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The healing power of clay has been appreciated since ancient times for a myriad of reasons. It was often used internally to help flush and harmonize the  gastrointestinal tract, and help with gut disorders. It has also been extensively used  externally for numerous ailments, like recovery from burns, wounds as well as cosmetic purposes. 

Scientists believe that bentonite clay works by adsorbing oils and dirt from the skin.The theory is that bentonite clay adsorbs materials by sticking to their molecules or ions. As the clay leaves the body, it takes the toxin or other molecules with it. When a person uses it on the skin, bentonite clay may have the power to adsorb oils and bacteria. When they consume the clay, it may adsorb toxins or other unwanted substances from the digestive tract. R


Scientifically Proven Facts on Bentonite Clay 

1. Removes toxins from the body.
2. Treats oily skin and acne.
3. Detoxifies the skin.
4. Helps treat poison ivy.
5. Relieves constipation.
6. May aid in weightless.
7. May help lower cholesterol.
*Read more on each on Medical News Today



There are several different types of clay, but I like Bentonite clay because it works for all skin types. The iconic "Aztec clay jar" contains 100% natural calcium bentonite clay from Death Valley, California. Made from volcanic ash, the clay contains over 50 minerals, almost every mineral found on Earth. But then again, if you have access to other forms of naturally occurring clay around you, by all means use that! I'm a big believer in sourcing what's in your environment. If that's not available to you, try some of the more classic cosmetic clays used below. 

Here’s how the magic of clay works: The molecules in clay carry a negative electron charge. The gunk stored in your skin has a positive charge. So when a clay mask is applied to the face, all of the impurities – toxins, viruses, parasites, fungi, bacteria – are drawn out of the skin and into the clay. And the nourishing minerals from the clay are transferred to your face.


What are the different types of clay? Clays have soaked up the minerals and plant matter of the earth over thousands of years. There are a wide array of clays available to us from all over the world, each with their own unique qualities. Here are some of our favorites that can be easily found online or in health food stores: 


For beginners & normal, dry, or combination skin types Kaolin clay is generally recognized as “all-purpose” because it is neutral in colour and texture. It is best for normal or combination skin types, but suitable for all. This clay is light, fluffy, and mild in its absorptive capacity. It’s ideal for those with sensitive skin, or those just dipping their toes in the realm of cosmetic clays. This clay easily blends with water into a smooth, creamy consistency.


For luxury treatments & all skin types French Green Clay is considered a “luxury” clay for its creamy-smooth consistency and beautiful green color. The colour comes from its mineral and decayed plant matter content. The color incites some products containing the clay to boast therapeutic or healing action on the skin. As this clay is fairly absorbent, it is most ideal for normal to oily skin, but useful on dry skin as well. Its texture is extremely smooth and creamy. French Green Clay is a luxurious addition to your beauty regime. 


For exfoliation & cleansing Rhassoul clay is relatively gritty in texture and very absorbent, making it fantastic for exfoliation and cleansing blends. It is high in silica and magnesium, which some consider therapeutic for the skin.


For acne breakouts Fuller’s Earth clay is even more absorbent than pyrophyllite, and thus extremely useful for cleansing. It is commonly used as a spot-treatment for those suffering from excessive blackheads or cystic acne.


 For tough exfoliation This clay is unique and delightful: a beautiful rich green colour, highly absorbent, and highly gritty. This clay, when combined with water, adopts a fine wet-sand texture. This makes it ideal for treatments where tough body exfoliation is key, such as the soles of the feet.


Before you start mixing up mask recipes, always remember to use glass or wooden bowls and spoons. Metal bowls or utensils will interfere with the negative charge that’s about to do your face so much good!

One of the simplest – and most effective – ways to make a DIY Aztec clay mask is to mix equal parts of clay with raw apple cider vinegar. Let it sit on your face (or body) for 15 minutes then rinse with warm water. Apply the bentonite clay mask once or twice a week to keep your skin clear and smooth. And trust me, you'll see the results! 

And, of course, you can add different ingredients to customize your mask. Here are a few suggestions. Feel free to comment below in ideas or questions that might come up for substitutions. 


Aztec Clay Mask for Acne

Clay and activated charcoal are excellent face mask ingredients for absorbing excess oil and clearing out clogged pores. Plus, the addition of probiotics and apple cider vinegar helps prevent acne. Probotics contain ingredients that help fuel the growth of the helpful germs that already live on the skin and destroy the harmful bacteria that cause the painful acne bumps.

  • 1 Tbsp Bentonite Clay
  • 1 Tbsp Activated Charcoal
  • 1 Probiotic Capsule (of choice - or replace with 1tsp yogurt)
  • 2 Tbsp Raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 drop essential oil*

Combine activated charcoal, clay and probiotic powder in a small bowl. Add ACV to make a paste. It’s okay to use more, if needed, to get a smooth paste. Add essential oil and stir. With clean fingers spread over face and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and apply moisturizer.

*Essential oils for acne: Tea Tree, Juniper Berry, Lavender, Cedarwood, Lemon, Cypress


Clay Mask for Wrinkles

Green tea (Camellia sinensis) and vitamin C both provide powerful antioxidant protection to strengthen collagen and repair free radical damage.

  • 1 Tbsp Bentonite Clay
  • 1 Vitamin C Capsule
  • 2 Tbsp Green Tea, cooled (or matcha!)
  • 1 drop essential oil*

*Mangosteen hibiscus is a strong and natural source for vitamin C, and is an exquisite powder to use for masks - and even for baths!)


Combine clay and vitamin C in a small bowl. Add green tea to make a paste. It’s okay to use more, if needed, to get a smooth paste. Add essential oil and stir. With clean fingers spread over face and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and apply moisturizer.

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR WRINKLES: Rose, Sandalwood, Helichrysum, Frankincense, Rose Geranium. 


Clay Mask for Dry Skin

  • 1 Tbsp Bentonite Clay
  • 1 Tbsp Rose Hip Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Rose Water*
  • 1 Drop Essential oil*

*For rose water, infuse 1tsp of rose powder in 1oz of hot water to make a quick rose water infusion. You'll have leftovers, so just sip the remainder of the tea for extra self love. Or, simply use the store bought rose water if you have that available. 


Combine clay and oil in a small bowl. Add rose water to make a paste. It’s okay to use more, if needed, to get a smooth paste. Add essential oil and stir. With clean fingers spread over face and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and apply moisturizer.

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR DRY SKIN: Geranium, Sandalwood, Palmarosa, Myrrh, Patchouli, Roman Chamomile.  


Clay Mask for Oily Skin

Clay provides deep pore cleansing by pulling out impurities and dirt while witch hazel is an effective astringent that tightens pores as they dry.

  • Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (or water, or both)*
  • 1 tsp Mangosteen-Hibiscus
  • 1 Tbsp Bentonite Clay
  • 1 Drop Essential oil*
  • 1 tsp Honey* (optional)

*If you're runny super oily, use all apple cider vinegar. If you're mildly to low within the oily department, you can combine with water, using equal parts vinegar to water.

*Honey is an incredible anti-bacterial, so for breakouts, acne, or pimples, honey can be very helpful.

Combine ingredients and stir until blended. Don’t use metal spoons or bowls to mix. Apply to skin with clean fingers and leave on for 10 minutes. Oily skin types can leave on for up to 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR DRY SKIN: Clary Sage, Lavender, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Sweet Marjoram. 



This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatology. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

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