What Do Clay Masks Actually Do for Your Skin?
Masks formulated with clay offer a wide range of skin benefits, including removing impurities and reducing the appearance of large pores. Benefits aside, clay masks are also incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is apply one to your face, sit back and relax as it hardens and rinse. The whole process usually takes fewer than 20 minutes. So how do clay masks actually work, and how much do they really do for your skin? Here’s everything you need to know.
Arguably, the principal benefit of clay masks is that they can detoxify the skin while reducing excess oil and getting rid of pore-clogging impurities. As a result, clay masks are a favorite among people with oily and acne-prone skin types, though all skin types can enjoy them.
But before you start grouping all clay masks together, keep in mind that not all formulas are created equally. For starters, clay masks can feature different clays, or a variation of clays, which can offer different results due to their compositions of minerals. That said, there are a few clay mask benefits that remain universal. Check ’em out, ahead:
Skin Benefit #1: Clay Masks Can Help Draw Out Impurities
From pollution to dirt and grime, your skin comes in contact with quite a few aggressors on a daily basis. Daily cleansing can help eliminate these skin invaders, but clay masks — used a few times per week — can up the ante and ensure a clean canvas. Why is a clean canvas so important? Because when impurities, dirt and bacteria linger on the skin for too long, they can cause a dulled complexion or breakouts. Just be sure to follow with moisturizer to hydrate your skin post-mask.
Skin Benefit #2: Clay Masks Can Eliminate Excess Shine
People with oily skin types can undoubtedly relate to the ever-present struggle of a shiny, greasy-looking complexion. To help mattify the look of your skin, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali recommends a routine application of a clay mask. “They’re great at absorbing oils and other impurities that can clog pores,” Dr. Bhanusali says. “Kaolin is an important ingredient to be on the lookout for.” Kaolin — also known as white clay — is the mildest of clays and works to draw out oils without being harsh on the skin. You’ll find this ingredient formulated in many masks on the market, including the L’Oréal Paris’ range of Pure-Clay Masks. There are five clay masks in total, all of which are formulated with a blend of kaolin, montmorillonite and Moroccan lava clays, as well as one unique ingredient.
Skin Benefit #3: Clay Masks Can Be Hydrating
One of the key components of skin care is moisturizing. Getting a healthy amount of moisture helps skin remain supple and look healthy. Yet some people may find their skin to be dry and itchy no matter how much moisturizer or lotion they lather on. You may not think of a clay mask as a product that can help strengthen your skin’s moisture barrier, but some formulas can, like the Vichy Mineral Pore Purifying Clay Mask. Not only does this clay mask include the dynamic duo of kaolin and bentonite clays, but it’s also formulated with Vichy Mineralizing Water, which can help protect skin against external factors by strengthening its moisturizing barrier.
Skin Benefit #4: Clay Masks Are Calming
Part of the beauty of face masks in general is their ability to transform an otherwise mundane skin routine into an at-home spa day — which we can seriously use now that many spas are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New York-based dermatologist and Skincare.come expert Dr. Joshua Zeichner explains, “Clay has both skin calming and oil-absorbing properties, making it useful both for those with sensitive skin, as well as oily or acne-prone skin.” The next time you’re looking to wind down, grab a few chilled cucumber slices for your eyelids, smooth on a clay mask and enjoy the calming benefits all around.
How to Apply a Clay Mask
If you’re a rookie when it comes to using clay masks, there’s no need to be intimidated. The entire process of application and removal is easy. You can apply them any way you choose, either with a tool such as a makeup sponge, mask brush or your own fingers. Make sure the clay mask is applied evenly across your face so all areas are targeted equally. Spread some across your neck, too, to make sure it’s getting its fair share of care. Then, just sit back, maybe grab a glass of wine or a book, and let the formula get to work.
When to Use a Clay Mask
Some skin-care masks are meant to be worn while you snooze, while others you can wear during the day. Clay masks can generally be worn any time you’d like but only for a limited amount of time. Wearing a clay mask for too long may dry out your skin. Look at the directions on the package to see what the suggested time is — we’re sure it’s more than enough to finish that glass of wine.
How to Remove a Clay Mask
Clay masks are just as easy to take off as they are to put on. Because most masks harden from their original state, removing them is not difficult. Simply wash the mask off with lukewarm water, either in the shower or with a non-abrasive towel. Feel free to polish your skin off with a cleanser and remember to give your face one more layer of moisturizer to help lock any moisture.
Know that no matter what the reason you’re checking out clay masks may be, there’s a clay mask out there for you. Here are a few of our picks of the best clay masks.
Looking for a clay mask that not only gets rid of surface impurities but also makeup and dead skin buildup as well? Then look no further than the SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Masque. This formula includes botanicals such as aloe and chamomile and has a hydroxy-acid blend. Note that this mask doesn’t harden like others, so set the timer for about 10-15 minutes and then wash off.
Charcoal has the natural ability to attract dirt and other impurities from your pores, making it a great product for those with oily skin. This two-in-one cleanser from Garnier is perfect for beauty lovers looking to try both the clay mask and the charcoal trends. Plus, it helps tighten the look of pores and smooth skin at the same time.
The La Roche-Posay Effaclar Shine Control Clay Mask contains kaolin clay, which helps to lift dust and other pollutants from your pores. It also helps to eliminate any excess sebum, keeping your skin from looking too greasy.
Two ultra-fine white clays remove impurities and banish shine, while Vichy’s Mineralizing Thermal Water promotes a softer, hydrated complexion.
This creamy formula contains three types of clay plus charcoal. In addition to drawing out impurities, the mask brightens and smoothes, all without drying out skin.