If you follow beauty trends on social media you will know that lately facial masks have been popular. However, there are so many on the market it can be difficult to know which ones are full of natural, beneficial ingredients and which ones are packed full of harmful chemicals.
Well let’s take a look at charcoal and clays so you can make a more informed decision about which of these will benefit your skin type.
Huh? Charcoal in skincare…
Not the stuff you chuck on the barbeque, but activated charcoal. This is medical grade and is something of a magical ingredient for the skin.
It is highly absorbent and is actually able to hold more than 1000 times its own mass in toxic substances! Using a charcoal facial mask will draw out your skin’s impurities so you can easily wash them straight off.
This makes it a great deep cleanser as it really gets into your skin to clear your acne, pimples and blackheads. In turn your pores appear smaller as they’re now gunk free, yay!
If you suffer from oily skin then you’ll love charcoal’s oil absorbing properties. It can even be used as a spot treatment as well as a whole facial mask.
Sensitive skin can also benefit as activated charcoal heals and soothes irritated skin as well as cuts and bites.
What about clay?
Clay is made up of a mix of minerals found in many parts of the world. The mineral contents can vary from location and location and this is what defines the beneficial properties of each type of clay.
In general all clays draw out toxins from the skin and exfoliate, buffing away dead skin cells. They deep cleanse, helping to shrink the appearance of pores. Not only that, but by using clays you are essentially giving your skin a detox which will brighten up dull skin.
There are many different types, but let’s look at 4 that you’ll most commonly find in facial masks:
- Great for very oily skin
- Powerful oil absorbing properties
- French green clay
- Mineral rich meaning it clears and tightens pores
- Oil absorbing
- Leaves skin feeling soft
- Mildest of all clays – Ideal for sensitive and dry skin
- Doesn’t draw out oils or overly dry skin
- Reduces sebum production, keeping pores clear
- Stimulates circulation which improves skin healing
- Rose Clay
- Good for sensitive and dry skin
- Leaves skin feeling soft
- Antioxidants slow aging
- Promotes skin regeneration reducing appearance of scars
Isn’t mud and clay the same thing?
Well, not really.
This is a bit of a complicated one, but essentially mud is water based whereas clay isn’t. This means mud facial masks are more hydrating and moisturising and clay is more drying. But both aim to reduce pimples and keep skin looking youthful.
However, mud facial masks can contain clays amongst their ingredients as some clays, such as kaolin, won’t dry out the skin. Pure muds that can be found in mud masks include Dead Sea mud and black mud.
How often can I use these facial masks?
- Charcoal: 1-3 times per week.
If you have oily skin you can use a charcoal mask more frequently than someone who has dry skin. Make sure to apply a generous layer of product and leave for around 10 minutes. Wash off with warm water and a washcloth.
- Clay: once per week.
It’s important not to overdo it with the clay as it can dry skin out. Apply a light layer and leave for up to 40 minutes. It’s important that you don’t let the clay dry completely. You want to wash it off when it’s started to dry, but is still sticky. If you leave it too long this can dry your skin out and leave it irritated. When it’s time to wash it off do so with warm water and a washcloth.
- Mud: 2-3 times per week.
As mud masks are more hydrating than clay masks, they can be used more frequently during the week. You should only apply a thin layer of this type of mask. Once on leave for 10-15 minutes until it’s almost dry. If the drying time is longer than this then you’ve used too much product. Rinse with warm water and a washcloth.
Masks are a great way of feeding these super beneficial ingredients to your skin. Not only are they great at getting rid of pore clogging dirt and pimples, it’s a completely natural ingredient.
No chemicals required!
If you have sensitive skin, check out these DIY clay mask recipes in our blog.
What’s your favourite mask? Drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you!