Before I knew how to use a green clay mask, I was in a constant state of anxiety about the impurities laying under the top layer of my skin — the impurities I could only see if I looked suuuuuper closely in a mirror. "Do not ruin this for me, stay where you are, and blend in with the rest of my face...forever," I would plead to those pimples-to-be. It only got worse when I underwent the one professional facial in my life: It involved extracting every clogged pore and every tiny bump that lived safely under my skin, turning my face into a full-blown massacre. Instead of making me look like I had just spent a buck fifty on an expensive facial, it looked like I was going through some serious personal problems that resulted in a teen-like breakout all over my face. Eventually, I found DIY solace in the arms of European green clay, which, when made into a mask, slowly draws out impurities without leaving me quarantined in my room for weeks.
After my facial debacle and before clay was introduced in my DIY beauty routine, I would run from any product that had the word "detox" or "draws out impurities" on the label. I knew those flaws couldn't sit under my skin forever, but I just wasn't interested in having all my secrets on display for the world to see at once.
Clay has ultimately changed the way I view a detoxifying face mask. European clay, or illite, is made from supercharged and decomposed plant minerals from volcanic action. According to sources at Hell Notes for Beauty, water activates the clay and all the nutrients that goes along with it, providing the cleansing and detoxifying experience that all skin types crave.
This natural beauty remedy is super effective because the minerals from the volcanic ash actually contains calcium, aluminum, magnesium, copper, and zinc. According to sources at Livestrong, clay masks can be used for reducing the size of pores, toning and softening dry, rough skin. It's also an amazing treatment for oily skin and acne sufferers. Clay gets its fame from naturally drawing out dirt, toxins, and oil build-up, but the texture of the clay acts as an exfoliate and all those nutrients from the earth are what's going to hook your skin up for summer-time. Warm weather is coming and you want your face to be ready for it!
Of course, not all clay is pure and honest; some clay masks for sale are already activated and have additional ingredients that may or may not give you positive effects. I prefer to purchase European clay powder and adding natural ingredients that have previously worked wonderfully for my skin. If you want to be sure you're getting the most bang for your buck, two brands I'd definitely recommend are Frontier Co-op's European Clay Powder and Now's European Green Clay Powder.
Find some quality time with your face and start playing with clay — these recipes are soothing, calming, and rejuvenating, so they're perfect for an at-home spa day. Just be careful about how long you leave it on your face! According to sources at Allure, you should never wait for your clay mask to dry because it can cause irritation and dry out your skin. Rinse it off just as it starts to dry (the outer edges will change to a lighter color).
Let's play in some clay!
1. Detoxifying Clay Mask
This intoxicating clay mask is one of my all-time faves. My pals at Aura Cacia were nice enough to give me this recipe and I must say, applying this mask is one of the things I look forward to every week. Activate your mask with one tablespoon of French green clay and two tablespoons of water. Next, add eight drops of geranium essential oil and four drops of patchouli essential oil. Massage all over your face and neck and leave on until the clay begins to dry.
2. Restoring Clay Mask
This is a clay mask that I haven't tried personally, but after doing my own research on restoring complexions that have been harmed by chemical treatments, I am very excited for my favorite guinea pig (my mom) to try it out. Dilute your clay with two tablespoons of brewed chamomile tea, one tablespoon of macadamia oil, and 12 drops of clary sage essential oil. Add more clay for a thicker consistency and less if you prefer a more watery consistency. This mask is incredibly gentle, use it once a week and if you find little irritation, then use twice weekly for maximum results.
3. Calming Clay Mask
This is another amazing mask by the beauty guru's at Aura Cacia that I tried recently — and yes, I'm a little in love. Use one ounce of clay powder, three tablespoons of rose water, and 14 drops of lavender tea tree oil. Use this mask once a week to calm down impurities from acne and control oil build-up.
Image: Shannon Kringen/Flickr; Kristin Collins Jackson; Giphy