The most basic face mask, and probably the easiest to make is a blend of whichever type of clay is suited to your skin type, moistened with an appropriate hydrosol, to make a smooth ‘mud’. Spread the moistened clay over your face, avoid the eye area, let dry, and rinse well with tepid water.
A mask will always help with exfoliation, may dry excess oil, and can help your skin detoxify. There are those who say that the minerals contained in various clays can also be beneficial to your cells. The ‘Fun’ part of creating a face mask lies in selecting ingredients that are suited to your skin type.
Types of Clays:
Commonly available clays helpful for various skin types:
Glacial Clay is composed of particles that are small enough to create a powerful absorption factor for the skin and due to its chemical properties it has the ability to remove toxins and bacteria and dead skin cells to leave the skin healthy, purified, and smooth.
It stimulates the circulation, detoxifies, exfoliates dead skin cells, and smoothes down wrinkles, leaving the skin soft, smooth and invigorated. It produces erythema (local skin warming), accelerates physiological processes and increases cell regeneration in surrounding tissues, improving skin elasticity and overall complexion. Because of the warming effect, I would avoid using Glacial Clay on very sensitive skin.
Because of its strongly detoxifying effect, Glacial Clay is highly recommended for skin plagued by acne, blackheads, pimples, etc.
Wonderful for oily skin. Sea clay draws impurities like a magnet! It provides deep cleansing, it tightens pores, revitalizes the complexion and helps clear problem skin. Sea clay is the best for oily skin due to its high mineral content. Due to its high content of minerals, sea clay draws oils from the skin, and is rich in algaes, macro- and micro-minerals, as well as sodium and sulphur. Sea plants, seawater, sea salt and oceanic clay have long been popular physical-therapy ingredients in Europe. Recommended as medical therapeutic agents as early as 1578, seawater and sea derivatives were administered for rheumatism and general rehabilitation. Sea clay is an important ingredient in body wraps to lose inches and cellulite.
One of the mildest of all clays, French White Kaolin is suitable for the most sensitive skin. It will help stimulate circulation while gently exfoliating and cleansing. It does not draw oil from the skin so is a good choice for dry skin. It is also high in minerals known to be beneficial for oily or blemished skin. It can help heal blemishes and inflammation, while preventing more problems from forming. White kaolin clay soothes and softens the skin and is suitable for all skin types.
Pink Kaolin is the cosmetic clay for normal, sensitive and mature skin. It is the mildest clay and most widely used in cosmetics.
Pink clay is particularly useful for toning dull, tired, or devitalized skin. It also has excellent cleansing properties
For oily skin:
Cedarwood Hydrosol, Clary Sage Hydrosol, Melissa Hydrosol, Lavender Hydrosol, Peppermint Hydrosol, Rose Hydrosol, Rosemary Verbenone Hydrosol
Cedarwood Hydrosol, Frankincense Hydrosol, Rose Geranium Hydrosol, Lavender Hydrosol, Neroli Hydrosol, Rose Hydrosol
Roman Chamomile Hydrosol, Owyhee Hydrosol, Patchouli Hydrosol, Rose Hydrosol
Carrot Seed Hydrosol, Frankincense Hydrosol, Helichrysum Hydrosol, Neroli Hydrosol, Rose Hydrosol
Problem Skin or Acne:
German Chamomile Hydrosol, Clary Sage Hydrosol, Neroli Hydrosol, Patchouli Hydrosol, Rose Hydrosol, Rosemary Verbenone Hydrosol, Tea Tree Hydrosol, Yarrow Hydrosol
Sensitive Skin or Rosacea:
Helichrysum Hydrosol, Roman or German Chamomile Hydrosol, Frankincense Hydrosol, Yarrow Hydrosol, Blue Tansy Hydrosol, Owyhee Hydrosol
The Most Basic Mask:
Cleanse your face using your favorite method.
In a small cup or bowl, pour approximately one tablespoon (1/2 ounce) of your chosen clay. Gradually stir in (1/2 teaspoonful, or 2 mls at a time) your chosen Hydrosol. Stir well, continue to add liquid until a smooth fairly liquid “mud” is formed.
Apply in a smooth layer to face and neck, avoiding eyes and lips.
Relax for 10 to 20 minutes until the clay has totally dried. Rinse well with warm water. If desired, follow with your favorite moisturizing facial oil.
For any skin type:
Use 1 teaspoon of barely warmed honey as part of the liquid. (Warming the honey makes it more liquid.)
For Acneic Skin:
To the warmed honey, described above, stir in one drop of Tea Tree, German Chamomile, or Manuka essential oil. The tea tree and manuka are powerful antibacterials, while the German Chamomile is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Especially for oily skin or acne it helps to remove the mask with steaming washclothes. Add a drop or two of one of the above essential oils to a bowl of hot water, wet the washcloth and gently wring out excess moisture.
For Oily Skin:
You might add a pinch or two (up to a teaspoon) of very finely powdered oatmeal to the clay. Stir in well before adding hydrosols.
A large fresh strawberry, very finely pureed is a wonderful addition to an oily skin mask.
For Dry Skin:
Instead of, or in addition to the hydrosol, and perhaps honey, add 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) of your favorite facial oil to the clay. My personal choice is either Squalane or Argan oil, but Avocado oil is a wonderful addition as well. Please note, the addition of a fixed oil will prevent the clay from drying as hard as in a mask composed of just hydrosols and/or honey. Leave the mask on for 15 to 20 minutes and remove with tepid water. You skin will be moist and glowing.
A bit of finely mashed avocado is a traditional ingredient for a mask for dry skin.
Adding 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to part of the liquid portion of the mask will help draw moisture to dry skin.
For Sensitive or Inflamed Skin:
Consider using Aloe Vera Gel as part of the liquid in your mask.
Please note, these are not hard and fast rules. Have fun with them!