About us

Our work

The Argile Eau Mer (Sea Water Clay) company has invested in and developed a vein of delicate marine clay along the Manicouagan Peninsula in Quebec, Canada. Our company extracts the clay and refines it to make body care products.

Our goal

Argile Eau Mer wants to provide natural clay and other marine products for cosmetic and therapeutic uses, all while respecting the goals of sustainable development of the environment, with regards to the extraction, refining, and site restoration techniques.

Our vision

Argile Eau Mer wants to participate in the economic development of the Manicouagan region through the creations of jobs, the stimulation of research and development, innovation, and the world-wide trade of a new natural resource of high quality.

Our origins or the beginning of a good idea

Denise Saulnier, the president/manager has been dipping into marine clay since her childhood. Her family, which has lived in Baie Saint-Ludger since 1930, gave her a love and a lively interest in this northern land, its clay and of the sea. Later on, her academic education in philosophy gave her a cosmic vision of the development of matter and an ecological conscience. All this led to the development of her marine clay project.

The benefits of marine clay, the different treatments and body care that were passed down through family traditions gave her the idea of taking the eroded river bank clay and developping cosmetic and thereapeutic products.

Because of her past, Denise Saulnier cares deeply about protecting and safeguarding the Manicouagan's wild nature and its nreiches, like the clay.

To develop this natural resource, Denise Saulnier has deepened her knowledge of clay through research and development. She has also gone to business fairs and on commercial missions, both national and international.

Our team  

Our capable team at Argile Eau Mer follows a business ethic based upon accuarte and up-to-date information so that our clientele can know the origins, the quality of Manciouagan marine clay, and the manufacturing processes used.

Quality control testing on our products is performed on each lot before it is sold. Our principal aim is the satisfaction of our clientele. We promise respectful and attentive service, both before and after sale.

Our progress

Argile Eau Mer began its research and development phase to determine the type of clay and the extent of the Manicoaugan clay deposit, to develop the extraction and production techniques required, and to experiment on the refining process and produce samples of marine clay in the form of a powder, paste or liquid...

Three major extractions have taken place since 2000 following the first large scale dig. Argile Eau Mer now sells its products under the name of Argile marine de Manicouagan and is already gaining international exposure.

Our clientele

Manicouagan marine clay is a completely natural product that is multi-purpose. It provides many different skin care products and many different skin care treatments. It is used by manufacturers of comsetic and therapeutic products as an active ingredient in the formulation of their products.

Spas, sea water therapy centres and thermal baths provide services in the areas of mud therapy, pelotherapy, hydrotherapy, and massage therapy.

Natural product boutiques sell it to aid in the treatments of skin disorders, to relieve muscular aches and pains, and to accelerate the healing of sores, cuts, burns,without leaving scars.

Cosmetics and therapeutics manufacturers incorporate it as an active marine ingredient in their products.

The general public buys marine clay to care for their ailments and pains, to help beautify and to relax, and for their sense of well-being.

Our parteners

Argile Eau Mer would also like to thank its partners in research: The Geological Survey of Canada, the University of Montreal's Faculty of Medicine, COREM, and the Research Centre of Les Buissons.


  Article on the protection of river banks
  Article on the project objectives
  Article on the commercial mission to France and Japan
  Article from the Journal les Affaires
  Article from the official reports of the Desjardins Bank
  Article from Commerce magazine
  Article from Spa Management
  Articles from the weekly l'Objectif and the Journal Haute Côte-Nord, December 2002 et the Soleil, le 26 December, 2002.


Our clay

Clay - Since the beginning of time

Born of the cosmos, our Earth is made up of "star dust".  Initially, a mass of molten rock, the Earth's surface cooled and solidified to form a crust covering a molten core.


According to certain theories, life evolved mostly in clay beds in the seas. Clay consists of a network of atoms stacked to form hollow octahedrons and tetrahedrons. This porosity allowed clay to catalyze a number of chemical reactions, notably those that would synthesize the chemical compounds necessary for the development of organic life.

Clay is produced by the erosion of rocks.  Rain, frost, thaw, the melting of glaciers, wind, storms, streams and rivers,- all break rocks into tinier and tinier pieces.


Most clay transported by rivers was eventually deposited in estuaries and deltas.

Manicouagan marine clay :  one million years later

Situated at the base of an ancient mountain chain, the North Shore of the St. Lawrence River is geologically characterized as an area of igneous rock formations.  These rocks resulted from the cooling of molten magma at great depths.

Our marine clay comes from igneous rocks that appeared following the intensive geological changes caused by the crash of a meteorite in the Manicouagan region 215 million years ago.   This crater, with a diameter of about 5 km, has been called the eye of Quebec due to its size and unique shape.


The meteorite’s impact on the earth created a shock wave with the energy equivalent to 20 billion tonnes of explosive.  It excavated a crater that is now used as the Manicouagan reservoir.

During the last ice age, the North Shore was covered by three kilometres of ice for about 18 000 years.  This enormous weight formed a depression in the earth’s crust creating the Goldthwait Sea, which became, after the melting of the glaciers, the majestic St. Lawrence River.

