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There’s a reason mud-masking has been around for centuries. Vitamin and mineral-rich, good-for-you earth is easily one of the best things you can slather on your skin. Plus, clay masks feel great on the skin, and they’re practically made for easy at-home use. What other skincare product can you actually see working—drying out to unclog and detox pores in a matter of minutes?
So we agree then: Clay masks are awesome. But they aren’t all created equal. Sure, the formulas will differ, as some gently exfoliate while others refine and a select few plump the skin, but the differences run deeper than that. The type of clay and even where the clay was sourced can make a huge difference in a clay mask’s efficacy, and there are a lot of products on the market to sift through for these differences. So we did the hard work for you and compiled a list of the all-time best clay masks.
Read on to find the best clay mask for you.
Best Overall: Fresh Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask
Upon discovery of this mask, Byrdie Editorial Director Faith's world was rocked. (You can read all about her Italian beauty experience.) The clay is sourced from Umbria, Italy (otherwise known as the "Green Heart of Italy"), and incredibly mineral-rich, which is how it so thoroughly cleanses and purifies the skin. Sandalwood oil, chamomile flower, and lavender water are also included to calm and soothe your complexion. Just trust us when we say it's so good.
Best Budget: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay
This cult-favorite is a 100% natural bentonite clay mask derived from volcanic ash, making it rich in minerals. It comes in powder form in a big tub and only a few teaspoonfuls are needed to make an effective mask. It’s highly recommended to mix with apple cider vinegar, which reacts well with the powder clay and essentially turns it into a sponge that absorbs any excess oil and sucks out all impurities. The result? A brighter and tighter canvas. Because the clay is so potent, use this mask as a deep treatment once or twice a week when you need a major skin boost.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask
A milder clay, pink clay is a combination of red and white clay and is ideal for fussy skin. The microfine powder is a super gentle polisher without tugging on dragging on delicate skin. Apart from its fun millennial pink shade, the mask itself is infused with exfoliating jojoba beads and Canadian willowherb, a natural skin soother. After use, skin feels more even and pores look smaller. Apply all over the face, avoiding the eye area, and let it work its magic for ten minutes.
Best for Clogged Pores: Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask
Amazonian white clay is the star ingredient in this creamy, powerful face mask. Fairly sourced from the Amazon River, this light clay really dives deep into pores to clean them out. Say goodbye to sebum and dead skin as the product works as a mild exfoliant to remove toxins, dirt, and dry skin cells. Although the formula works well with all skin types, it’s especially useful for acne-prone skin as it gets rid of impurities that can clog pores and cause blemishes. However, this clay isn’t drying thanks to the inclusion of aloe, which majorly hydrates and calms irritated skin.
Best Detoxifying: L'Oréal Detox and Brighten Pure Clay Mask
If you're looking for a back-to-basics formula without too many bells and whistles, then this one is for you. It's a mix of pure clay and charcoal to draw out impurities, dirt, and oil. Oh, and it's $10, so you can stock up as often as you like.
Best for Excess Oil: bareMinerals Clay Chameleon Transforming Purifying Cleanser
Ok, so this pick isn't technically a mask, but it works like one thanks to a formulation with red kaolin clay. Out of all the clays, red kaolin clay has the highest absorption power, so if greasiness and slickness is your primary issue, this cleanser is for you.
Like the other clays, it extracts dirt and toxins, except red kaolin clay actually deeply penetrates into the epidermal layer for an intense cleansing. Sea salt exfoliates the outer surface while mineral-rich papaya extract rejuvenates and uplifts. Red clay is also a great anti-inflammatory, alleviating redness and irritation.
Best for Large Pores: GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment
Even if you rarely use clay masks, you've likely heard of this buzzy product. It's popular because it works like an IRL Instagram filter. It targets everything from blemishes to redness to scars, razor bumps, and even ingrown hair. And take it from us—after you wash it off, your skin will feel incredibly smooth, thanks to a blend of six exfoliating acids.
We took this product for a spin. Find out how it went in our GlamGlow SuperMud review.
Best for Dull Skin: Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask
Fans of this mask include some serious A-listers (think Gigi Hadid). It's probably because of the megawatt glow and velvety softness that results from a quick rendezvous with this formula. Spanish clay, sweet almond oil, rosehip oil, and peptides work together to detoxify, nourish, and plump the skin. Take it from the queen herself, Charlotte Tilbury: "It has fail-proof results, dramatically purifying the skin, creating a smooth, clear, youthfully dewy surface, revealing new baby skin."
Best for Signs of Aging: Herbivore Botanicals Pink Clay Facial Mask
And the obsession with rose-colored clay (happily) continues. This time, French pink clay makes an appearance in an intense anti-aging mud powder. It banishes fine lines and improves skin’s elasticity due to its iron oxide and silica. The scent is relaxing—we smell you, rosehip—making this a lovely sensorial experience. As wonderful as it smells, rosehip is also a major anti-ager, preventing further wrinkles with its trans-retinoic acid. Take a tablespoon of powder and mix with a few drops of water to create a creamy texture, then apply all over the face. Once dry, rinse off.
Best Splurge: Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Mask
Dr. Barbara Sturm is an aesthetic medicine specialist: She's applied her knowledge of molecular science to create a line of safe, effective skincare products, and this mask is no exception. Aloe vera, vitamin E, and chamomile rest on a base of white kaolin clay (also known as china clay). The result is a deep-cleansing clay mask that's somehow super hydrating. Totally worth the hefty price tag, if you ask us.
Best Innovation: Olay Pore Detox Black Charcoal Clay Face Mask Stick
If there’s one downfall to mud masks, it’s the mess. This handy, convenient stick solves all of that. Charcoal and kaolin clay partner up in this mask stick to zap pore-clogging excess oils and exfoliate dead skin. Don’t worry about over-drying, the formula leaves skin feeling well-hydrated and plump after application. Apply the mask to clean, dry skin and leave it on for at least ten minutes. While rinsing the product off, massage it into the skin for full absorption.
Best Scented: African Botanicals Marula Mineral Cleansing Mask
This mask targets "redness, inflammation, and acne." Thanks to its long list of minerals—magnesium, zinc, copper, and iron included—it sucks up extra dirt, oil, and debris from pores. Plus, it smells lovely, like a blend of rose and clementine.