped beneath our pores, making it a facial ingredient powerhouse.

Gotta Love That Grit

As for clay in haircare? If you've ever used a texturizing powder or a clay pomade, then you know that a little grit can go a long way for hair in the style department. Certified cosmetic grade clay is a wonderful ingredient to use for texture because, unlike sand or silt, it's full of beneficial minerals for hair and is free of impurities. 

Whether it's used for hair or skin, this fancy-pants dirt has proven it's a lot more special than it looks. The next time you see it in one of your favorite products, you can feel confident that it's just as effective as any other ingredient on that list.

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