It has always been my Sunday ritual to pamper myself. I like to start the new week on a relaxed note, meaning I take care of my hair, face, and body with some detoxifying treatments. One of the things I use is a clay mask, which I apply on my face to remove impurities and lessen its oil production. What I mean by clay is not the molding clay of childhood but the clay that comes from the earth. This clay is rich in minerals (e.g. calcium, iron, magnesium, and silica) and can be naturally found in soil, sediments, or volcanic ash.
Did you know that this clay is also available in different variants that target specific skin issues? Whether you have oily skin, dry skin, or a combination of both, there is a clay mask made for your concerns.
There are five common clay types that are used as a face mask:
- Bentonite clay – This is definitely the most popular clay available, proven by one brand’s version of this product that has consistently sold out in a local health store for months. This clay comes from volcanic ash and is named after a deposit where it is abundant – Fort Benton in Wyoming, USA to be exact. This greyish clay is recommended for oily skin due to its oil-absorbing properties. When wet, it produces electrical charges that attract bacteria from the skin. Even if oily-skinned people will benefit from using bentonite clay, it is still a great choice if you are unsure of what clay to get. Those with normal to dry skin can use this once a week so they don’t dry out their skin too much.
- Fuller’s Earth clay – This clay is similar to bentonite that it absorbs oil and dirt and comes from volcanic ash as well. What makes this different is that it can treat hyperpigmentation because of its gentle bleaching properties. That means you can achieve an even skin tone with eventual use. Its name comes from Fullers, a group of textile workers from Scotland who used this clay to extract oil from wool. In modern practice, Fuller’s Earth clay is also helpful in cleaning dry-clean fabrics from oil stains. This is also great for cat litter and automotive products to absorb oil spills from the road. In conclusion, Fuller’s Earth clay is great for both oily and aging skin.
- French green clay – Although it was originally mined in bedrock quarries in France, this clay is not exclusive to the country alone. This clay is also known as sea or illite clay, whose green color comes from decomposed plant matter and iron oxide. This is highly recommended for oily skin as it is able to absorb more oil than bentonite and Fuller’s Earth clays. However, there are claims that those with sensitive skin can use this too because it also boosts circulation, evens skin tone, reduces inflammation, and tightens pores.
- Kaolin clay – This is the gentlest clay on this list as it is the least oil-absorbent clay of them all. Kaolin clay comes in different colors, too, like white, yellow, pink, and red. White and yellow are geared towards those with sensitive skin, while pink is great for those with combination skin. Red kaolin clay absorbs the most oil, making it ideal for oily skin. Aside from being used as a face mask, this finely-powdered clay is also incorporated in other beauty products such as cosmetics, soap, deodorant, and more.
- Rhassoul clay – If the first three clays are great for oily skin, then these remaining two are for dry and sensitive skin. This clay, also known as Ghassoul, comes from Eastern Morocco and has a silky texture that makes it a popular component in luxury spa treatments. It is also a good clay for aging skin as it can firm and revitalize the skin through deep exfoliation and improved elasticity. Rhassoul clay also expands when wet, which means it is able to absorb moisture on our skin. Hence, it is the most hydrating clay on the list.
Clay masks should be done weekly, but it is okay to use it twice a week if you are on the oilier side. It is usually left on the skin for fifteen minutes before you cleanse it out. Although it has been commonly instructed to let the mask dry on our skin, it shouldn’t be so. “There are three phases of a clay mask – the damp phase where your skin drinks in the beneficial minerals from the outside, the start of the dry phase which exercises your capillaries and stimulates blood flow as the mask cools and contracts, and the dry phase which draws out moisture from the surface of your skin, causing dehydration and irritation,“ facialist and MV Organics Skincare creator Sharon McGlinchey said. How does one know if it is time to rinse off the mask? If it has lightened in color and feels sticky to the touch, go ahead and wash that off.
The world we live in can be stressful and tiring, so make it a weekly habit to detoxify with a clay face mask.