What a Clay Mask Can And Can’t Do for Your Skin

Some beauty rituals seem like they could be the cure-all for practically any skin issue, but there is no such thing as a miracle ingredient in reality. 

Clay masks have long been used in skincare routines and have become the go-to practice for women in many cultures, including Ayurveda. And while they are natural and widely used, there are some limitations to them. Here’s what a clay mask can and can’t do for your skin!

Here’s what a clay mask actually does for your skin

Clay was traditionally used for wound healing in make-shift plasters and improving the skin’s appearance by including it in ubtans and other skincare rituals. 

This evolved into clay masks being used to detoxify the skin and earn the distinction of being an essential step in beauty routines to deep clean your face. And while clay masks do work wonders to absorb excess oil on the surface of your skin, they are in no way a one-stop solution to all of your skin’s detox needs. 

The mineral content in clay masks is activated by contact with water and thus can work like a magnet to suck out impurities from open pores, have a cooling effect on your skin and work as an exfoliator of dead skin cells. 

Now clean pores and oil control can lead to skin benefits like fewer breakouts, a vibrant complexion, and smoother texture, but the claims of curing advanced acne or fighting signs of ageing remain unproven. 

That is why the major thing you can rely on clay masks to do is mattify your skin after a single application, and sometimes that’s enough!

Here’s what a clay mask can’t do for your skin

As mentioned before, while clay masks can indirectly contribute to glowing skin by helping you get rid of dead skin cells and impurities, they can be a bit harsh for some people. People with dry skin should be cautious while using them, as Clay can strip your skin of moisture along with natural oils.

It is also recommended to be used carefully on sensitive skin as its exfoliating and botanical properties can irritate. Clay masks are also not recommended for skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, both of which are triggered by skin infections. 

Simply put, clay masks can be used as a relaxing, mattifying treatment to recharge your skin, but in no way should they be used to treat aggravated skin conditions. A wholesome and dynamic beauty routine that incorporates many different ingredients is the best way to take care of your skin in the long run!

Do Clay Masks Work?

There’s nothing that feels entirely as satisfying as a clay mask, especially when you’re dealing with a fresh breakout or your skin feels extra greasy. The way the Clay hardens and tightens on your skin can make it feel like it’s, honestly, definitely working. 

But are they genuinely doing that much for your skin? And how do clay masks work? The excellent news: Clay has legitimate benefits, especially for specific skin types. Here’s precisely how clay masks work—and what they can do to improve your skin in the long run.

If you had a dollar for every clay mask ever produced, you’d be en route to somewhere warm on your private jet. It’s not only masks, either. Clay is famous in skincare products, in general, because it’s so effective at clearing out skin. 

“Clays help to detoxify the skin and draw out impurities and oils from the surface of the skin,” says cosmetic chemist Peter Konish, the Director of Product Development and Strategic Product Innovation for the Prestige Beauty at Johnson & Johnson. 

“This is especially helpful to those people with acne or oily-prone skin.” But even if breakouts do not plague you—in which case, lucky you—clays can be rich in minerals and acids that can benefit other skin types, too.

Clay helps absorb oils and control shine.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you may already be very familiar with clay masks. Clay is famous for these skin types for a good reason. 

“It helps draw out the impurities as well as absorb excess oils that are on the surface of the skin,” explains Konish. “Additionally, it helps reduce excess shine.” You can kiss your clogged pores goodbye.

Certain types of clays are great for hydrating dry skin.

Even if you don’t struggle with pimples, Clay can still offer a detoxifying experience. In some cases, clay masks can even hydrate your skin—which is essential if you’re dealing with dryness since Clay’s ability to absorb oil can exacerbate dryness.

“Look for those that are more hydrating and containing hydrating ingredients such as glycerin and sodium hyaluronate,” suggests Konish.

clay mask

Follow up a clay mask with your usual skincare regimen.

After you mask (or, if you’re game, multitask), Konish recommends following through with your usual skincare regimen, which should consist of cleansing followed by serum followed by moisturizer. 

