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Fuller’s earth is a clay-like substance rich in minerals that are highly beneficial for your skin health. Commonly known as multani mitti in India, this natural compound has been used for skin and hair care for a long time.
Fuller’s earth commonly contains hydrous aluminum silicates, kaolinite, montmorillonite, attapulgite, dolomite, calcite, and quartz. (1) Aluminum silicate freshens the skin. Fuller’s earth can also exfoliate, cleanse, purify, and nourish the skin.
Moreover, using fuller’s earth can control skin oiliness, treat acne, prevent clogging of pores, and strengthen the hair. This substance is popular for its skin-lightening effects that reduce dark spots. Fuller’s earth can also be used as an antiaging mask, aiding in the reduction of wrinkles and fine lines.
Due to these effects, several products containing fuller’s earth, such as cosmetics, exfoliators, and cleansers, are widely available.
Fuller’s earth is also available for use at home and is generally suitable for all skin and hair types. It comes in powder form that may be brown, blue, green, white, or olive in color. You can buy this cost-friendly ingredient and use it in DIY hair and face masks to improve your skin and hair health.
Skin Benefits of Fuller’s Earth
Fuller’s earth is a popular natural skin care ingredient used since ancient times for its various benefits.
Note: While fuller’s earth is generally safe for use, it is best to conduct a patch test to check for allergies and sensitivity. Be careful when applying fuller’s earth around the eyes as it can cause irritation.
1. Tightens pores
Fuller’s earth has been long used to absorb dirt and excess oil from skin pores, shrinking and tightening them. This also makes your skin firm and tight and consequently young looking. Fuller’s earth also acts as a skin toner, making your skin smooth.
How to use:
- Mix brown sugar, fuller’s earth, and coconut water in equal quantities.
- Gently rub this mixture on your skin in circular motions.
- Rinse it off after 10–15 minutes with lukewarm water.
- Repeat this remedy weekly for best results.
2. Gives your skin a natural glow
Fuller’s earth is an excellent deep skin cleanser. It removes dead skin cells, dirt, and oil from your skin surface and skin pores. This action unclogs the pores, enabling faster absorption of creams and lotions into the skin. (2)
The cleansing effect of fuller’s earth, when used twice a week, can make your skin look radiant. Using curd along with fuller’s earth imparts a brightening effect to the mask, while turmeric provides anti-inflammatory and medicinal properties. (3)
How to use:
- Mix 1 tbsp of fuller’s earth with 1 tbsp of potato juice, 1 tbsp of raw milk, and ½ tbsp of organic honey. Apply the paste to your skin, and wash it off after 15–20 minutes. You can repeat this remedy up to two times a week.
- Alternatively, mix 2 tbsp of fuller’s earth, 1 tbsp of coffee powder, and 1 tbsp of rosewater. Apply the paste to your face, and once dry, wipe it off with a damp towel. Wash your face with warm water and repeat daily. You can also add a few drops of any essential oil to the face mask.
- For dry skin, mix 2 tbsp of fuller’s earth, 1 tbsp of yogurt, and 1 tsp of rose hip oil to make a paste. Apply the paste to your face, and wash it off with normal water after 15 minutes.
3. Exfoliates the skin gently
Skin exfoliation is necessary to prevent the buildup of dead skin cells and dirt on your skin, often clogging skin pores. Multiple skin exfoliators are available on the market, but they can be harsh on your skin and irritate it.
A useful alternative to chemically laden exfoliators is fuller’s earth, which helps remove dirt, grime, and dead cells from the face gently. (4) Moreover, it provides a brightening effect without the need for scrubbing, thus preventing irritation.
You can use orange peel powder with fuller’s earth for its content of antioxidant vitamin C, which prevents damage from free radicals and controls oil production.
How to use:
- To make a gentle skin exfoliator, mix masoor dal powder, fuller’s earth, and orange peel in equal quantities and then add 1 tbsp of olive oil to form a paste. Apply the paste to your face and scrub gently for 5 minutes. Wash your face and pat it dry. Repeat this remedy 1–2 times a week.
- You can also mix 1 tbsp of fuller’s earth with 1 tbsp of rose water and 10–15 coarsely ground almonds. Scrub your skin with this paste for up to 10 minutes, and wash it off with warm water. Use this paste two times weekly.
- Alternatively, you can make an exfoliator by mixing equal quantities of oatmeal and fuller’s earth. Add 1 tsp of turmeric powder, 1 tsp of sandalwood powder, and some milk to the mixture to form a paste-like consistency. Use this paste to scrub your skin.
