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  • and Bobbi Brown are following suit. “Kaolin clay draws out impurities and exfoliates,” says Hannah Martin, Senior Pro Artist at Bobbi Brown, whose Instant Detox Mask is a cult favorite, “while Amazonian white clay boosts radiance and protects against infection.”

    The variety of clays means there is one out there for everyone. “All skins benefit from clay,” says Noik, “particularly those who travel a lot or live in urban environments.” Even delicate skins can get a clay boost. “White halloysite is great
    for sensitive skin,” says skincare guru May Lindstrom. “It doesn’t draw out any oil, so it can even be used on dehydrated complexions.” 

    Beauty: The beach-fast rules

    Like all trends, it began quietly. Clay, found in the ground of some of the world’s most isolated habitats, has recently been blended with innovative ingredients by a host of skincare brands. The results belie what you thought you knew about traditionally drying clay: cleansers that tackle redness, sensitive skin-
    friendly exfoliators, and masks
    that boost hydration.

    Julia Noik, co-founder of African Botanics, crossed the continent to formulate her cleanser. “We chose African clay, which is made of ash from ancient volcanoes. It lifts bacteria and toxins from pores to reduce breakouts,” she explains. Now, makeup brands like
    Charlotte Tilbury (whose best-
    selling Goddess Skin Clay Mask uses Spanish clay to overhaul skin)

    Ground Control

    Is this the ingredient your
    skin has been waiting for? By
    Amy Wilson Wyles


    Photograph: Trunk Archive

  • Archive