What is it?
Kaolin is a naturally occurring clay mineral. It is also sometimes known as china clay and tends to be white in colour, though this can vary.
What is it used for?
Kaolin can be used to make a range of goods ranging from pottery to paper. However in beauty, it is ground into a fine powder which can then be mixed with essential oils or other ingredients to form a paste. It is very absorbent but it is gentler than some other varieties of clay, which makes it ideal for reducing oiliness and shine in all skin types. When applied to the skin it absorbs excess moisture, and has been used for hundreds of years as a skincare ingredient - primarily in Asia.
What are the pros and cons of using it?
Kaolin is a good way of reducing excess oiliness, deep cleaning and removing impurities, making it ideal for those who suffer from acne-prone skin. It is also known for reducing inflammation, meaning that it can help reduce redness and swelling around existing blemishes as well as helping to prevent new ones from occurring. Because it is gentle it is also a good choice for sensitive skin, though - as with all clays - overuse could lead to excess dryness. Consider using it in the form of a weekly mask, to balance skin's oil levels.
Which products can I find it in?
Kaolin is best used in wash-off products, such as masks, scrubs and peels. Try Anne Semonin Exfoliating Mask, Chantecaille Detox Clay Mask or Eve Lom Rescue Mask.