Clay is a type of fine-grained natural soil material that contains a high amount of minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, silica, and potassium. The rainbow of clay colors available reflects the variety of minerals it contains, depending on the soil composition of the area from which it was mined.
All clays will draw oil from the skin, though some have stronger drawing abilities than others. Depending on the type of clay you use, clay masks can help pull out impurities from inside pores to treat acne, heal allergic skin reactions, ease the effects of sunburn, boost elasticity, and balance oil production. Clay has also been shown in an experimental study to increase collagen production, which strengthens the structure underlying the skin [source].
Green and yellow clays are more suited for combination and oily skin types, while the red, white and pink (a mix of the latest two) are more appropriate for dry and sensitive skin.
Clays are full of minerals, and have antibacterial, balancing, purifying and anti-inflammatory properties. You can use them in a DIY face mask, in a warm bath for its re-mineralizing effects, or even take it internally (the green one) to purify your body and ease digestive issues.
Note that in order to preserve its health benefits and precious irons, clay powder shouldn't be handled neither with metal nor plastic utensils.
DIY FACE MASK
It can be done once per week, or whenever your epidermis is disrupted!
2 tablespoons of clay powder (chose the one that suits better your skin type)
2 tablespoons of hydrosol (same)
You could add 1 tablespoon of aloe vera, or a few drops of a vegetable oil to enrich your face mask
In a ceramic bowl, using a wooden or bamboo spoon, mix the hydrosol with the clay, and then add the oil and/or aloe vera (if using them).
Once the paste is thoroughly smooth, apply it to the face, avoiding the eye area. Leave on for ten minutes. The mask should not dry in your skin: you could then use a few "psshtts" of the hydrosol, or Névoa (who knows...) to keep it longer. Rinse with water, and pat try with a clean cloth.
RE-MINERALIZING CLAY BATH
If you are in the mood to indulge in a bathtub:
Add two to three tablespoons of clay to a 36º38ºC bath, in order to turn the clay into a softening, relaxing toning or cleansing treatment. To ensure its even dissolution, mix the clay first in a small ceramic bowl before pouring it in the bath.
White clay is wonderful for sensitive skin (including babies and young children), while green clay can be efficient agains fatigue.
You could also add 4 to 5 drops (maximum) of an essential oil of your choice to benefit from its fragrance properties (lavender or fennel for relaxing, rosemary for uplifting your mood. Agitate the water after pouring them, in order to mix them in thoroughly until they are distributed evenly before entering the bath - essential oils don't dissolve in water!