We've all heard how clay masks can improve our skin's texture and appearance, but did you know that a simple DIY green clay mask is probably the cheapest and most effective way to treat acne and oily skin? For years I've been wanting to make my own clay mask and a few months ago while I was at the health food store I perused the natural beauty aisle (as per usual) and finally picked up a bag of pure French green clay powder, on sale for only $6 I might add... such a bargain! You can easily find ready-to-use clay masks in squeeze tubes, but I personally get more satisfaction from making my own (not to mention getting it in powder form is usually cheaper and it will last you much longer since you don't have to worry about the paste drying out). I quickly learned that there are many uses for green clay other than just as a face mask (as in: hair mask, bath soak, to treat scratches and sunburns and the list goes on), but today I wanted to shine a light on its glorious benefits for acneic and oily skin.
You might be wondering where exactly does green clay come form? French green clay falls under the category of illite or sea clays and typically comes from the Montmorillonite mineral found in ancient sea beds. It gets its colour from a mixture of both iron oxides and decomposed plant matter, typically kelp sea weed or other algae and is turned into a powder by grinding, pulverizing and finally sun drying (source).
Some key benefits of French green clay for the skin include:
- Cleanses by dislodging impurities that lie deep inside the pores
- Gently exfoliates to remove dead skin cells
- Stimulates blood flow to reveal brighter, firmer skin
- Absorbs excess oil
- Tones and tightens pores
- Soothes inflammation caused by acne
Here is all that you will need (I wasn't kidding when I said this recipe is super easy!):
- 2-3 tbsp of Montmorillonite French green clay powder (preferably unprocessed, non ionized for optimal results)
- 3-4 tbsp water (ideally spring water or floral water)
- A glass or ceramic bowl
- A wooden or other non-metallic spoon
You can definitely eye ball the amount of clay powder and water to your liking as you stir the ingredients together, but this is just a guideline as the above measurements provided me with my preferred consistency - not too runny nor too thick. You may be wondering why I haven't listed a regular, metallic spoon: that is because the contact between both substances is believed to lessen the efficacy of the clay. Best not to mess with chemistry!
How to use:
- With clean fingers, apply a thin layer all over the face and neck, avoiding the lips and eyes area.
- Wait between 5-10 minutes or until you feel the mask tightening and see it quickly drying to a lighter green.
- Rinse with lukewarm water and pat skin dry with a towel.
- Follow up with floral water spray (I like using this one or this one) and moisturizer.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, it is recommended to limit use to once a week since green clay will absorb a lot of moisture from your skin. You might want to add a few drops of essential oil to your mask if you find it too drying or Aloe Vera is you have very sensitive skin. I have been applying this mask twice a week without any issues (I have combination to normal skin for reference). I've noticed how less inflamed and smooth my skin has been and I owe a lot of it to this mask.
Have you tried making your own clay mask?