Active Ingredients: Volcanic Ash

Reyanna Ng Beauty Expert
Active Ingredients: Volcanic Ash

A step closer to clearer skin with Volcanic Ash

Move away charcoal, clear the way for this magical natural skin-clearing antioxidant ingredient called Volcanic Ash. In light of a charcoal backlash, some skincare brands have started to take a different approach and have turned to using volcanic ash as it boasts similar benefits to charcoal, and maybe even better. Like charcoal, volcanic ash is a physical exfoliant and planet-friendly in comparison to microbeads that have been traditionally used in scrubs and have been deemed to cause plastic particle water pollution, posing harm for aquatic animals.

Volcanic ash is a mixture of rock, minerals and glass particles that are dissipated during a volcanic eruption. It is a combination of Sulphur and bentonite clay. Bentonite clay can also be used to refer to volcanic ash. During a volcanic eruption, the smoke and ash discharged actually poses severe environmental problems from killing crops nearby, infecting the air quality and even causing air traffic as visibility in the air is close to zero. Now don’t be put off by this because oddly its molecular structure boasts fantastic benefits when used in topical applications; helping to clarify and detoxify the skin.

Volcanic ash particles are tiny, porous and highly absorbent, making it work extremely well in cleaning up liquids. In skincare terms, it means that it works amazingly in soaking up oil, sebum and other substances that have been sitting on your face during the day, such as pollution, impurities and dirt. For a slightly scientific explanation, volcanic ash contains a mixture of amorphous silicates and aluminosilicate (minerals) of sodium, potassium and calcium which largely benefit the skin.

Volcanic ash has been a prominent skincare ingredient in K-Beauty brands and some might say that the prominence and popularity of volcanic ash can be attributed to the widespread use of volcanic ash in K-Beauty products, especially the Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask that took the beauty world by storm. Most Korean skincare brands typically use local Jeju volcanic ash.



Exfoliates the skin

  • Being a physical exfoliant, it works similarly to acids, it helps to remove dead skin cells and increases the efficacy of your skincare products that you apply after, as well as revealing a brighter complexion. 

Extremely absorbent

  • Think of volcanic ash to be like a sponge. It soaks up anything liquid it comes into contact with, making it a helpful ingredient for those with oily and acne prone skin as it clears up sebum and buildup in and on the skin.
  • Volcanic ash is ideal for people prone to acne, excessive oil production and congestion (blackheads and whiteheads) as it attracts and soaks up all the impurities and oil in the skin that will lead to these issues.


  • Another reason why volcanic ash is an ideal ingredient for oily and problematic skin is because it is rich in minerals and contains antiseptic, antibacterial and antioxidant properties that helps to clear and prevent blemishes.

Soothes the skin

  • Although volcanic ash is an exfoliant that can be quite drying for some, it actually possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can calm irritated skin. Coupled with its antimicrobial qualities, volcanic ash has been used as a remedy to treat and soothe skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, helping to heal and rejuvenate damaged or irritated skin.


What to note?

  • Volcanic ash is quite drying and if overused or mixed with the wrong products can cause intense facial irritation and reactions. It is important to only use volcanic ash based products 2-3 times a week, sometimes even just once, depending on the recommended usage stated on the product.
  • It is also important to not volcanic ash products in conjunction with other exfoliants (chemical and physical) as it can strip the skin’s natural oil and damage the skin’s protective barrier.
  • It is recommended that you should only use volcanic ash products that won’t be left on the skin for too long, like masks, as leaving them for long periods of time can dry out your skin.
  • It is best to mix volcanic ash with or be followed with hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid in your skincare regime.


Products we recommend 

Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Cluster

innisfree jeju volcanic

Like all Innisfree product lines, their products will always contain a star ingredient, either Green Tea or Olive Oil. This time it’s Jeju Volcanic Ash. It is formulated with Jeju Volcanic Clusters and Spheres for all pore concerns. Perfect for those who are looking to remove excess sebum and improve the overall look and texture of the skin.

Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask Original

Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask 2X

Super Volcanic Peel Off Mask 2X

Jeju Volcanic Black Head Out Balm

Jeju Volcanic Pore Toner 2X


Innisfree Volcanic Color Clay Mask

innisfree jeju volcanic color clay mask

A multi-tasking color clay that comes in different colors to address different skin concerns so that everyone can find something suitable and catered to them.

Jeju Volcanic Color Clay Mask – Blue (Hydrating)

Jeju Volcanic Color Clay Mask – Yellow (Brightening)

Jeju Volcanic Color Clay Mask – Green (Cica)

Jeju Volcanic Color Clay Mask – Black (Purifying)


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