January means new starts, and what better way to start the year than with a clearer complexion? The latest buzz among beauty aficionados (most notably Mindy Kaling) is a bentonite clay face mask, claimed to draw out toxins and shrink pores. (In the spirit of due diligence, I tried out a bentonite clay mask as I wrote this article. Although while the mask was on I could feel my skin uncomfortably shrinking and tightening, once the mask was off it felt like I had a shed at least several years of aging.)
So what’s so special about bentonite clay, which is formed from volcanic ash? Urban legend has it that its uniqueness is due to its ability to produce an “electrical charge” when hydrated. When it’s mixed with fluid—typically water or apple cider vinegar—the clay’s electrical components change, giving it the ability to absorb toxins. The concept is similar to soaking chia seeds, which when immersed in liquid start to swell, creating a gelatinous consistency highly effective for pulling out toxins. Because of this rugged penetrability bentonite, also known as Montmorillonite clay, is a key ingredient in many skincare products, especially masks.
Here are just some of the benefits attributed to bentonite clay*:
- Regenerates skin tissue
- Helps with acne (prevents breakouts and helps clear up blemishes)
- Minimizes pores
- Prevents blackheads
- Reduces appearance of scars
- Evens out skin tone
- Softens skin
If you have one of these pain points, try out this simple, DIY mask. For most people, especially those with a drier complexion, once a week is ample. For people with oilier complexions, you can experiment with more frequent applications.
DIY Bentonite Clay Mask
- Mix together ingredients until they form a paste consistency. You can adjust to be thinner or thicker by adding more liquid or clay.
- Apply the bentonite clay mask to your face, avoiding the eye area.
- Leave mask on for roughly 15 minutes.
- Rinse the mask off with water. You may have to use a sponge or washcloth to get the sticky bits off.
Caveat: If you have sensitive skin, make the mask thinner and leave on for a shorter time frame.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.