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Valeria Cole

All About Brazilian Mineral, Kaolin Clays

Posted by Valeria Cole

Brazilian clays are set to become one of the hottest beauty trends this year. Demand for Brazilian clays is on the rise, and given the host of benefits they offer, it's easy to see why! All Brazilian clays are forms of kaolin clay, which naturally occurs in hot, wet climates.

When mixed with water, this clay creates a slurry suspension. It is light and fine, and its color varies depending on the presence of certain elements when it forms. When you think about Brazilian clays vs. others, it starts with some generic but pretty awesome benefits.

colored clays in dishes

General Benefits of Brazilian Clays

  • 100% natural and photostable colors
  • Remove waste, impurities and dead skin cells
  • Reduce skin and hair oiliness
  • Provide firming effect Increase skin elasticity
  • Approved by Ecocert
  • Enhance blood circulation stimulating elastin and collagen production
  • Improve emulsion, gel stability and sensory
  • Environmental friendly
  • No animal testing

But there are certainly other types of clays that may offer similar benefits, we agree, however, it is impotant to note that Brazilian clays absorb less water and are less drying on skin.

Water absorption*:

  • Kaolinite (found in Brazil): 65%
  • Illite (found in France): 150-200%
  • Bentonite (found in the US): 300 – 700%

pH chart for claysThere is also the pH level factor. Here is an excerpt from Anna Moore’s article on balancing your skin’s PH on SkinCareRX. “Our skin is naturally designed to fight infection and environmental stresses and its ability to do so is affected by its pH level. The pH level of the skin refers to how acidic or alkaline it is. On a scale of 1-14, with 1 being the most acidic to 14 being the most alkaline, 7 is considered a neutral reading for your skin’s pH. Our skin has a thin, protective layer on its surface, referred to as the acid mantle. This acid mantle is made up of sebum (free fatty acids) excreted from the skin’s sebaceous glands, which mixes with lactic and amino acids from sweat to create the skin’s pH, which ideally should be slightly acidic – at about 5.5.

Many factors can interfere with the delicate balance of the skin’s acid mantle, both externally and internally. As we age, our skin becomes more acidic in response to our lifestyle and our environment. Everything that comes in contact with our skin (products, smoking, air, water, sun, pollution) can contribute to the breaking down of the acid mantle, disrupting the skin’s ability to protect itself.

Diet plays an important role in determining our internal and external pH levels. It is important to note that a food’s acid or alkaline formation in the body is not the same as the pH of the food itself. In an interesting paradox, foods that are considered acidic before digestion (like lemons) become alkaline-forming in the body. Most animal products, which are alkaline prior to digestion, are considered acid-forming in the body. According to dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf, “We need our diets to be less acidic than alkaline, otherwise internally,we become too acidic.” This means that an ideal diet consists of consuming an abundance of alkalizing foods such as leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, tomatoes, carrots and soybeans.

Maintaining the Acid Mantle Optimal pH Skin Care

The acid mantle is an effective form of protection, but if your pH level is too alkaline or too acidic, the mantle is disturbed and skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema , and rosacea may result. A skin care product may claim to be pH balanced, but you can verify the actual pH of a product by using an at-home pH testing kit (available at most drug stores). A physician also can determine your skin’s surface pH level and saliva tests will accurately indicate your body’s overall pH level.

Teadora revitalizing clay mask and scrubChoosing mild cleansers and toners that are slightly acidic (close to 5) will benefit all skin types in properly maintaining the acid mantle.

Here is an overview of the pH levels of different clays:

  • Calcium Bentonite (aka Aztec Secret): 8 - 9.7
  • French Green (aka Illite Clay or Sea Clay): 7.75
  • Fuller's Earth: 7.5
  • Rhassoul (aka Red Moroccan or Red Clay): 7 - 7.5
  • Dead Sea Mud: 7
  • Brazilian Mineral Kaolin (all colors): 6
  • Moor Mud: 4.5 - 5.5

But one of the of the most fascinating and fun features of Brazilian clay is how many types of Brazilian clay exist naturally in one geographic region.