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, try using a moisturizer with salicylic acid, which can help control acne all day or night, like Eminence Organic Skin Care Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer.

Not all clays are created equal.

According to Konish, they may vary in their composition of minerals, such as silicon oxide, aluminium oxide, potassium oxide and calcium oxide, and their physical structures. Here’s how three of the most common types of skin-beneficial clays stack up:

Green Clay: You can find it in Captain Blankenship Mermaid Detox Face Mask and Pangea Organics Japanese Matcha Tea with Acai & Goji Berry Facial Mask. It’s one of the most common clay types out there and contains the highest mineral content.

Red Clay: This is a kaolin-type clay containing more silicate than other clays. Please find it in First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Purifying Mask with Red Clay.

White Clay: Though it’s less absorbent than others, this characteristic makes it ideal for those with sensitive skin. Please find it in SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Masque, which pairs it with a blend of nourishing botanical oils.

If you find a suitable clay mask for your skin type, it can work wonders for your skin. Slather one on, queue up Netflix and get ready to see some significant results.

Different Types Of Clays

Clay works like a magnet to cleanse, exfoliate and rid the skin of impurities and excess oils, making them an integral part of our skincare routines. Clay masks can help many skin conditions such as acne, eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis thanks to their natural antibacterial properties that give them skin healing qualities that many other masks cannot offer. 

They also help to oxygenate cells to improve circulation, soften skin and rejuvenate the complexion. They are also instrumental in balancing sebum production, improving skin tone, and purifying the skin, making them the perfect all-rounder for a multitude of skin types. 

Bentonite Clay: This is one of the most popular clays utilized within skincare and is the Clay you’ll commonly find within most spas and beauty salons. Bentonite Clay has a strong electromagnetic charge which makes it incredibly useful when detoxing the skin. It can draw out impurities from deep within thanks to its ability to hold around 40 times its weight when mixed with water - acting like a sponge that will keep absorbing excess oils and dirt from the skin. 

As it does boast this quality, it makes it great for oily skin types or those who are prone to breakouts (in a similar way to Rhassoul Clay that boasts the same benefits). It is less suited to dry or sensitive skin types as it might be too harsh and aggravate the skin further. 

French Green Clay: Known for its green hue, which comes from plant matter and iron oxide, French Green Clay is often utilized in clay mask to give colour and aid oil absorption. 

This powerful Clay has a porous crystal structure; therefore, it absorbs the impurities rather than draws them to the surface (like Kaolin Clay). It is perfect for oily or combination skin, as it helps regulate sebum production, mattify the skin and reduce the appearance of blackheads and enlarged pores. 

Kaolin Clay (White Clay): This is one of the mildest clays and is helpful in a lot of skin care products due to its fine texture. It is not as powerful as Bentonite, for example, but still has effective detoxifying and exfoliating properties to give a healthier-looking complexion. 

It is a clay that has been proven to have a great long term effect on the skin as well as instant results. Due to its mild nature, it is the perfect Clay for sensitive and dry skin types, and even though it will still benefit oily skin types, it will not be as effective as other clays. 

clay mask

French Pink Clay: French Pink Clay is a combination of white and red Clay. Therefore it has properties that will benefit all skin types. Pink Clay is incredibly hydrating, which is why it works perfectly with dry skin, especially as it also promotes radiance, treats damaged skin and deeply cleanses without irritating sensitive skin. 

As it contains Kaolin, the long term effects of pink Clay are even more impressive than the instant results, as the Clay has been known to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and skin tone, giving you a brighter and more glowing complexion. French Pink Clay is an all-rounder and perfect for when skin is feeling out of sorts. 

5 Reasons to Apply a Face Mask Right Now

Relaxation

Face masks don’t just offer results that improve the overall appearance of your skin, and they can also be quite therapeutic. When they’re infused with aromatic essential oils like mint and rosemary, a face mask can lift your spirit by stimulating your senses. Using a face mask should be treated as a luxury. 

