Clay masks have been part of skincare regimens for thousands of years, going all the way back to ancient Egypt. Masks are made using different types of clay to target a variety of skin or health benefits.

Types of Clay

Clay masks are commonly created using five different types of clay. Each offers unique benefits to the user.

Bentonite Clay

This powdery clay is off-white in color and remains the most common of all clay types. Masks made using this medium are ideal for removing excess skin oil and may help heal skin prone to acne outbreaks. Bentonite is renowned for having the ability to extract dirt, oil and other impurities that plague the skin. The mask may also eliminate blackheads.

French Green Clay

As the name suggests, the clay boasts an earthy, light-green color. French green clay masks are popular for returning skin to a more youthful appearance. The clay may help minimize fine lines and wrinkles. In addition, green clay may absorb excess oil while it reduces inflammation and evens skin tone.

Fuller's Earth Clay

This light-brown substance comes from volcanic ash and sediments. Clay masks made using fuller's earth may help skin appear brighter. The clay could also minimize dark spots, discoloration, and scarring.

Kaolin Clay

The clay is found in white, yellow or pink. The pink type is one of the most frequently used for its potency. Pink kaolin may reduce skin oils and promote acne healing. However, anyone with sensitive skin might prefer the yellow or white versions, which tend to be less irritating.

Rhassoul Clay

This bright orange and yellow clay comes from Morocco. Masks made from the clay have been used for thousands of years in an effort to remove blackheads. Although possessing potent properties, Rhassoul clay is appropriate to use on extremely dry or sensitive skin. While removing dirt and toxins embedded in pores, the clay may also reduce inflammation and help the skin maintain moisture.

Powder, Liquid and Sheet Masks

Powder masks tend to be made using dried powdered clay. Activating the ingredient requires adding water or milk and perhaps a choice of herbs. In a powdered form, the clay remains stable indefinitely and requires no preservatives. Thus, using powdered clay for skincare masks enables people to control the amount and type of ingredients in the formula.

On the other hand, liquid masks are ready to use right out of the container. However, the type of mask may contain various preserving chemicals that prevent spoiling or molecular changes when the substance becomes exposed to the air.

Sheet masks are conveniently premade. Simply remove the mask from the package and apply it to the face for the designated length of time. When the ingredients are absorbed in the skin,  merely peel off the mask and discard it.