I have a confession: I’m kind of a mud mask junkie. Like, potentially, I might really have a problem. I love the way it feels to smear wet mud on my face, making funny pictures and such as I go. I love the way I can innocently walk into a room with a face mask on and scare the pants off of my 7 year old son (hey, you gotta keep them on their toes, right?). But most of all, I LOVE the way mud masks make my skin feel! Tingly, refreshed, clean, and amazingly smooth. I still make my husband pet my cheek after most of my masks, in order to amaze him yet again with how unreal my skin feels. Because it really does feel unreal, everytime!
So yes..... I regularly mix dirt with water, and spread it all over my face. Now, I don’t just put any old dirt to this beautiful mug. I'm talking about high quality clays, oh course! Bentonite clay, French clays, Aussie clays, Moroccan Lava clay, Canadian Glacier Clay….. the list goes on and on. We use a wide range of clays in our Red Lemon products. But today I want to discuss using clays straight up for your face.
There are many different types of clay, and each type has its own benefits for your skin. Most clays are very rich in minerals, and being that clay is a natural substance, these minerals are in a readily available form for your skin to absorb. It's easy to forget that our skin is a living organ, with a porous surface, and dermal absorption is a very quick and effective way to nourish our skin!
Another benefit of using clay for your skin, is that many clays have detoxifying abilities. Most high quality clays are dried naturally by the sun, which in turn, ionizes them. What does this mean? Well, clays like Bentonite, for example, have a powerful negative-ion charge when hydrated. This ionic charge attracts positively charged bacteria, contaminants and toxins, binding them and drawing them out. When used as a face mask, these clays clear out toxic buildup that's been left behind from our environment, chemical-based makeups and other synthetic face care products.
So, why is clay good for your face? Well, to put it simply: because it cleans out the crap and then feeds with the good.
Great question! I'm glad you asked. For most clays, the ionic charge and mineral benefits are activated through hydration. IE, when you make it wet, the active properties are animated. We want our masks to be therapeutically effective for our customers. We let you hydrate the mask yourself, as you need it, to ensure full potency. Also, this allows the mask to pretty much keep indefinitely; although, I don’t think you’ll find shelf life to be of concern! We've had several customers get back to us, telling us how much they love their clay masks and asking if they are safe to use everyday!
This is entirely up to you and your skin type. Personally, I mask every 2-3 days. Do I NEED to do it that often? Probably not. But I enjoy it and my skin loves it, so I go for it!
(Side note: I did try masking every day for over a week, once, as an experiment for our customers. Like I said, I was being asked if our masks could be used everyday, so I wanted to try it out myself. Personally, I didn't have any problems. In fact, my skin felt more amazing each day. If you, too, are a face mask junkie, try masking every 3rd day, and see how your skin does. If it is fine, try every 2nd day, and so forth. If your skin is looking and feeling great, then there’s no reason to hold back if you don’t want to! If you're using the mask correctly, I couldn’t see why you would have any problems. )
It's not! lol It's really quite simple. But here are a few little tips to help you get the full benefit out of your clay face masks:
-Hydrating your mask usually works better with fairly warm-hot water. Mix the clay powder with water, stirring it very well until it is about the consistency of sour cream. If the clay isn’t instantly absorbing the water, for some reason, just let it sit for a minute or two to give the clay a chance to sponge up. I haven’t found this to be a problem with our Red Lemon masks, but this is a good tip to know, just in case.
-Some people like to mix their masks with unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar instead of water. This is a fun idea if you are so inclined! But it is absolutely not necessary.
-It is best to mix clay masks using non-metal spoons and bowls. Metal can deactivate the ionic charge in the clay. For our masks, we provide a bamboo spoon with each purchase. Simply wash the spoon after mixing, and it can be used again and again. I actually use this bamboo spoon to spread the mask over my face as well. It works well as a spatula!
-To wash off the mask, use a hot cloth and rinse it out frequently. Be aware that if you are using any red or pink clays, that they might stain the cloth that you use. I have a basket of old cloths in my bathroom to use for washing off makeup and clay masks. That way, I don’t have to worry about ruining our 'fancy' cloths!
-After a clay mask, your face might feel tingly from the increased circulation, and your pores will be nice and open. It will be a good time to follow up with a rich, nutritive moisturizer. Preferably something free of synthetics and chemicals, so that your face can breathe. I use our Sweet Cheeks Night Cream. Massaging rich moisturizer all over an oh-so-smooth face is a glorious experience!
When I was younger, I used a few clay face masks. I would spread them on and wait for them to dry hard. Then I would stretch my face in all kinds of embarrassing ways to watch the dried clay crack and crumble. After washing it off and I would invariably need to reapply cream to my face for the rest of the day, as my skin was suddenly dry as a bone!
Since then, I have learned a thing or two. First off, I’m going to recommend that you do not leave your face mask on until it completely dries hard. And here is why:
There are three phases to a clay mask. First off, there's the damp phase, where your skin absorbs all the beneficial minerals from the clay. Then comes the half-dry phase, where the ionic charge of the clay clears away the toxic buildup from your skin, your capillaries are exercised, and then your blood flow accelerates as the mask cools and contracts. But then will come the dry phase, where the clay continues to absorb and inevitably draws out moisture from your skin, causing your face to feel dry, tight, and sometimes itchy.
So the next time you use a clay mask, don't wait for it to reach the dry, flaky stage before starting to rinse. Instead, try using this easy-peasy touch test: When your mask starts to dry (you’ll notice the color is getting lighter in some patches) but you can still feel that it’s a little bit sticky in places, then it's time the perfect to wash that sucker off. This way you can get all the benefits out of your mask without any unintended consequences! Lol As with many other things in life, good timing can make all the difference!
Do it! Join the face mask party! Be warned that it might become a bit of an addiction….but a healthy one at least! At Red Lemon, we have 3 clay masks, each designed to support different skin types/ concerns. Personally, I rotate between all three, because frankly, I just can’t choose a favorite. I love seeing all three colorful bags of clay lined up on my bathroom counter, like a cute little face mask smorgasbord. So try it! And I hope that you enjoy all these 'dirty' little products as much as I do!