Origin: It is believed that seven thousand years ago, a particular kind of clay was used for cleaning of the woolen clothes. The process of cleansing and thickening of the woolen cloth is called “Fulling” and a person who carries out this activity called a “Fuller”. Hence the term Fuller’s earth was derived.
In prehistoric times, the whole wool and fleece were very smelly and had many impurities. To solve this problem, the woolen industries used to soak pieces of cloth in an alkaline solution and then it was passed through a slurry of Fuller’s Earth. Then it was thoroughly rinsed with clean water to remove the clay.
Fuller’s Earth is considered better than soap or other solvents for cleaning the heavy oil and dirty textiles, for instance, dirty mats from motor cars.
In the Twentieth-century, women and other female beauticians used to use Fuller’s Earth paste to control the sebum production.
Scientifically: Fuller's earth is a mineral substance which is characterized by the property of absorbing basic colors and removing them from oils. It is composed mainly of alumina, silica, iron oxides, lime, magnesia, and water. Fuller's earth is a Clay-like substance containing over 50% silica. It is available in varied forms and is particularly sedimentary clay. It is available in different colors like whitish, beige, brown, green, olive, or blue, etc. It is usually semi-plastic or nonplastic and may or may not get easily dissolved in water. It is believed that in ancient times, fuller’s earth was used in the fulling of wool.
Fulling is the process of cleansing and thickening of the cloth or wool. It was used to remove oil and grease and now is used for bleaching and clarifying the petroleum and other edible oils. Fuller's earth is usually mined in many parts of the United States, Georgia, and Florida. In the United States fuller's earth is typically obtained from the deposits of volcanic ash. It is also mined in England near Reigate, Nutfield, Redhill, Surrey, and Bath. Fuller’s earth is mainly used after being crushed and dried. Fuller’s earth is also used in India and is popularly known as Multani Mitti.
Fullers Earth is used to remove polar contaminants from fuels, such as aviation fuels. The clay comprises a majority of the granules typically of mesh size of from about 15 to about 60.
Usage: Fuller’s Earth tones up the skin and improves the complexion. It also improves the appearance of the skin. It is very effective in controlling the excess sebum on the face, cleanses the dirt and grime and also acts as a deep cleanser. There are a lot of skin and hair products which have fuller’s earth as a main component. Fuller’s earth soaps and shower gels are also used a lot.
Below are some DIY with fuller’s earth:
- Take a tablespoon of fuller’s earth and add enough rose water to make a thick paste. Apply this over the face for 10 minutes and rinse later. This helps in deep cleansing of the skin.
- For the radiant looking skin, take a teaspoon of Multani mitti, a teaspoon of sandalwood and a pinch of turmeric. Mix all these ingredients together with a teaspoon of honey and some yogurt. Apply this mask on the face for 15 minutes and then rinse.
- Take a tablespoon of fuller’s earth and a teaspoon of neem powder. Mix them together into a paste with some lemon juice. Apply this on the face and let it dry for 15 minutes. Rinse as usual. This helps in reducing the breakouts and draws out all the impurities from the skin.
- To reduce the pigmentation or blemishes, take some potato juice and a tablespoon of fuller’s earth. Mix and apply on the face for 10 minutes. Rinse later.
- Take a tablespoon of multani mitti with a tablespoon of mashed papaya. Mix them together and apply on the face. Let it dry for 15 minutes and then lightly massage and rinse. This helps in removing tan and cleanses the skin.
- Take 2 tablespoons of multani mitti, half a cup yogurt, one tablespoon honey, and some lemon juice. Mix all the ingredients together and apply on your scalp and hair length. Leave it on for 45 minutes and then shampoo as usual. This is a deep nourishing pack to make hair smooth and frizz free.