It’s no secret that I’m always on the search for that magical product that’s going to make me look and feel great. So when my face/hormones decided they wanted to act as though they were going through puberty again, I needed a fix for my pubescent spots and I needed it YESTERDAY!.
First I tried acupuncture… and while this ancient Chinese therapy has many incredible qualities (and I continue to go almost weekly), it wasn’t fixing my face at a pace that appeased my teenage acne. The benefits? Two-three days after acupuncture my face always seemed to “glow”; be smoother and definitely didn’t show signs of holding extra water weight (i.e.: puffiness). So that’s a win.
So, the search continued.
Thanks to Google I came across a simple Charcoal and Bentonite clay mask. You simply mix 1 capsule of activated charcoal with 1/2 teaspoon of Bentonite clay (+ some water to turn it into a paste) and then spread it evenly on your face. Apparently the combination of these two ingredients is supposed to tighten pores, bannish blackheads and improve your complexion. According to the experts, activated charcoal + Bentonite clay will keep your skin clear by acting as a magnet and drawing dirt (aka: blackheads) out of pores.
When applied topically, Bentonite clay absorbs toxins and kills acne-causing bacteria. It also has a high concentration of minerals such as silica, calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, and potassium. FYI: A good quality Bentonite clay is grey or cream in color, and white Bentonite clays should be avoided (since they are likely not actually Bentonite). It is very fine, has a velvet feel, is odorless and non-staining. Sounds amazing right?
Fast forward 3 days later after I’d received my iHerb delivery
Lesson 1: Bentonite clay should never be mixed with a metal spoon or in a metal bowl. This is because when the clay is “hydrated” it absorbs the metals and becomes less effective… See technical explanation below.
Bentonite is very unusual in the fact that once it becomes hydrated, the electrical and molecular components of the clay rapidly change and produce an “electrical charge”… When it becomes mixed with water it rapidly swells open like a highly porous sponge. From here the toxins are drawn into the sponge through electrical attraction and once there, they are bound.
After combining the ingredients and leaving the mask on for a good 15 minutes, I rinsed it off expecting to reveal a whole new me. Uh, not quite. What the pretty blogs forget to tell you is that the charcoal will sink into your pores, making you look like you have TERRIBLE BLACKHEADS. EW YUCK. Do not make the same mistake I did and do this mask right before you go to work…
Lesson 2: Not raised a quitter, I tried again a week later. This time with the Bentonite clay only and some rose water as my liquid. I left this cloudy coloured mask on for about 15 minutes – note that it gets VERY tight, but after rinsing it off my skin felt and looked so fresh and soft! Plus, it definitely helped calm my skin and reduced the bumpiness. My skin loved the Bentonite clay on it’s own. The days after the mask, I noticed a subtle difference in my complexion and vowed to do this mask weekly!
Keen to try it out? Here’s how:
- Combine 1 TSP of Bentonite clay with enough rose water (typically 2ish teaspoons) to create a paste. Apply this paste to your face, avoiding the delicate eye and mouth area.
- Let the mask sit for about 10-15 minutes or until dry. The mask will start to tighten as it dries. If it starts to feel itchy or uncomfortable, wash it off immediately.
- Wash off the mask with some warm water and gently pat dry your face. I used a flannel to wash it off properly as the paste is quite stubborn and requires medium pressure to wipe off.
- Apply your favourite face oil or cream.
- Use this mask once a week and notice your complexion improve!
*Always patch test an area of your skin first to make sure you do not have any adverse reactions to the mask. Activated charcoal is just that – charcoal! So it makes everything BLACK! Keep the charcoal away from your clothes and sink as it can stain (but it will not stain your face).
**Also do your research on the different forms of bentonite clay. Some are internal, others are external. Mine is external only.