5 Clay Masks for Skin

She deserves this!

I love a good mask any time of the week. I bounce back and forth between sheet masks and clay masks, depending on my skin and my mood. I learned about my skin by just studying it the way I would any other subject I wanted to learn. I tried many products on my skin, and if I broke out, I knew it was too oily for me. If my skin felt tight and dry after using a product, I know it’s too drying for me.

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read full privacy policy here.

I initially started out by washing my skin with a very mild cleanser, NOT applying anything to it overnight and looking at it in the morning. I found that my forehead, nose, and temples were oily, but my chin and cheeks were dry. That’s how I realized I had combination skin! My skin routine is pretty basic now that I use mostly botanical ingredients, but on Sundays when I do my Fine Wine Skin Routine, I do a clay mask. Sometimes I make 2 different masks for the different sections of my face. This is called “multi-masking” and it’s pretty helpful when I have angry face skin. ☹ Heck, it’s pretty helpful to maintain nice skin too!


Clays have been known to be medicinal since our ancestors walked this earth. It’s known that Cleopatra used a dead sea mud mask once a week. Many wealthy citizens in the motherland of Africa were known to use clay to detoxify their skin. Clay can be used around the house, in laundry, or to clean up oily messes on carpets and on clothes. Most clays come from volcanic ash, sediment, or soil, and is rich in minerals like silica, iron, and magnesium. There are even a few clays you can ingest orally to help support your digestion!

There are many types of clays out there for skin care, I should know, I’ve tried 70% of them lol. I encourage you to learn your skin. See if you have oily, dry, normal or combination skin. Multi-mask according to what you find. And if you don’t want to do all that fuss…just stick with a basic kaolin clay mask and water. No muss, no fuss. Make sure you use a non-metal bowl when mixing because metal causes the clay to react and lose some of it’s benefits.


Bentonite Clay

Bentonite Clay is probably the most common of the clays because of its abundance and its versatility. It’s made from volcanic ash, the majority of which is collected in Wyoming…I’m as confused as you. Bentonite is formed by mixing volcanic ash and sea water, which if you know basic geography of the USA. Wyoming doesn’t touch the sea. Hmmm. I have questions. Anyway, Bentonite is known for its oil absorption and its exfoliating texture. It’s best for normal to oily skin types. Pro-Tip, if you’re trying to get off aluminum deodorants and you still got some funky pits, apply a mask of 1tbsp bentonite clay, 1/2tbsp ACV, and 1/2tbsp water to your pits a 3-4 of times a week until you no longer need deodorant. You’re welcome.



Kaolin Clay

Kaolin is the absolute opposite of Bentonite, as it’s known for its mild absorption and light texture. If one already has dry skin, or if one has very sensitive skin, Kaolin is wonderful for you as it won’t dry out your skin the way a bentonite would. Kaolin is such a light, fine clay that it’s sometimes used as the base in natural foundation.


Rose Clay 

Sometimes called "French pink clay" Similar to its sister Kaolin, rose clay is technically a Kaolin clay as well. It’s very mild and best for those with sensitive to mature skin. It has a bit larger grain, so it’s beneficial for exfoliation if needed.


 French Green Clay

From France, duh. It has a fine texture, but commonly known for its oil absorption. A very common clay that gets its green color from decomposed plant matter like kelp and algae. Best suited for normal to oily skin types.

 Rhassoul Clay

Commonly used for maturing skin, as it’s known for its higher percentages in silica. Rhassoul clay is a multi-faceted clay as it draws out and absorbs oil while also providing moisture and hydrating skin as well!


Now, the clay isn’t much use without a liquid activator, it’s just a pretty powder. You can always use good old-fashioned (distilled) water, but there are so many other activators with benefits you’ve never even dreamed of, read on to learn more!

Top 5 activators for clay masks

  1. Water – Good for all skin types - Good old-fashioned (distilled) water. Water is the essence of wetness (shout out to Derek Zoolander himself for such a timeless quote), and it is! H2O is the first thing we reach for when mixing up a clay mask. But there’s so much more…
  1. Aloe Vera Water – Good for all skin types, but especially sensitive or dry skin – Aloe Vera is known for its moisturizing and soothing properties. Adding Aloe Vera water to your clay mask will help keep your face moist while your mask dries. For both sensitive and dry skin types, a good tip is to not let the mask dry all the way before rinsing it off. If your mask gets too dry it could cause your skin to go bonkers, cause it to go drier, cause it to break out, or it could do absolutely nothing…it’s all a gamble really...but why bet?
  1. Green Tea – Good for Mature skin - Make a cup of green tea, and while it cools, add a teaspoon of that very same tea to your clay powder and put that paste on your face! Green tea makes a wonderful activator for your mask because it’s an antioxidant that fights off free radicals caused by UV and pollution. Green tea also reduces the signs of aging and tightens the skin.
  1. Hydrosol – Hydrosols are a byproduct of essential oil production, it’s the water collected from boiling the herbs from oil preparation. There are a variety of different hydrosols to choose from, I like rose hydrosol for many reasons, the first being rose is great for mature skin, and the second being the sweet soft smell. SW Basics has several different hydrosols to choose from, including this lovely lavender one. By now, you MUST know my obsession with lavender. 
  1. Apple Cider Vinegar - Good for oily skin – ACV balances pH levels and stimulates circulation. It also has alpha hydroxy acid, which means that it’s an exfoliator, and absorbs oils, so it’s great to mix with clay if you have acne prone skin.



Here’s some time-tested and friend approved DIY face masks that you can make at home! To finely grind my herbs I use an inexpensive coffee grinder like this one here and add my herb to the grinder, pulse a couple of times until it's a semi-fine powder. Speaking of powder, I add arrowroot powder to every clay mask as an added boost of minerals, oil absorption, and it doubles as a thickener! Pro-Tip, don't let your mask dry ALL the way out on your face, that's overly drying out your skin. Let the clay sit until it's ALMOST dry, about 10-15 min then rinse. 


1 tsp – bentonite clay

½ tsp– activated charcoal

½  tsp – arrowroot powder

Add ACV to form a paste


1 tsp – rose clay

½ tsp – finely ground calendula

½ tsp - arrowroot powder

Add aloe vera water to form a paste


1 tsp – French green clay

½ tsp – finely ground chamomile

½ tsp – arrowroot powder

Add green tea to form a paste


1 tsp Rhassoul Clay

½ tsp finely ground rose petals

½ tsp arrowroot powder

Add rosewater to form a paste

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