After the glaciers retreated and the seas withdrew, the land rose, forming sand banks and clay beds or layers. These sediments carried by the Outardes and Manicouagan rivers and the St. Lawrence eventually formed the Manicouagan peninsula.  The forces of Nature - wind, rain, freezing, thawing, etc - also contributed.

The entire glacial history explains the formation of our clay deposits and the essential ingredients of our marine clay.

Argile eau mer's clay deposit

-An exceptional nature
-An exceptional marine clay

The bed of clay stretches out from the Bay St-Ludger shoreline on the Manicouagan Peninsula to an area of about 15 square kilometres. Salt marshes, plants, seaweed, and sandy shallows characterize the local environment, one of the richest and most productive in the St. Lawrence River system.

Where sea, river, peat bog, and clay particles unite

The confluence of the Outardes, the Manicouagan and the St. Lawrence rivers creates the conditions of salinity and temperature favourable for the growth of phytoplankton and microscopic algae. This meeting of fresh river waters, peat bogs and salt water combine to make our clay and explains the contents of its sediments, its interstitial (pore) water and its delicate balance.

... where a great multitude of species live

Argile Eau Mer's clay deposits takes part in the great biological web of this ecosystem. Its large surface abounds with algae, fruits, flowers and bushes, as well as medicinal plants. A bed of peat moss covers the marine clay, supplying it with water and plant matter. The peat moss and sphagnum moss efficiently and natually filter out environmental pollutants and helps make our marine clay pure and biomineralogically unique.

The physical, chemical, biological, minerological, and granulometric characteristics of sea clay from the Manicouagan explains its æsthetic and therapeutic action  

Marine clay : a high quality cosmetic

as an exfoliant  contains illite (a silicate), quartz, and sodium and potassium oxides  
as an astringent   absorbant power  
as a moisturizer  contains interstitial water, mineral salts and oligo-elements (ingredients apart from iron oxides)
as a revitaliser  contains oligo-elements and marine mineral salts.
as a cleansing agent     contains sodium and potassium oxides and ions (electrically charged particles)

These combined properties act to tone and smooth the skin giving it a healthy look, a clear complexion, young and fresh because the tissues have been cleansed, nourished and deeply moisturized. Cellular exchange, circulation, and balance are thus improved.

Marine clay : A topical therapeutic agent

stimulates circulation effect produced by the evaporation process  
reduces inflamation by absorption of water from the tissues  
assists the healing process  by the formation of a dressing that can breathe  
is antitoxic and antiseptic due to its electrically charged particles  

These properties act in synergy to help heal blemishes, sores, burns, cuts and to reduce puffiness. Muscular pain and skin disorders are likewise relieved. After just one application of our marine clay on a troubled area, regenerating cells can act more effectively, all the more due to the stimulation of cellular metabolism. You just feel better.  

Marine clay acts in different ways and it relieves many pains. 


She exfoliates 

Exfoliation is caused by two combined actions that depend upon the chemical composition of Manicouagan marine clay. Firstly, the sodium and potassium oxides, in low concentrations, exfoliate the surface of the skin chemically. Secondly, the aluminum and silicon oxide particles exfoliate due to their abrasiveness. Just like a pumice stone, these two substances physically remove dead cells from the skin. The combination of these two actions leaves skin softer and fresher after one only treatment.  

It rehydrates

Marine clay directs its water towards dehydrated skin cells by the process of osmosis. This rehydration fills out and smooths wrinkled skin The skin feels stronger and rejuvenated.  

It revitalizes

The delicate marine clay does not just eliminate dead skin cells, it also carries oligo-elements, mineral salts and mineralized water. These substances can be absorbed by the skin to repair the damage caused by deficiencies in vitamins or oligo-elements.  

It deeply cleanses the skin

It effectively removes oiliness because of its sodium and potassium oxides which react with the skin's oil and help dissolve them in water which can be washed away. Moreover the presence of ions improves the action of soaps, shampoos and cleansing products because of the attraction between dirt and clay particles. The oil and dirt, now eliminated, allow the skin to improve its tone, its elasticity and its complexion..  

It stimultes circulation

This is due to the evaporation process and also to the transfer of its water directly to any dehydrated cells in direct contact. The effect, as the delicate marine clay dries on the skin, is to draw heat out from the area. The body compensates with an influx of blood to the affected region. The skin is then nourrished by marines salts, minerals and water.  

It reduces inflammation

As well, marine clay can eliminate excess water when it dries, because of its absorbant power. This is due to the phenomenon of connecting vessels. Water tends to go to where it is lower in concentration. So any inflammation is reduced when the tissues tighten up after the secretions and excess liquids have been eliminated.  

It aids healing

The marine clay forms a dressing that breathes. With its anti-toxic ability, it filters out the air borne impurities, allowing for the penetration of oxygen, which is essential for healing and for the formation of new cells.  

