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Clay Masks vs. Mud Masks, Which Is Better?

Mud & clay masks may be similar, but they have important differences. Here's what you need to know.
Updated: November 9, 2022
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Sometimes there’s really nothing better than putting on some music, pouring a glass of wine, and relaxing in the tub wearing a good face mask. These spa-inspired facial treatments are more popular than they’ve ever been and for understandable reasons.

However, there are so many face masks available on the market, each with their own unique selling points and variations, it can often be difficult to choose the right one.

Clay and mud masks have surged in consumer popularity, but what do they do, what are their differences, and which one should you go for? Let’s dive in.

What are the differences between clay masks and mud masks?

Let’s just get right into it, shall we? A mask is a mask, right? Well, yes, and no. While it’s true that most face masks are designed to basically do very similar things, the little differences between certain types can make or break a routine.

While clay and mud masks are often lumped together, it’s important to identify where they differ and what effect this has.

Clay masks

If you suffer from oily skin and need an effective solution, clay masks might be just what you need. Clay masks are a cosmetic drying agent, this means they are formulated to absorb excess moisture in the skin and get it back to a dryer base. Using a host of minerals along with ingredients such as iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium, clay masks also reduce the size of pores, remove troublesome dead skin cells, and thoroughly exfoliate the face.

Mud masks

Mud masks are different from clay masks in a couple of ways. Firstly, instead of being a drying agent, mud masks are considered to be skin-healing agents. Since mud has a water base, the mask offers benefits in the form of hydration and moisturizing. Additionally, mud masks have the ability to increase bloody circulation, repair damaged skin, restore youthful elasticity, and give an overall rejuvenating effect for the entire face. They are more suited to those with naturally dry skin.

Which one should you use?

Both clay and mud masks are brilliant at what they do, and no matter which you decide to apply, your face will reap the rewards. However, taking into account the various differences we’ve just discussed above, it’s important to evaluate your own skin type in order to make the right decision for you.

As a general rule, people with naturally oily skin are advised to go for clay masks. This is because their active ingredients make them fantastic for absorbing excess moisture, which will rebalance the skin and make it dryer.

Conversely, people with particularly dry skin are probably better off using mud masks. They are water-based, have immense hydrating and moisturizing qualities, and can clear up stubborn dry patches, cracks, flakes, and other irritations.

In conclusion

Both clay and mud masks are exceptional skincare products, but depending on your natural skin type you may find one has more advantages over the other.

Remember, neither of these masks are intended to be left on overnight. Clay masks are extremely drying and must be rinsed off after about 15-20 minutes to avoid discomfort. Mud masks are softer on the skin but should still be removed properly to avoid over-moisturizing the face.

We’d recommend a period of experimentation with both masks in order to find what works best for you.

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