French Clay Poultice

When I first started really experimenting with beauty clays – it was mostly for spot treatment of angry pimples overnight and it almost always ended up with the treatment areas super, super dry (oh great, now I have a slightly less angry pimple plus some peeling skin – so attractive!)  In those days, it was always done with pre-made concoctions which contained other ingredients such as alcohol and fragrance.

I had largely given up on clay facials due to a combination of being lazy, not getting the desired results and not wanting to ‘experiment’ on my skin anymore.

Years later, even having gone the ‘natural route’ with my beauty routine, I still have the most sensitive skin in the world and low and behold, I had an outbreak of hives.  No idea how it happened, but a quick search of my herbal books lead me to the idea of a clay poultice.  I luckily had it on hand (I had a big tub of it, which I usually use for soaping).

Knowing full well I did not want the crazy drying-effects of previous clays, and knowing that I didn’t have any cloth I wanted to sacrifice for the poultice, I basically just slathered it on, waited about 5-15 minutes and rinsed it off.  It stopped the itching.  And it didn’t dry out my skin, like at all.  In fact, it somehow made my skin look less inflamed and moisture level was retained, compared to ‘before treatment’.

Soooo, it might be a neat thing for you to try – either like a ‘clay body mask’ the way I did it, or create a poultice –  instructions below.

French green clay is my favourite for this purpose because it’s got decomposed plant matter, which gives it plant nutrients that other clays do not have (so ‘they’ say).  It’s said to have beneficial minerals such as zinc, copper, silica, etc.

It’s also known for having detoxification properties.  That is, the clay is negatively charged, which attracts toxins from your skin that are positively charged.  Having said that, some experts suggest using non-metal containers and utensils because they can counteract the ionic charge of the clay and render it less effective.

  • French Green Clay (get it here)
  • Water or floral water
  • Strip of cloth long enough to wrap the area in question (if you’re making a poultice)
Preparation (as a mask):
  • Combine clay and just enough water to mix into a thick paste.  Depending on the area you’d like to cover, this amount will vary, so eyeball it.  If it’s too runny, add more clay so that it doesn’t drip everywhere.  If there’s still powdered clay, either stir a bit more or add some water.
  • Apply to rash/outbreak of hives and leave on for 5-15 minutes.
  • Rinse off with water and moisturize (I use argan oil).
Preparation (as a poultice):
  • Combine clay and water into a thick paste.  Depending on the area you’d like to cover, this amount will vary, so eyeball it.
  • Smooth a layer of the clay paste onto the middle of your cloth.
  • Apply the cloth to the inflamed area and tie to secure.
  • Remove after a few hours (or keep overnight), then rinse off.
  • Moisturize – I use argan oil.


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