For centuries, beauty enthusiasts have sung the praises of clay masks for their health and cosmetic benefits. There is evidence that they’ve been used as far back as 5,000 years ago in ancient India and ancient Egypt. Even Cleopatra partook and is said to have applied a Dead Sea mud mask twice a week to cleanse and purify her skin.

It should come as no surprise that this particular skincare ingredient has stood the test of time. Its molecular composition, which is made up of negatively-charged particles, makes clay a pro at drawing out positively-charged toxins. A mud mask once or twice a week can keep clogged pores at bay, which helps combat acne and oiliness. 

This feature also makes it a valuable weapon in the fight against dull, dry, uneven complexion. It helps remove dead skin cells and prevents them from accumulating in the first place, giving you a bright, dewy appearance. 

Depending on your skin type, different clays can have other effects, so choosing the right one is essential. While this soft mineral can take on a considerable range of complexion concerns, you want to make sure that the ingredients are appropriate for the issues you want to address:

  • Bentonite Clay is a popular choice. It’s made from volcanic ash and is an expert at absorption. That makes it an excellent choice for skin that deals with excess oil. Revision Skincare’s Black Mask contains river silt, bentonite, and kaolin to unclog and refine pores. 
  • White Kaolin Clay is very soft and delicate, so it’s a good option for sensitive or dry skin.
  • Glacial Clay is a versatile option for sensitive, aging, dry, or oily skin. It contains more than 60 minerals and rare earth elements that work to exfoliate, purify, and cleanse your skin. NuCelle’s Mandelic Glacial Clay Deep Cleansing Masque absorbs toxins, draws out impurities, and deeply cleanses to minimize pores. The result is a brighter, more vibrant complexion.
  • Rose Clay has an iron oxide base, giving it a delicate pink hue. Its fine texture means that it doesn’t absorb as much liquid as bentonite clay, making it more ideal for dry skin. 
  • French Green Clay gets its color from the kelp and algae that cohabit in the quarries it is mined from. Because of its origin, it is often referred to as sea clay. This plant-enriched mineral can detoxify and heal due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Keep some on hand in the summer to help soothe sunburns. 
  • Fuller’s Earth is made up of aluminum-magnesium silicate. It is named after wool refinery workers, called fullers, who would apply it to wool to draw out dirt and oil. It is considered one of the best clays to address oily skin.