Applying dirt to your face may seem counter-intuitive, but read our guide to mud and clay-based products, and you’ll soon discover why this skincare phenomenon is one to follow…
“Mud is a fantastic delivery system because it transports active ingredients to the skin quickly and effectively”, says Shannon Dellimore, co-founder of GlamGlow. Mud and clay have the ability to give the skin a deep cleanse (absorbing sebum and drying out oil) by de-congesting blocked pores of nasty blackheads and pimples. They are also excellent at absorbing any excess oils on the skin’s surface and drawing out impurities from the epidermis. Mud in particular contains a number of healing ingredients and minerals which can help target any problem areas, including acne and dehydration. Clay sometimes contains less active minerals than mud, and can be a little more drying if not used correctly.
Choosing Your Mud
All skin types can benefit from using mud, it’s just about finding the right formulation for you. Mud and clay are sourced from many different places all over the world, and not all are created equal. Mud from China, for example, makes products creamy and non-drying, while mud taken from France is rich in minerals and vitamins for detoxifying skin. While clay is often believed to be less nourishing than mud, French Kaolin clay, says David Delport, Head of Education at Ren, “is known for being the gentlest and least skin drying option”. Dry skin types should try and avoid mud from the Dead Sea however, as it naturally contains salt and sulphur that can strip sensitive skin. On the other hand, acne-prone or oily skin is best suited to a more potent clay or mud (usually found in masks) with a high level of oil-absorption, such as that from France or the Dead Sea.
Clay and mud-based cleansers and masks are most effective due to their deep cleaning and clarifying nature. Clay-based products are brilliant for use on sensitive skins due to their gentler approach; we recommend using a clay cleanser as long-wearing masks can become drying if you are dehydrated. The Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser treats blemishes without stripping the skin and drying it out, due to the blend of nourishing essential oils which work alongside the clay, while the slightly denser Oromovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm is ideal for removing makeup in the evening and is ultra-nourishing for all skin types, as it contains black mud from Hungary which is naturally hydrating.
Mud masks are unrivalled when it comes to detoxifying and decongesting skin. “The right mask can hydrate, remove excess oils and help improve skin’s overall radiance”, says Shannon. “They’re an excellent way to tighten, brighten and pull out impurities”. GlamGlow’s original, bestselling Supermud Clearing Treatment is a must-have for oily, blemish-prone or red skin, featuring a powerful mud formula as well as a blend of six acids to directly target areas of the face that are suffering.
If you’re fed up of messy, crumbling masks, the Patchology SmartMud No Mess Mud Masque: Detox is incredibly easy to use and remove due to its sheet mask formulation. It targets congested pores and excess shine, but thankfully comes off as easily as it goes on. After cleansing and masking, follow your mud-based routine with a nourishing serum and moisturiser; skin will be decongested, therefore active ingredients like hyaluronic acid will be able to reach deeper layers of the epidermis. We like the Elemental Herbology Hyaluronic Booster Plus, followed by Dr Dennis Gross’ Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion.