Clay has been used in beauty recipes for centuries, and it’s no secret that Cleopatra loved them, so did Queen Nefertiti. It can work wonders on skin and is a great one of the best pick-me-ups for the skin. Especially, clay masks work best on oily or acne-prone skin because they soak up all traces of dirt and grease.
Having amazing medicinal and cosmetic properties, clay is now becoming more and more popular as a rediscovered treatment for numerous skin conditions. To quote Dr. Rashmi Shetty: “Good cosmetic clays condition and nourish your skin by removing the dead cells and extracting the extra oils and impurities from the surface of the skin.”
And there’s a diy clay mask for every skin type — from one for anti-ageing, to dealing with dryness, treating pimples and controlling acne, cleansing and firming up the skin.
Types Of Clay
Due to the different compositions of their mineral contents, clays come in array of colors, texture and having different properties.
Bentonite clay is the most beneficial of all clays. It has potent absorbing abilities, so can be used to pull out toxins, chemicals, impurities and even heavy metals from the skin. It’s a rich source of skin-friendly minerals like magnesium, silica, and calcium. It also helps to supply oxygen to cells and has an alkalizing effect. You can mix it with healing and antibacterial ingredients to make a mask which can safely and effectively be used for keeping healthy skin.
Others, like French Green clay and Rhassoul clay have properties to absorb excess sebum and therefore are suitable for oily skin. They have magnesium oxide that cleanses the skin and sucks out grease from it.
Red clay is rich in iron oxides that revamp skin cells and brighten the skin.
To quote Dr. Shetty: “The essential nutrients contained in clays provide toning effect to your skin. Fuller’s earth clay is sedimentary in nature that acts as a bleaching agent and so can be used as a skin lightening agent. French Green Clay has excellent absorbing properties, so it can absorb extra oil from your skin, which is good as this extra oil may cause acne marks and blemishes.”
Where To Apply And How Often
Don’t smear the clay mask everywhere on your face, confine it to the regions of your cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin avoiding your eyes and lips. How frequent can you use a clay mask? To quote consultant dermatologist and cosmetologist, Dr. Bindu Sthalekar: “People having oily skin can use clay masks for 2-3 times a week or so. One can wash the mask with plain water.”
Can Clay Mask Irritate Your Face?
No, clay mask does not cause any type of skin problems, confirms Dr. Sthalekar. She further says: “They can be used to cure acne. Use a clay mask with plain water. If a clay mask is used with milk it may cause skin problems. Also, the texture of the clay mask is impervious and if a person scrubs it too much into the skin, it can cause redness.”
Can Clay Masks Be Used By Men?
Spa expert Pawlomi Dhawan replies affirmatively. She says: “Men too are in search of means to rein in excess skin oil and unblock the pores. The two key properties of a clay mask are deep cleansing and detoxifying and therefore clay masks are helpful to both women as well as men. Actually, many male customers opt for clay masks, clay-based packs and foot massage regimes.” Men can use a clay mask one time a week, after shaving and before toning their skin.
How To Make And Use A Clay Mask?
I have spoken to many experts and compiled a little guide on how to use clay to help you in your quest for a perfect clay mask.
Natural Beauty Tip: Don’t use metal when mixing your clay mask. Instead use glass, plastic or wooden containers and tools to retain clay’s properties intact and effective.
1. Tea Tree Oil And Clay Mask For Acne: Tea tree essential oil has antiseptic properties and is very useful for everything from treating acne to dandruff. Oats has anti-inflammatory qualities and saponins, a cleansing agent, rendering oats ideal for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
You will need:
(i) Bentonite clay: 1 tablespoon
(ii) Clean water: 1-2 tablespoons (preferably distilled or boiled and cooled water)
(iii) Oat: 1 tablespoon, ground
(iv) Tea tree essential oil: 4 drops
Method: Mix the bentonite clay and oats in a small glass bowl. (Never use a metal utensil or bowl when working with bentonite clay.) Mix in enough water to make a spreadable paste. Add in 4 drops of tea tree oil and stir with a wooden or plastic spoon thoroughly. Apply to the face (avoiding eyes and lips area) for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off the mask with lukewarm water and a washcloth.
Tip: To grind oats, place the necessary quantity of oats in a spice grinder, blender, or food processor. Pulse oats until coarse and flour-like.
