“It’s working! It’s sucking things out of my pores!”
This, dear reader, is what happens about eight minutes after you slather a magical clay mask all over your face with your BFF who’s never done an at-home facial before.
Before we go further, let me explain how we came to this point, screaming about clay and pores on a Tuesday night.
I’m an all-natural beauty junkie. Face oils, organic SPF, brushing my teeth with charcoal, natural deodorant. You name it, I’ve tried it. My combination skin (really, the worst type of skin to have because you’re constantly trying to decide if you’re too shiny and should start carrying around a tiny fan or if your skin is too dry and you should instead drench yourself in coconut oil) has seen its fair share of anti-blemish masks and skin brightening salves over the past 10 years.
But I’ve always been intimidated by, or maybe just suspicious of, the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. The online reviews wax poetic about this home facial treatment, attributing it to clearing their cystic acne, getting rid of blackheads, and making complexions of all types smoother and more vibrant instantly. Plus, the copy on the package claims that the clay is “THE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL FACIAL”, which is quite a bold statement.
But after trying it, I can’t disagree.
Really, the "secret" healing clay is just bentonite clay, of which I’m a huge fan. If you’re not up to speed on bentonite clay, this super cool detoxing ingredient has slightly magnetic qualities that attract the toxins and nasties that hide in pores. As soon as it’s applied to skin, the clay sucks out the dirt that clogs pores and causes acne.
We agreed here at Thrive HQ that Aztec Secret Healing Clay definitely deserved deeper examination, so my problem skin and I willingly volunteered. Just to make sure that the mask got a fair trial, I invited my best friend to join me on the journey to clearer skin.
This facial comes in powder form, and to turn the clay into a mask you can add water or apple cider vinegar. I found that when I just used water, the clay clumped up and was difficult to apply, but when mixed with ACV, it blended much more smoothly.
We started with a clean foundation by swiping a cotton ball doused in witch hazel over our faces, and then applied the ACV and Aztec Clay mixture all over. The instructions say to leave on the mask until it's totally dry, so depending on how much you apply, that can be anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.
You’ll know it’s working because your face will start tingle a little bit, and the mask starts to tighten and harden. Erich, my previously aforementioned BFF, really loved this part—it truly does feel like your skin is pulsating as the mask dries.
Washing this stuff off was somewhat painful for me, so make sure to use a damp washcloth or sponge and be gentle, because your face will be sensitive. Both of us noticed that our skin was a little red after we took the mask off, so maybe stick to using this product right before bed or in the company of those you trust.
Redness aside, my skin felt smooth and bright, and both of us noticed that our pores were smaller. (Pro-tip: Use a soothing moisturizer or facial oil after just to make sure your skin doesn’t become overly dry.) The next morning, my skin looked really clear and all of the irritation had disappeared overnight.
I may not look like Queen Cleopatra, like the label promises, but I’d definitely recommend this product to anyone with skin issues. I’ve used this mask a few times since I first tested it out, and I’ve already noticed a big difference in my complexion!
Photo credit: Paul Delmont