How To: Clay Masks and Wraps

Who doesn’t like a bit of pampering?  How about some affordable but luxurious, do it yourself pampering?

Clay face masks and body wraps are just the ticket: wonderful and inexpensive ways to deeply cleanse the body, while improving the tone and texture of the skin.

You need a good quality clay, ideally a swelling clay as they are especially suited to drawing out toxins and impurities – and you can add some natural ingredients for greater enhanced benefits to the skin.

Why face or body masks?  In addition to a gentle daily cleanse, a  deep-cleansing treatment once to twice weekly is necessary to maintain glowing and healthy skin.  It can help remove lingering impurities, tighten the skin and shrink pores.  A clay face or body mask also stimulates circulation and brings blood to the surface of the skin, and with it nutrients and oxygen: everything the skin needs to keep that healthy glow!

CLAY FACE MASK

Try this favourite recipe of ours for a clarifying clay mask, or follow these old-school instructions below.

  • Mix a good quality clay with mineral water – approximately 1 cup clay to 2 cups mineral water.  Leave the mixture to rest for at least an hour.
  • Apply the hydrated clay to the face, avoiding the delicate area around the eyes (but don’t forget to neck and chest area: they can use deep-cleansing too!).
  • Leave on for at least 30 minutes – spray-mist the mask with a good quality mineral or filtered water to keep moist (or rose water, even better!).
  • Gently remove with warm water. We recommend moisturising with a light organic oil such as jojoba, rosehip or evening primrose, to nourish and tone the skin.  Using only a few drops, gently press into moist skin until the oil has absorbed.

Natural beauty tip: if your skin tends towards dry, try adding castor or another oil  to your clay when mixing (sweet almond, avocado, apricot kernel, jojoba all work well).
Adjust the ratio of clay to 1 cup clay, 2 – 2½ cups filtered water and ½ cup of oil.

Remember: if you use distilled water to hydrate your clay it may have a drying effect on the skin. Instead, used a good quality bottled still mineral water containing minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium.

CLAY BODY WRAP

You can use the same ingredients and mixing ratio as for a face mask, mixing a larger quantity to do a full body wrap.  You can also add oil (castor, sweet almond etc…) to the clay mixture for a more nourishing treatment.

Are you feeling like a particularly deep detox?  Try this seaweed and clay body wrap recipe:

  • Add a small amount of cold-pressed organic oil to hydrated clay, and mix well.
  • Grind finely a good macrobiotic sea salt and kelp (in a food processor or coffee grinder).
  • Mix the salt and kelp in with the clay and oil.

Remember: for best results hydrate the clay for your face or body mask on the day you want to use it.

Natural beauty tip: to prepare your skin before a body wrap, dry brush with a natural bristle body brush, or take a warm shower to cleanse and exfoliate first.

There are different methods for doing a clay body wrap:

The traditional method uses strips of clean cloth or bandages about 4-5 inches wide – about 10 strips.

  • Begin by covering the body with a layer of hydrated clay, starting with the feet and legs, and working your way up the torso and arms. Completely wrap yourself with bandages.
  • Cover your body with towels or blankets to keep warm and leave on for 30-45 minutes.
  • Remove the bandages and get into a warm shower to rinse off any remaining clay.  Avoid using any soap as it may upset the skin’s delicate pH balance.
  • Follow by a good quality moisturiser to the entire body.

Another method of doing a clay wrap is to first saturate or soak the bandages in a thin mix of hydrated clay*, squeeze out the excess and wrap around the body.

This can be quite messy process, and most people prefer the first method.

*Ratio for a thinner mix of hydrated clay: 1 cup powdered clay to 5-6 cups water.

Remember: it is important for you not to be cold during a clay wrap: choose a warm room or turn up the heat during your treatment.  Set aside plenty of time to prepare (and enjoy!) your wrap: it is important to relax as the clay takes effect.

Note: for maintenance and continued detoxification, try this regimen: one wrap per week for at least six weeks, then one wrap per month.

CLAY MASSAGE

This treatment requires the assistance of another person to give the clay massage.

  • Scoop up handfuls of hydrated clay and lightly apply to the whole body.  Massage the clay gently onto the skin for a few minutes.
  • Apply another layer of hydrated clay, cover with a sheet, then a blanket to keep the body warm and leave for about 30-45 minutes.
  • Shower the clay off with warm water.
  • Apply a good quality moisturiser to the entire body.

Natural beauty tip: a clay bath once or twice a week will achieve the same results as a clay wrap and may be easier for the beginner – have a look at these detailed instructions for taking a clay bath.

And finally!

  • Drink plenty of water before and after your wrap to help flush out toxins.
  • Avoid alcohol, tea and coffee for at least 48 hours and gradually replace with pure organic vegetable or fruit juices and purified water.
  • The clay does not stain and will easily wash off sheets or bandages in a warm machine wash.

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