Kaolin clay (KC), also known as China clay, is the inorganic mineral ingredient that is widely used in a number of cosmetic products. These products are famous for their oil absorbing properties, reduced shine and translucent properties. They are great for finishing a flawless look as they are great for hiding imperfections. KC products are the perfect primer for oily skin. Their benefits expand their applications in various skin care and repair treatments. Its earthy origin complements human skin with natural essences that brings out the benefits in all mineral ingredients.
Mountain of White Kaolin Clay found in Northern Cape (picture from www.mintek.co.za):
Kaolin clay is included in the group of hydrous aluminum silicates. Healing stones kyanite and dumortierite are aluminum silicate. Aluminum is also found in the healing stones sapphire, amethyst, heliotrope (bloodstone), ruby, anyolite, emerald, idocrase, rhodonite, tiger iron, green tourmaline, alexandrite and moldavite. The kaolin mineral group include other common clay minerals such as dickite, halloysite, nacrite, kaolinite and allophone. Their chemical composition is .8% alumina, 46.3% silica, and 13.9% water [Al2Si2O5 (OH) 4], which are actually natural alterations of feldspar, feldspathoids and other silicates.
The kaolin mineral group is usually found in sediments, soils, hydrothermal deposits and sedimentary rocks. It takes the bulk of the minerals that are formed in the outer crust of the earth at a wide range of geologic environment. Many of these silicates are of economic importance. Most of them are used in various industries. The clay minerals that form the main constituent of kaolin are commonly formed through the cycles of rock formation. Although it may share the same chemical composition with other clay minerals in its group, it differs in its optical or physical properties.
Kaolinite or kaolin mineral has its name derived from Gaoling (Kao-Ling) which is a high hill in the Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province of China. Although it was mined in that Chinese province, the mineral was first described as a mineral species in Brazil in the year 1867.
Kaolinite is mined as kaolin. Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, India, Korea, France, China and the United States of America are some of the known countries on which premium KC is sourced. The mineral is typically found abundant in soils that are fond of chemical weathering of rocks and have hot and moist climate such as tropical rainforest areas. In comparison along a gradient that leads towards progressively cooler or drier climate, the proportion of kaolinite decreases while other clay minerals such as illite and smectite which are formed in cool and dry climates increase. The climatic factors in the formation of kaolinite tell so much of the mineral's relation to its source area's geologic history.
The mineral has a low shrink-swell property and low cation exchange capacity. In its soft, earthy and white form, it is called white KC. It is formed by the chemical weathering of aluminum silicate minerals like feldspar. In other parts of the world, another form of kaolin clay is produced. The pink-orange-red color of kaolin clay is given by the iron oxide. Lightly concentrated clays are typically white, yellow and light orange in color. Since the clay is produced from rock weathering, the rock composition typically differentiate the grade or type of kaolin clay by color.
The excellent coverage, absorption and adhesion properties of kaolin clay make it a great ingredient for most cosmetic products. It is perfect as an opaque white base of colors and its fine texture allows any mineral makeup to easily slide and apply on the skin. This features allows the ingredient to finish a flawless effect in effectively hiding imperfections and fine lines even at medium coverage.
One thing that is known among kaolin clays, white or pink, is that they bring in significant skin care benefits. One great property of kaolin clays is that it provides effective sun protection. Also, it does not draw oil the oil of the skin making it soft and supple. Its oil control properties allow the makeup to stay on longer, withstanding perspiration and wet or humid conditions. In some products, the ingredient allows some mineral makeup to feature water and transfer resistant features.
As the mildest of all clays, it is suitable for use on individuals who are managing skin conditions such as dryness, acne, rosacea, sun damage and cosmetic surgery recovery. In bringing in the natural healing and nourishing essences the earth, it aids in healing these skin problems. Its natural properties were found to be effective in stimulating circulation on the skin, making it ideal for cleansing and exfoliating skin treatments.
Hence, cosmetic grade kaolin clay is the beneficial for all skin types. Its mild and versatile properties explain why it is one of the highly prized ingredients among cosmetic and skin care products particularly in mineral makeups.
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