Green Clay: Properties, Types, and Uses in Cosmetics and Wellness

What is Green Clay

Green clay is a highly appreciated and widely exploited product in the phytotherapeutic and cosmetic fields, by virtue of its properties skin purifying properties, detoxifying, remineralizing And antibacterial that are attributed to it.

In detail, green clay is a substance made up of a mixture of compounds of mineral origin, originating from the erosion of granite rocks and the consequent redeposition of the decay materials deriving from them. It is precisely this particular mineral composition that gives green clay the numerous properties it enjoys.

Properties which, moreover, have been known since ancient times, so much so that the ancient Egyptians and Roman peoples already used it in the treatment of various ailments, both externally and orally.


Chemical Composition of Green Clay

Green clay is made up of various compounds of inorganic origin. The most present components are oxides, such as:

In addition, other elements, metals or ions, such as zinc, copper, sulphur, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and chlorine are also present in some types of green clay.

Did you know that…

Green clay owes its typical coloring mainly to the high content of trivalent iron (Fe³⁺).

Properties of Green Clay

The properties of green clay are closely related to a number of different factors, such as its chemical composition (concentration of the substances contained in it), its place of origin, the processing technique used and its ion exchange capacity.

In any case, we can say that green clay is mainly equipped with:

  • Adsorbent and chelating properties (green clay is capable of adsorbing large quantities of gas or liquid on its surface);
  • Remineralizing properties (given by its chemical composition);
  • Detoxifying properties e purifying;
  • Property antibacterial (the mechanism of action by which green clay carries out this action is not yet fully understood);
  • Healing properties (the application of a poultice or poultices based on green clay seems to be able to promote wound healing);
  • Property deodorants (most likely attributable to the adsorbent and antibacterial properties of which green clay is endowed);
  • Property exfoliants (some of the oxides contained in green clay are mild exfoliants which make it a useful product for accelerating normal cell turnover).
Types of Green Clay

On the market it is possible to find different types of green clay, which differ from each other according to various factors, such as, for example, the place of origin of the product and its chemical composition. In this regard, we report the example of French green clay and Italian green clay.

From a qualitative point of view, the chemical composition of these two different types of green clay is the same; on the other hand, the quantitative composition varies which, consequently, can influence the final properties of the product. Depending on the method of preparation, we can instead distinguish the following types of green clay:

  • Fine ground green clay: it is a type of green clay with a small and regular particle size. It is mainly used for external use.
  • Coarse ground green clay: it is a type of green clay which has a larger grain size than the previous one and is also used for external use.
  • Ventilated green clay: it is a particular type of green clay which is produced by drying in the sun. It has a very fine grain size, so much so that the powder is almost impalpable.
What is it for?

Given the numerous properties attributed to green clay, it is not at all surprising that this substance is used in many situations.

External use

Used for external use in the form of masks, packs and poultices, green clay is used in the cosmetic field in case of oily and acne-prone skin. Its antibacterial, purifying, detoxifying and mildly exfoliating properties help control excess sebum and improve the appearance of this type of skin (for more information: Clay Mask).

Given these properties, green clay is also used for the preparation of face masks fat hair (for more information: DIY Hair Masks).

Finally, we recall that green clay is one of the main components of the anti-cellulite mud and sludge in general.

Preparation of the dough for external use

When used in the aforementioned situations, the clay is mixed with water until a mixture is obtained that is neither too liquid nor too thick, but of a consistency such as to allow it to be applied to the affected skin areas.

Often and willingly, vegetable extracts or essential oils are also added to the water-green clay mixture, in order to stimulate its action and/or in order to give the compound further properties (for example, it is possible to add honey or oils/ plant extracts with a moisturizing action in order to guarantee a dermo-purifying action without excessively dehydrating the skin).

Green clay online

Green clay

A very fine green clay is available online in a 3 kg pack. Absorbent, purifying and regenerating, this product is particularly suitable for the care of combination and oily skin. Absorbs and regulates excess sebum, eliminates toxins and impurities, revitalizes the skin and promotes cell renewal.
To prepare the clay paste, simply pour the green clay into a wooden or glass container and add water. Leave to rest for 30 minutes then mix with a wooden or plastic spatula to obtain a homogeneous paste.


