Naturally occurring clay mineral (silicate of aluminum) used in cosmetics for its absorbent properties. Kaolin’s absorbent properties make it a popular ingredient in clay masks for oily skin. Used too often in high amounts, it can be drying, but is otherwise a benign ingredient.

References for this information:

Molecules, August 2016, pages 1–20
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, December 2013, pages 19–27
Complementary Medicine Research, April 2012, pages 75–79
International Geology Review, July 2010, pages 745–770
International Journal of Toxicology, Supplement 22, 2003, pages 37–102

Back to Ingredient Dictionary

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!