We purchased Fresh's Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Face masks are a must-have, especially for my oily, combination skin. Lately, however, I’ve gotten away from my weekly clay mask for a couple of reasons—namely laziness and sheet masks. While sheet masks are a fun self-care ritual and can be great for hydration, they don't have the same ability to soak up oil and impurities like clay masks.
Since I stopped using clay masks as frequently, my skin has changed—and not in a good way. I have more blackheads and congestion than I’ve had in months, so I thought it was high time to add a new clay option to my lineup. My favorite beauty influencer, Jackie Aina, is always using Fresh skincare on her Instagram stories, so, when looking for a new mask, I started there. After some research, I found that beauty editors and skincare enthusiasts both rave about the Fresh Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask, so I wanted to put it to the test myself.
Fresh Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask
Star Rating: 4.0
Best for: Normal, dry, combination, and oily skin
Uses: Clarifying the skin, minimizing pores and oil
Active ingredients: Umbrian clay, sandalwood oil, chamomile flower, lavender water
Potential Allergens: Sandalwood oil
Byrdie Clean: Yes
About the Brand: Fresh is known for creating premium products that not only soothe the skin but help reveal revived, fresh complexions—no pun intended.
About My Skin: Sensitive, combination, and unpredictable
My skin, in a word, is unpredictable. One day, it’s clear and supple, and then after one application of the wrong product, it's dry and irritated. With this in mind, I am learning to be more careful about what I try. Since the Umbrian clay mask has soothing ingredients like glycerin, chamomile flower, and lavender water, I was pretty sure my sensitive, combo skin was in good hands.
Ingredients: Packed with clarifying and soothing ingredients
Umbrian Clay: If you're wondering what makes this mask so unique, the answer is Umbrian clay. Sourced from Nocera Umbra, a small town in Italy’s Perugia province, the alkaline minerals in the clay are said to help remove toxins, promote the renewal of skin cells, and balance the skin's pH. Byrdie editorial director Faith Xue even traveled to Nocera Umbra to learn about the clay’s rich history, no pun intended—and she swears its benefits are real. “It's a nice clay mask with quality ingredients , and it doeesn't feel super tight and uncomfortable like a lot of clay masks do,” she says.
Sandalwood Oil: When applied topically, sandalwood oil is said to act as an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial astringent without irritating or drying out the skin. However, also be advised that some people have a skin allergy or a sensitivity to common essential oils. If you’re unsure if this applies to you, we recommend doing a smaller patch test on an area of skin to make sure you’re in the clear.
Chamomile Flower: Like sandalwood oil, the topical application of chamomile provides anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antibacterial benefits. Best of all, when used in skincare products, it is hypoallergenic and neutralizes free radicals.
It’s also worth noting that this product passes the Byrdie Clean Beauty Pledge, which means its formulated without sulfates, parabens, formaldehydes, phthalates, mineral oil (and other petroleum distillates), coal tar, hydroquinone, and other potentially irritating or dangerous ingredients.
The Feel: Fast-drying but feels hydrating
When I opened the heavy, round, greenish-gray container, the color of this mask was what I expected, but the consistency was a pleasant surprise. Unlike clay masks I’ve tried in the past, this one wasn't grainy or overly pasty. Instead, it was smooth and very easy to apply. What stuck out for me, as well, was how little I needed to cover my entire face, which was a huge plus considering the price.
The mask dried quickly and rinsed off more easily than any clay mask I’ve ever used. However, I wouldn’t leave it on for more than the recommended five minutes. I know that many of us like to leave masks on beyond the suggested time for the possibility of better results, but trust me—this mask truly reveals hydrated, clarified skin in less than five minutes, but because it works so fast, leaving it on could cause dryness.
The Results: Clarified, non-tight skin
We all know some clay masks can leave the skin feeling tight and dry. To put this multi-use product to the test, I used it in the three ways recommended by the brand: as a face mask, a spot treatment, and a face wash.
I tried it as a full face mask and a spot treatment on the same night since I had a pimple right in the middle of my brow area of my T-zone. After leaving this mask on for five minutes and rinsing it off, I saw that quite a few blackheads had worked their way to the surface on the left side of my nose. I have to say, that while my skin wasn’t noticeably brighter, the clay worked magic on bringing impurities to the surface, and took much less time than other masks to rinse off. I imagine that with weekly use, my whitehead problem could become a thing of the past.
After applying my serums, I spot-treated my problem area. Now, if I reported the hormonal pimple totally disappeared overnight, I wouldn't even believe me. While this didn't erase my annoying blemish overnight, it did shrink in size, which I was thankful for!
I tried this product as a face wash for three days. For me, this caused my skin to lose its luster, and to be honest, I found that the clay felt a bit trying with this method. In other words, this isn't something I'd do regularly.
The Value: This is a special-occasion product
I enjoyed the luxe texture and packaging of this mask, but I'm not sure I can justify adding a $58 face mask to my routine, even if it works wonders on my blackheads. What I will say is that upon seeing the three-ounce container, I thought, I'm going to be out of this in three uses, but the formula proved me wrong.
You only need a quarter-sized amount (or maybe less!) to cover your entire face, but you must move quickly because it dries down fast. For me, the Umbrian mask is a special-occasion treatment, but it’s up to you to decide how often you want to use it to make it last.
Similar Products: Lots of options
NIU Body Detox Green Clay Mask ($15): You have to mix this mask yourself, but this budget-friendly clay treatment brightens and deeply cleanses with the help of white kaolin clay, French green clay, and green tea extract.
Caudalie Instant Detox Mask ($39): This hypoallergenic clay mask draws out impurities, excess oil, and toxins. What makes this mask stand out is the added benefits from ingredients like coffee (which helps absorb blackheads), papaya enzymes (to brighten the skin), and the organic lavender and sage oils (which help fight off acne-producing bacteria naturally).
Circumference Green Clay Detox Face Mask ($65): Like, Fresh's Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask, this green clay mask is sourced from Europe—from a coastal town in France, to be exact. The untreated green clay is mined then infused with blackcurrant seeds, evening primrose, and sacha inchi to produce a mask that cleanses and hydrates.
Our Verdict: It’s made a significant impact on my skin
Fresh’s Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask sucks up the gunk in my pores without drying out my finicky, combination skin. When I have a nagging pimple or want a treatment that soothes and purifies, I reach for my greenish-grey jar. I do use this mask sparingly because of its price, but I also think it’s worth buying a few times a year.