June 10, 2008

Beauty Experiment: Kaolin Clay as a Mattifier

My skin is so terribly oily that I will give anything (short of poison) that promises to mattify a try. So with Milk of Magnesia suddenly ceasing to work on me after a sterling performance, I was looking around desperately for something else to work. When I came across pure kaolin clay at Signature Minerals for only $6 a 20g jar, I jumped at the chance to try it.

Kaolin Clay is one of the ingredients used in primers, mineral foundations, and powders to mattify. Lily Lolo's Flawless Matte powder is only Kaolin Clay + Mica while its Shine Away powder is merely Kaolin Clay - both for considerably more (£12) than Signature Mineral's offering.

The clay sold by SM is very finely milled and applies translucently providing an airbrushed, matte finish that I love. It can be added to mineral foundations to lighten it slightly and to make it more mattifying, brushed on as a primer, and used as a finishing powder. It can even be combined with water to make an oil-absorbing mask.

I tried brushing it on as a primer before applying foundation but wasn't pleased with the result as the foundation didn't go on as evenly as I'd like and I didn't notice any significant oil control.

I have also tried mixing it with Aloe Vera gel to form a primer. I have to apply carefully to avoid streaks, but it sets quickly to form a smooth, dry surface great for applying foundation. I find that this works quite well to delay oil breakthrough - giving me a 4 hour grace period instead of my usual 2, but once oil does break through I'm forced to touch up every 2 hours, and even worse my foundation fails to adhere as well as I'd like.

Finally, I've tried using it as a finishing powder and for touch ups. This I like and will continue to do. The finish is lovely, natural and non-cakey. It takes away oil beautifully even when I don't have my blotters on hand. And it prevents oil breakthrough for longer than even the legendary Mac Blot. Now I just need to devise some way of toting a loose powder along for touch-ups on the go.

I haven't tried mixing it with foundations yet as I've been testing the performance of foundations. I'll probably give that a go next.

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