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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Clay Masks Q & As

What does a clay mask really do and why do I need one?

Clay, like earth, has an absorbing or drawing action that helps to clean superficial debris out of the pores. Even though you are cleaning your skin daily with facial cleansers, they are only removing surface oil and buildup from the day (or night). Clay masks help to pull out more material from the pores, leaving them clean and debris-free.

Of course, given time the debris will once again collect in the pores. Thus, you want to give yourself a clay mask at least once a week, more often (2-3 times per week) if you have problems with blackheads or breakout.

Clay also contains minerals and elements that are very soothing and healing for the skin. Most clay masks can be used on all skin types and are especially good for oily or problem/acne skin since these skin types tend to have a lot of congestion. You must keep the mask moist for proper results. (See the following question/answer for a more detailed explanation.) Try using a clay mask and see if you don’t experience cleaner, brighter skin.

I have used clay masks before, but found them to be way too drying, especially now that it is cold and windy here in the northeast. I really feel the need for a more moisturizing mask, and I also want something to use at night that will help with a few little dry patches I have on either side of my chin that just won’t go away.

The dryness you are experiencing with a clay mask is pretty common. That is why I recommend keeping the mask moist the entire time it is on your face. Clay does not need to dry on your skin in order to draw impurities to itself. If you keep the mask moist, this should solve your problem of dry skin after the mask.

Of course, you'll have a clay mask on!
Spraying clean, filtered water on your face is the cheapest and easiest way to keep your clay mask moist.
  • Simply get a small plastic spray bottle at your local grocery or drug store and fill it with clean water.
  • Once you have applied the mask, spray your face really well with the water.
  • Then have the bottle on hand to spray intermittently during the 15 minutes you have the mask on.
  • Spray well enough to keep the mask wet, but not so much that water is dripping off your face.
  • An alternative would be to spray your face with your toner, presuming you have it in a spray bottle.

Another tip is to lie in the bathtub with the mask on and the water bottle by your side. If you are a bath person, you know the relaxing benefits of a nice hot bath to soothe your muscles and indeed your soul. Having the clay on your face acts like a barrier and will protect your fragile capillaries from the heat of the steam.

Having dry patches doesn’t necessarily mean you need a moisturizing mask. It really depends on how much oil you have in your pores and if your skin is dehydrated. Are you congested (clogged pores) at all or in any particular place on your face? If not, then using a moisturizing mask is fine. But if you do have clogged pores, the clay mask is what you need.

Although I am not a fan of using too many different things at one time, if you want to, you could use the clay on the places you need it and the moisturizing mask on the places you feel dry. Another recommendation would be to apply a layer of your moisturizer under the clay mask. This way you will be infusing the cream into your skin while the clay still has the ability to clean the pores and stimulate circulation.

Also, don’t forget to exfoliate (before masking). It will help with dryness and congestion. (See The Extras.) Clay isn’t the only kind of mask you can use; it just happens to be my favorite. It’s effective and beneficial for most skin types.

Here are a few more articles about clay masks: