Formulating With Glacial Oceanic Clay

Formulating With Glacial Oceanic Clay

How to Use Glacial Clay in Formulations and Why

Glacial Oceanic Clay is a natural ingredient used to make personal care products. It can only be found along the Pacific North Coast of Canada, making it a rare and special addition to skin and hair care formulas. Glacial Clay is used most often in clay masks, but there are many other opportunities to formulate with Glacial Oceanic Clay—read on to learn more.

Clay Cosmetic Trend

According to The NPD Group, the rise in popularity of clay-based cosmetic products started around 2010. Within a 12 month period between May 2014 and April 2015, sales of clay/mud products grew a staggering 53% to 27.9 million dollars.¹

icc graph

While clay ingredients, whether Kaolin, Bentonite, Aztec or Glacial Clay, are most commonly used in facial skincare masks, consumers are discovering the benefits of clay and are curious to try other clay-based products such as clay cleansers, sunscreens or clay-based hair care.


Why Use Glacial Clay in Formulations?

1.  Rich in Minerals

This clay has been maturing off the west coast of Canada over thousands of years. Formed by the movement of glaciers, it contains more than 60 minerals unique to this part of the world. 

2. Magnetic Clean

The skin’s impurities are positively charged, while the particles in the clay are negatively charged. When applied to the skin, the negative ions from the clay attract the impurities in the skin. When you wash your face, the impurities are removed with the clay ensuring a deep clean

3.  Reduces Pore Size

While removing the impurities such as oil and dirt from the pores, Glacial Oceanic Clay also helps to reduce pore size, leaving the skin porcelain smooth. 

4.  Maintains Moisture

Glacial Oceanic Clay uses its osmotic strength to pull moisture up from deep inner tissues to hydrate the face. It cleans the skin but does not dehydrate it as other cleansing agents may do. 

5.  Cleaning Barrier

The minuscule size particles of Glacial Oceanic Clay act as an emulsifying agent to form a barrier around the oily particles on your skin, which then allows them to be removed effectively when you rinse your face. 

6.  Healing Properties

Glacial Oceanic Clay acts as a dermatological protector that contains anti-inflammatory properties, which cool and soothe the skin with each application.

7.  Neutral pH

Glacial Oceanic Clay helps maintain a balanced skin pH with powerful buffering capability. It also helps to strengthen the barrier function of the skin in order to keep it healthy and beautiful. 

8.  UV protection

Clinical results show an SPF boosting effect for formulas containing Glacial Oceanic Clay. Minerals in Glacial Oceanic Clay work together to form natural and long-lasting protection against UVB, UVA and UVC rays. 

Alice Clinical Studies min


What Products Can be Formulated with Glacial Clay?

1. Face Care

Because of its anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties, Glacial Oceanic Clay is extremely effective in skin cleansing products such as facial cleansers, scrubs and face masks. It can be combined with other clays, charcoal, and exfoliating particles such as bamboo or fruit seeds. 

Glacial Oceanic Clay is dermatologist tested to be non-irritant and hypoallergenic. It is gentle and smooth on the skin and suitable for all skin types, and especially recommended for oily skin as Glacial Clay is clinically proven to reduce skin surface sebum. 

  • Clay Masks 
  • Facial Clay Cleansers
  • Facial Scrubs with Clay
  • Moisturizing Creams for oily skin

2. Body Care

Similarly to the face care category, wet Glacial Clay can be used in body washes and body masks for its detoxifying and exfoliating properties. A Glacial Clay Body Wash will leave the skin soft and smooth without dehydrating it. Glacial Clay Powder can be used in natural deodorants to reduce sweat, as well as in natural clay soaps. 

  • Clay Body Masks
  • Clay Body Wash & Scrubs
  • Deodorants with Clay
  • Clay Soaps

3. Hair Care

Clay-based hair care has become popular around the last few years, with well-known brands launching lines of Kaolin-based shampoos. Ironwood has developed well performing hair care products with Glacial Clay for oily hair. 

  • Clay Shampoo
  • Clay Conditioner
  • Scalp Cleanser with Clay
  • Hair Mask with Clay

The benefits of glacial clay hair care are numerous:

  • Glacial clay gently cleanses hair and scalp, without over-drying it. 
  • Detoxifies the scalp for healthier shaft. 
  • It gently exfoliates the scalp and removes buildup.
  • It can help soothe the scalp.


4. Sun Protection

Ironwood’s recent studies on Glacial Clay have shown that 1.66% of Glacial Clay provides an SPF boosting effect when used in sunscreen formulations. Glacial Clay works as a physical barrier on the skin due to its high mineral content. 

  • Glacial Mineral Sunscreen
  • Creams with SPF

Alice Nena kit lifestyle pic 

Glacial Clay Formulation Tips

  • Add to the water phase (can be added cool or at elevated temperatures)
  • Use electrolyte-tolerant/compatible ingredients 
  • Use a small amount of natural thickener (i.e. Xanthum Gum, Cellulose, Carrageenan) to lock moisture in the clay 
  • Use a preservative effective over a wide range of pH. 



Clay, and specifically Canadian Glacial Clay, is widely known to detoxify and cleanse the skin and clogged pores from environmental aggressors (a primary source of aging), make-up residue and excess oils. It has soothing and nurturing functions thanks to its properties. 

Compared to other clays, Glacial Clay is still fairly unknown in the personal care industry. Thanks to its rarity, high mineral content and pristine source, Canadian Glacial Clay is as a unique selling point.

Glacial Clay can be incorporated in a variety of skin and hair care products beyond clay masks. If you are a formulator and have questions regarding formulation with Glacial Clay, contact us today for information.



¹ The NPD Group, Oil and Clay/Mud are Growing Textures in Prestige Skincare, a Trend Happening Across Cities and Continents, May27, 2015 ( )

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30+ years of quality sourcing & personal care manufacturing

Since 1989, Ironwood is the world’s leading supplier of Glacial Oceanic Clay and OEM manufacturer of clay-based products, based in Vancouver Canada.

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