Masks & Clays Why Should I Use a Mask?

Face Mask

By Crystal Baldwin, December 15, 2021
Face masks can play a really important role in the look and health of your skin. I know what you're thinking “this just sounds like another thing to add to my day” but masks can often do things that other skin products cannot. Plus, you can exchange them for a step in your daily routine and you won’t even have to go out of your way. You can even apply and sleep in some masks…it doesn’t get much easier than that!

The first thing we think of when we think of a mask (much like the picture above) is a dry, clay mask. The picture looks good but a "drying" mask on your skin is not good as it can pull all of the moisture out of your skin.  When using a clay mask, keep it moist by spraying a hydrosol or moisturizing spritzer on it and have it very wet when you are ready to take it off as to not "drag" or pull the skin.
Although clay masks have amazing benefits there are several different types of face masks with very specific functions. There might be one that is better for your skin.

We basically have 3 categories of face masks:
1. Exfoliating Masks-these masks help remove dead skin cells, unclog pores and regenerate skin.
2. Nutrient Masks– full of vitamins and nutrients to feed, hydrate & protect the skin.
3. Detoxifying Masks (clay & charcoal face masks)- these are great for detoxifying, purifying and re-mineralizing. They also treat skin conditions like acne, rashes, eczema or psoriasis.

What a face mask can do for your skin
  • Exfoliate, decrease fine lines and wrinkles, brightening the skin tone
  • Impart vitamins and drive nutrients into deeper layers of the skin, improve collagen production
  • Detox, cleanse, purify & treat skin conditions (think acne, rashes or eczema)
  • Re-mineralize the skin & deeply hydrate helping to plump
Exfoliation Masks 
These face masks are great for people wanting to work on anti-aging, wrinkles, lack of collagen or to brighten the skin. They will also help tone and plump the skin and help re-texturize, which improves tone as well.
This is also a good choice for oily, congested skin with blemishes or for anti-aging and devitalized types of skin. For this type of mask you will want to see ingredients like AHA or BHA (Glycolic, Lactic or Salicylic acids) this includes milk and yogurt masks. You will also see fruit enzymes like bromelain (from pineapple) Papain (from Papaya), pumpkin, cranberry, blueberry & strawberries and many kinds of fruits. These all work to help exfoliate the skin.

Skin Types include; Normal, Dry, Combination & Oily Skin types. Sensitive skin try yogurt & honey.

Vitamin & Nutrient-Rich Face Masks
These types of face masks actually infuse the skin with combinations of rich nutrients and vitamins and deliver them deep into the dermal layers. This can:
  • Help with anti-aging
  • Improve collagen production
  • Super hydrate the skin (which plumps)
  • Tone & brighten- helping to lighten hyperpigmentation (dark spots)
These masks also help protect your skin from environmental assaults & prevent further damage. These types of masks include ingredients like; Vitamins A,C, D,E,K, antioxidants, peptides, hyaluronic acid and CoQ10 and other treatment ingredients.
These types of masks are often made from food like cucumbers and oatmeal (to soothe & calm irritated skin), Yogurt & honey to add vitamins, minerals and kill microbes). Cacao & green tea masks for antioxidant properties and powdered herbs and essential oils for healing and regeneration. 
Skin Types: All – go slow for sensitive skin and use for less time.

Applying a nutrient mask OVER your serums, peptides &vitamin C moisturizers will help to actually drive all of these nutrients deeper into the skin. They are considered a super “Delivery System” when used in this way.
Be sure to wash your face, apply your peptides & serums first, then moisturizers, and then the mask over-top. You will see a huge improvement very quickly.

Detox, Cleanse & Re-mineralizing Masks 
  • Clay & charcoal face masks can do many things like:
  • Deep cleanse the pores
  • Detoxify and purify the skin
  • Absorb excessive oil & help regulate sebum
  • Kill bacteria that live on the skins surface
  • Oxygenate the cells by improving circulation
  • Re-mineralize the skin
  • Reduce redness & inflammation
Skin Types-All There are certain clays for each skin type, be sure to use the correct one for your skin- see below.

About Clay Masks
Some clay is more drying while others can actually be gentle and hydrating. For example, bentonite, fullers earth or French green clay can be extremely drying so best avoided if you have dry or sensitive skin and a better choice for oily or combination skin. These are great to treat acne, eczema or psoriasis due to their anti-bacterial ingredients.
These more drying clays can be used as a tiny pinch mixed into another clay to get some of the benefits without all of the drying properties or used as a spot treatment (think pimple or rash).
Also, keep in mind that although you may not have the skin type that allows you to use these clays on your face (which is more fragile skin) you can use these on other parts of your body to clear a rash or rejuvenate.

Other clays are very gentle like Kaolin clay (being the most gentle) followed by Rhassoul clay and Brazilian Clays, which are a good choice for dry, mature or sensitive skin.
Remember each clay will have a different chemical make-up, all with unique minerals specific to that particular clay and the region it comes from. So try different clays for your skin type and see if one has nutrients that work better for you.
*Important Note
Detoxifying clays (like bentonite) work because in their natural state they produce a negative electrical charge where most toxins, heavy metals & bacteria have positively charged molecules. They are attracted to one another (think of it like a magnet) and bind together. Your clay will activate once it touches any type of fluid.
Once it is activated the clay will expand and open up like a porous sponge and naturally bind to any toxins present on the skin. Once these toxins are drawn into the clay and they are washed away when you rinse and clean the clay off of your face.
With this in mind, you never want your clay to come in contact with metal or it could de-activate your clay. Always mix your clay mask in either glass or ceramic bowls and use wooden or plastic spoons to mix it with.

