6 clever clay masks for every skin concern under the sun
They do more than just absorb oil, okay?
By Delaney Loane
Digital Beauty Editor / February 01 2021
Clay masks had a real moment when they burst onto the scene a few years back. After all, what could be more exciting than a product that basically worked like a brightly-coloured, gooey-textured, selfie-warranting blotting paper?
Well, sadly, for any skin type other than oily, many things could be, because the formulas were far too harsh, irritating and moisture-stripping for anyone else to try.
Now that we've hit 2021, however, the clay category is a lot bigger, a lot broader, and a lot more welcoming, whether your skin is in need of some classic clay-powered congestion-clearing, a leg up in the luminosity department, or even a hydration hit (yep, it is indeed possible).
So, no matter what your skin goal list looks like, we've found a clay mask option for every concern...
The best balancing clay mask: L'Oreal Paris Pure Clay Detoxifying & Brightening Charcoal Mask
Black charcoal as well as montmorillonite, ghassoul and kaolin clays are hard at work in this mask, allowing it to effectively draw out impurities (such as dirt, oil and pollution) while also detoxifying the skin’s surface. You don't need to stress about the formula setting before you've finished applying (or setting super, super hard once you're done) either; it doesn’t dry down for a hot minute (or 15 to be exact), so both putting it on and getting it off should be a breeze.
The best brightening clay mask: Generation Clay Ultra Violet Brightening Purple Clay Mask
If your skin's looking a little dull and sallow, a brightening pick-me-up may be in order (and this one's purple, so we'd say it definitely is). It's a luminosity-reviving lilac-coloured mask that uses kaolin and bentonite clays to purify and nourish skin, while locally sourced Davidson plum helps you to swap dullness for brightness and lightens dark circles and pigmentation. Desert lime's also packed in to help boost collagen production, and look, we'll take it.
The best hydrating clay mask: Minenssey Hydrating Clay Mask
Clay masks aren't exactly known for their hydrating properties as a whole, but this deeply moisturising flannel flower and white clay combination proves that they can be just as nourishing as they are balancing. Basically, it's one of the very few clay formulas you could actually leave on overnight without waking up looking and feeling like something out of a horror movie, and it's gentle enough for irritated, sensitive and acne-prone skin.
The best blemish-fighting clay mask: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay
A cult-favourite option for acne-prone skin types, this calcium bentonite clay mask bills itself as the ‘world’s most powerful facial’ and while that’s a huge claim, apparently the hype is real – it’s Amazon Australia’s number one best-selling face mask. Two things to remember when using: you'll need to mix it with water before application, and it doesn't come to play re: detoxing, so a little post-rinse redness is totally normal and will settle after about 30 minutes.
The best soothing clay mask: Sukin Sensitive Pink Clay Facial Masque
Sensitive skin types can't always get in on the on-trend mask action, so a clay blend able to soothe irritation rather than trigger it is honestly a blessing. Sensitivity is often associated with dryness, but oil-prone skin types can be reactive, too – this mask works to absorb excess oil and purify the complexion like any other balancing clay formula, just way more gently. It also brings aloe vera and chamomile along for the ride to ease any inflammation while it works.
The best exfoliating clay mask: Aspect Exfoliating Clay Mask
Clay masks may traditionally work to draw impurities out rather than slough them off, but this one teams two types of mattifying clays (kaolin and bentonite) with two types of exfoliating acids (lactic and salicylic) to get rid of dead skin and congestion in one swift application. But while a polishing-and-purifying wonder sounds great, it has the potential to be a little harsh – luckily, willow herb is also in the mix to keep skin equal parts soothed and smooth.