Buyer's Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before Using a Clay Face Mask


Masks are the ultimate treat for anyone who loves skincare. These miracle workers can change your complexion.

However, with the countless number of options we have on the market today, it can get confusing when you try to figure out what to get from the shelves. The good news is we’re here to help you out!

Here, we’ll be answering some of your burning questions about face masks. We’ll also discuss the different kinds of masks and their role in your routine. 


What Are They?

Facial masks have been around for a long time and chances are you’ve had the chance to use them at least once in your life. You’ve seen them on TV, in movies, in the pages of your favorite magazine, on your favorite beauty influencer’s channel, and the shelves of your nearest drugstore. But what exactly are they?

A facial mask is a product designed to help you get healthy, supple, and glowing skin. They're not only great for a pampering session at home but they can also draw out impurities, exfoliate, hydrate, soothe, and tone. 

It is designed to be applied and then left on anywhere between 10 minutes and overnight so it can impart its nourishing benefits. Once it has done its work, it can either be rinsed off with tepid water, peeled off, or simply lifted off. 

They are often enriched with skin-loving ingredients that can refine the appearance of pores, increase hydration, diminish the appearance of fine lines, even your skin tone, lift any sagginess, and balance oil production.

They come in an array of formats and each one has its own set of benefits depending on your needs. Here are some of them:

  • Clay-Based Masks

These are one of the most popular beauty secrets worldwide. This restorative product is known for its ability to naturally detoxify because of its natural mineral content. They are a popular option for people who are acne-prone and oily because of its ability to draw out impurities, excess oil, toxins, bacteria, and other irritants.

These often come in powder form which you need to mix with a liquid like water or apple cider vinegar to activate it. Essential oils are also a popular addition.

There are some that are already prepared and are often packaged in tubs or squeeze tubes. These can contain actives and other skin-loving ingredients (pumpkin seed oil anyone?) to further nourish.

  • Sheet Masks

If you’ve ever found yourself getting sucked into the whole Korean skincare trend then these are a familiar sight for you. These fabric sheets are soaked in essence or serum and are designed to give the skin a boost of hydration.

You typically leave these on for up to 20 minutes. Once you’ve taken it off, you then proceed to pat in the excess essence or serum so it can be absorbed into the skin. If you’ve got a particularly juicy sheet pack, you can apply it on your arms and legs a quick hydrating treat.

  • Peel-Off Masks

This adheres to the top layer of your skin. They are often formulated as gel, plastic, or paraffin. Much like a mineral-based mask, you allow it to set on your skin for 10 to 15 minutes. They also stimulate blood circulation. When it dries, you just peel it right off along with germs, blackheads, and deep-seated dirt.

  • Overnight Masks

Another Korean beauty staple, these are designed to be left on your skin overnight so it can work its magic while you sleep. It also helps seal in all the good stuff from your products so your skin can absorb them better.

  • Thermal Masks

They are designed to gradually heat up when applied. It warms the surface skin tissues and encourages the skin to breathe. They help to unclog congested and rejuvenate tired skin and refresh your complexion.

  • Cream Masks

These are emollient-rich products that help soften and hydrate the skin. They rejuvenate the skin by adding moisture. They leave the skin feeling and looking softer and more supple.

  • Splash Masks

These are a new option for people who want to rejuvenate their complexion or gently exfoliate the skin. These are potent liquid formulations that are best used when your skin needs an extra boost. These are meant to be rinsed off after 10 to 20 seconds on the skin.


Should You Use a Face Mask?

So should you be using a face mask? The simple answer is YES! These skincare products are excellent skin treatments that can help with a wide variety of concerns. They can help hydrate the skin, remove excess sebum, and improve the texture and appearance of your skin. 

What’s more, they are a great way to pamper yourself after a long day. Putting on a mask and lounging around at home is a great way to unwind and give yourself a spa experience from the comfort of your own home.

It’s easy to add masks to your beauty regimen. You can apply them daily, every few days, or weekly depending on your needs. 


Clay: The Ultimate Multi-Tasker

Different skin types and concerns call for different solutions. However, you don’t have to go to the store and get every kind of mask out there to solve your skin concerns. There is one kind that works for different skin types and can help solve a wide variety of skin issues. This is the clay mask.



These are a great multi-tasking product that doesn’t only help detoxify the skin but also cleanses, exfoliates, and even encourages hydration. While these are generally marketed to people with normal, oily, or acne-prone skin, it can also be used by people with dehydrated, sensitive, and even mature skin.


Why Clay is Right for Your Skin

Clay-based masks offer serious benefits for your complexion.  

Here are some of the best reasons why you should consider adding it to your skincare routine:

  • Benefit 1: It Draws Out Impurities

As you go about your day, your skin gets exposed to environmental aggressors like dirt, oil, pollution, and other impurities. These, along with your daily makeup, can build up on the surface. This can cause dehydration, make it feel rough, and can make your pores appear larger.

