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Clay Face Mask Pros and Cons vs Other Masks

clay face mask featured image

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Clay face masks are known for their deep-cleansing and oil-absorbing properties. This type of mask can be a real game changer to your skincare regime if you suffer from oil or acne-prone skin.

But clays masks aren’t for everyone, as there are some pretty significant drawbacks. So before you invest in a clay mask, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of using them. Depending on your skin type, there may be another type of mask that is better suited to achieve your skincare goals.

The Pros and Cons of Using a Clay Face Mask

Pro: It Helps With Oil Control

sephora clay face mask

If you’re someone who suffers from excess oil and shine, then you should be using a clay face mask. Clay naturally absorbs oil (especially if you’re using bentonite or kaolin clay). That means that clay masks can also help with acne-prone skin since it removes sebum and other clogging oils.

One of our favorite oil-controlling options is the Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask. It contains volcanic clusters and AHA specifically formulated to absorb excess sebum and minimize the appearance of pores. In fact, 94% of women who used it saw a reduction in oiliness after just one use!

Pro: It’s Deep Cleansing

Nordstrom clay face mask

A clay mask can really give you that deep clean feeling after just one wash. That’s because it penetrates the skin to remove dirt, toxins, and other impurities from the day. Not only is this important for healthy skin, but it’s also crucial for clearer complexion.

Cold Plasma Plus is a clay cleanser made with several key purifying ingredients. Not only does it contain bentonite clay from volcanic ash, but it also has charcoal microcapsules and copper peptides. In addition to cleansing and removing dirt, it also moisturizes, so it not overly-drying.

Pro: It Exfoliates

shopbop clay face mask

Clay itself has a natural texture that provides gentle exfoliation to slough off dead skin cells. This is necessary to allow the new skin cells to form on the top layer of your skin. If you don’t exfoliate often, you might find an excess buildup of whiteheads, blackheads, and acne.

While you can use any clay mask for exfoliation, we particularly like ones with microbeads, like Kat Burki’s Dual Exfoliating Clay Mask. Not only does it soothe and soften, but it also has added texture to buff away dead skin and impurities. Use it with an exfoliating brush for best results!

Pro: It’s Minimizes Pores

beauty pie clay face mask
Beauty Pie

One of the biggest benefits of using a clay face mask is its ability to minimize pores. When using a clay mask, you may notice a tightening sensation while it’s on your skin. This action helps to shrink your pores so they’re less noticeable. As a result, you’ll have smooth, softer skin with a more balanced tone and texture.

When it comes to pore-minimizing masks, we highly recommend the Super Pore Detox by Beauty Pie. Trail studies show that 97% saw smoothing skin directly after using the product. In addition to cleaning pores, it also has glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids for triple exfoliating power.

Con: It Can Be Drying

Target gel mask

While clay masks are perfect for oily skin, they can be too drying for those with dry or sensitive skin types. That’s because it tends to strip away the natural oils, which may cause irritation and dryness.

If your skin craves moisture and hydration, you’re probably better off using a gel mask. Look for one with hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and natural botanical extracts.

Con: It Can Be Messy

Target sheet mask

Compared to other types of face masks, clay masks tend to be very messy. They are thick and often need to be applied with your hands. And because they are left on to dry, they can sometimes get crumbly or flaky after a few minutes.

Sheet masks are an excellent alternative to clay masks. They take only a few seconds to apply and remove and can be tossed in the trash once you’re done.

Con: It Creates a Tightening Sensation

Neimain Marcus hydrating face mask
Neiman Marcus

Although this isn’t a huge disadvantage, it’s important to know that clay masks do get tight as they dry. This can be uncomfortable for some people, especially if it’s used too often or with the wrong skin type.

If you don’t like that feeling, stick with a normal hydrating face mask instead. For example, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Face Mask is great for combating dryness and tightness.

Clay Face Mask Alternatives

Still not sure if a clay mask is the right skincare product for you? Here are a couple of alternatives that may be better suited for your type of skin.

Sheet masks: These easy-to-use masks are great for hydration. They also come in a variety of different formulas (brightening, anti-aging, soothing, etc), so you can find one that suits your needs.

Gel masks: If you have irritated or inflamed skin, a gel mask can help calm things down. They are hydrating, gentle, and generally safe for all skin types.

Cream masks: Cream masks are high in emollients and oils for people who need deep hydration. They may also be formulated with vitamins and antioxidants to increase the elasticity and collagen production of the skin.

Charcoal masks: These types of masks work similar to clay face masks. They help draw out impurities and balance oil skin. However, they tend to be less drying and tightening compared to clay masks.

Choosing the right face mask can make a huge difference to the look and feel of your skin. While clay face masks are great for oily skin, they may be too harsh for people with dry or sensitive skin. And if you’re still struggling to find the right product, you can always make your own face mask at home! Just check out our tutorial for DIY face masks for all different skin conditions.

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