Pore Extractor Pomegranate Mask, $38 at Sephora
Volcanic clay and pomegranate come together to form the prettiest pink mask. It has major Insta appeal thanks to the millennial pink color plus the hero ingredients work together to detoxify pores and leave skin glowing.
Pore Clarifying Charcoal Gel Mask, $30 at Paula's Choice
Charcoal and clay are hero skin care ingredients. When combined, they deep clean pores and mattify. This mask combines charcoal with two types of clay (kaolin and bentonite) to get all of that gunk from pores. It has a surprising gel texture that applies smoothly for an even application.
Pure Clay Mask Clear & Comfort, $12.99 at Ulta
What you see is what you get with this brilliant blue mask. It's just as bold when it's applied as it is in the package. The formula contains three kinds of clay plus seaweed. They work together to remove built-up dirt and debris from pores without drying. Use the mask twice a week to keep skin looking its best.
Radiance Cleansing Pack, $30 at Glow Recipe
Make P:rem is a Korean beauty brand worth knowing about thanks to its innovative products. This versatile pack functions as a cleanser and a mask. Unlike some clay masks, this one doesn't dry the second it's applied to skin. It remains pliable, so it's easy to spread around.
First Aid Beauty
Skin Rescue Purifying Mask With Red Clay, $30 at Sephora
There is practically a rainbow of different clays to choose from. This fiery red clay mask is a great option to apply post-breakouts because it reduces congestive pigmentation for a more even complexion. It also has a satisfying peel-off formula.
Limited-Edition Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask, $62 at Fresh
This isn't an ordinary clay mask. The formula can be used as a cleanser, mask or spot treatment. Apply it before work, prior to a big date or after a long night of partying. The product works in three to five minutes and doesn't dry out skin. The limited-edition Rometti-designed packaging earns it extra points.
SILKMUD Green Tea Clay Anti-Aging Liftaway Mud Face Sheet Mask, $10 at Barneys
Like the effects of clay, but dislike the mess some masks can make? This muck-free sheet mask is infused with kaolin clay and antioxidant-rich green tea to draw out impurities and fight the signs of aging. The sheet mask is cut in two pieces for a perfect fit.
Blue Clay Spot Treatment Mask, $22 at Herbivore Botanicals
It looks like a pretty loose pigment, but make no mistake, this is a treatment mask. Mix about a tablespoon of the Cambrian blue clay formula with a few drops of water until it forms a paste. Then apply the mixture to skin to dislodge dirt and oil. The result? A more refined, even complexion.
Goddess Skin Clay Mask, $55 at Nordstrom
Contrary to popular opinion, a goddess glow doesn't start with bronzer. It starts with a good mask. Apply the Spanish clay mask for 10 minutes and it will purify and soak up excess grease.
Rosehip & Clay Mint Mask, $30 at Farmaesthetics
Create a clay face mask by mixing a bit of the powder with water to create a paste. Ideal for oily skin, this purifying formula decongests, minimizes the appearance of pores and targets breakouts.
Bitter Green Clay Soothing Mask, $21 at Ulta
Bitter greens are as good for skin as they are to eat. This clay mask is packed with some of our favorite superfood ingredients, including kale, broccoli and cabbage. What's more, the detoxifying formula is gentle enough for sensitive skin. It's formulated to soothe irritation and increase hydration.
Kakadu C Amethyst Clay Detox Mask, $58 at Sephora
This splurge-worthy mask is formulated with amethyst clay, which results in its distinctive purple hue. The power is enhanced by kakadu plums that contain approximately 55 times more vitamin C than Florida oranges. The combination exfoliates and removes impurities for skin that's as smooth as, well, a plum.
“Breakthrough formula” is frequently used to describe any new beauty product that hits the market. It may be true for some science-backed launches, but new doesn’t always mean better. There are many tried-and-true skin care ingredients that have been around for years, if not centuries. Clay is one such humble-yet-effective ingredient that may not get a lot of buzz but endures as an essential component of many of today’s best-selling products.
One of the reasons clay has remained a staple, especially in masks, is its versatility. According to Dr. Jamé Heskett, author of The Well Path, clay absorbs excess oil, cleanses, exfoliates, improves circulation and binds to toxins. Additionally, clay is able to reduce swelling and inflammation. It’s beneficial for all skin types, including those with rosacea or redness, dull skin, acne and fine lines.
There are multiple forms of clay found in beauty products, the most common being bentonite, rhassoul, red clay, kaolin, green clay, fuller’s earth and pink clay. Tara Pelletier, founder of Meow Meow Tweet, says there’s a good clay match for each skin type. French green clay is known for its toning and stimulating effects, so it’s ideal for oily and combination skin types. Those with sensitive skin can try kaolin clay, which gently exfoliates without being too drawing. When trying out a new product, Sarah Hamilton, co-founder of Sand & Sky, recommends doing a patch test before applying it to the entire face to ensure it’s suitable.
Because of clay’s deep-cleaning ability, the ingredient can sometimes dry out skin when used too frequently. Experts agree that it’s best to limit clay masks and products to two to three times a week for oily skin and one to two times per week for dry skin.
Click through the gallery above to see the 12 best clay masks for your face that work like a vacuum to dislodge deep-down dirt and oil from pores.
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