Wether it’s the perfect accesory to a pampering bath, or a complete necessity when your skin isn’t that impressed with you – I really need a good facemask from time to time. So why not try and DIY them?
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good store bought mask. Some of my favorites are the fresh face masks and the jelly face masks from Lush. I’m also not mad at those masks from Montagne Jeunesse you can find in most drugstores. Both brands aren’t completely vegan though – so please check the ingredients! When you study the ingredients from the Lush face masks, you’ll notice many of them are clay-based. Yes, that’s right – we’re putting dirt on our faces.
how does clay work?
After some research (as in: extensive Googling) I found out there’s many different types of clay out there. In short, clay is composed of soft and fine-grained minerals and each clay has a different composition depending on their origin. Clay has been used as skincare for centuries because they adsorb moisture (and thus oils!) from the skin, leaving it feeling cleansed and purified. There are some claims out there that they pull toxins out of the skin, but I’m highly skeptical of anything ‘detoxing’. I do believe they’re great for cleansing the skin, since the fine grains also slightly scrub the skin.
choosing the right type of clay
So how can you determine which clay is right for your type of skin? Some popular clays are kaolin, rhassoul and French green clay – but there’s more out there. Since clay absorbs oil and moisture from the skin, you need to be a bit more careful if you have very dry skin. Clay might not be the best cleanser for you.
– Kaolin clay: Since this is the finest type of clay and won’t pull as much moisture from the skin, it’s best used for dry and / or sensitive skin. Kaolin comes in different colours like red, pink, yellow and white, with white being the most delicate one.
– French green clay: This is a stonger type of clay and pulls a lot more moisture and impurities from the skin, making it more suitable for oily and acne prone skin. It stimulates blood flow to the upper layer of the skin and firms it.
– Rhassoul clay: Also known as Morrocan clay. This is another type of clay that is mostly recommended for oily skin, but I’ve read it can also help with dry and flaky skin if used multiple times a week as a cleanser. This is also the type of clay that’s used in Morrocan bath houses for complete body exfoliation.
before you start
Okay so, you’ve chosen the right type of clay for your skin – now what? Here’s a couple of things you should keep in mind before you put some mud on your face:
– Never mix your clay with a metal spoon and / or metal bowl. Always use ceramics, glass of wooden spoons or bowl. Many of the components in the clay are metals that can react with the metals from your utensils.
– Really plaster it on in a thick layer and make sure you keep the mask damp. If you let the clay mask dry and crumble on your face, it might pull out too much moisture and dry it out. Leave your mask on for 5-20 minutes, depending on what clay you use and the condition of your skin.
– Remove you makeup before applying the mask. It’s also recommended to take a shower or steam your face before so the pores will be more open, allowing the mask to pull out the oils from your skin.
– Depending on if you use any moisturizing add-ins (see below), make sure to tone and moisture your skin right after the mask.
– You don’t need to stick to one type of clay for your whole face, especially when you have combination skin. If you have an oily T-zone but the rest of your face is rather dry, you can always try multi-masking.
about those fancy add-ins
Sure, you can just mix the clay with some tap water and smush it on your face and be done with it – but that’s too basic for yours truly. Here’s some ideas to take it a step further and maximize the benefits of your pampering sesh.
– moisturizing oils: Yes, even for you there with the oily skin. Adding a moisturizing oil to your clay mask will hydrate your skin while it’s cleansing it – leaving it ever so soft. My favorite is argan oil because it’s suitable for about any skin type – but almond and jojoba are good (and are a lot less expensive).
– essential oils: Before we start I’d like to point out that essential oils are to be used with caution. They’re basically extremely concentrated herbs / plants / etc, and it that it’s extremely important you use 100% real essential oils from trustworthy brands. Stay far (far!) away from frangrance or synthethic oils because they can do some serious damage to the skin. Always dillute the essential oil in moisturizing oil or water and never (ever!) apply directly on the skin. If you’re using any (dilluted!) citrus type of essential oil on the skin, don’t go into the direct sunlight up to 12 hours after application. It might react to the sunlight and cause irritation and redness.
Okay, I’m done with the disclaimer to let’s move on to the fun bit. Each essential oil has its own benefits so different types of oils are better suited for different types of skin – but if you’re in doubt just go for geranium because it works with any skintype.
– dry skin: cedarwood, sandalwood, geranium, frankincense, roman / german chamomile, myrrh and palmarosa.
– oily skin: bergamot, orange, lime, lemon, cypress and geranium.
– combination skin: bergamot, orange, geranium, patchouli and lavender.
– infusions: How about some tea? Instead of water, add in a nice herbal infusion like chamomile or lavander to calm down and reduce redness. Rosemary, sage and thyme have anti-bacterial properties, which can work great on oily or acne prone skin.
a calming clay mask
This is a face mask suitable for about any skintype. It’s a very soothing mask that cleanses but won’t dry out the skin because of the added argan oil. The lavender oil adds a nice extra, but if you think the scent is too overpowering you can always opt for geranium oil.
– 2 tbsp kaolin clay
– 2 tbsp chamomile infused water
– 5 drops of argan oil
– 1 drop of lavender essential oil