2. Acne-Fighting Honey And Clay Mask: Honey has antibacterial and antioxidant properties; therefore it is ideal for getting natural glow while combating acne and nourishing aging skin as well.
You will need:
(i) Bentonite clay: 1 tablespoon
(ii) Clean water: 1 table spoon (preferably distilled or boiled and cooled water)
(iii) Organic honey: 1 tablespoon
Method: Mix the bentonite clay, honey, and water. (Don’t use a metal utensil or bowl when working with bentonite clay.) Apply to the face for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off the mask with lukewarm water and a washcloth.
3. Soothing Yogurt And Clay Mask: Yogurt acts as an exfoliator and can tighten skin pores as it contains natural lactic acid. Yogurt also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that help to keep blemishes at bay.
You will need:
(i) Bentonite clay: 1 tablespoon
(ii) Plain yogurt: 1 tablespoon (unflavored and unsweetened)
Method: Mix well the bentonite clay and yogurt. (Don’t use a metal utensil or bowl when working with bentonite clay.) Apply to the face for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off the mask with lukewarm water and a washcloth.
Various Other Clay Masks
4. Bentonite Clay Mask: This clay is quite common and easy to find. It’s made of volcanic ash and is tremendously effective in removing toxins and impurities from the skin.
Method: Mix clay and filtered water in equal parts to make a spreadable paste and apply it all over your face and neck once or twice a week for 10-15 minutes. Avoid the eyes and lips region.
All about Betonite Clay Mask
5. Moroccan Red Clay Mask For Oily And Acne Prone Skin: Moroccan red clay comes from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. It’s very useful for those who are suffering from blackheads and clogged pores.
Method: Mix 2 tablespoons of Moroccan red clay, 2 tablespoons of rose water and 1 teaspoon of fully-ripe, mashed avocado to make a spreadable paste. Using your clean fingers, apply the paste onto t-zone or acne prone regions. As soon as the mask begins to tighten (usually a sign to indicate the mask is dry), rinse off with lukewarm water.
6. Fuller’s Earth Facial Mask For Oily Skin: This clay has great skin lightening property. It’s a kind of sedimentary clay and is very effective in treating pigmentation and useful for oily skin.
Method: Mix well 2 teaspoons of fuller’s earth, 1 teaspoon honey and 1 tablespoon rose water to make a paste. Apply once or twice a week for 10 minutes.
7. French Green Clay Face Mask: French green clay (sea clay) can be used for normal to oily skin. It has detoxifying and exfoliating properties. It is also useful in case the skin needs a healing boost due to an allergic skin reaction, sunburn or wound.
Method: Mix thoroughly 1 tablespoon of French green clay, 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar and 1 drop frankincense essential oil to make a spreadable paste and apply to your skin, avoiding the eye and lip area. Rinse it off after 10 minutes. In case the mask starts to itch excessively, then wash it off early with lukewarm water. If tingling is slight, ignore it.
8. White Kaolin Clay: Also called as China clay, it is found in the soil in hot, moist climates. Generally, it is recommended for balancing oily skin, and therefore you can find it as an ingredient in many beauty products like scrubs because of its drying effects.
Method: Mix well 2 teaspoons of white kaolin clay, 1teaspoons of fresh aloe vera juice, 1 teaspoon of filtered water and 2-3 drops geranium essential oil. Add more water if the mask paste is too thick. Apply onto your face and wait for 10-15 minutes. Rinse the mask of with lukewarm water and follow with moisturizer. This mask is helpful for oily to normal skin.
Natural Beauty Tip: Don’t let a clay mask dry fully. There are three phases of a clay mask. First is the damp phase where your skin sucks in the beneficial minerals from the outside. Second is beginning of the dry phase, which exercises your capillaries and promotes blood flow as the mask cools and contracts. Third is the dry phase, which sucks out moisture from the surface of your skin, leading to dehydration and irritation. Not only does skin then feel dry, tight, and sometimes itchy, but when you offset it by slathering on extra face cream, you’re just smothering your freshly cleansed skin. So when you use a clay mask, don’t allow it to reach the flaky stage before you begin rinsing. When you begin to see it drying (which usually means it turns lighter in color) but it still feels a bit sticky, it’s time to rinse that sucker off—so it doesn’t suck the life out of your skin.
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