When my skin is in need of extra TLC, I slather on a face mask, curl up in front of a magazine, and try not to move my face or terrify anyone while the mask works its magic. Lately my skin has been a little inflamed and congested, so I've been reaching for clarifying masks. These two clay masks, one by Clarins and the other by Origins, are my top picks at the moment. Both treat the same concerns but feel very different on the skin, so you might prefer one over the other!
Best for: all skin types, including sensitive, in need of clarifying
Clarins is a brand I always default to when my skin is being temperamental and I don't know how to fix it. This mask promises to purify the skin by cleaning, tightening and refining the pores. It contains pink clay and alpine willow herb to detoxify and linden extract to soothe the skin. It's also suitable for sensitive skin. Unlike the Origins mask, this one doesn't dry up after application; it has a cream texture and, if anything, gives my skin a slight moisture boost. This means that it's harder to feel the mask "working" on your skin (and it's easy to forget about it, get distracted and leave it on for more than the required five to ten minutes!). But even though it doesn't feel as intense, I definitely notice that my pores look smoother after a just couple of applications.
Best for: combination to oily skins that need a deep detox
Probably, you've heard a lot about this one. I've used it for the last three or four years, and I still remember being impressed when I used it for the first time during a mild breakout. This mask uses a combination of charcoal, which absorbs 100-200x its weight in impurities, and clay, which removes oil and toxins from the pores. This mask dries on the skin about 10 minutes after application, so it does really feel like it's absorbing the bad stuff, although it can be a little drying and difficult to remove. Overall, it's more intensive than the Clarins mask and very effective on combination-oily skins. Oh, PS: this stuff looks like war paint and might scare anyone who walks in on you.
Because my skin is combination and slightly sensitive, I like rotating between these two masks depending on how my skin is feeling. Plus, both definitely encourage the whole spa-at-home feel of any skincare routine! Any other good masks I need to try?