They keep your complexion clear by drawing out impurities from your face. Masks formulated with natural earth minerals have a negative charge that attracts positive-charged particles which effectively removes any lingering dirt.

  • Benefit 2: It Brightens

Do you notice that your skin is looking dull and lacklustre? If so then you might need to exfoliate your skin more. Overall dullness is caused by the accumulation of dead skin cells. The good news is these can help make your skin look fresher and brighter in as short as 10 minutes.

They help slough off dead skin and other impurities. It also helps promote blood circulation so your skin looks more radiant.

  • Benefit 3: It Mattifies

If you find yourself needing to dab on some powder on your forehead and chin by midday then you will benefit from using this type of mask at least once a week. Most of these help oily skin by absorbing excess oil and controlling shine. Over time, it can help regulate sebum production and mattify the skin.

  • Benefit 4: It Gently Cleanses 

Harsh facial cleansers can leave the skin feeling rough, parched, and uncomfortable. A clay mask, when used together with a mild cleansing product, gently yet effectively removes unwanted dirt from your skin. It will keep your face squeaky clean without irritation. With the help of the right mask, your skin may also look more hydrated. 

  • Benefit 5: Refines Pores

Let’s get one thing out of the way first, you can’t get rid of your pores. These little openings all over your skin are there to serve two primary purposes: 1) to release oils that naturally lubricate and hydrate the skin and 2) to release sweat and help your body stay cool during warm weather. Don’t hate them!

The size of your pores also doesn’t change. They just look bigger depending on your genes, your age, and if they are clogged with oil and dirt. The good news is, face masks can help refine the appearance of your pores.

They suck out impurities from your skin including oil and dirt buildup which frees up your pores. This unclogging action helps reduce their appearance which also helps make your complexion look smoother.

  • Benefit 6: It Helps Acne-Prone Complexions

They are heaven-sent for people with acne-prone skin. This is because it clears your skin and lifts away dead skin cells, dirt, oil, and debris that block your pores. They also often have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties which help keep acne breakouts at bay. Using it at least once a week can help purify your skin and keep those pesky pimples away.

  • Benefit 7: It Restores Balance

They have excellent skin balancing properties which make them excellent for combination skin. If you have rough patches in some areas of your face and an oilier and acne-prone t-zone then a clay mask once or twice a week can be a lifesaver for your complexion.

You can choose a hydrating formula for the dryer parts of your skin to keep it moisturized and to get rid of flakes. Meanwhile, you can also choose an oil-controlling formula on your t-zone to keep unwanted shine at bay. 


Types of Clay Masks

The great thing about these earth mineral-based masks is there’s one for every skin type and every skin concern you might have. Each kind of has specific benefits that address your skin’s needs.

  • Bentonite 

Bentonite is probably the most popular kind of clay mask today. It has been used by American Indians for purification and healing purposes. Sometimes called a healing clay, this natural volcanic ash sediment is high in aluminium and silica which makes it ideal for all skin types.

It effectively absorbs excess sebum which is key for reducing acne. Its negatively-charged ions also attract dust, grime, and oil from the pores which keep the skin clean and clear. Furthermore, bentonite helps soften the skin as it sloughs off dead skin. Overtime, bentonite can reduce the appearance of dark acne scars, skin discoloration, and uneven skin tone.

  • Kaolin Clay

Kaolin is a naturally-occurring mineral clay derived from kaolinite. Also called china clay, it tends to be white but it can also appear in other hues such as pink and green. It is considered to be the gentlest tyoe making it the best option for sensitive skin as well as for dry skin.

It is mild enough that it can be used for sensitive and dehydrated skin. Its creamy texture helps soften and soothe irritated skin. It also eliminates blackheads, tightens the appearance of pores, and reduces acne breakouts. Kaolin's mild and gentle properties remove impurities and soothe aggravated skin.

  • French Green Clay

French green clay or montmorillonite is a naturally-occurring clay that is typically combined with moisturizing oils. It is known for its ability to absorb oil and remove impurities from the skin. Its green coloring comes from plant matter and oxides.

While it is best suited for oily skin, it can still be applied to all skin types. It can balance combination skin, normalize oily skin, and revitalize dry skin. It is also rich in minerals like iron, silica, aluminum, magnesium, calcium, titanium, sodium, and potassium. These help alleviate skin problems and helps keep the skin feeling silky smooth.

  • Sea Clay

Sea clay is a dark green clay that originates from the mud from under the sea. One of its most popular sources is the Dead Sea. It is known for its high concentration of minerals like calcium, magnesium, bromide, potassium, and sulfate.

These compounds are absorbed into the skin and help to refresh the skin and maintain its barrier function so they can hold on to moisture better. It also helps rejuvenate tired skin for a more youthful appearance so t's best for mature skin. Furthermore, this clay mask helps detoxify the skin, balance combination skin, and revitalizes tired and dull-looking skin for a more radiant appearance.

  • Rhassoul

Rhassoul clay is an ancient clay mined from the Atlas mountains of Morocco. The term “rhassoul” comes from an Arabic word that means “to wash.” It is a type of stevensite that is rich in magnesium and other minerals.

