Clay masks have been around for aeons, and for a good reason. Packed with vitamins and minerals, a clay mask is one of the best things to slather on your skin after a long day, and play an essential role in any skincare routine.
They’re easy and convenient to use, and you can actually see them go to work. When it starts to dry on your skin, it unclogs and clears out the gunk sitting in your pores in mere minutes – talk about instant gratification.
However, not all clay masks are created equal. If you’ve never tried a clay mask before, allow us to introduce you to its benefits and a few of our top picks.
What can a clay mask do for my skin?
A clay mask can be made up of one of several types of clay. Some of the most common varieties include kaolin, bentonite, and pink clay. Clays have different mineral compositions, which is why some are better suited for specific skin types. While their benefits may vary, here are three primary reasons why we love them so much:
- They reduce excess sebum: No matter which clay is used, a clay mask absorbs excess oil from the skin as well as other impurities to prevent your pores from getting clogged.
- They soothe the skin: Kaolin clay, in particular, is great for those with dry, sensitive skin. They calm inflammation and ease irritation in minutes.
- They can prevent acne: By giving your pores a deep cleanse, a clay mask can prevent blemishes as it removes acne-causing bacteria and dirt.
How to use a clay mask the right way
If you’re new to clay masks or you aren’t sure if you’re using yours the right way. Here’s a quick guide:
- Cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser or rinse it with some warm water.
- Pat your face dry with a towel or tissue paper before applying a thin layer of clay mask on your skin.
- Let it sit on your skin. Different clay masks come with different instructions, so check the back of the product to see how long you should leave it on. Don’t wait for the mask to dry up completely if you have particularly dry or sensitive skin. This could pull too much moisture from your skin and damage your skin barrier. Instead, rinse it off when the mask is still pasty.
- Rinse it off carefully and make sure there isn’t any residue – this could dry out areas of your skin.
Ready to discover some amazing clay masks? Ahead, we’ve rounded up our favourites and some of the bestselling ones on the market.
Best clay masks for combination skin
Fresh Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask
Fresh’s clay mask uses clay that’s sourced from Umbria, Italy, and it’s packed with minerals to cleanse and purify the skin. You’ll feel instantly relaxed when you slather this on, and it’s all thanks to the sandalwood oil, chamomile flower, and lavender water, which calm and soothe your complexion and senses.
Fresh Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask (30ml) retails for RM103 at Sephora.
Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask 2x
One of the best, most affordable clay masks around, Innisfree’s clay mask uses porous volcanic clusters from Jeju Island to clear out the pores and absorb grease. There’s also kaolin and bentonite clay in the formula, which clear congestion without drying out your skin. It’s especially effective on zits and oily skin.
Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask 2x (100ml) retails for RM60 at Hermo.
Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Absorbing Mask
Using kaolin and bentonite clays, Paula’s Choice clay mask absorbs excess oil without drying the skin or making it feel tight. It dislodges congestion while soothing plant extracts visibly calm the skin.
Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Absorbing Mask (118ml) retails for RM120 at Paula’s Choice Official Website.
Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask With Rose Clay
Mediterranean rose clay and white clay give Origins’ clay mask a pretty pink shade, and the combination is perfect for those with bumpy, dull skin. Besides clay, the mask is also infused with exfoliating jojoba beads and Canadian willowherb to leave your skin silky smooth. Your pores will appear smaller after 10 minutes.
Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask With Rose Clay (70ml) retails for RM106 at Sephora.
First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Purifying Mask With Red Clay
This easy-to-use peel-off mask from First Aid Beauty refines your pores while removing excess oil to refresh an oily complexion. It uses red clay to draw out impurities and clear clogged pores for smoother skin right after. All you need is 20 minutes for clearer, softer skin.
First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Purifying Mask With Red Clay (90g) retails for RM135 at Sephora.
GLAMGLOW Supermud Clearing Treatment
This clay mask from GLAMGLOW rose to fame because it works like a real-life Instagram filter. It fights problem skin and imperfections with charcoal, a blend of six exfoliating acids, and K-17 clay. It targets everything from blemishes to scars and even ingrown hair – your skin will feel incredibly smooth after.
GLAMGLOW Supermud Clearing Treatment (15g) retails for RM105 at Sephora.
Freeman Facial Clay Mask Mint & Lemon
This lemony clay mask from Freeman removes excess sebum without stripping your skin of moisture. There’s also a tinge of mint for an extra refreshing experience. It helps to control oil production while lemon peel oil brightens your skin.
Freeman Facial Clay Mask Mint & Lemon (175ml) retails for RM21.17 at Watsons.
Best clay masks for dry or sensitive skin
Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask
This clay mask will leave your skin feeling as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Here’s a fun fact: this beauty recipe was passed down to Charlotte in Ibiza, which is a combination of sweet almond oil and Spanish clay.
