I, for one, am a HUGE clay mask lover and user, but how exactly do they work? Clays are negatively charged ions (an atom or molecule with an electric charge) and toxins (in this case bacteria) are positively charged. This is where the magic happens... The negative charge of the clay attracts the positive charge of the bacteria, pulling it out of the pores, thus detoxing! But there are so many types of clay! Which is best for you?
Here is a list for some of the most commonly used clays in facial masks:
BENTONITE clay is mined from volcanic ash deposits and is one of the most powerful detoxing clays around. It is a bit unusual in that it swells when water or liquid is added to it, like a sponge soaking in water. Bentonite clay's negative ions are activated when mixed with water and is unparalleled in its ability to draw out toxins and bacteria. Remember when you were stung by a bee as a child and your mother applied mud to draw out the poison? That is basically what this clay is doing! WORKS BEST FOR: Bentonite "drinks" in oils along with bacteria and is, therefore, perfect for those with oily skin and are prone to acne or hormonal breakouts. Since this type of clay is so drawing it is best used once every week or once every two weeks. Bentonite clay is the base of our Charcoal Burdock Mask along with extracts of white willow, burdock root, olive leaf, and chamomile flower powder, making it a skin-cleansing, acne-fighting powerhouse.
FRENCH GREEN CLAY is traditionally mined in France from naturally occurring deposits with its signature green color coming from decomposed plant matter! Its strength is medium to mild and is best used once a week or as a spot treatment. WORKS BEST FOR: Individuals with somewhat oily or normal skin with occasional breakouts. French Green Clay forms the base of our Lavender Matcha Mask which contains matcha green tea powder, green tea extract, spinach powder (yup! spinach), cucumber extract, and lavender flower powder, making it a deeply cleansing, antioxidant-rich mask.
KAOLIN CLAY is the most gentle of all the clays, but still is able to stimulate the flow of flesh blood to the surface of the skin and to gently detox without pulling too much of the skin's naturally occurring oils. WORKS BEST FOR: Sensitive to dry skin types.
ROSE CLAY is considered to be a type of kaolin clay with some naturally occurring iron oxides, making is a beautiful pink/rosey color. WORKS BEST FOR: Oily/normal/combination skin types.
FULLERS CLAY is also known as a "whitening clay" and has been used for its skin-lightening abilities. It has strong absorbing qualities and is often paired with bentonite clay. WORKS BEST FOR: Combination to oil skin types with uneven tone.
SEA CLAY is mined from ancient sea beds and are rich in minerals and skin-nourishing algae. WORKS BEST FOR: Oily skin types
RHASSOUL CLAY is mined from natural deposits in the Atlas Mountains of Morrocco and has been used for centuries to cleanse, detoxify, and actually reduce dryness! It is high in magnesium and silicas and is used mainly to gently cleanse the skin and hair. WORKS BEST FOR: Normal to dry skin types.
I hope you find this information as fascinating as I do and just a few last tips.
-Mixing clay masks in non-metals bowls with non-metal utensils is preferred. Why? Metal is positively charged and can prematurely activate the negative charge of the clay, reducing its detoxing ability. We just received these GORGEOUS ceramic mask mixing bowls from a local artist; paired with these vegan mask mixing brushes, you are ready to mask!
-Mix your clay masks with warm water or better yet, with herbal infusions (tea). Or use a facial steam (ahem, the Coconut Green Tea Facial is the perfect all-in-on) before applying your mask, by doing this you are preparing your pores to open, encouraging them to relinquish the bacteria easier. Adding the warm infusion from the facial steam to the mix will activate the botanicals in the masks themselves (ie the chamomile in the Charcoal Burdock Mask and lavender and green tea in the Lavender Matcha Mask).
-If you have very dry skin but still want the detoxing and toning benefits of using a clay mask, try adding a drop or two of your favorite facial oil or serum (Sun Worshiper Repair Serum or the Green Tea Serum are a few of my suggestions).
-Since clays ARE drying, I recommend following them with a facial toning mist and a good facial oil or cream. Also, as tempting as it is, do not use clay masks every day. They are meant to be a detox and reset for your skin and should be used once a week at the most. More frequently if just using as spot treatments.
I hoped you enjoyed all this information and happy masking! xo