As beauty ingredients go, it doesn’t have the sexiest connotations. But, however improbable, clay is becoming the hottest thing in skin right now. How? Because it’s brilliant at getting the job done, whether that’s pulling dirt from pores, smoothing scaly arms or detoxing an overloaded scalp. You’ve probably tried mud masks before – few of us escaped the 90s without sampling a face-puckering sachet – but now beauty brands are sourcing it from all over the world and there’s a rainbow of diverse varieties, each with unique nutrients offering a cocktail of benefits for your skin. Dig into our pick of the best…
A Spanish coastal clay loaded with mineral deposits that soothes sensitive skin, clears congestion and brightens. Add to that three more varieties of clay and exfoliating fruit enzymes and you have the mother of all mud masks. Bareminerals Dirty Detox Mud Mask, £32, is a winner for noticeably fresh, lit-from-within pre- (or post!) party skin.
Clay make-up isn’t as odd as it sounds. The inclusion of gentle white kaolin in Nude by Nature Radiant Loose Powder Foundation, £25, makes excellent use of the clay’s naturally exfoliating silica. This means you get gentle skin smoothing and coverage for an even base, plus built-in oil absorption to help prevent make-up melt.
Clay masks draw up dirt like a Dyson on a shagpile rug… but all that mess! Not with Starskin Purifying Silkmud, £9, a clever sheet mask with pore-clearing pink French clay. Just lay it on, put your feet up for 20 minutes, take it off – and bin. Pores will be spick and span, and skin will gleam – as will your sink and facecloths!
Buly makes the most beautiful lotions and potions, as well as a cornucopia of clays to play with. Mix gentle Buly French Yellow Clay, £17 for 100g, with a little coconut oil for a moisturising hair and scalp mask, or a glug of micellar water for a skin-polishing paste.
Oily skin has met its match in Vichy Pore Purifying Clay Mask, £9, which contains bentonite, a powerful white clay that absorbs extra sebum, without feeling dry or tight. For “multi-maskers”, there’s new hydrating water and exfoliating peel masks too.
Rituals Hammam Body Mud, £14, will splatter the bathroom tiles, but it’s worth it! A full-body treatment that’s packed with detoxifying minerals, it can smooth bumpy arms and discourage ingrown hairs in a matter of minutes.