Your skincare regiment should get a little dirty.
People have been using clay masks as a form of skincare for centuries. Cleopatra used clay from the Nile River and the Arabian desert over 1,800 years ago as part of her beauty ritual. This is because the Earth’s clay naturally has many rich minerals with powerful qualities to draw out toxins.
There are different types of clay with various benefits. They make for great face masks because of their detoxing and exfoliating qualities. They basically replenish the good and take away the bad.
There’s a clay type for every skin challenge. Here are the four types of clays, their soothing properties, and other natural ingredients you can add to boost their effectiveness.
Bentonite clay has been historically used by American Indians for purification and healing. It’s a natural volcanic ash sediment that is high in silica and aluminum and mild for most skin types. It can be applied as a face mask or as a poultice to any other part of the body to remove impurities.
The benefits of bentonite clay
- It absorbs excess natural skin oil called sebum, which causes acne.
- The negatively-charged ions of bentonite unclog pores and attract dust, grime, and oil, preventing breakouts.
- It softens the skin.
- It reduces the appearance of scars and evens your skin tone.
To make this face mask, mix the clay with apple cider vinegar (preferably raw) or filtered water until it starts to form a paste. Apply a thick layer to your face, or any area of your body, and let it dry. Drying times vary, but generally, you’ll want to leave it on for five minutes for delicate skin and 15-20 minutes otherwise. You’ll feel your skin pulling and tightening, which are a sign that your pores are getting a deep cleansing.
Remove the mask by washing with warm water. A slight redness may appear after removing the clay. This is normal and will go away in about 30 minutes.
Add-ins for dry skin: honey, yogurt, cream, milk, or vegetable glycerin instead of water. Or you can add pureed avocado, cucumber, or a few drops of carrier oil (such as Jojoba oil) to the mixture.
Add-ins for oily skin: Witch Hazel extract, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice.
Add-ins for acne-prone skin: vinegar or lemon juice, 1-2 drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil.
Green clay is highly composed of plant matter and the skin happily absorbs its copper and magnesium. Green clays such as French or sea clay are suitable for most skin types. It especially helps oily skin by absorbing oils and balancing sebum production.
Benefits of green clay
- Cleans pores
- Detoxifies skin
- Firms skin
- Controls oil production
- Nourishes skin
- Clears blemishes
To make this mask, mix the clay powder with filtered water and stir until paste forms. Apply it to your face, avoiding the eye area, and leave it on for 10 minutes or until it dries. Rinse with cold water and apply a toner after.
Add-ins for purifying skin: honey.
Add-ins for pore tightening: rose water and rosemary oil.
Red clay found anywhere from Georgia to Morrocco is extremely high in iron and effective for a skin detox. Once applied to the skin, red clay binds impurities and dirt into its paste until dried. Its drawing abilities make it a great toner and cleanser for acne-prone, oily, and problem skin.
Benefits of red clay masks
- Dries out blackheads and gently removes them
- Tightens pores
- Reduces signs of aging
- Reduces dryness by not stripping off the skin’s natural oils
- Improves skin tone
To make this clay, mix equal parts of the powdered form with filtered water or rose water until it forms a paste. You can also use apple cider vinegar instead of water for an intense purifying mask. Let it dry for 20 minutes, less for dry skin. Rinse with warm water.
Add-ins for inflamed or aggravated skin: rosemary, chamomile, lavender, or lemongrass oil.
Considered the most sensitive of the clays, white kaolin clay is the least drying for the skin. It's mild enough for sensitive and dry skin as it's creamy texture helps to soften and soothe skin. This mask is ideal for the colder months when dry skin can be especially irritating.
Benefits of white clay masks
- Eliminates blackheads
- Tightens pores
- Reduces acne
Add-ins for bags under the eyes: green tea.
Add-ins for skin restoration: rosewater, frankincense.
Add-ins for skin tone: chamomile tea, macadamia oil, myrrh, and neroli oil.
One important thing to note about any clay mask is because they are made with minerals and ions, you’ll need to use a glass, pottery, or wooden bowl when mixing your ingredients. A metal bowl will cause the clay to react and lose its beneficial properties.
I just wanted to share a pic of myself with a sea clay mask that I make from time. The recipe included sea clay, aloe vera gel, distilled water, and flaxseed meal. Very moisturizing, cooling, and refreshing!
Try our clay powders for your next mask!