I have oily, acne-prone skin, so I have always found a benefit to clay masks. As I've gotten older I've had a few dry areas I've been dealing with, so I try to use a mask that is also exfoliating. There are hundreds of clay masks on the market, at different price points. I try to use skin care products that are as natural as possible. When I was given the opportunity to try Valentia Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask I was pretty excited. It sounded like a really great product.
I'll admit, when I see claims like "detoxifying" or "draws out impurities", I'm kind of sceptical. I've used dozens and dozens of these types of products over the years and I've had maybe a handful live up to these kinds of claims. Most do a fair job of removing surface oil, but few do much more than that. I know how to properly prepare my skin before using a clay mask, so it isn't user error.
This clay mask is different from a lot of others because it is an exfoliating mask. It has lovely little bits of Hibiscus and Cranberry fibers that help to slough off dry skin and exfoliate. You can definitely smell both of these ingredients. A lot of clay masks have a really strong earthy scent that can be a little bit offputting. There is a hint of the clay aroma, and a hint of the hibiscus, but mostly what you smell is the cranberry. I am sensitive to strong scents, so anything that has pleasant smell scores brownie points.
Before applying a clay mask, you have to prepare your skin so that the mask can perform properly. Remove all makeup, and then wash your face with warm water and a facial cleanser to remove all traces of makeup remover, leftover makeup, and any impurities. Clay masks work best when applied to super clean skin. Warm water helps to loosen sebum and dirt clogging your pores. You will hear and read that warm water and steam "open" the pores, and cold water "closes" them, but that just isn't true. Pores do not open and close. Warm water and steam can however, loosen the gunk that clogs your pores, causing them to look enlarged, and allow it to be drawn out by a clay mask. If you have stubborn plugs in your pores, then you might want to steam your face for ten minutes before applying a mask.
After you have properly prepared your skin, apply the mask as per the instructions on the packaging. Be sure to avoid the eye area, especially if it's an exfoliating mask. Since this is an exfoliating mask, I applied it by using small circles. This mask is more creamy than a lot of clay masks. Clay can tend to be goopy, this has a whipped type consistency that is really pleasant. I had no stinging or burning sensations with this mask at all. It just felt cool as it dried.
Last year one of the big named beauty magazines did an article saying that clay masks were being used improperly. They claimed that you should not let them dry completely, that they should be removed while they are still slightly moist, that removing after they became dry caused them to suck moisture out of your skin causing more harm than good.
Let's be serious here, is a mask really going to be on your face long enough to remove enough moisture from your skin to be detrimental? No, it isn't. By removing the mask before it dries completely, you are skipping one of the beneficial stages of the mask. When the mask dries, that's when it does the most work drying the oil and pulling debris from the pores. Yes, it does pull some moisture from the skin, but as long as you properly tone and moisturize after, all the moisture will be replenished. During the wear of a clay mask, your skin absorbs all of the minerals and good stuff from the clay while the clay absorbs all of the oil and impurities from the skin. If you don't allow the mask to dry, that exchange doesn't happen and you aren't going to get the full benefits of the mask. The instructions say to let it dry for a reason.
You can see that the mask is dry, but you can see the areas that are darkening from the oils and impurities being drawn out of my pores. I noticed way more of this with the Valentia Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask than I have ever noticed with any other clay mask. Even before removing the mask I could feel that my skin was tighter and firmer. I already felt like this was going to give me really good results.
I followed the directions for removal, by using a warm wet cloth. I removed it by rubbing in a small circular motion to take advantage of the exfoliation. It took several minutes to remove, it's quite a stubborn product. Next time I think I'll do it in the shower instead of over the sink.
As soon as I had the mask removed I noticed a few things, first, I noticed that I had four pimples that I did not have before applying the mask. Before applying the mask I had four red irritated areas that I knew would be pimples in a few days. The mask had completely drawn them out. Instead of spending three or four days waiting for them to erupt and then treating them, I was able to treat them immediately and get rid of them overnight. A five-day debacle of waiting and concealing was ended in one night. This alone was enough to completely sell me on this mask.
The second thing I noticed was how soft and smooth my skin felt. I have a lot of issues with sebaceous filaments on my cheeks, around my nose and on my jaw line. While mostly harmless, they do cause a bumpy texture to the skin. This mask helped dry them up enough to shrink them so that my skin felt smoother.
That leads us to the third thing I noticed, that my skin looked smoother. With the oils and impurities pulled out of my pores, they weren't as noticeable so my skin looked smoother. With the red areas developed into pimples and my pores no longer as noticeable, the overall quality of my skins look was quite pleasant.
I'm extremely satisfied with Valentia Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask. It will be replacing my current weekly clay mask, plus I'll be using it as a spot treatment to draw out pimples when I notice them forming. At $25, the price point is a little higher than I usually spend on a mask, but this is well worth the money. A little goes a long way, so this jar should last several months before needing to be replaced.
Check Valentia out on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about their awesome products.