UPDATE: Check out Part II, where I give this mask another go!
I’ve been dying to try out a bentonite clay mask, but the powder I’ve had my eye on hasn’t been in stock for weeks. So I took to the internet and found myself a viable substitute for “Indian Healing Clay” (Aztec Secret) in “European” clay.
Or so I thought. The results were a mixed bag.
European clay powder (montmorillonite [“a natural mineral silicate”]) is greenish when mixed and comprised largely of volcanic material and plant matter. My preliminary online research showed me it also has the pore “sucking” properties of the Aztec Secret clay, to suck out impurities and potential toxins. The plus is the European clay can be mixed with water instead of raw apple cider vinegar, which is “needed” to balance the pH of Aztec Secret brand clay.
I’m using “Now” brand purchased from The Vitamin Shoppe.
After reading all those 1-star Amazon reviews for the Aztec Secret clay, which seems to be beloved by so many, I didn’t feel bad about deserting for the green clay. People were complaining of skin infections, blotchy rashes, and horrendous cystic acne breakouts after all. Yikes!
The Plan: Use this green mask to suck out all the nasty sebaceous filaments and stubborn blackheads, heal slow-moving acne scars (from the strange little blemishes I’ve suddenly been accumulating on my neck and chest) and shrink pores.
I mixed a tablespoon of this powder with maybe 2-3 tablespoons of water to essentially make a thick mud.
WARNING: This is actually mud! Don’t let it go down your drain or you’ll need it snaked.
I rubbed it on my clean skin, turning myself a lovely shade of green, and resisted the urge to take it off prematurely as I felt my skin get sucked and squished. This stuff turns your face into a black hole. Everything it touches feels like it’s getting sucked inward. That experience lasted about 20 minutes as it dried.
I wasn’t home alone, and yes I got laughed at for having a frozen face.
Then, lining my sink with paper towels, I chipped away at the cracking mask.
I DO NOT recommend chipping/peeling/flaking this mask off. It’s an easy way to keep it from washing down the drain, but it left my face red and irritated for hours. Instead, wipe it off (like the directions said) with wet paper towels and toss em.
Here’s the before and after.
On the right you can see the irritation from the mask, particularly on my chest near the right side. I looked and felt sunburned. It also appeared to surface some blemishes which had been lurking below the surface. Great.
I threw on some Clinique moisturizer I had on hand to sate my screaming skin, but it was the wrong kind moisture– greasy. The perfume in it might have actually made things worse. Eventually I washed that off and applied my stand-by aloe vera gel and things calmed after a few hours.
The next morning…
Besides looking tired (which I absolutely was), the redness has gone down. Most of the redness was gone after two hours. You can see some red bumps still hanging tight over my eyebrow. Those will have to be dealt with, but the skin is pretty smooth.
The quest continues for the best facial cleanser.
Actually, I think I was better off before the European clay, with the exception of the uncharacteristic and stubborn acne on my chest. It really dried out the blemishes and by the morning they had flattened out more than they had in two weeks.
I hated the raw and sunburned look/feel. I read about Aztec Secret “bringing the blood to your face” but it looked blotchy and felt hot. That says more to me “irritant” than “healing clay.”
Since I barely made a dent in this $6 jar of clay, I’ll definitely use it again, but for spot care. The test showed it cleared up areas with stubborn breakouts, while breaking out some clearer areas.
If I get brave and use it on my whole face again, I’ll make sure to add some jojoba oil (as the directions suggest) and wipe the clay from my face instead of scraping. Peeling it away takes it from the level of “deep cleanser” to “ultra exfoliator” which my skin can’t handle.
Heck, the new blemishes might be a “purging period” issue after all. Still, my skin must recover first.
My advice, if you’re still on board for this clay-tastic adventure, definitely use the jojoba oil as a part of the mix, wipe off (do not peel), and have a moisturizer ready. Oh, and avoid having a big date or photo shoot the same day.
And don’t get caught with a frozen face.
How do clay masks treat your skin? Any you’d recommend?
Did you check out the update? See Part II, where I give this mask another go!