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 Morgan Rabach, MD, and esthetician and clean beauty advocate Jazmin Alvarez, to find out exactly what ingredients will take your mask to the next level.
Keep scrolling for some of the best DIY clay face mask recipes to soothe and heal the skin.
Soothing Green Clay Mask for Oily or Inflamed Skin
"French green clay absorbs oils and removes dead skin from the outer layers and can help dry out acne," says Rabach. 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.
Click Play to Learn How to Make Homemade Clay Face Masks
If you made more mask than you need, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 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 Alvarez. "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 up the healing process.
- Green clay—If you have sensitive skin, another option to try is the Asutra Bentonite Clay ($13).
- 1 tsp honey
- Water for oily skin, milk for combination skin, or jojoba oil for dry skin
- Mix two parts liquid to one 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, glass, 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, notes Rabach.
"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."
- 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 needed 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.
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. 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 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 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