What clay mask is right for my skin type?

Twice a year, we go on staff retreat somewhere outside the city and spend a few days reflecting and planning out the next six months at Eco Collective. We always take some time to have fun, relax and just hang out as a team, and one of our beloved traditions is to do face masks! We all bring a mask and have our own spa night. For the last few trips, we've had a special treat. Our warehouse manager Sarah has been getting really into skincare and DIY recipes, and she's started custom formulating a mask for each of us based on our skin type! She'll bring countless little jars and vials full of powders, clays and dried flowers to work with. We each get a jar with our name on it and she tells us what to mix it with and how long to leave it on. Well, these clay masks have quickly become one of our favorite parts of retreat and we decided it's time to share some of the magic with you! 

Clay mask recipe for dry oily or combination skin

It might be the perfect time to try a DIY clay mask because they can help your skin stay balanced when the weather changes. They can also become a regular part of your skincare routine. Sarah does a mask every Saturday! It's a good habit to give your skin a boost every once in awhile, and they're very simple to make. All you need to do is pick a couple of ingredients that are good for your skin type and the right liquid to mix it all together. We're going to walk you through how to figure out your skin type and how to pick your clay mask ingredients below.

One tip: You do want to make sure that if you're using any clays, you don't have any metal in your tools - no metal lids, metal spoons, bowls or brushes. The metal can deactivate the properties of the clay, so you want to stick with plastic lids, wooden spoons, metal-free brushes and ceramic bowls.

How to do a clay mask

If you don't know your skin type yet, it's pretty easy to find out:

  • Dry - If your skin feels tight and dry to the touch, soaks up moisturizers and tends to get rough patches or flaky areas, you probably have dry skin. Maybe you have redness or inflammation, or just a consistent level of dryness. Your skin probably is more matte than shiny.
  • Oily - If your skin tends to be a little more shiny or glowy than matte and you are prone to experience enlarged pores, breakouts, or acne from time to time, you probably have oily skin. It's helpful to know that your skin might be considered oily even if you don't have trouble with acne or breakouts. It's more about the level of oil production and the appearance, and what your skin needs to stay balanced.
  • Combination -If your skin is shiny in some areas and matte in others, or if you tend to have breakouts in your t zone but dry patches on your cheeks or forehead, you probably have combination skin. If you're unsure, and your skin tends to stay fairly balanced, and especially if both categories above sound familiar at different times, this is probably your skin type.

Note: your skin may be sensitive, no matter what category you fall under. Always start out with more gentle ingredients and test a patch on your skin before doing a full mask. You may also want to start with fewer ingredients so you can see what works for you and slowly add more rigorous ones into your recipe.

How to make your own clay mask

Choosing the ingredients:

If your skin is dry, you want to choose ingredients that heal, hydrate, soothe and reduce inflammation. You also want to choose gentle ingredients rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Some of our favorite ingredients for dry skin are kelp powder which gently exfoliates and hydrates the skin, aloe vera powder which helps to combat dryness & kaolin white clay which is extremely moisturizing & gentle.

For oily skin, choose ingredients that balance your oil levels (aka sebum production), draw out impurities, and tighten your pores. You'll want to work with cleansing and detoxifying ingredients, and might go a little heavier on the clays. Keep in mind that how astringent your mask is should depend on how often you plan to use it. Less harsh ingredients can be just as powerful when used regularly as part of a consistent skincare routine. Some of the best ingredients for oily skin are activated charcoal which reduces excess oil & deep cleanses your pores, aloe vera powder which is full of antioxidants & minerals, jojoba oil for balancing your oily skin & french green clay which absorbs oils, tightens pores, boosts circulation, reduces inflammation & evens out skin tone.  

For combination skin, you'll want to decide which aspects of your skin you want to treat or address and choose ingredients accordingly. You can also try multimasking where you apply different mask mixtures to different areas of your skin (perhaps a detoxifying mask to your t-zone and a hydrating mask to dry patches). For combination skin, you might try using two above as a multi-mask or mix together pink kaolin clay which is great for controlling oil and gently exfoliating the skin, flax seeds (we recommend grinding them up) because of their high anti-inflammatory levels and their ability to help unclog pores as well as rosewater which helps to soothe & hydrate the skin. 


What to put in a DIY clay mask

Choosing a binder:

For dry skin, choose something like aloe vera juice for an extra hydrating effect. For oily skin, try a toner like rosewater toner to give the ingredients an extra boost. You can also use water, witch hazel or even honey or yogurt. When you go to mix your mask, you want about twice as much powder as liquid. When mixed, the mask should be thick enough that a dollop will stay on the brush rather than sliding off, sort of like a fine mud. It should still spread easily into a thin layer on the skin. The consistency should look a little like this:

  Clay mask consistency

Sarah's custom clay mask recipes for each skin type

A hydrating mask for dry skin: 

-1/4 tsp kelp powder

-1/4 tsp aloe vera powder

- 2.5 tsp white kaolin clay 

-1 tsp water


A cleansing mask for combination skin:

-1/2 tsp flax seeds (ground)

-1.5 tsp pink clay

- 2 tsp rosewater (steep rose petals in hot water for 5 minutes and strain)


A detoxifying mask for oily skin:

- 1/4 tsp activated charcoal powder

-1/4 tsp aloe vera powder

- 6 droplets of jojoba oil from a dropper bottle

- 1.5 tsp french green clay

- 1 tbsp of water or rosewater


Have fun and happy masking!

How to make a clay mask