It regenerates

Marine clay regenerates by causing an influx of blood and eliminating toxins. This speeds up the growth of replacement cells needed for the healing process. In any case, these new collagen enriched cells rejuvenate the skin which slows the aging process.

It helps eliminate toxins.

Manicouagan marine clay contains fine particles that are electrically charged, like the static electricity that we see when brushing hair, for example. Our daily experience with this phenomenon shows us that hair is attracted by the brush. Between the clay and the toxins, a similar phenomenon is seen. Many toxins are also electrically charged particles. The marine clay can thus bind to them and carry them out of the biological system.


Research and development

The natural ingredients of Manicouagan Marine clay

The analyses have been done on random samples of untreated clay taken from different sites. Green clay is mostly composed of illite (biotite mica) and quartz. It contains a significant proportion of organic matter.

Chemical composition of Manicouagan marine clay

Chemical Quantity %





























The green colour is due to the presence of iron oxides. The numerous other minerals that complete the list are called essential trace elements (ETEs)..

The clay layer in the marine environment absorbes all the minerals carried in the water.

Mineralogical composition of Manicouagan marine clay

Constituants (%)

Quartz Albite Illite Hornblend Chlorite Apatite
Proportions (%)  21,36 29,0 31,16 15,06  1,5  0,5
SiO2 100,00 68,0 34,00 51,00 30,0  
Al2O3   20,0 30,00  5,00 20,0  
Fe2O3     18,00  3,00 16,0  
MgO      2,00 15,00 22,0  
CaO       24,00  1,0 58,0
Na2O   12,0  1,00      
K2O      9,00      
TiO2      2,00      
P2O5           42,0
PAF      4,00  2,00 11,0  

In its natural state, Manicouagan marine clay is found as a thick colloid (semi-liquid).

Physical/Chemical properties of Manicouagan marine clay

Water held 30%
Limit of liquidity 23%
Limit of plasticity 18%
Index of plasticity  6%
Granulometry 5 microns 50%
PH of water 8.8

Microbiological analysis of Manicouagan marine clay

Aerobic bacteria 128 x 103 org/g
Fungi < 10 UFC
Moulds < 10 UFC
Pathogens Nil

A lot depends on the native plants found in the clay sediments. Manicouagan marine clay contains no detectable levels of pollutants. The clay has been tested for dozens of agricultural and industrial pollutants (hydrocarbons, organo-halogens, pesticides.)

Interstitial water

Clay contains a high percentage of interstitial water. Many water molecules are imprisoned inside the network of crystalline structures of clay. The interstitial water in marine clay dates back to the glacial age. As well, the water is enriched with mineral salts (notably, silicates) and in a state of ionic equilibrium.

Composition of interstitial water  





60,2 ppm

37,3 ppm


487 ppb

279 ppb


9,9 ppm

5,8 ppm


<2 ppb

<2 ppb


149 ppb

96 ppb


492 ppb

321 ppb


56,7 ppm

36,6 ppm


24,6 ppm

16,8 ppm


27,7 ppm

17,3 ppm


738 ppb

455 ppb


57,0 ppm

34,5 ppm


112 ppb

70 ppb


1,7 ppm

1,0 ppm


117 ppb

57 ppb


160 ppb

101 ppb

In its natural state, interstitial water, finely mixed with sediments, is responsible for geochemical exchanges which, in turn, permit the development of intense microbiological activity.   It is these mineral salts that help create the exchange between the sediments, the water, and certain organisms.  The potassium,  K+  , and calcium, Ca 2+  ions become attached to the clay particles and magnesium ions, Mg 2+ , are released into the interstitial water.   These appear among the essential components of complex mineral colloids (silicas, ferro-silicas) or organo–metallics (humo-silicas , etc.).

The quality of the original interstitial water is such that it is better to use it in the final product than to evaporate it, and then rehydrate the clay powder when it will be used. However, the dried clay powder remains as a popular form of our product.   

Manufacturing procedures

The clay samples were produced at the University of Montréal Faculty of Pharmacy under the direction of Patrice Hildgen, Ph. D. They served as a model for conceiving processes of drying, grinding and sieving while retaining the maximum of the natural properties in the product.

To make powders, the Manicouagan Marine clay is dried in the sun so that it preserves the minerals contained in seawater. The marine clay is then crushed and sieved.

To make mud (gels), the clay and seawater are filtered and sterelized with steam in order to conserve as much of the original characteristics as possible.

To make liquid (suspension), distilled water is added to the sea water and rough clay then sterilized the same as for the mud.

Treatment process are designed to remove larger particles by micronization; therefore increasing the number of particles of less than 5 microns and to ensure the safety of the product. No radiation is used.

Argile eau mer manufactures its products and ensures the quality of each batch.

Research in development

Ø Different analyses on the natural ingredients of the sea water, the river water, and the peat bog.
Ø Various analyses to identify the organic matter and the medicinal plants that live on the river bed.
Ø Development of processes in clay extraction techniques and the ecological use of the river bed.
Ø Technical adaptation of industrical process for the refining of marine clay in order to prepare body care products.