The use of clay to treat the skin dates back thousands of years to ancient civilizations all over the world. It’s been used by indigenous people to draw out impurities from skin infections and it’s even rumored that Cleopatra used clay to preserve her complexion.
Though the ritual of using a clay face mask is not a modern concept, it is one powerful skin care practice that’s withstood the test of time. Which is why, to this day, it’s used as cosmetic ingredient in a plethora of skincare products. Clay masks offer a myriad of skin benefits that range from decongesting pores to restoring your glow.
8 Skin Benefits Of Clay Masks
1. Clay Masks Unclog Pores Instantly
Clogged pores are not just unsightly, they can lead to breakouts. Luckily, clay masks draw excess oil, dead skin and debris from your pores, keeping them squeaky clean while minimizing their appearance. You’ll notice that when the clay mask begins to harden, dark spots begin forming on the mask, which is a sign that the clay is absorbing impurities from your pores.
2. Clay Masks Improve Skin Texture
Because clay is porous, it absorbs excess oil, impurities and dead skin from the surface, revealing softer, smoother skin. It also gently exfoliates, making it an ideal exfoliating treatment for sensitive skin.
3. Clay Masks Neutralize Damaging Free Radicals
Clay has a negative ionic charge when hydrated, which makes it effective at binding to positively charged ions, also known as free radicals. Free radicals are known to accelerate visible signs of aging.
4. Clay Masks Help Acne
Clay not only binds to free radicals, but also the dirt, debris and bacteria that can exacerbate acne and blemishes, making it a powerful tool for reducing the appearance of breakouts. All without the harsh side-effects associated with traditional acne products. And because clay decongests clogged pores, it can help visibly reduce the size and frequency of breakouts.
5. Clay Masks Improves Skin Tone
Clay gently exfoliates and removes surface build-up, revealing a more even-looking skin tone with consistent use. When you remove dead skin and debris from the top layer of your skin through exfoliation, your skin’s ability to reflect light is improved and in return it appears brighter and more even. Clay also has an energizing effect on skin, promoting a healthy-looking glow.
6. Clay Masks Absorb Excess Oil
Your skin’s sebaceous glands can can become overactive and produce excess oil during times of stress, health challenges or simply due to hot weather. Not only does this make skin appear shiny and oily, it can lead to clogged pores and blemishes. Clay acts as a sponge and absorbs excess oil and impurities — without the use of drying chemicals commonly found in conventional products designed for oily and acne-prone skin, which can contribute to further imbalances.
7. Clay Masks Gently Cleanse
Clay is nature’s perfect cleansing agent. Your skin doesn’t actually require synthetic foaming agents to be properly cleansed. In fact, foaming cleansers can actually strip the skin and cause irritation. Clay does everything a traditional cleanser does and more: removes impurities, bacteria, dead skin, excess oil — without disrupting your skin’s homeostasis.
8. Clay Masks Support Skin Barrier Health
Modern skincare products, such as acid exfoliants and harsh cleansers, can disrupt and dissolve the skin’s protective barrier, leaving skin health compromised, which can show up as irritated, highly sensitive and imbalanced skin. Clay is a fantastic alternative to acid exfoliants and harsh cleansers as it does not disrupt the skin barrier and its delicate microbiome. Clay masks gently cleanse, decongest pores and exfoliate skin in a healthy and balanced manner.
Not All Clay Masks Are Created Equal
The type of clay mask you use makes all the difference to your skin. When we talk about the benefits of using a clay mask, we’re talking about fresh, powder mask formulas (also known as anhydrous formulas) that are free from synthetics and harsh preservatives that can disrupt your skin’s microbiome.
A quick google search will give you thousands of clay mask options. But most of these are clay masks formulated with water, preservatives, binding agents, emulsifiers, synthetic fragrance and ingredients that can do more harm than good to your skin.
Regardless of there being a preservative present, pre-hydrated masks are highly susceptible to bacteria and mold contamination. Every time you dip your finger into that jar, your shelf-life dramatically decreases and the chance of that preservative working decreases with each contact. And preservatives are not directly beneficial to your skin, so if you can avoid them, you should.
So why not eliminate the risk for contamination and the need for preservatives entirely by eliminating the water component of the mask. Well that’s exactly what we do at Root Science! Giving you the power to activate your mask exactly when you need it, ensuring each treatment is equally as fresh as it is effective. You can even customize your treatment to your individual needs, as we will discuss in detail later on.
Now we know many of you may be thinking, “I don’t have time to mask”. Well, if you make time for Netflix or a book, then you have time to mask!
Keeping skin clear and healthy takes dedication and effort, something that should be viewed as a joyful ritual rather than a chore. Healthy skin requires you to do the work, inside and out. Much like exercise, consistency is key in maintaining your best skin.
How Do Clay Masks Work?
One of the most gratifying aspects of using a clay mask is that you can see and feel the results immediately. And with prolonged use, results only get better, ensuring your pore size appearance is minimized and breakouts decrease in frequency and size. You’ll also notice improvement in skin tone, texture and an overall healthy glow.
Organic. Phytoactive. Skin Nourishment.
Looking To Treat Your Skin To A Clay Powered Facial Mask?
Best Types of Clay For Skin
While there are many varieties of clay, we’ve narrowed it down to the most powerful clays for effectively treating and improving the delicate skin on your face.
French Green Clay
As the name indicates, French green clay comes to us from France and gets its green color from decomposed plant matter, also known as phytonutrients. This is one of the best clays for blemish-prone skin due to having one of the highest absorption capacities, effectively deep cleaning and decongesting clogged pores.
