The market for beauty products is a lively one and brands have a tendency to make outlandish claims about their products. You could be led to believe they will one day raise the dead, if the rejuvenating powers of face creams are to be believed. A lot of the time, it’s an advertising tactic rather than a real claim (’75 out of 150 women claim it works’ types of scientific study) and nowadays most beauty products are a chemistry teacher’s wet dream, full of oligo-elements, collagen this, folic acid that, and synthetic chemicals that irritate rather than soothe the skin. Which is why I want to talk about one of the best-kept French beauty secret: pure clay facial masks.
Natural beauty products are increasingly popular and it is not that difficult to find clay-based products in the shops in the UK and elsewhere but in France, basic clay face masks are not only to be found in every pharmacie but they were used long before they became trendy. Clay is a fantastic product for oily skin but it is often one of many ingredients in a product formula that contains other additives. In France, you can easily find clay beauty products that are virtually free of anything but clay and water. You can even buy pouches of clay dust that you mix in water to make your face mask yourself.
Why are clay face masks so good for your skin?
It comes down to clay’s natural properties, which are full of minerals and soak up impurities and moisture before drying out. This is why green clay masks are the oily/combination skins’ best friend. They draw out impurities and oily residues and leaves the skin looking smooth and matte.
How to do a clay face mask
- The first thing to do is to soften the skin and open the pores to make the cleansing process more effective and kinder on the skin. This is best done with a steam facial first, you know, fill a bowl of hot water and put your face over it under a towel for 10 minutes. It will soften your skin and open your pores to allow optimum success of the clay mask.
- Once you’ve prepared your skin, just apply a layer of clay over your face. Make sure that you cover your face well, this is not to be applied like a foundation in a thin layer, as your pores need to be completely covered.
- Leave the clay face mask on for about 15 minutes or until it is completely dry before rinsing in warm water.
Your skin will feel noticeably cleaner, lighter and smoother, especially if like me you have oily skin that always feels a little heavy and clogged. It is best to apply a mask once a week for a deep face clean.