When to use a clay mask?
Creating a healthy exfoliation routine
Do you suffer from excess sebum? Dull skin? What about enlarged pores?
If you’ve said yes to any of the above, it may be time to mask up!
Today, we’re covering the basics of clay masks and covering everything you might want to know about incorporating a clay mask into your Korean skincare routine.
Benefits of a clay mask
The first known use of clay on skin dates back to over 5,000 years ago, and the practice holds strong today. And for good reason! Clay masks are the cornerstone of a good exfoliation practice. Not only do they help to remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, but they can also get in there and clear out dirt and impurities from your pores.
Depending on the type of clay mask you use, you can also expect a lovely cooling effect, skin tone improvement, and even skin-firming properties.
Where does it go in my skincare routine?
Clay masks are made to be used immediately following your cleanser. Think of them as a secondary, even deeper clean than what you get with your cleansing foam or cleansing oil. After cleansing and patting your face dry with a clean towel, you can apply a generous amount of your clay mask, avoiding your eye and lip areas.
Did you know that it’s better not to let your clay mask completely dry out before removing it? Many of us, myself included, learned this year after I started using clay masks regularly. Oops! The current advice is to wait until the mask is drying and still soft and gummy to the touch before you wash it off and follow it with the next skincare product in your routine. Waiting until the mask completely dries and starts to crack may increase the chances of drying out your skin.
Something like the Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask 2X comes with a recommendation of a wait time of about 10 minutes from application before removal.
How often should I use a clay mask?
As you may well know, there is such a thing as too much exfoliation - but everyone’s skin is a little different! It’s usually quite safe to start with using a clay mask once or twice a week. As you continue to observe your skin, you can make an assessment if more times would improve your results.
In the AM or PM?
Some will tell you that it’s best to use a clay mask at the end of your day - especially if it was a long one. The absorption properties of the clay mask can lift the day’s grime and sebum buildup from your face. It can also be a really relaxing experience to kick your feet up after a massive day out and enjoy a little self-care as you go.
But there are also those who tout the benefits of starting your day with a clay mask for a skin hydration boost after a night with the AC blasting.
Both pieces of advice have their advantages, but while optimising your skincare regime is a noble pursuit, developing one you can stand by is far more beneficial. If you know an evening mask is going to untense your shoulders and become something you look forward to, do that. If a morning mask gives you a little pep in your step, then go for it!
At the end of the clay
There is, what seems to be an infinite offering of clay masks out there, each with its own unique set of features. Some are made with a super rare clay, some are mixed with other skincare ingredients for additional benefits, some are grainer, and some have a light - even whipping cream like texture.
But if you’re looking for somewhere to start, the INNISFREE Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask 2X has got you covered. It’s a versatile, multi-action clay mask made with Jeju Volcanic Clusters and Spheres. It absorbs excess oil, cleans pores, and smoothes the surface of the skin. Not only that, but it’s hypoallergenic tested and safe for sensitive skin - but, as always, a patch test in-store probably won’t go wasted.
Just remember the best clay mask out there is the one you remember to use.