4. Prevents acne, pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads
As mentioned above, fuller’s earth helps rid the skin of impurities, thus preventing clogging of pores. Moreover, it deep cleanses the skin pores and absorbs excess oil.
Since the accumulation of dirt, oil, and bacteria is a common cause of acne and pimples, the use of fuller’s earth can prevent and control these problems. Fuller’s earth is also known to possess anti-inflammatory properties that can improve the inflammation associated with acne. (4)
Increased oil production on the face is also a major contributor to blackheads and whiteheads, a problem that can be controlled using fuller’s earth.
You can use sandalwood oil with fuller’s earth for its anti-inflammatory and therapeutic benefits, (5) which can also prove beneficial for acne-prone skin.
How to use:
- Mix 1 tbsp of fuller’s earth with ½ tsp of sandalwood powder or a few drops of sandalwood oil and ½ tsp of turmeric. Add neem water to form a paste, and apply it to your face. Wash it off after 15 minutes. You can use this remedy twice a week.
- Alternatively, mix 2 tbsp of fuller’s earth with 1 tbsp of neem leaf paste. Add rose water, camphor, and a few drops of lemon juice. Apply the paste to the affected areas, and wash it off after 15 minutes. Repeat this remedy weekly for best results.
5. Soothes the skin and treats sunburn
Fuller’s earth is known for its skin soothing and cooling properties, which can be highly beneficial for the treatment of sunburns.
The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of fuller’s earth help control the associated swelling and redness as well. Fuller’s earth can also help clear suntan due to its exfoliating properties.
How to use:
- Mash a few pieces of papaya and mix 1 tbsp of it with 1 tbsp of fuller’s earth and 1 tbsp of aloe vera gel.
- Apply the paste to your skin.
- Wash it off after 20 minutes.
6. May fade dark circles
Dark circles often appear after a period of fatigue, illness, or lack of sleep. Dark circles, in fact, develop due to a lack of oxygen supply to the sensitive skin under the eyes.
Fuller’s earth helps tighten your skin, in turn boosting microcirculation under the skin. As circulation increases, so does the supply of oxygen, therefore lightening the dark circles. (6) Moreover, fuller’s earth lifts the skin as it hardens, preventing the formation of fine lines.
How to use:
- Grate half a potato to extract its juice. Mix the potato juice with 1 tsp of lemon juice, 2 tsp of fuller’s earth, and 1 tsp of fresh cream. Apply this mixture to the affected areas, and wash it off before it dries too much or cracks. Repeat this remedy daily for best results.
- Alternatively, mix 1 tsp of milk, 1 tsp of glycerine, the paste of 5–6 almonds, and 1 tbsp of fuller’s earth. Apply the paste around the eyes and allow it to dry. After 15 minutes, spray some water over the dried pack to moisten it and wipe it off gently.
Note: Fuller’s earth has to be applied with a 1–1.5 cm margin from the eyelids. Clay-based and mud-based masks should be applied carefully around the eyes as the skin there is very delicate. Touching this area can enhance wrinkles, dryness, or irritation.
Benefits of Fuller’s Earth on Hair
Fuller’s earth not only is beneficial for your skin but also possesses a number of benefits for your hair. It is rich in calcium, zinc, and magnesium, which strengthen the hair, boost blood flow to hair follicles, and prevents hair fall.
1. Produces thick, shiny hair
Fuller’s earth has a high mineral content that nourishes the scalp, boosts hair health, and protects the hair from damage. It also moisturizes the hair and strengthens the hair follicles. Using fuller’s earth on fine, weak hair can boost hair growth and provide shine.
You can use egg with fuller’s earth for its rich content of minerals, vitamins, and protein (7) that support healthy hair growth. Amla can also be used with fuller’s earth as it nourishes and strengthens the hair follicles, preventing hair thinning.
How to use:
- Combine 3 tbsp of fuller’s earth and one egg, and whisk the mixture.
- Add 1 tbsp of amla juice and 1 tbsp of lemon juice and mix well.
- Apply the paste to your hair, and shampoo as usual after 15–20 minutes.
- Repeat this remedy weekly.
2. Cleanses the scalp
Fuller’s earth has been long used to cleanse the hair and scalps of excess oil and dirt. It has a negative charge that attracts grime and excess sebum, facilitating their easy removal.
Fuller’s earth not only absorbs excess oil from your scalp (8) but also removes dead skin cells. These actions allow the scalp skin to breathe better, contributing to improved hair health.
