You’ve probably heard of clay masks before, or used a mask or face wash with clay to help fight your skin probs. Mineral-rich clays have tons of benefits for your skin and are commonly used in cosmetic products such as masks, cleansers, and other body care products. But did you know there are many different types of clay, each with their own unique properties?
So here’s a list of five common types of clay face masks and their skincare benefits. You’d be sure to become a clay face mask-ter after reading this article!
What Are Clay Masks?
Cosmetic clay masks are made with types of clay found in volcanic ash, soil, and sediment throughout the world. These clays are rich in trace minerals such as magnesium, iron, and calcium. Use of clays dates all the way back to ancient Mesopotamia where it was valued for its healing properties.
Over time, clays have became one of the A-star ingredients in today’s skincare industry. Did you know that Queen Cleopatra herself wore clay masks with ingredients such as oil, sea clay, and honey to maintain her famously timeless appearance in ancient Egypt?
Benefits of Clay Face Masks
People love using clay face masks, and for good reasons. They refine pores, clear away excess impurities, protect your skin from breakouts, promote collagen production, and give your face a natural radiance.
Most clays are optimal for oilier skin types; some (such as pink clay) provide a hydrating boost in addition to unclogging your pores. Does this mean you’re stuck with limited options if you have consistently dry skin? Nu-uh. Clay masks are great for balancing dry skin and maintaining a healthy complexion. If your skin is dehydrated, just be sure to use a little extra moisturiser or a mild serum for reconditioning your skin after using your clay mask.
Different Types of Clay Masks
Sea clay, pink clay, Moroccan red clay, kaolin clay — the list goes on and on! You can’t go wrong with any of the types of clay masks on this list, but look out for specific health benefits or skin-type recommendations to help with your next purchase.
We’ve listed some of the benefits and qualities of the clays below to help you choose your next face mask. Just a head’s up, different sources of clay can also affect its properties!
You’re not a newbie for this one! Kaolin clays are some of the most commonly used clays for face masks. In its purest form, kaolin clay has a bright white colour, though other varieties include red, pink, brown, and yellow. This colour change owes itself to the mineral content and where it’s from in the world. Red kaolin clay, for example, has more significant amounts of iron oxide.
Mineral Profile - kaolinite and a variety of other minerals such as quartz, mica, iron, muscovite, illite, and feldspar
Benefits - This is one of your best options for sensitive, dry, or acne-prone skin. White kaolin clay is exceptionally mild, great for absorbing oils and deep impurities without causing irritation or redness. Longer-term, routine use of kaolin clay restores skin elasticity and even reduces fine lines.
Australian Pink Clay
As the name suggests, Australian pink clay is a type of pink clay naturally occurring in Australia. (And yes, Australian pink clay technically falls into the category of kaolin clay above, though it’s so unique we felt it deserved its own spot!) What sets this particular clay apart from other pink or kaolin clays is its versatility, gentleness, and minerals, particularly in Australia.
Mineral Profile - silica, magnesium, selenium, and zinc
Benefits - This is a tremendous all-around face mask! It’s perfect for dry, oily, sensitive, combination, and normal skin types. It purifies and tightens pores, clears pigmentation, hydrates dull complexions, and soothes inflammation. Like white kaolin clay, Australian pink clay is one of the best clay masks for acne.
Bentonite clay comes from aged volcanic ash. It’s another crowd pleaser in skincare products for your face and other parts of the body. Bentonite feels cool and smooth when you use it as a mask, absorbing dirt and oils such as sebum (that waxy substance that creates a smooth layer on top of your skin). Because of its natural properties, it also has many uses beyond skincare. Egyptians, for example, used bentonite as one of the ingredients for preserving their mummies!
Mineral Profile - calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc
Benefits - Think of it like a sponge. Bentonite Clay is particularly impressive due to its ability to absorb up to 700% of its mass in water from your skin! (Kaolin clay, for example, absorbs around 60%) Bentonite is perfect for absorbing deep oils and dirt and is the best clay for oily skin types. Bentonite’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties also can help heal breakouts. Note that if you have sensitive skin, this could cause irritation!
French Green Clay
Also known as illite clay or sea clay, French green clay comes primarily from France (big surprise!) and is excellent for absorbing oils from your skin. It gets its vibrant green colour from deposits of decomposed plant matter and iron oxide.
Mineral Profile - magnesium, calcium, selenium, phosphorous, and potassium
Benefits - Like bentonite clay, French green clay absorbs oils and dirt from deep within your pores. It boosts circulation, exfoliates away dead skin cells, tightens pores, and helps tone the skin. When using a French green clay mask, be sure to moisturise after, as it can dry out your skin.
A reddish-brown-coloured clay found in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Rhassoul clay works wonders on sensitive and mature skin types. It’s smooth to apply and has a subtle grainy texture (like French green clay) which helps exfoliate. FYI, people have used Rhassoul clay for centuries to rejuvenate hair and skin!
Mineral Profile - magnesium, sodium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and potassium
Benefits - Rhassoul clay draws out oils, dirt, dust, and pollutants deep within pores while reducing redness and inflammation. Long-term use can also help balance sebum production. Rich in magnesium and potassium, some studies show that the skin’s absorption of these minerals can help form a barrier to prevent breakouts.
Are clay masks any better than sheet masks?
It depends on what you need. Sheet masks, made of a paper or cloth material, focus primarily on brightening and hydrating your skin. Wash-off masks, like clay or mud masks, decongest skin by absorbing deep oils and tightening pores. Think of the two types of face masks as sisters, not competitors, both great for different reasons! We also prefer clay masks for earth reasons as they’re more eco-friendly than sheet masks.
Fun fact: our Pink Clay Mask is made to not only improve conditions of acne-prone skin, but also to brighten and smooth its texture. With ingredients such as Kakadu Plum, pomegranate and mangosteen extracts, this mask is made to be suit everyone even the sensitive skin type! The award-winning formula does its job in just 10 minutes, making it a great mask to use on a weekly basis. Still got some question marks on how often should you use your Pink Clay Mask? Read this article for more deets!
Looking for a new skincare trend to try? Use your clay mask with an oil cleanser in a process called skin gritting, to draw out deep impurities. Check out our Instagram for more fun tips and skincare tricks!