How Can I Use Bentonite Clay on Skin?

Bentonite clay has recently come into the spotlight for the way it can cleanse and heal your skin. People use it for anything from deep cleaning to soothing inflammation. This material is entirely natural, so you can use it and know you’re not applying chemicals to your skin. You’ll benefit from its cleaning properties without experiencing dry or damaged skin on your face as a result of harsh astringents or irritating scrubs.

At Miss Anne’s Maypop Herb Shop, we sell the best bentonite clay powder you can mix into a poultice or add to your homemade skincare items. But before you create a new concoction, make sure you know exactly what bentonite clay is and how it can help your skin. 

You’ll also find some recipes in this article to get you started on your bentonite clay journey. Whether you want to harness the power of bentonite clay for your face or as a bath soak (yes, really!), you’ll learn everything you need to know below.

What Is Bentonite Clay?

Many people are familiar with acne cleansers that contain salicylic acid. You might have benzoyl peroxide in your medicine cabinet right now! Once you discover the magic of bentonite clay, you’ll never need another store-bought concoction for skincare again.

Bentonite clay is a natural ingredient you can mix with water to form a paste. Applying that paste to your skin can treat acne by attracting impurities and pulling them from your body. While that may sound harsh, know that it can also soothe rashes. And not just rashes on your face or arms, but those on the sensitive skin of a baby’s bottom. Yeah, it’s that smooth.

Scientists believe the natural clay forms from volcanic ash formed as long as 2.6 million years ago! It’s definitely proof that the latest isn’t always the greatest. This ash contains natural clay minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium that make it a material people want to use for skincare.

Calcium is the key ingredient that improves skin cell turnover and maintains the skin barrier. It helps your cells retain moisture, which protects against aging. Since bentonite clay contains calcium, you can stop searching for a store-bought miracle product and continue benefiting from your homemade options.

Keep in mind that there are two types of bentonite clay. Sodium bentonite clay is approved by the EPA for use as a pond sealant, so it’s not what you want to put on your skin. Calcium bentonite clay is the gentle powder used for skin care, and that’s what we sell at Miss Anne’s Maypop Herb Shop.

The History of Bentonite Clay

Though bentonite clay is just getting its time in the spotlight now, it’s been used as a natural remedy for centuries. The largest source of bentonite clay powder in the United States comes from Fort Benton, Wyoming, which is how the substance got its current name. However, it was first found in the Montmorillon region of France, so it’s also called Montmorillonite clay.

Throughout history, people have used this type of volcanic ash for its soothing and healing properties, both externally and internally. There are actually two distinct bentonite clays for different uses! Commercially, builders realized that the sodium bentonite clay was strong and absorbent enough to use for seals and plugs. Meanwhile, cosmetic companies started using calcium Montmorillonite clay to clean and soothe skin.

The United States is responsible for the majority of bentonite production worldwide. The largest bentonite deposits are in the Western United States, including Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming (and specifically Fort Benton).

How It Works

Bentonite clay has a major negative electromagnetic charge when it’s in ash form. Mixing it with water activates it, turning it into a magnet that pulls positively charged toxins and heavy metals to it. The water also makes the clay work like a sponge so it can absorb everything it’s pulling from your skin’s surface.

The negative electrical charge in the clay attracts impurities with positive ionic charges, including toxins, bacteria, parasites, and metals. This means you don’t want to mix your clay with a metal spoon or in a metal bowl, or else you risk throwing off the balanced charge! A metal spoon can positively charge the clay, meaning it won’t draw out toxins from your skin.

Metal also rusts due to water exposure. That oxidation on a spoon or metal bowl can contaminate your homemade bentonite clay skincare products, making them less effective. 

With that in mind, use a wooden or plastic spoon to mix bentonite clay into your masks, poultices, and skin treatments. You can also use a makeup brush for facial treatments. Use the wooden or plastic handle to mix your clay, then use the brush end to apply it to oily skin. It’s as simple as that!

Health Benefits of Bentonite Clay

That previously mentioned negative charge? That’s one of the biggest benefits of bentonite clay. It also explains how it works—by using its electrical charge to attract positively charged ions. As you wash the clay off your body, it takes toxins with it. That means, when applied to your skin, it absorbs oil and bacteria, leaving you clean and naturally glowing.

There are other health benefits, too. Bentonite clay serves as a natural remedy that has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. You can use it to soothe allergic reactions to poison ivy or poison oak. It also serves as sunscreen protection and alleviates skin infections or ulcers. Since the clay is all-natural, you can even use it for diaper rashes.

Some people find that consuming bentonite clay will absorb heavy metals and toxins from the digestive tract. However, there’s no proof this is effective or healthy. Remember, you don’t need help to clean your body since your kidneys do the work for you. Eating plenty of fiber, especially as found in fruits and vegetables, also promotes digestion.

