Kaolin [white] Clay is the most common clay ingredient found in products all across the cosmetics industry. It is highly absorbent, high in mineral content including calcium, silica, zinc and magnesium.
Kaolinite is a layered silicate mineral with one tetrahedral sheet linked through oxygen atoms to one octahedral sheets of alumina [aluminum] octahedral. It is most found in in places such as Brazil, France, the UK, Iran, Korea, and China. Its name is derived from Kao-ling, a village near Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province, China.
Kaolin clays, like others react greatly to air and water. Kaolinite clays go through ‘phase transformations’ upon thermal treatment in air. Dehydration begins at 550-600 degrees Celsius (1022 -1112 degrees Fahrenheit) and produces disordered metakaolin. ‘Metakaolin’ is not just a simple mixture of silica and aluminum- It is a complete amorphous structure that retains order due to the stacking of its hexagonal layers. Kaolin clay occurs in abundance in soils that have formed from chemical weathering in hot and moist climates.
Kaolin Clay, as with many of the earth’s gifts is quite complex! On top of cosmetics, it is also used readily in ceramics, porcelains, medicine, coated paper production and as a food additive. As a folk medicine it is used to treat upset stomach and was formerly known as an additive in medications for diarrhea- Kaopectate being a famous one! (Our clay is of course not for internal use). In Africa Kaolin is also used specifically in facial masks and soap and is often eaten to suppress hunger.
At Essential Wholesale & Labs we certainly do not hesitate to utilize this wonderful clay- we sell it as a raw ingredient and many of our masque products feature it, including the Peppermint Foot Masque Kit and Vita Milk Masque.