How to use:
- Mix equal quantities of reetha powder and fuller’s earth and add water to form a paste.
- Apply the paste to your scalp and hair.
- Wash it off after half an hour.
3. Prevents split ends and hair breakage
Split ends are a common problem and often develop due to hair damage caused by a buildup of pollution, sweat, and hairstyling products. Since fuller’s earth helps cleanse the scalp of such impurities, it can prevent hair damage.
Moreover, fuller’s earth contains magnesium and zinc, which condition and nourish the hair. It also tightens the scalp, boosts blood circulation to the hair follicles, and strengthens hair growth.
Using apple cider vinegar with fuller’s earth helps rebalance scalp pH, also reducing inflammation and managing hair frizziness.
How to use:
Add apple cider vinegar to 5–6 tbsp of fuller’s earth to form a thick paste. Apply this paste to your scalp, and shampoo as usual after half an hour.
Alternatively, you can use fuller’s earth as a hair rinse. Oil and massage your scalp and hair with olive oil. Cover the hair with a warm towel, allowing the scalp to absorb the oil. Wash your hair after 2 hours with fuller’s earth soaked in milk or buttermilk.
4. Boosts hair growth
As mentioned above, fuller’s earth cleanses scalp pores, provides nutrition, and hydrates hair, all of which contribute to increased hair growth.
Combining aloe vera gel and lemon juice with fuller’s earth hydrates the scalp, promoting healthy hair growth. Aloe vera gel can also give a shine and bounce to dry, dull hair.
How to use:
- Mix 3 tbsp of fuller’s earth with 2 tbsp of castor oil and 2 tbsp of aloe vera gel.
- Apply the thick paste to your scalp and hair.
- Wash your hair after 45 minutes and shampoo as usual.
5. Treats dandruff
Fuller’s earth, especially when used with fenugreek seeds, can exfoliate and hydrate the scalp, removing any dead skin cells, dirt, oil, and impurities and thus preventing dandruff.
Adding lemon juice to this remedy can get rid of dandruff-causing bacteria, owing to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
How to use:
- Soak 1 tbsp of fenugreek seeds overnight in water.
- In the morning, grind the seeds to a smooth paste and mix it with 5 tbsp of fuller’s earth.
- Add 1 tsp of lemon juice, 1 tbsp of yogurt, and water, if needed, to the mixture.
- Apply the paste to your scalp and cover your head with a shower cap.
- Wash your hair after half an hour and shampoo.
Tips and Precautions When Using Fuller’s Earth
The following measures may be helpful in enhancing the effects of fuller’s earth and preventing problems when using it:
- Make sure to wash the fuller’s earth-based face mask off while it is tacky to the touch. You will feel your skin getting cooler and tightening slightly, due to the increased blood circulation. Prevent the mask from drying and hardening up completely as it can wick away the moisture from your skin and cause itchiness.
- Use fuller’s earth-based face masks only one or two times a week. When used more frequently, the mask can damage the skin barrier or excessively absorb natural oils and moisture, stimulating overproduction of oil.
- Always apply a moisturizer after washing fuller’s earth off.
- If you have dry skin, only use fuller’s earth after adding an oiling agent such as face oil, honey, or milk.
- If you have sensitive skin, it is essential to mix fuller’s earth with aloe vera gel or rose water to prevent inflammation.
- Store fuller’s earth in an airtight container or the refrigerator to maintain its freshness.
Possible Side Effects of Fuller’s Earth
Fuller’s earth is a natural, skin-friendly product that poses various benefits. However, its oil-absorbing property can leave your skin dehydrated when not used properly. It can also irritate sensitive skin and even your eyes.
In addition, fuller’s earth allergies, while rare, are present. Do not ingest fuller’s earth as it can cause problems such as kidney stones and clogging of the intestines. Moreover, avoid inhaling fuller’s earth as it can irritate the respiratory tract.
Fuller’s earth is an age-old dermatologically beneficial natural ingredient that has been used in making homemade face masks. Widely available in powder form, fuller’s earth is a boon for those with oily skin.
Fuller’s earth also helps shrink skin pores, remove whiteheads and blackheads, treat sunburns, boost blood circulation, even out skin tone, and cleanse the skin. Its nutrient-rich composition imparts a healthy glow to the skin.
In addition, fuller’s earth can strengthen the hair and treat dandruff and split ends. It can also boost hair growth and cleanses the scalp. Good-quality fuller’s earth can be a wonderful addition to your hair and skin care routine. However, make sure to not overuse it.