With the lack of scientific backing for ingesting bentonite clay in mind, you should only use it externally to pamper your skin. There are plenty of possibilities for external purposes, as you’ll see in the recipes section.

If you have eczema, dermatitis, or acne-prone skin, consult your healthcare provider before using bentonite clay. While it’s a natural product, you want to ensure it won’t irritate your skin conditions or conflict with any other prescription skin care you may use.

Ways to Add Bentonite Clay to Your Skincare Routine

When you put bentonite clay on oily skin, it absorbs dirt and oil like a sponge. If you want to learn some great ways to add bentonite clay to your skincare routine, check out these options.

Before you slather any of these treatments onto acne-prone skin, always test a small area on your inner forearm first! Everyone has a different skin type, so you want to proceed cautiously and ensure bentonite clay is compatible with your skin. Apply a thin layer as a small patch test and leave it on for just five minutes before rinsing it off. If you don’t have an allergic reaction, check out these recipes!

Bentonite Clay Face Mask

When you want to pamper yourself with an at-home spa day and remove excess oil from your skin, you can’t go wrong with a bentonite clay face mask. Many face masks you find at the store include bentonite clay, but that’s just one of the many ingredients. Make your own mask so you know it’s free of harsh chemicals.

For the mask:

  1. Combine bentonite clay and water in a 1:3 ratio
  2. Mix it to form a paste
  3. Apply the paste to your face
  4. Leave the mask on for 20 minutes
  5. Gently rinse it off and notice your newly clear skin

Say goodbye to harsh facial scrubs because you won’t need them anymore! Bentonite clay’s ability to attract toxins means it acts like a vacuum, pulling dirt and oil out of your skin and shrinking prominent pores. It gives you a gentle exfoliation that won’t irritate your skin.

The clay changes textures when it comes in contact with your skin. It thickens as it traps excess oil, dirt, and even leftover makeup. You can easily wash it all away with water.

Once you try it out on your face, consider using this mask on other areas of skin, like your chest, shoulders, arms, and legs, so they glow.

Bentonite Clay Bath

Instead of making enough of the bentonite clay mask shared above to slather all over your body, simplify the process with a bentonite clay bath!

Since the clay is a detoxifying agent that alleviates skin conditions, run a hot bath and add a cup or two of bentonite clay powder. Mix it up, then step in and soak until you’re fully relaxed.

After your bath, rinse off any excess clay and pat yourself dry.

Bentonite Clay Under Eye Treatment

Do you have puffy bags under your eyes? There are countless store-bought products that claim to send them packing, but they’re not long-lasting.

That’s where bentonite clay comes into play. Make a clay paste as you would for a face mask, but apply it under your eyes and let it sit for 20 minutes before rinsing it off. When you do this a couple of times a week, you’ll see a decrease in your under-eye inflammation as the clay absorbs excess fluid.

Bentonite Clay Soap

Since bentonite clay can absorb dirt and oil, it’s ideal to use in a soap. It detoxifies by pulling grease, oil, dirt, and impurities from your skin. You can add bentonite clay to a homemade soap recipe to ensure you’re benefitting from a completely natural bar. The clay makes the soap’s lather even silkier, ideal to use for shaving or enjoying a spa day at home.



  1. Mix the clay with the vegetable glycerin until it forms a slurry.
  2. Cut the soap base into chunks and melt in a microwave-safe container for 30 seconds at a time. Remove when fully melted.
  3. Stir the melted soap base and allow it to cool for one minute.
  4. Add the clay and vegetable glycerin slurry, stirring until evenly mixed.
  5. Pour the clay soap mixture into the molds. Gently tap the molds against the table to pop air bubbles and fill the mold completely.
  6. Let the soap cool to room temperature in the molds before removing it.
  7. Store soap in airtight containers to preserve the scent.

Once you have bentonite clay soap bars, use them as you normally would in the shower, bath, and to wash your hands.

Bentonite Clay Detox

No one wants smelly pits or feet, so once again, it’s bentonite clay to the rescue! Apply this mask whenever you want to let the clay absorb toxins, oils, and bacteria to leave you feeling fresh and clean.


  • 1 tablespoon of bentonite clay
  • 2 teaspoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar


  1. Mix the ingredients together into a mask.
  2. Apply the mask to your armpits or feet and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Wash off the mask with warm water.

Bentonite Clay Skin Rash Treatment

If you step into some poison oak or poison ivy, bentonite clay can soothe your skin and heal the rash more effectively than store-bought treatments.

  1. Wash the affected area with soap and water as soon as you can.
  2. Mix one tablespoon of bentonite clay with a tablespoon of water.
  3. Apply the paste to the rash.
  4. Cover the area with a clean bandage.
  5. Refresh the paste and bandage regularly until the rash heals.

Bentonite Clay Diaper Rash Treatment

A rash is a rash, right? Well, not exactly. When it comes to using bentonite on your little one, you want to add some other soothing ingredients that you didn’t use for the poison ivy treatment. Bentonite clay helps treat diaper rash with this simple recipe.