Natural Brazilian Clay

All Brazilian clays are naturally colored in the process of development, but when people refer to “natural” clay, they likely mean neutrally colored clay, which is often white or soft beige in color. It is typically high in silicon and retains water really well. Some people use this and other colors of clay for facials, scrubs, moisturizers or even soaps. Each of the other Brazilian clay colors typically has an additional natural chemical or elemental component that makes it ideal for specific applications.

small piles of colorful clays on a slate background

Purple Brazilian Clay

While you may not think that clay could naturally have such a bold color, the beautiful soft purple color of this clay is due to high levels of magnesium. Purple clay benefits are mostly anti-aging. Magnesium, after all, helps ensure healthy skin cells, which can make you look younger.

Purple Brazilian clay can also help prevent your skin from absorbing environmental contaminants and impurities. That is why purple clay is one of the most popular natural clays for soap.

Pink Brazilian Clay

The minerals that give this clay its lovely natural color include copper, selenium, manganese magnesium and zinc. It's popular for use in soaps, because it helps form a smooth, rich lather and offers mild exfoliating properties. Pink Brazilian clay is prized for being the mildest clay available. It often has a pH very close to that of human skin, making it ideal for those with very sensitive or delicate skin.

Yellow Brazilian Clay

Yellow clays often include feldspar, also called aluminum silicate. It's a soft, mild clay that doesn't absorb oil like the other colors of clay. That makes it perfect for sensitive or dry skin. You will often find increased amounts of silicon, titanium and potassium in this clay, which can promote increased collagen production. Some people also believe it can help remineralize the skin, making it stronger and healthier.

Red Brazilian Clay

powdery pile of red brazilian kaolin clayRed clays are higher in iron, which softens skin almost instantly upon use. It can help repair cutaneous effects of the natural aging process in your skin. It also lifts and firms your skin. In fact, clinical tests have shown that red clay can increase elasticity by 173 percent and firmness by 37 percent.

A Brazilian clay mask that includes red clay, like our Brazilian Glow Red Clay & Scrub Masque, can help you regain that youthful glow and leave you with firmer, more fresh-looking skin. If you have the dreaded adult onset acne, Brazilian red clay can remove surface oils that cause outbreaks while also firming your skin.

Amazonian White Clay

Known as the world’s most perfect beauty ingredient for its ability to remove dry patches and oiliness simultaneously for a flawless look. It is widely used in make up and has become particularly popular in makeup through a Tarte Cosmetics.

  • Rich in nutrients
  • Originates from the Amazon River Basin area
  • Contains unsaponifiable fractions absorbed from organic products It has a great capacity of enhancing the sensory profile of emulsions
  • Promotes a cooling sensation
  • Skin neutral pH
  • Light exfoliating agent: thin, soft particle gentle on skin, perfect for facial products

Teadora brightening exfoliating mudWe use Amazonian White Clay in our Brightening and Exfoliating Mud. The combination of antioxidant-rich superfruit oils, Amazonian White Clay and Açaí Seed Powder + Pythic Acid make our Mud a powerful, yet gentle skin detoxifying and exfoliating product for the most sensitive of skins.

Brazilian Clays also come in crude, light green, gold, black, brown, light red, dark red, old rose, vanilla and yellow. Each of them with different, rich properties for your skin and even for your hair.

Brazilian Clays Are Great for Face, Body and Hair

Many products that are great for your overall skin aren't always ideal for facial skin care. The reverse is also true. Brazilian clays are one of the few products that works as well on the face as on the rest of your body.

Teadora's popular Rejuvenating Salt and Revitalizing Sugar Red Clay Scrub both feature a potent, proprietary blend of active essential oils and other vegan, natural, active ingredients and work wonders for both face and body skin.

Love yourself, find your joy, share your passion.

Cheers, Val

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