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Legally Blonde
Legally Blonde

Don’t destroy the environment with sheet masks: use clay masks instead

TextSapphi Littleton

Not only beneficial for your skin, clay masks are a great sustainable alternative to single-use sheet masks. But which are the best?

Clay face masks can often get a bad rap, with many people presuming them to be drying and irritating. But now, thanks to new and improved formulas, clay masks are back and better than ever. Clay has been used throughout history for cosmetic purposes. Roman spas first used clay in their treatments around 4,000 years ago for it’s purifying and nourishing qualities. 2,000 years later, Cleopatra took clay from the River Nile and the Arabian desert and used it in her beauty regime, as the Ancient Egyptians believed it healed the skin. Texts from Aristotle and Marco Polo even spoke of people who ingested clay to cure illness.

Although we don’t recommend eating clay, there are now clay masks for all skin types and finding the right one to work into your routine may take your skin one step closer to perfection. There’s white clay which is finer and more gentle than the rest; green clay its stronger counterpart, with oil extracting properties; and red clay sticks to remove dirt and impurities.

Not only beneficial for your skin, clay masks are a great sustainable alternative to single-use sheet masks, which are not so environmentally friendly. Often soaked with chemicals, sheet masks themselves are not biodegradable and their packaging - flexible foil pouches made of plastic film and/or aluminium - is usually not widely recycled. In fact, sheet masks are thought to be so wasteful that Korean beauty retailer Yuuka House has banned online sales of them entirely. Without the same restrictions here, we’ve turned to clay masks as a sustainable option for our nightly pamper sessions.

So, if you want to join the clay masking revolution, look no further.

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

Tommy Genesis swears by this mask: “You can get it for like five dollars and it’s amazing. I mix it with apple cider vinegar, it smells kind of crazy but it really works.” And with a huge cult following, she’s not the only one. Made of 100% calcium, this powerful mask does wonders for severe and cystic acne sufferers, acting like a vacuum on clogged pores.

Get it here: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

-417 Agile Purifying Mud Mask

This mask is a two in one exfoliator and nourisher. It utilises Dead Sea Mud’s deep cleansing properties to create tighter feeling skin by absorbing excess sebum and unwanted dirt. It also incorporates white and red clays to soothe and calm the skin, priming it for your next skincare steps. It’s gentle earthy scent reflects the natural active ingredients blended into this mask: dead sea mud, vitamins A, B, E and F, white and red clays, honey and olive, avocado and verbena oils.

Get it here: -417 Agile Purifying Mud Mask

Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask With Rose Clay

Don’t have time to expertly paint your face with a mask four times a week? This product was made for you. Its all-in-one formulation of Mediterranean Rose Clay, Canadian Willow Herb and exfoliating Jojoba beans helps eliminate pores and leaves the skin smoother, brighter and generally refreshed. 20 minutes later, the glow is real.

Get it here: Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask With Rose Clay

MILK Matcha Detoxifying Face Mask

Unlike the rest, this mask has a unique solid formula. Made with matcha green tea, kombucha and witch hazel, this mask has all the detoxifying ingredients your face needs. Chuck this in your beauty bag for a mess-free, on-the-go treatment that will leave you with smaller pores and a calmer complexion.

Get it here: MILK Matcha Detoxifying Face Mask

Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask

Forget everything you know about clay masks and keep reading. This mask contains ingredients to refine pores, control oil AND hydrate. Perfect for those with combination skin, it’s nothing like the drying clay masks you’re used to. Charlotte suggests you massage the product into your face for a luxury at-home facial experience.

Get it here: Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask


Gentle and non-drying, white kaolin clay absorbs excess oils and draws out impurities from the surface of the skin. The perfect treat for stressed complexions, at only £4.99 you can’t go wrong!

Get it here: THE INKEY LIST Kaolin Mask

L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox Mask

A bargain at £7.99, this drugstore favourite does what it says on the tin. The black charcoal “acts like a magnet to draw out impurities” so is best used by those with an oily T-zone. Its creamy consistency means it doesn’t dry down like a typical clay mask, so it’s super simple to remove. No need for harsh-scrubbing post-masking.

Get it here: L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox Mask

Pixi Glow Mud Mask

This mask is your one-stop shop for oil-absorbing, breakout-fighting, complexion-boosting brilliance. It can be used all over the face, up to 3 times a week, or as a spot treatment whenever it’s needed. Ingredients include kaolin clay, sea salt and ginseng: perfectly blended to cleanse, purify and brighten the skin. Your glow awaits.

Get it here: Pixi Glow Mud Mask

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