Madame Payot’s La Pâte Grise aka the pimple killer

Like many beauty cult products, the protagonist of this article was created by a woman who made history in the cosmetics industry. It’s called “Pâte Grise” by Payot, a clay-based product that can make pimples disappear overnight.

Since its creation over 70 years ago, “Pâte Grise” has become very popular over the years thanks to its effectiveness. It is an iconic product that boasts sales in every corner of the globe.


The creator of Pâte Grise

The mastermind behind this revolutionary product is Nadine Georgine Payot, who was among the first female doctors to revolutionize the cosmetics industry. Dr. Payot was a woman of incredible intelligence and broad perspectives. Born in Odessa, she obtained her degree in Switzerland, lived in New York where she started her beauty consulting business, and later moved to France where she founded her brand and opened her first beauty institute. She was a woman of immense cultural and intellectual depth, and was credited with introducing the concept of facial yoga.


Photo credits: Joop van Bilsen / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Legend has it that during her time in New York, Dr. Payot met the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova and, after conducting a beauty consultation, noticed a discrepancy between the dancer’s sculpted body and her face, which lacked tone and appeared wrinkled. This observation led her to develop a revolutionary 40-movement facial massage technique, which involved facial gymnastics to be performed with the fingertips and nourishing creams. This technique aims to reduce wrinkles and expression lines, tone the skin of the face, and improve the overall appearance of the skin, essentially providing a non-surgical facelift.

In 1920, Dr. Payot established her laboratory in France, where she began creating her own beauty products. The infamous “Pâte Grise” was born in 1947, gaining immense popularity for its ability to combat pimples and blemishes.

Composition and features

The original Pâte Grise is easily recognizable by its dense ointment-like consistency. The product is contained in a transparent glass jar, sealed with the characteristic mint green cap. Madame Payot’s original formula was revised in 2008 to improve its antibacterial effectiveness.

This is the ingredient list:

Hydroxystearic/Linoleic/Oleic Polyglycerides, Talc, Zinc Oxide, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Tridecyl Trimellitate, Aqua (Water), Ichthammol, Sodium Shale Oil Sulfonate.

Pâte Grise contains zinc and salicylic acid, which have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and white clay, which helps absorb excess sebum and impurities from the skin. The cream is applied directly to the affected areas and left on overnight to help reduce the appearance of pimples and blemishes. In practice, it speeds up the maturation of small subcutaneous pimples and locally soothes sensitized areas.

How to use it

I recommend taking it with a cotton swab to avoid contaminating the rest of the product in the jar, applying it well to cover the pimple, and placing a small bandage over it. This is a little trick that will prevent you from waking up with a pillow stained by our gray paste. Needless to say, the skin should be thoroughly cleansed before application.


I have tried Pâte Grise several times and its effectiveness is usually visible the next morning. Although in some cases, for larger pimples, it took two applications, after the first treatment the pimple was still noticeably reduced.

I believe that its effectiveness depends more on when the product is applied rather than the size of the pimple. It is better to apply Pâte Grise as soon as the unwanted pimple appears, without letting it mature too much. Its effectiveness compared to many other specific products on the market is truly surprising. Another product that I use against imperfections is Tea Tree. If the products are equivalent for small imperfections, Pâte Grise is far superior for real pimples.

In conclusion, especially if you are regularly prone to pimples, Pâte Grise should definitely not be missing from your beauty kit.



Giornalista, blogger e video editor. Dopo aver vissuto in Italia e Germania, si è trasferita in Svizzera, a Ginevra. Nel 2015 fonda LipstickPost dove scrive di bellezza, viaggi, alimentazione e lifestyle.

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