8 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 07 2023
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 refining clay mask: FENTY SKIN Cookies N Clean Whipped Clay Detox Face Mask
Large pores, uneven skin texture and excessive oil production got you feeling down? Stress less sis because the bad gal herself has created a solution for oily-skinned folks everywhere. This whipped clay mask utilises charcoal and salicylic acid to refine the appearance of pores, smooth texture and keep unwanted shine at bay.
$49 at Sephora
The best detoxifying clay mask: Sand And Sky Australian Pink Clay Porefining Face Mask
Formulated to help minimise the effects of all the pollutants, toxins and dirt we come into contact with every day, this mask is our top pick for detoxifying skin fast (just 10 minutes to be exact). Australian pink clay deeply cleanses, purifies and tightens pores, Old Man’s weed evens skin tone and minimises the appearance of pigmentation, while vitamin C-rich Kakadu plum simultaneously protects skin from pollutants and boosts radiance.
$60.90 at Sand & Sky
The best brightening clay mask: Alya Skin Australian Pink Clay Mask
This brightening clay mask works to purify and revitalise the complexion with an array of nourishing, soothing and clarifying ingredients. Formulated with aloe vera, vitamin E, witch hazel and kaolin clay this mask helps to detoxify pores, refine texture and tone, and reveal a brighter complexion overall.
$49.95 at Alya Skin
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.
$17.49 at Chemist Warehouse
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.
$69 at Adore Beauty
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.
$19.49 at Amazon Australia
The best soothing clay mask: SkinB5™ Purifying Mask
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 – because sensitive skin gets congested just like any other kind! This clever calming clay mask heroes a mix of French green clay, Great Barrier Reef mineral salt and vitamin B5 to purify while still replenishing your skin's hydration levels (instead of drying it out). Hallelujah!
$42.90 at ChemPro
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.
$65 at Adore Beauty