These two primary ingredients will refine your pores and give you a dewy glow. The Frangipani flower extract in the formula will moisturise and calm your skin, giving your dry skin the nourishment and hydration it needs.
Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask (75ml) retails for RM414.90 at Cult Beauty.
Laneige Mini Pore Waterclay Mask
Laneige’s Mini Pore Waterclay Mask removes any impurities and sops up sebum without drying out your skin. It uses mint water to refresh your skin too, perfect to use after a long day.
Formulated with mineral mud that comes from the only island mud flat designated by UNESCO, the mask nourishes your skin with skin-loving minerals. Plus, it’s gentle on sensitive and dry skin. What’s more, it comes with a sponge to help you remove the mask easily.
Laneige Mini Pore Waterclay Mask (70ml) retails for RM100 at Hermo.
L’Oreal Paris Pure Clay Clear And Comfort Mask
If you’re looking for a simple, back-to-basics formula, this clay mask from L’Oreal Paris is the one for you. It uses a mix of clay and seaweed to keep your dry skin smooth and hydrated, while it unclogs pores for clearer skin.
The mask has a hint of fragrance, so if you have skin that’s particularly sensitive, conduct a patch test on your neck or jawline for 24 hours first.
L’Oreal Paris Pure Clay Mask (50g) retails for RM45.80 at Lazada.
Eve Lom Rescue Mask
Perfect for boosting your skin’s natural radiance, Eve Lom’s Rescue Mask is the ultimate emergency treatment for tired, stressed, sensitive skin. Enriched with a special blend of kaolin clay and nourishing honey, the mask absorbs excess oil and calms redness right away.
It also uses ground almonds, which gently exfoliate and smooth the skin for visibly softer, smoother, and clearer skin.
Eve Lom Rescue Mask (100ml) retails for RM348 at Zalora.
Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Porefining Face Mask
This clay mask from Sand & Sky has made its round on social media, and it definitely lives up to the hype. Australian Pink Clay draws out toxins to deeply cleanse the skin and tighten pores before your eyes.
Witch hazel in the formula also refines pores and soothes irritation, while mangosteen, pomegranate, and Kakadu plum brighten your skin and protects it with antioxidants.
Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Porefining Face Mask (60g) retails for RM185 at Sephora.
Best clay masks for oily or acne-prone skin
Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask
Say goodbye to dead skin cells and clogged pores with this clay mask from Kiehl’s. Amazonian white clay is the star ingredient in this potent face mask, which dives deep into pores to clear them out.
While it’s perfect for all skin types, it’s especially great for those with acne-prone skin as it gets rid of blemish-causing impurities. The best part? It also contains aloe, which calms and hydrates your skin to prevent any irritation.
Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask (125ml) retails for RM138 at Kiehl’s Official Website.
Acne Free Kaolin Clay Detox Mask With Charcoal
If you’re constantly reaching for blotting sheets, try this clay mask from Acne Free. Made with kaolin clay and charcoal, the mask purifies the skin and reduces sebum production in minutes. Zinc and vitamin E in the formula also work synergistically to remove impurities and moisturise the skin.
Acne Free Kaolin Clay Detox Mask With Charcoal (150ml) retails for RM75 at Shopee.
Pixi Glow Mud Mask
A mineral-rich treatment, Pixi’s Glow Mud Mask uses kaolin clay and sea salt to purify the skin, absorb oil, and fight breakouts while giving your complexion a brightening boost. There’s also ginseng and aloe vera in the formula to soothe and balance out irritated skin.
Pixi Glow Mud Mask (45ml) retails for RM110 at Sephora.
Sulwhasoo Clarifying Mask EX
Extra gentle on the skin, Sulwhasoo’s Clarifying Mask EX uses bentonite clay to draw out impurities from your pores. The peel-off type mask clarifies and invigorates the skin, while finely ground Solomon’s seal powder and honey soothe and moisturise for clear, translucent skin.
The calming scent of pine, liquorice, Cnidium Officinale, and and Angelica Acutiloba will transform your bathroom into a spa the moment you slather this on your skin.
Sulwhasoo Clarifying Mask EX (150ml) retails for RM180 at Sephora.
Boscia Matcha Magic Super-Antioxidant Mask
Made with high-grade matcha green tea, the Matcha Magic Super-Antioxidant Mask by Boscia helps to revive stressed and tired skin. Kaolin clay in the formula absorbs excess oil and minimise the appearance of large pores, while matcha soothes redness and fights free radical damage.
Boscia Matcha Magic Super-Antioxidant Mask (85.8ml) retails for RM190 at Sephora.
The INKEY List Kaolin Clay Face Mask
Using kaolin clay, this clay mask by The INKEY List unclogs pores without sucking up all the moisture from your skin. Gentle and non-drying, it reduces sebum production and can even be used as a spot treatment to help with pimples. Use this baby once or twice a week for clearer, smoother skin.
The INKEY List Kaolin Clay Face Mask (50ml) retails for RM35 at Sephora.