Deep Retreat

Clogged Pores

Everything You Need to Know About Kaolin Clay

May 9, 2024

“Hey, why am I in this article about clay? I thought you guys did pore care?”

Trust us, you’re definitely in the right place. We’re talking pores and skin here, and kaolin clay might be just what you’re looking for.

Kaolin clay is an incredible ingredient used in skincare products. It’s VERY different from the stuff you played with in kindergarten, but still just as fun (promise).

Kaolin Clay: The Quick Q and A

Before we get into the details, here’s a quick kaolin clay rundown to save you some scrolling:

  • What is kaolin clay? Kaolin is a mineral clay known for its ability to absorb oil. 
  • What are the benefits of kaolin clay? Because of its oil-absorbing abilities, kaolin clay can help visibly deep clear pores and mattify skin.
  • Quick tips for using masks that contain kaolin clay: Double cleanse your skin before using a mask that contains kaolin clay, mask up once or twice a week, and follow up with a moisturizer.

What is Kaolin Clay?

Kaolin is a white clay made up of a superfine mix of minerals such as silica and alumina. The clay itself comes from granite that undergoes a special hydraulic process that separates actual rock stuff from the real rockstar ingredients.  

In the skincare world, you’ll see kaolin clay as the headlining ingredient in clay masks because of its ability to absorb oil. This oil-absorbing quality makes kaolin clay masks one of the best solutions for clogged pores.

Fun Fact:

Clay masks have been used in beauty routines for thousands of years!

Benefits of Kaolin Clay Masks for Your Skin

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Deep Clears Pores

Okay, if we’re going to talk about clay masks, we’ve got to talk about pores! Pores are tiny little holes across your skin's surface. They do so much for our bodies, like help regulate body temperature and keep our skin functioning the way it should (thanks pores!).

But sometimes, excess oil and dirt can get stuck in pores, creating a clog. These clogs can lead to rough and bumpy skin texture, imperfections, skin that looks congested, and those tiny little black pinpricks across your skin. Yeahhh...hard pass.

When your pores are deeply (and consistently) cleared out of clog-causing oil and dirt, you can often see clearer-looking skin (the DREAM).

So how does kaolin clay come to play? Kaolin clay can help visibly clear up clogged pores on your face. Kaolin clay binds to the oil and dirt trapped in your pores and draws ’em out to unblock pores. It's a lot like how a dry sponge soaks up a coffee spill on your kitchen counter. Those deep-cleared pores can help your skin look oh-so clear.

Want to see this pore-clearing happen in action?

Step one, grab The POREfessional Deep Retreat, our pore-clearing clay mask powered by kaolin clay.

Apply to clean, dry skin and leave it’ll see teeny-tiny dots appear. Those little dots are the oil being drawn out of your skin—and yes, they’re super cute, like tiny pore-unclogging purple freckles. After 30 minutes (or when the mask is dry), rinse to reveal your visibly deep-cleared pores. And, did we mention it works to visibly clear and smooth skin over time too? NICE.


Mattifies Skin

Another reason kaolin clay deserves to shine on your skincare watch list? Because it can help SO much with shine control.

When our skin looks a little too shiny, the culprit is likely an excess of surface oil. Remember, oil naturally buddies up with kaolin clay. So, when you're using a kaolin clay mask at least once a week, you’re drawing out excess oil on your face, which can lead to skin that looks much more matte.

If you want to do more metaphorical shining and less literal shining, book a weekly self-care date with The POREfessional Deep Retreat. It can give you 12 hours* of mattifying goodness and, in one study, 96% of participants who used it reported that their skin didn’t look oily or shiny after 1 use**.

*instrumental test on 32 participants 

**self-evaluation by 112 participants after 1 use 

Quick Tips for Using Kaolin Clay

If you’re looking to unblock pores and mattify your skin, face masks that contain kaolin clay could be a major game-changer. But before you take the leap into the goodness of kaolin clay, here are some pro tips to maximize your clay time:

  • Double cleanse before use: Double cleansing before using a mask that contains kaolin clay can help clear away surface level debris. That can help the kaolin clay dive deeper into pores to help deeply purify them (double-cleanse + mask = the ultimate triple cleanse). If you’re looking for a double-cleanse dream team, you can stop looking—we got it right here. Start with The POREfessional Get Unblocked pore-clearing makeup-removing cleansing oil to visibly melt away dirt, makeup, and oil. Then, lather up with The POREfessional Good Cleanup pore-purifying foaming cleanser to rinse away impurities and leave your skin feeling oh-so-clean.
  • Use it regularly: To see consistent results from your kaolin clay mask, use it once or twice a week. Pair your mask time with your favorite relaxing activity for an at-home spa moment.
  • Follow up with a moisturizer: Whatever your pore and skin care routine is, it’s always a smart move to finish things off with a moisturizer because your skin LOVES to feel moisturized especially after masking. Try the The POREfessional Smooth Sip lightweight smoothing moisturizer for pores. It gives you 12 hours of hydration*** AND helps improve the look of skin texture.

***instrumental test on 30 participants

Try The POREfessional Deep Retreat

Deep Retreat

We’re BIG fans of kaolin clay, which is why it’s one of the star ingredients in The POREfessional Deep Retreat pore-clearing clay mask. Packed with mineral-rich kaolin clay, Deep Retreat helps visibly deep clear pores. But kaolin clay isn’t the only power player in this purple pore-lovin' product:

  • Sea Fennel Extract helps minimize excess surface skin oil.
  • Bisabolol helps skin feel comfortable.

The result? A clay mask that makes your pores go “aaaaaaah”:

  • 12-hour* mattifying
  • 92% said pores feel deeply purified**
  • 96% said skin does not look oily or shiny **
  • 96% said skin looks healthy **
  • 96% said skin looks clearer****
  • 93% said skin looks less congested ****
  • 99% said skin is smoother ****

*instrumental test on 32 participants

**self-evaluation by 112 participants after 1 use

****self-evaluation by 112 participants after 1 month

If you’re looking for a deep-clearing clay mask that pampers you (and your pores!), trust us—treat yourself to Deep Retreat.

Benefit: Your Pores’ Happy Place

In case it wasn’t obvious, we’re OBSESSED with pores and made it our mission to be the experts in all things pores. With 5,000+ trained and trusted Pore Experts globally, we’re ready to help you find skincare solutions you’ll love.


Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (2024, February 7). Kaolin. Encyclopædia Britannica.

Jordan, A. (2016, November 24). Ancient beauty rituals that work. CNN.

Madormo, C. (2023, September 1). What is a clay mask?. Verywell Health.

Shunatona, B. (2022, June 17). Kaolin is a game-changer for oily skin-here’s how to use it in your skincare routine. Byrdie.

Yetman, D. (2020, June 4). Clay mask benefits for your skin and hair, and how to use them. Healthline.

Zhang, X., Zhang, Z., Tao, H., He, X., Hsu, K., Wang, W., Fang, X., & Steel, A. (2023, November). Comprehensive assessment of the efficacy and safety of a clay mask in oily and acne skin. Skin research and technology : official journal of International Society for Bioengineering and the Skin (ISBS) [and] International Society for Digital Imaging of Skin (ISDIS) [and] International Society for Skin Imaging (ISSI).