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The best clay masks to buy in 2023

Best clay mask

If your skin needs some TLC or you just fancy a bit of me time, a clay mask can restore that healthy glow

The best clay masks can leave your face feeling rejuvenated and refreshed without an expensive trip to the local beauty spa. Simply select the right type of clay face mask for your skin type, then lie back and relax while the ingredients work their magic to restore your healthy complexion.

It’s not a new technique, and you certainly don’t need to be a trained beautician to get great results. Clay masks have been used as beauty treatments for thousands of years all across the world in countries including Greece, India and Egypt. They are simply spread over the skin with the aim of cleaning and soothing the skin, promoting freshness, brightness and health.

There are plenty of clay masks on the market, all at varying price points and with different ingredients and types of clay – and all come with their own set of skin-pampering promises. Here we’ll explain how to decide on the best clay mask for your skin and suggest some of our favourites in the mini-reviews further down the page.

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How to choose the best clay mask for you

What type of clay face mask should you choose?

Is your skin oily and prone to breakouts? Is it dry and cracked? Or can it simply not decide – one minute a constellation of spots and the next parched? Does it look dull or sunken? Are your pores blocked?

The key is to pick a face mask that is advertised to be suitable for your skin type. Regardless of whether you have normal, oily, dry or combination skin, there is a clay face mask to suit you.

What exactly is the clay found in a clay mask?

Clay found in masks is usually either kaolin or bentonite clay. Both are natural and cleanse skin by drawing out impurities and promoting radiance to the complexion.

How do you apply a clay mask?

Some clay masks will be wet and ready to apply, while others come in powder form and require a little mixing with water. You won’t need to apply a mask every day, but most people use them as part of a mini pampering session once or twice a week.

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Are clay masks suitable for all skin types?

Not necessarily – each product is different and will be recommended for different skin types. Make sure to pick a clay mask that is advertised to work with your skin type, and don’t apply masks to broken skin.

That said, clay is natural and when used in conjunction with other natural ingredients, clay masks are less likely to aggravate skin than more chemical-laden facial treatments. If you have particularly sensitive skin, then it’s always a good idea to do a patch test to see how your skin reacts.

How much should I spend?

Clay masks can cost anything from sub-£10 to the best part of £100. Spending more is no guarantee of improved results, so the best thing is to try a few that are formulated for your skin type then stick with the one which yields the best results.

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The best clay masks to buy in 2023

1. Amaranthine Detox Face Mask: Best overall

Price: From £3.50 | Buy now from Amaranthine

The first thing we noticed about this powder mask was the colour. Green. Pea green. The greenest of greens. When you mix it with water as instructed and apply it to your face you’ll be instantly transformed into the witch from Wicked (or the Incredible Hulk, if that’s more your thing).

Billed as being perfect for skin prone to acne and breakouts, Amaranthine’s formula contains Bentonite and French green clays that combine to remove excess oil and impurities from pores and exfoliate the skin. It also contains Matcha Green Tea, which balances skin and calms redness.

The mask comes in powder form which you mix into a paste with a little water. You then apply to the face and leave on for ten minutes; it dries quickly and as it does so your skin becomes incredibly tight. So tight it’s hard to talk, which is actually a satisfying sensation as you feel like it’s actively working.

We washed it off and afterwards our skin was Botox shiny. It was completely dewy and as smooth as you could wish for. For instant aesthetic improvement alone we’d recommend this. It felt like it was working and by golly it looked like it worked, too. Clean, refreshed and bright.

Key info – Container: Jar or sachet; Quantity: 6g or 60g; Recommended frequency for use: Once a week

Buy now from Amaranthine

2. UpCircle Kaolin Clay Face Mask: Best for clean skin

Price: £19 | Buy now from UpCircle

UpCircle’s Kaolin clay face mask smells lovely – slightly sweet and a bit like holidays.

Designed to tighten pores and battle breakouts, it’s a thick paste comprising powdered olive stones, which is anti-inflammatory and has a calming effect on angry and confused skin, and kaolin clay, which promotes freshness and renewal. You’ll notice a slightly gritty consistency.

We put this on clean, dry skin for 10 minutes before washing off. There was no tightening or tingling when on, but afterwards skin felt soft, fresh and clean and positively drunk in moisturiser. It’s a really luxurious experience; no wonder it’s won so many awards.

Key info – Container: Jar; Quantity: 60ml; Recommended frequency for use: 2-3 times a week

Buy now from UpCircle

3. Probiotic by Doctor’s Formula Deep Hydration & Repairing Mask: Best for dry skin

Price: £85 | Buy now from Doctor’s Formula

This probiotic mask promises to hydrate even the driest, dullest of complexions, as well as clean clogged pores and gently exfoliate the skin.

It contains kaolin clay, yet the mask feels wet and loose on the skin: it doesn’t dry and become hard. We applied this and left it overnight – the creamy consistency of the mask sinks right into the skin.

After washing our face the next morning our skin felt plumped up and refreshed. As a result, we barely needed to put any moisturiser on that night before bed – a total boon for anyone with dry skin, particularly during the harsh winter months.

Key info – Container: Tube; Quantity: 50ml; Recommended frequency for use: 2-3 times a week

Buy now from Doctor’s Formula

4. Tolpa t-zone enzymatic clay mask: Best budget buy

Price: £11 | Buy now from Lloyds Pharmacy

Using an enzymatic exfoliant as well as natural clay, this mask is brilliant for making skin clean, bright and glowing – as well as battling stubborn acne. Free from parabens, silicones and paraffin oils, it promises to unclog pores by absorbing excess sebum, make skin smoother and banish “grey” complexions.

Smelling of sweet citrus, this mask is easy to apply – you just spread it across your clean, dry face. It will quickly dry and create a slight tingling sensation. After 10 minutes, warm water should be splashed on the face and massaged into the mask, which will create a foam before you wash it off altogether. Our skin felt squeaky clean after using this, and we noticed that our pores were looking smaller, too.

Key info – Container: Tube; Quantity: 40ml; Recommended frequency for use: 2-3 times a week

Buy now from Lloyds Pharmacy

5. Evolve Organic Beauty True Balance SOS Mask: Best for acne-prone skin

Price: £20 | Buy now from Evolve Organic Beauty

This mask has a deliciously sweet, almond aroma that makes it a pleasure to use. The packaging looks great, too, which will make any bathroom that little bit more chic with its understated graphic design.

Containing salicylic acid and green clay, among other things, the SOS Mask promises to clean and calm oily, spot-prone skin, and we tried this mask on a very angry mid-December complexion. The thick layer we applied dried quickly and promoted a “tight” feeling beneath. After ten minutes, we rinsed it all off.

We wouldn’t say this is a miracle cure for acne – blemishes simply don’t disappear in ten minutes flat – but it’s certainly a soothing balm for confused, unhappy skin. We were left with extremely shiny skin and pores that were visibly smaller.

Key info – Container: Jar; Quantity: 60ml; Recommended frequency for use: Once a week

Buy now from Evolve Organic Beauty

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