Known as the healing clay, bentonite clay is prized for its benefits, internally and externally. Our bentonite clay is sourced from the United States and is composed of naturally occurring volcanic ash. Bentonite is a rich source of minerals such as silica, magnesium, sodium, copper, iron and potassium. It has been studied for its effect on promoting the appearance of firmness, attributed to its high silica content. Bentonite clay is also valued for its soothing benefits.
Kaolin clay is one of the mildest and most gentle clays, making it ideal for sensitive and reactive skin. Regardless of its gentle nature, Kaolin clay is still highly beneficial to the skin and effectively cleanses and exfoliates without the use of synthetic surfactants and abrasives.
This skin softening clay comes to us from deep within the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. It’s recommended for dry and mature skin in need of rejuvenation. Rhassoul clay has been used as a body, face and hair treatment for over 1400 years and is a staple ingredient in luxury spa treatments. Rhassoul clay is known for improving the appearance of skin tone, texture and promoting a healthy glow.
When To Apply A Clay Mask
– Mask 15 minutes before a shower or bath.
– Mask while reading a book.
– Mask during a movie or your favorite sitcom.
– Mask during your at-home yoga/workout session.
How To Use A Clay Mask
Begin by transforming your fresh powder mask into a creamy paste by mixing it with a liquid of choice. Our powder masks are housed in a very special violet glass that preserves the clays and fresh herbs. By keeping our masks in powder form, it allows us to avoid the use of fillers and harsh preservatives. Mixing your own mask is worth the extra skin benefits.
The most basic way to activate your mask is by mixing it with hot water. We recommend using hot water as it will activate the herbs, very much like steeping a tea. Always begin by adding a small amount of liquid, a quarter teaspoon or less at a time, mixing and adding more until the perfect consistency is achieved — a creamy, pudding-like texture.
Try to avoid making the mistake of adding too much water at first, as that will dilute the mask, and the only way to fix that situation is to add more powder to the mix. Allow the mask to steep for 1-2 minutes and test the temperature with your finger before applying.
How To Customize Your Clay Mask
One of the main benefits of using a powder mask, instead of one that comes pre-hydrated, is that it allows you to customize the treatment to your skin’s current needs. You control if the mask will be an extraction mask, moisture mask, exfoliating mask, or a little bit of everything.
Below are 4 ways to customize your Root Science mask depending on your skin’s needs. We recommend masking 1-3 times per week. You can use our masks as full facial treatments or simply spot treat areas of congestion and blemishes.
You will notice results almost immediately if this is your first-time masking, but know that a consistent routine of masking weekly will have the most profound effect on your complexion and improve your skin over time. We are proponents of the slow and steady approach when it comes to caring for your skin as it yields long term results and supports optimal skin health.
Your skin barrier is sensitive, so if you shock it with harsh treatments, you can throw your skin barrier function out of balance. Signs that indicate your skin is being stressed or imbalanced include excess oil production, rashes, bumps, redness and dry patches. These signs are your skin telling you “too much, too fast”. Slow and steady is the way to go, very much like exercise.
You’ll begin to notice a smoother, more even toned complexion and less noticeable pores with consistent use. You can’t change the size of your pores, however the clay mask will absorb excess oil and debris that can make pores appear enlarged.
1. Add raw honey to create a skin softening enzyme mask.
2. Add plain yogurt to create a cooling + probiotic mask.
3. Add 1-2 pumps of facial oil to create a deep moisture-replenishing mask.
4. Add green tea instead of water for an extraction mask with astringent and antioxidant benefits.
For detailed recipes for customizing your clay mask, explore our Product Tips & Tricks page.
How To Properly Apply Clay Masks In 3 Easy Steps
We recommend starting with a bare face. You do not need to cleanse your face before applying a clay mask, unless you need to remove makeup and/or SPF. We do not recommend cleansing right before a mask to avoid disrupting the PH of your skin. If you need to wash your face to remove makeup and SPF, allow your skin a few minutes to recalibrate before applying the clay mask.
Apply a generous layer of a freshly-activated mask all over face and neck, avoiding areas that are fragile, such as the under-eye area, lips or any broken or chapped skin. Leave on for 15 minutes or until dry. Some people may think that by leaving the mask on longer that it will increase the benefits. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Do not leave the mask on for long once it has dried, as it can irritate the skin and negate the benefits. Once the mask dries, remove it or rehydrate it, if you decide to leave it on longer. If you mix your mask with honey, oil or yoghurt, you can leave the mask on longer, roughly 45 minutes.
We always recommend masking before a bath or shower for ease of cleanup. Remove the clay mask using warm water. Begin by splashing your face to rehydrate the mask and gently massage your skin for gentle exfoliation. Continue rinsing and massaging until mask is fully removed. Always follow with a moisturizer and/or nutrient-rich oil-based serum. It is vital to replenish moisture after using a clay mask.
Clay Masks: A Natural Blemish Spot Treatment
Clay replaces the need for harsh synthetic spot treatments. Simply apply a clay mask on blemishes as they begin to appear, to stop them in their tracks.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, the benefits of using a clay mask are numerous. Which is why clay makes for such a powerful ingredient in skincare formulations. But at Root Science, we don’t stop there. Each of our clay-based facial masks is infused with organic, time-honored botanicals renowned for their skin beneficial properties and overall beautifying effects on the skin. We supercharge each formula, ultimately building upon the foundational powers of clay.
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Disclaimer: This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Root Science nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any skincare, nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program. The views and products expressed are not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease.