According to Dallas entrepreneur Cliff Boren, “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.”
Boren is the founder of Mississippi Miracle Clay, a Design District-based skin care company that uses a rare Magnesium Bentonite clay in facial masks and soaps. Per his assertion, we may have been tempted at one point or another to taste one of the fruity scrubs or sweet-smelling salves atop our counter, but mineral clay? Not only does Boren’s product claim to “eliminate excess oil and toxins from the skin,” but its purity bests many chemical-laden drugstore standards. It’s so pure, in fact, you could eat it (but do not taste the others, please).
For centuries, clays have been used in many cultures to treat conditions like psoriasis, eczema, shingles, arthritis, stomach disorders, and joint and knee pain. But are there beauty benefits to using – and even eating – clays as well? Boren thinks so. In fact, the Tupelo, Mississippi native left his cushy job as Vice President of Sourcing for a furniture company in 2009 to dedicate his life to mining his special clay, sourced from private land in the deep woods of East Central Mississippi.
Hungry for more intel, we met up with Boren to learn more about this mystery clay, and what the future holds for his Dallas-based business.
DFW Style Daily: What first inspired you to launch Mississippi Miracle Clay?
Cliff Boren: “I spent some time fasting in Thailand with Hillary Han of Dharma Healing International. She introduced me to drinking clay and herbs for detoxing. For some reason, she suggested I work with the earth. I never imagined at the time I would actually end up working with the earth like this, but when I returned from that trip a few months later, my mother sent me a package of clay and told me some interesting stories about its origin.
“The clay was so unusual in the way it left the skin glowing, and how it helped my knee pain from running and such. I traveled a lot to Asia at the time, and I never left the country without it. After using the clay for a few years, I knew there was nothing else in the market with the benefits of this particular vein of clay. So, we decided to send it to Mississippi State University for testing, and soon after started packaging it to sell.”
Tell us more about Bentonite. What are some of its benefits? Is it beneficial for all ages and skin types?
“Bentonite clay is volcanic ash that fell in this particular location in Mississippi, then formed into clay over millions of years. The clay is just pure minerals such as magnesium, potassium, silicon, manganese, other major and trace minerals. There are a lot of benefits to using Mississippi Miracle Clay. The skin starts to glow after the first mask, as minerals are replenished into the skin. Blemishes will clear up quickly, and fine lines and wrinkles start diminishing after a few days. Redness and irritation in the skin is reduced, as are puffiness and dark circles under the eyes. And the great benefit of using something so natural is that the clay is okay to use on delicate baby skin and older skin, as well. Anyone can use it and all will benefit from it.”
Do you personally have a daily skin care regimen? Care to share?
“I do a clay mask in the morning about four times a week. I like to use the mask in the morning, because it pulls the puffiness and dark circles out from under the eyes. I then follow the mask with our Southern Grits scrub, wash with our Mineral Soap, and follow that with a little of our special cream.”
What do you think is the biggest or most common mistake people make in their skincare regimens?
“The most common mistake people make is not doing a careful study of the chemicals contained in their skincare products. It has been said that if you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t put it on your skin. That’s true. A lot of the chemicals found in [other] skin care products confuse and disrupt the skin’s natural processes, which over time, will dull the skin. Getting the chemicals off the skin and out of the body brings the skin back to health.”
What ethical and environmental impacts should people know about their skincare products?
“There are many books written on this complicated subject, but to simplify the impacts: Some chemicals are not only damaging to the skin, but when you wash those chemicals off of your skin, where do they go? The fish. The plants. And who eventually eats the fish and the plants? We do. So if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. What’s good for you is also good for the environment.”
How has Mississippi Miracle Clay evolved over the years?
“We first started showing the clay to people here in Texas and in Mississippi. Today, we have customers all over the country, from Florida to Alaska to Hawaii, and even in South Africa, Europe, Australia, Indonesia, and China. We had no idea how popular the clay would become.”
What goals do you hope to reach in the next 10 years? Do you have plans to expand your line beyond masks and soaps?
“In ten years, we hope to have done our part to help raise the consciousness level around taking care of the skin in a truly healthy way. As for expanding the line, we take a lot of time to develop each new product, because we know our customers expect great products from us. We just came out with a wonderful scrub and a very unique cream for moisturizing. We have some other products that are in development now as well.”
Finally, what do you like to do when you’re not working with clay and developing new products?
“I enjoy yoga, running with my dogs, backpacking, and seeing the world.”
Cliff Boren headshots by Ethan Dussault. For more information, visit MississippiMiracleClay.com.