How to use a clay mask – the right way

Here are a couple tips on using your clay mask to avoid damaging your skin;
  1. Make sure the clay is fully hydrated and slides on easily- you don’t want to dray it across your skin
  2. DO NOT let the clay fully dry on your skin, as soon as you see the color change and feel it starting to pull on the skin (while its still tacky) re-hydrate it or rinse it off. Otherwise it will draw moisture out of your face. If you want to leave it on longer just spray with a hydrosol, rose water, hydrating toner or spring water to keep it damp.
  3. Be sure to clean your face well before applying your mask and apply with clean hands
  4. Do not drag a washcloth across your face when removing your mask, rinse your face several times with lukewarm water and very gently use your finger tips and a wet cloth to remove the clay. Be very gentle.
  5. Be sure to remove all of the mask- you don’t want it attracting dirt to your face, rinse 2-3 times.
  6. Hydrate with good moisturizers full of great ingredients and use serums after you use your clay mask to add back good nutrients into the skin.
Mixing your Clay Mask
You can mix clays with any kind of liquids and I prefer Hydrosols (from flowers), spring water and oil products (for dry skin) to help activate the clay and counteract some of their drying properties.
If you use water be sure that it is spring water (avoid distilled water as it will absorb the minerals in clay and they won't make it to your face).
For added benefits try using a hydrosol (water portion of a plant distillation that contains essential oils). For the most part you will mix equal parts dry clay to liquids (water & oils). However some clays need more water than others, add enough liquid to create that silky smooth consistency.
First add your water to the bowl, then sprinkle the clay over top and let it naturally absorb for a few minutes, then stir well and add your oils and blend some more. Keep adding either water or oils until you have the right consistency.

Cover the clay to avoid it drying out. Use all at once, the same day (unless you add a preservative) as clay will develop bacteria, mold and fungus very quickly you never want it sitting around, not even for a day without a preservative.
If you want to bump up the benefits of your clay you can mix in extra stuff like herbal powders which are herbs that have been pulverized and powdered and add that herbs benefit (chamomile for calming red skin, lavender for healing and calming). For a soothing, calming clay mask try aloe vera gel, lavender or chamomile hydrosol.

For acne treatment try witch hazel and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (with the mother, natural bacteria). For hydration add honey, yogurt and rose or rose geranium hydrosol. For added detoxing mix in some powdered activated charcoal or yarrow powder.
There are lots of fun things to play with. Always be sure to research ingredients to be sure they are correct for your skin type and have fun mixing and making masks!

Mask Recipes

Yogurt and Honey Mask
2 Tablespoons of plain, Greek yogurt
1-2 Teaspoons raw, organic honey
Mix all ingredients together into a smooth paste.
Apply to clean, dry skin and leave on for 15-20 minutes.
Wash off with lukewarm water and apply a moisturizer. Can be used 1-3 times a week.
Good for all skin types, especially for dry, mature, dehydrated skin. Sensitive skin can use for 5 minutes.

Oatmeal, Cucumber & Rose Petal Mask
2 Tablespoons plain yogurt
2 Tablespoons pureed cucumber
2 Tablespoons powdered oatmeal
1 teaspoon rose powder or 2 teaspoons dried, organic rose petals.
(Note lavender can be substituted)
In a high speed blender powder the oatmeal and rose petals – remove and set aside. Next, puree your cucumbers, add yogurt and blend until well mixed. Add in the oatmeal rose mixture and blend until smooth. Apply to clean, dry face and leave on for 10-20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and wipe gently. Apply serums and moisturizers.

French Green Clay Mask
3⁄4 Cup Lavender Hydrosol (very healing) or spring water
1⁄2 Cup White Kaolin Clay (softening, detoxing, healing)
1⁄4 Cup French Green Clay
3 Drops Lemongrass Essential Oil
3 drops Tea Tree Oil
Great Detoxing Clay & Oil Absorbing. Use on Oily, & Combination skin or for acne & eczema treatment

Yellow Kaolin Clay & Turmeric Mask
1⁄2 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Rose Geranium Hydrosol (very healing) or spring water
1⁄2 Cup White Kaolin Clay (softening, detoxing, healing)
1⁄4 Cup Yellow Kaolin Clay (increases circulation)
Pinch of turmeric-less than 1/8 teaspoon (anti-inflammatory) 
Note- may yellow the skin temporarily 
3 drops German Chamomile (anti-inflammatory, healing, calms redness)
Great for Anti-inflammatory treatments and for increasing circulation (helps healing) All Skin Types

Directions for clay masks:
1. Sterilize all containers & utensils and anything coming in contact with clay with alcohol, let dry.
2. Place liquids in a bowl and add clay overtop
3. Mix in clay well, getting rid of all lumps, let it rest a few minutes as it absorbs clay
4. Mix again and add crucial liquid and essential oils, mix very well.
5. If adding carrier oils like, calendula, avocado or argon, add them next and mix
6. Pour into container and let them sit and absorb -store out of light and heat. If it thickens add more liquids as needed.
Note, you can add fatty carrier oils like calendula, avocado, argon, hazelnut or fractionated coconut oils for added moisture and nutrition. You can also add a teaspoon of powdered herbs, increase your liquids to keep the clay fluid. You can also use different types of hydrosols, cucumber for calming, Lavender, rose or frankincense for anti-inflammatory and anti-aging, lemongrass for acne or your favorite!
Feel free to make any of these masks, even if you don’t have all of the ingredients in the recipes. Play around with your own combinations and add things like berries, cooled, herbal or green tea. Powdered cacao & bananas and more. Research your ingredient to be sure it is right for your particular skin type and have fun making beautiful skin!


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