Set aside a bit of “me” time when you decide to give yourself a mask. Draw a hot bath, light some candles and let the magic of the mask begin to work. You’ll be drawn into a wonderful, sensory experience that will not only relax the mind and spirit but will also leave you with fabulous looking skin.

Deep cleansing

Sure, cleansing each day helps to clean your skin by removing dirt, oil, makeup and impurities from the surface of the skin. But did you know that proper masking takes the cleansing process to a whole new level? Only a good facial mask can help to draw out impurities that hide beneath the top layers of the epidermis. 

Some people say that their skin goes through a “detoxing” when they use a mask because they actually notice the changes in the skin while this is happening. Masks are incredible at providing this deeper cleansing process, which leads to an improvement in the appearance of pores that you can see and feel. Who doesn’t love that?

Unclog pores

Masking with a product that contains Bentonite clay helps to remove dirt and absorb excess oils. It’ll also help to remove the build-up of dead skin cells that accumulate on our skin. When you remove all the debris from the surface of your skin, it’ll help to unclog pores, too. We all know that clogged pores are nothing but trouble. Yucky stuff gets trapped in your pores and gets pushed deep down into the pore, where bacteria can develop. 

Once that bacteria starts to grow, it’s all over our skin because we will soon get a blemish, a flurry of breakouts or even one giant pimple that will wreak havoc on our life for several days. Regular face masks help to keep your skin surface clean, and your pores unclogged. This is an excellent reason to use your face mask right now.

Glowing skin

Masks, especially those with tingly mint in the formulation, can help stimulate blood circulation. The process of the mask drying on your skin and beginning to harden, along with the removal of the mask, causes an expansion in the blood vessels in your skin. 

This ensures an overall improvement in skin tone. You’ll be left with softer-feeling and smoother-looking skin, and you’ll also notice a radiant glow and a more refreshed appearance. So, relax, feel the tingle, breathe in the minty aroma and wait for your skin transformation.

It helps your overall regimen

Masking helps all of your other skincare products work more efficiently. If you want your day lotions, serums, and nighttime products to be absorbed by your skin quicker and deeper, then a face mask is a must. 

By masking on a regular basis, you can ensure that your toning, hydrating and protecting products will all perform better, providing you with the results you’re looking to achieve at a much faster pace.

Apply a Face Mask in 5 Simple Steps

Step 1: Be prepared to make a mess. If you’re going to apply a face mask while relaxing in the tub, you don’t have to worry about making a mess. You can cover your face, neck and throat and just relax. 

If you don’t have time for a bath, then take the time to pull back your hair, so it’s not near your face. Be sure to wear clothing that you don’t mind getting messy. Chances are, you’ll make a bit of a mess when you use a mask. But, hey, that’s the fun of it all.

Step 2: I always recommend starting with a freshly cleansed face. Use your daily cleanser to remove all of the surface dirt, oils and makeup before you apply your mask. This will help to ensure that you receive all of the benefits your face mask was designed to deliver.

Step 3: Using damp hands, apply your mask directly onto your damp skin. Remember, it’s called a face mask for a reason. You should look like you’re wearing a mask when you put it on. Never rub the mask directly into your skin. It should be applied like frosting on a cupcake. 

Be sure to avoid the eye area, keep your nostrils clear and extend the mask from your face, down your neck and throat. Nothing worse than a young-looking face and an old wrinkly neck, right? I always treat my neck as an extension of my face.

Step 4:  Just wait. You can use these 10 minutes to relax, style your hair, check your email—whatever you want. Just be conscientious of the time and follow the directions. If the directions say you should leave on for up to 15 minutes, then that’s what you need to do. Just don’t leave your face mask on for 20 or 30 minutes. 

The product benefits are tied to the directions for usage. Be sure to follow them exactly.

Step 5: It’s time to remove the mask. Masks are designed to adhere to your skin. You don’t want to be too rough when removing it. Use plenty of water and a washcloth to gently wash away the mask. Pat, don’t rub. Your skin dries with a towel.