Face masks that contain clay are perfect for detoxing skin and purifying your pores. Plus, they’re fun to apply!
Not only is slathering on a face mask a pampering pick-me-up after a long day, but it's great for your skin. From sheet masks to cream masks to masks that harden then peel off, different formulas and ingredients may work better for certain skin types. But experts say there's one type of mask that most people can benefit from: the tried-and-true clay mask.
"Clay masks have a very long history in skincare," says Ted Lain, MD, a dermatologist based in Austin, Texas. "Their drying and astringent properties are used to minimize blemishes, and their anti-inflammatory properties help minimize redness and inflammation."
While clay masks work for all skin types, how often you apply one may vary. For example, people with oily skin and clogged pores may be able to use them daily, while those with normal or dry skin may need to mask less often. Regardless, Dr. Lain tells use that he believes "nearly everyone" can benefit from at least intermittent use of these masks.
Kaolin, charcoal, and rose—oh my! There are quite a few different types of clay to choose from, all with their own unique skin-purifying benefits. Below, we rounded up a list of our favorites, along with a few recommendations from dermatologists. Read on to find the best clay mask for you.
Borghese Fango Active Mud Mask for Face and Body
"This mask contains bentonite clay, which helps to balance oil production unclog pores, exfoliate, and removes toxins from the skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid as well as avocado oil, which keeps it from being too drying for the skin. Plus, it’s a multitasking product, since you can use it on both the face and body."
—Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City
Boscia Charcoal Pore Pudding Intensive Wash-Off Treatment
Charcoal is a holy grail product for beauty lovers with oily skin, thanks to its absorbing properties, and this product steps it up a notch by including both black and white charcoal in one ultra-detoxifying mask. The mixture guarantees a deep clean that not only helps unclog pores, but minimizes their appearance to achieve a smoother complexion instantly.
VIA Cosmedics Exfoliating and Clarifying UltraMUD Treatment
"Combing the exfoliating abilities of AHAs, the brightening properties of mandelic and azeleic acid, and the purifying properties of clay allows this mask to act more like rejuvenating skincare than a simple detoxifying mask. I always support products that benefit the skin in multiple ways."
Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask
The Charlotte Tilbury brand is known for its emphasis on luxury, and this product promises baby-soft skin in just one application. Spanish clay works to absorb oil and target impurities, and the brand’s patented Bio Nymph Peptide helps improve skin elasticity and give you a youthful look, so you can hydrate while you purify. Two birds with one stone!
Ahava Time to Clear Purifying Mud Mask
“The healing and detoxifying properties inherent to mud found only at the Dead Sea are legendary. The special mix of salt and minerals decreases inflammation, acne, and improves skin health overall. It is by far one of my favorite skincare products."
L'Oreal Paris Pure-Clay Mask in Detox & Brighten
L'Oreal has an entire line of pure-clay masks and cleansers that are a great drugstore option for those looking to detox on a budget. Kaolin clay, Moroccan lava clay, and charcoal are some of the main ingredients working in this mask to pull out impurities. Plus, the formula doesn't dry down, so you can leave the clay on for up to 15 minutes without worrying about your skin feeling tight or having difficulty washing off the product when time’s up.
Origins Original Skin Retexturing Mask With Rose Clay
"This mask is an effective clarifying mask while at the same time hydrating—an unusual combination. The jojoba beads serve to exfoliate, while the unique composition of rose clay helps calm acne and irritated skin. Rose clay is considered to be the mildest of all clays and is rich in kaolinite, calcium, iron, and magnesium. It's appropriate for sensitive or mature skin with or without acne."
—Ava Shamban, MD, a dermatologist based in Pacific Palisades, California
bareMinerals Dirty Detox Skin Glowing and Refining Mud Mask
This mask boasts an impressive four different mineral-rich clays, in combination with charcoal and papaya enzyme, to purify skin and leave it luminous and refreshed. Slather it on, take in the soothing bergamot and eucalyptus scent, and pretend you’re at the nicest spa in town.
Michael Todd Kaolin Clay Detoxifying Facial Mask
"This mask reduces breakouts, helps absorb excess oil, and makes skin appear more even and pores tighter. The ingredients (kaolin clay, sulfur, and witch hazel) are known to be anti-inflammatory and calming to acne-prone, red, or irritated skin. It also hydrates skin with aloe and glycerin. This is a great over-the-counter option that is affordable and readily available online."
—Jennifer MacGregor, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City
Ole Henriksen Hygge Hydraclay Detox Mask
If you’re all about pampering, you're probably familiar with hygge, the Danish secret to happiness that emphasizes feeling cozy, comfortable, and enjoying small pleasures. This mask is a serious treat for the face, thanks to its combination of kaolin clay and five botanical oils. It soothes skin and restores moisture, all while reducing redness and drawing out impurities.
HydroPeptide Purifying Mask
"This detoxifying hybrid clay and gel mask instantly creates a more youthful radiant glow, extracts impurities, and minimizes the appearance of pores. Purifying clays, peptides, and hyaluronic acid lift, firm, and hydrate skin. The enzymes dissolve dead skin cells for skin that feels and looks noticeably softer."
—Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip, MD, a dermatologist based in Norwell, Massachussetts
Innisfree Color Clay Mask
Volcanic clay soaks up oil to combat shine.
Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Rescue Mask
Dullness? Red algae and lotus seeds buff away dead skin cells for a dewy sheen.
This mask is great for breakout-prone skin. Clarifying Dead Sea mud calms, while magnolia bark extract purifies.