When it comes to face masks for oily, acne-prone, and combination skin, bentonite clay may be an answer to all your skin woes. Clay masks soothe and heal skin and remove excess sebum, making them excellent for oily skin types, and with the addition of hydrating oil, dry skin types can benefit from the powerful detox as well.
The most basic clay mask involves mixing clay powder and water, but we spoke with dermatologist Dr. Morgan Rabach and esthetician and clean beauty advocate Jazmin Alverez to find out exactly what ingredients will take your mask to the next level. Keep reading to find recipes for a green clay mask to really spice up your at-home spa day.
Meet the Expert
- Jazmin Alvarez is the founder of Pretty Well Beauty. She is a prominent clean beauty advocate and has worked in fashion and beauty for 14 years.
- Dr. Morgan Rabach is a board-certified dermatologist who owns and practices at LM Medical NYC in New York. She has been featured in publications such as Allure, InStyle, and Glamour.
Soothing Green Clay Mask for Oily or Inflamed Skin
"French green clay absorbs oils and removes dead skin from the outer layers," says Rabach. "It can help dry out acne." Aloe vera gel and rosewater are cooling, soothing ingredients, which make this mask perfect for any inflammation or redness.
- 1½ tsp French green clay
- ½ tsp kaolin clay
- 1½ tbsp aloe vera gel
- 1 tbsp rose water
- 2 drops rose essential oil or an acne-reducing essential oil (optional)
- Mix the green and kaolin clays in a glass or plastic bowl.
- Add the aloe vera gel, rose water, and any other oils and combine.
- Apply to the skin and let sit for 10-20 minutes, or until the clay has dried. Rinse with a warm, steamy washcloth.
If you made more mask than you need, store it in an airtight container in the refridgerator. Water-based masks will last up to one week, and oil-based masks will last up to four.
Honey-Infused Clay Mask for Acne-Prone Skin
"Honey is anti-microbial and a natural humectant, which makes it an excellent ingredient for drawing moisture into the skin while killing acne-causing bacteria," says Alverez. "It also washes off easily with just water." If you are in the middle of a bad breakout, this mask is a good option to speed the healing process.
- Green clay—If you have sensitive skin, another option to try is the Astura Bentonite Clay ($12).
- 1 tsp honey
- Water for oily skin, milk for combination skin, or jojoba oil for dry skin
- Mix 2 parts liquid to 1 part clay.
- Mix in a bit of honey, making sure to stir thoroughly.
- If the clay is too dry, add some more liquid.
- Apply the mask and keep it on for around 15 minutes.
- Remove the mask with a warm washcloth.
Avoid mixing your mask with metal tools or in metal bowls, and stick to wood or plastic. Some types of clay can react to metal, and this will reduce the clay's purifying properties.
Clay and Oil Mask for Dry Skin
Clay is a great de-greaser, but what about those among us more prone to be a desert than an oil slick? Using a hydrating oil as your mixing medium is a good answer; this way, you can get the purifying benefits of clay but maintain (or even improve!) your skin's moisture levels. Apricot oil also contains antioxidants to help skin cells heal faster, says Rabach.
- Mix the palmarosa and apricot oils.
- Add the oils to the clay, adding a few drops of water if necessary.
- Stir to combine, being sure to emulsify the oil and the water; add more water if need be to give the mask a spreadable consistency.
- Apply an even layer of the mask on your face.
- Let it dry for 10 minutes.
- Rinse it off with a warm washcloth.
"if you’re experimenting with essential oils or any ingredient you haven’t used before, start with a patch test to make sure you aren’t allergic or have skin sensitivities," recommends Alvarez. "Just because a product is natural doesn't mean it works for everyone."
Clay and Oats Mask for Irritated Skin
Got an active breakout or have an allergic reaction to some makeup? This mask has got you covered (see what we did there?): colloidal oatmeal is one of the most calming and reparative natural ingredients out there. "It is soothing for inflamed skin, like eczema or overly-dry skin," confirms Rabach.
- 1 tbsp bentonite clay
- 1-2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp ground oats
- Mix the clay, water, oats, and oil in a glass bowl.
- Gently spread an even layer onto your face. Avoid rubbing the mixture vigorously, as this can further irritate the skin.
- Let the mask dry for around 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water to remove.
Clay and Egg White Mask For Clogged Skin
Egg whites (the technical term is "albumen") are astringent and antibacterial, which means that they'll be extra great to combine with clay to pull any gunk out of your pores. The proteins in egg whites also have a plumping effect on the skin, although this is a short-lived effect. They make this mask a great perk-me-up option the day before a hot date or big event.
- 1 egg white
- 2 tbsp white bentonite clay
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- Blend the mask ingredients in a bowl.
- Apply an even layer to your face and allow it to dry.
- Leave the mask on for as long as you'd like.
- Wash off with a warm washcloth.
Fox L, Csongradi C, Aucamp M, du Plessis J, Gerber M. Treatment modalities for acne. Molecules. 2016;21(8):1063. doi:10.3390/molecules21081063