  • 4 tablespoons of bentonite clay
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons of zinc oxide
  • ½ cup of shea butter
  • 5 drops of chamomile essential oil (optional)


  1. Heat the shea butter and coconut oil on the stovetop until melted.
  2. Mix in the zinc oxide.
  3. Stir in the bentonite clay.
  4. Add the essential oil if you choose to use it.
  5. Store the cream in a tightly sealed mason jar and use it as needed.

The ointment lasts for up to one year, but if your baby is prone to rashes, you’ll certainly use it before then. It can also be effective in soothing your skin, even as an adult, so consider keeping some on hand for that reason alone.

Bentonite Clay Sun Protection

Do you hate the slick feeling of commercial sunscreens? Not to mention the overpowering smell. If you want to try something natural, guess what? Yup, bentonite clay can help.


  • Rose water
  • Bentonite clay


  1. Mix equal amounts of rose water and bentonite clay.
  2. Blend them completely and apply the mixture to your face, arms, shoulders, and other areas exposed to sunlight.
  3. Let the mixture dry on your skin for about 15 minutes before rinsing it off.

A study shows that bentonite clay has an ultraviolet (UV) protection level of 250 to 400 nanometers. The FDA requires commercial sunscreens to protect up to 370 nanometers, so you may choose to double up with bentonite clay protection and sunscreen to truly protect your skin.

Bentonite Clay Acne Treatment

Many mainstream acne cleansers use harsh chemicals that dry out your skin. Why feel forced to choose between acne or flaky skin when you can go all-natural and see the benefits of clear skin?

Since bentonite clay is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, it’s ideal to use as an acne treatment. As soon as you feel a pimple coming on, mix up a small batch of bentonite paste and dab it directly onto the spot.

Leave it on for about 20 minutes, just like a standard bentonite clay face mask. If you leave it on too long, especially overnight, it will dry out your skin. Twenty minutes is the sweet spot that gives the clay time to work its magic and pull out toxins without completely drying the spot.

You can also use the clay to prevent blackheads and remove any you currently have by deep cleaning pores.

  • Mix bentonite clay with a carrier oil, like jojoba oil
  • Apply the oil and clay mixture to your face, concentrating on areas prone to blackheads
  • Let the mixture dry slightly before rinsing it off with water

Skin discoloration happens over time, but you don’t want to risk using harsh products to even your skin tone. Thankfully, you can do it naturally with bentonite clay and a carrier oil.

  • Put a spoonful of bentonite clay in a bowl
  • Add calendula oil
  • Mix the two and apply it to your face
  • Let it dry for at least 10 minutes before rinsing it away

When you consistently use this approach, you’ll even your skin back to its original tone. It can also help scars fade.

Bentonite Clay Hand Sanitizer

While you might need the harsh, 60% alcohol hand sanitizers in some situations, using bentonite clay is a great option for a more soothing sanitizer. For example, when you’re at home and make your bentonite clay face mask, don’t toss whatever’s left behind—use it to sanitize your hands.

Bentonite Clay Hair Treatment

Okay, we wanted to share ways you can use bentonite clay on your skin, but while you’re at it, see what it can do for your hair! Shampoos typically contain chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, silicones, and even formaldehyde. Sure, your hair may look glossy at the end, but at what cost?

These days, clay is found in more shampoos and conditioners due to its benefits. So why not cut out that middleman and try your own natural approach? Not to mention, you can make shampoo bars and cut down on your plastic consumption.


  • 2 teaspoons of bentonite clay
  • ⅓ cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of lye
  • ½ cup of coconut oil
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of castor oil
  • 3 tablespoons of shea butter
  • 2 teaspoons of your favorite essential oil


  1. Add a drop or two of water to the clay in a bowl and mix it up.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together the water and lye.
  3. Get a big bowl to mix the oils and shea butter.
  4. Pour the lye and water mixture into the bowl with the oils. Use a mixer to combine them thoroughly until they thicken.
  5. Add the clay and then the essential oil. Stir it until it has the consistency of pudding.
  6. Pour the mixture into molds and cover.
  7. After 24 hours, the shampoo is set in bar form. However, you still need to wait two to three weeks for them to cure before you use them.

These shampoo bars are ideal for dry scalps, so you’ll pamper your hair while cleaning it naturally.

Integrate Bentonite Clay into Your Skincare Routine

The above options are just suggestions to get you started! Once you get your hands on bentonite clay, you’ll understand how it works and how it can elevate your skincare routine. You’ll love how it feels to make your own products and treat your skin with the love and care it deserves.

At Miss Anne’s Maypop Herb Shop, we sell individual ounces of bentonite clay you can use in a mud pack, as a clay poultice, or add to your skincare recipes. We prioritize finding the best bentonite clay to include in our selection of organic materials so the people in our communities can benefit from natural ingredients.

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