Alternatively, you can opt for a sun-dried active ventilated green clay in a 500g pack, 100% natural, useful for purifying and toning the body and for daily well-being. Also for internal use. Thanks to the trace elements and mineral salts it contains, this product has extraordinary anti-ageing, purifying and toning properties. The transformation of the ventilated green clay into active ventilated green clay has made it possible to enhance the intrinsic qualities of the clay and make the product of superior quality.

Internal use

Given its great adsorbent, chelating and detoxifying capacity, green clay has been used since ancient times by popular medicines for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders (flatulence, digestive problems, etc.), intoxications and poisonings (from drugs, toxic, etc.).

Usually, for internal use the ventilated green clay is used – as it is fine and impalpable, therefore more easily swallowable – which has been specifically prepared for internal use.

Ventilated clay is easily available on the market, in herbal shops and in various online stores. Usually, these products are considered as a purifying remedy for the body, but many consumers also use them in case of meteorism, flatulence and gastric disorders.

In this regard, however, we recall the importance of consult your doctor before using green clay by mouth and reaffirms the importance of use products (food supplements) that have been specifically formulated for this type of use (usually, the type of use is expressly indicated by the manufacturer on the product packaging).


Following checks conducted by EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority) on the possible risks to human health deriving from the presence of aluminum in food, the Ministry of Health has changed the conditions of use of food additives containing aluminium.

In the light of the restrictions adopted for the use of clays as additives, starting from the productions of 1 February 2014 it is forbidden to use as ingredients in food supplements of the following substances:

  • Sodium aluminum silicate (E554)
  • Potassium aluminum silicate (E555)
  • Calcium aluminum silicate (E556)
  • Bentonite clay (E558)
  • Aluminum silicate or kaolin (E559)

For the other clays used as ingredients in food supplements, the type and content with the indicated intake quantities must be specified on the label. Furthermore, with the notification of the label, a certification on the extent of the presence of aluminum must be provided.

Preparation of green clay to drink

When ventilated green clay is used internally (dietary supplements), many recommend carrying out the preparation in the evening and taking it the following day, taking care to drink only the supernatant (i.e. the water which dominates the solid clay residue deposited on the bottom).

However, the method of preparation may vary according to the product under consideration, therefore, it is recommended to follow the instructions on the product packaging.

We conclude by emphasizing once again how fundamental it is, before taking green clay orally, seek preventive advice from your doctorin order to exclude the presence of any contraindications you hate potential risks to the individual.

Side effects

Green clay used externally is usually well tolerated by most people, even if – in individuals with particularly sensitive skin – it could prove to be a bit too aggressive (in these cases, therefore, it is preferable to resort to the use of red clay or white).

When taken internally, however, green clay can cause gastrointestinal disturbances (such as constipation or constipation) and can reduce the absorption of different types of drugs and nutrients. Hence the importance of always seeking medical advice before taking such a product orally.

Furthermore, excessive use of green clay orally for long periods of time can cause potassium and iron deficiencies and favor the appearance of serious side effects, such as muscle weakness, intestinal blockage, skin lesions and respiratory problems.

Finally, although rare, there is also the risk of the onset of allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.


The external use of green clay is considered safe, therefore, it does not present particular contraindications, except in the case of known hypersensitivity to the product.

However, the situation changes if the green clay is taken orally. Indeed, the internal use of green clay is contraindicated in the following situations:

  • In case of known hypersensitivity to green clay itself or to any of its components;
  • In case of intestinal obstruction;
  • In the presence of gastrointestinal hernias;
  • During pregnancy (oral intake of green clay during pregnancy could, in fact, increase the risk of hypertension and oedema);
  • During lactation (there are no adequate studies conducted in this regard, therefore, as a precaution, the internal use of green clay in breastfeeding mothers is contraindicated).


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