The metallic elements it contains, such as magnesium and potassium, carry a negative charge which helps draw out toxins making it an excellent detoxifier for the skin.

While it is powerful enough for keeping the skin free from toxins and dirt, it doesn't take away moisture excessively and it also helps improve the texture of rough skin. It is gentle enough for daily application in small doses.


Top Tips

If you want to make the most out of your mask, you need to make sure that you’re using it properly.

Here are five things you need to know to ensure the effectiveness of your masking routine:

  • Tip 1: Keep Your Hands Clean

Make sure that your hands and fingers are clean before applying them. Dirty hands can transfer oil, impurities, and bacteria to your face which could lead to acne breakouts. Some people opt to use silicone spatulas or brushes to apply their masks. If you choose this route, be sure that your tools are clean as well.

  • Tip 2: Be Consistent About It

As with any skincare product, it's best to be consistent with using them if you want to see real results. It can only work its magic for your skin if you don’t consistently use it. Use it at least once a week as a part of your self-care sessions and over time, you’ll see awesome results on your complexion.

  • Tip 3: Multi-Masking Is Your Friend

We’ve talked about how each person has unique needs when it to skincare but did you know that your skin can have different issues occurring all at the same time? You could have pimples on your chin but your forehead is oily. Or your cheeks could be lacking in hydration but your t-zone gets super shiny. The good news is you can always use different types in different parts of your skin. This allows you to target specific issues efficiently.

  • Tip 4: Know How Often to Apply Them

It goes without saying that they are an excellent addition to your skincare routine. However, they can be too potent for certain people especially those with sensitive skin. 

Bentonite, for example, has stronger absorption effects. While it may be best for oilier complexions to apply it up to 3 times a week to keep the excess sebum at bay, drier skin types are better off using it once or twice a week.

Meanwhile, gentler and hydrating types like kaolin clay can be used more often since they’re less likely to strip your skin.

  • Tip 5: Know When to Use a Clay Mask

Timing is also key if you want to make the most out of them. These skincare products are meant to refresh and detoxify your skin so they're best used at night. If you take showers at night, then it’s the perfect time to put on a clay mask right after. The skin is softer and is more welcoming for skincare products after being cleansed.


Proper Usage

A clay mask promises a lot of wonderful things for your skin. But did you know that there’s a right way to apply and remove it if you want to reap its full benefits? Follow these steps for an effective clay masking session:

  • Step 1: Cleanse

A clay mask won’t be able to do its work properly if your skin is caked in makeup and oil. You can double cleanse with an oil cleanser or cleansing balm to loosen any debris that has accumulated throughout the day. Follow this up with mild foaming or gel cleanser and then rinse off with warm water.

  • Step 2: Pat Your Skin to Remove Excess Water

After washing your face, pat your skin with a clean face towel to get rid of extra moisture. They work by absorbing excess oil and pulling dirt and debris from the pores. Excess water from cleansing may interfere with this process.

  • Step 3: Prepare Your Mask

If you’re using a powder clay mask, mix equal amounts of it with water or apple cider vinegar until a uniform thick paste forms. Avoid using metal tools when mixing your clay mask as it can interfere with the ionic charge the minerals it contains. Instead, choose plastic, ceramic, or silicone tools.

  • Step 4: Apply the Mask

Using your fingers or a face brush, apply the mask in generous strokes all over you face. Be sure to apply it all the way to the jawline while avoiding the under-eye and brow area. Massage the clay into your skin in circular motions to make sure that it enters your pores.

  • Step 5: Let the It Dry

Sit back, relax, and leave the mask to dry for 10 to 20 minutes. As the water evaporates, you will feel your skin tighten. However, don’t fall into the trap of waiting until your mask and flaking off. This draws out moisture excessively and leaves your skin parched.

If you feel a burning sensation or if it feels too uncomfortable, remove the mask with warm water and let your skin rest.

  • Step 6: Remove the Mask

Clay masks are best removed by rehydrating it a little bit with warm water to soften it again. Using gentle circular motions, loosen the mask until it comes off. This can also stimulate circulation, exfoliate, and polish the skin as the mask is removed. Rinse off until all is dissolved.

It’s worth noting that after removing clay masks especially those made with bentonite clay, your skin might turn a little red. This is normal and should go away in about half an hour.

  • Step 7: Follow Up with Moisturizer

After removing the mask, follow up with your usual skincare routine. Slather on your favorite hydrating moisturizer to keep your skin soft. If your skin is oily, a water-based or gel-based moisturizer is the best option for you. If your skin is on the dry side, go for a nourishing face oil.       


Final Words

The results you can get from using a clay mask is truly outstanding. It can smoothen your complexion, help keep moisture in, and get rid of excess oils. What’s more, there’s a wide variety of clay types you can choose from that will best suit your skin’s needs. Hopefully, the information in this guide helped you in your buying journey of the best clay masks!