Mask and Ask: Clarifying Clay

My friend Channing and I have this great ritual we jokingly named Mask and Ask when we first came up with it, and over time the name just stuck. Every few weeks or so, we get comfy, put on a face mask, grab a glass of wine, and FaceTime each other. I’m in Atlanta, and she’s back in our hometown of Charleston, SC, so Mask and Ask is the perfect excuse to catch up, get a little wine-drunk, and treat our skin at the same time!

I started making my own masks a few years ago when I was looking for alternatives to drugstore brands that are often ineffective and tough on sensitive skin like mine, and high-end brands that work well, but are out of my budget. DIY masks are great because you can play around with super effective natural ingredients, and there are no preservatives. It’s like a science experiment that makes you prettier! (read that last sentence in your best Elle Woods voice).

Today I’m sharing how to make my favorite clarifying clay mask. This is the one I make when I’m in a rush and don’t have much time before a scheduled Mask and Ask date. I’ll also sometimes use it as a base for other masks, adding extra ingredients to amp up the moisture or pore cleansing power. I hope to make Mask and Ask an ongoing series, so if you like this one, stay tuned! It’ll be like we’re all FaceTiming together (I’ll bring the wine!).

What You’ll Need:
  • Bentonite Clay
  • Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Distilled Water

Mix about one tablespoon of Bentonite Clay with a half teaspoon each of the vinegar and water (I like my masks pretty thick, but you can add more of either of the liquids to get the consistency you like). The mask will bubble a little as you mix. Apply to your whole face, avoiding the area around your eyes, or just smooth over trouble spots. For me that’s the area around my nose, and my chin.

Leave it on for 10-15 minutes, or until dry, and then rinse with warm water. It’ll go from a dark, Wicked Witch green, to a lighter, more Frankenstein-ish color (my husband’s actual words, y’all).

Note: this mask will pull as the drying clay contracts, and you may even notice visible pulling of your skin. I love this part because it makes me feel like the clay is literally sucking debris and oil out of my pores, but if you find that the pulling feels itchy or uncomfortable, add a small scoop (about a teaspoon) of coconut oil to your mixture. You’ll get some nice extra moisture, and the mask won’t pull quite as much or dry as hard. 

Why this mask works:

Bentonite Clay

When Bentonite clay comes into contact with liquid, the molecular components of the clay rapidly change, producing an electrical charge. The clay swells and becomes porous, and then shrinks as the mask dries, pulling toxins and dead skin with it. This brand is my favorite.

Be sure to mix your mask with your finger, or a plastic utensil. Once liquid has been introduced, metal will cause the clay to lose its effectiveness.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Smells terrible, works wonders. That should be the tagline on every bottle of ACV. This stinky powerhouse contains a few beneficial acids that are formed during the double fermentation process that turns ACV from plain old apple cider into apple cider vinegar. Lactic, Citric and Malic acid all work to exfoliate dead skin cells, revealing fresh, healthy skin underneath. Because the pH of ACV is close to the pH of skin, it also helps bring your skin into balance and restore its natural protective barrier.

Make sure you get organic ACV with the “mother” (This brand is available almost everywhere). This means it’s unpasteurized and contains the most beneficial bacteria. You’ll see them floating around near the bottom of the bottle…gross but effective.

Hope you enjoy this easy-to-make natural face mask! Do you have a favorite go-to mask? Is it all natural, or store-bought? Tell me in the comments below!

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