Skincare » How to Use Mud Face Masks to Detox Skin

How to Use Mud Face Masks to Detox Skin

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Like any facial mask, mud masks are used to detox, purify the skin and bring out a new glowy appearance you deserve. We discuss all the differences between clay and mud masks, the benefits of using the latter, as well as the right way of using them for the best results. We also bring you a couple of DIY mud masks that really work.

In this article:

How Do Mud Masks Work?

Mud masks are skincare masks made of mud, or its components, usually along with other skin care ingredients. These face masks work double duty to both deep cleanse the skin and to load it up with a lot of beneficial nutrients.

Mud masks usually include either just clays like kaolin and bentonite clay, or they might include muds from different places like the Dead Sea (in which case the mud is very rich in salt) or moors in Europe. These muds are comprised of clay, minerals, and decomposed plant matter. You will often also see charcoal show up in various mud masks.

Mud masks are known for their ability to purify, mattify, and deep clean the skin, usually thanks to the clays that are either added to the mask, or exist as part of the mud that’s in it. Additionally, since mud is naturally comprised of many different minerals, when applied to the skin those minerals are able to have a positive effect on the skin, improving its tone and overall functioning.

Clay vs. Mud Masks: All the Differences to Know

While sometimes even the beauty brands don’t really know the difference between mud masks and clay masks, it’s always important that we know what we’re putting on our skin as consumers.

How Facial Mud Masks Work

Often the terms “mud mask” and “clay mask” are used interchangeably, although you’ll usually see a more moisturizing formula in mud masks, along with a blend of ingredients that will include both clays and other raw materials taken from the earth like silt or peat. You could say that all clay masks are mud masks (even if they’re not marketed as such), while not all mud masks are clay masks.

In addition to clays like kaolin or bentonite clay, you will also see mud masks show up with specific ingredients like peat or charcoal. At other times you might see “Dead Sea mud” or “Hungarian mud”, in which case you’re getting a mixture of soil taken from that specific area. Those muds are often made of a blend of sands, clays, and decomposed plant material.

Mud Mask Benefits for Your Skin

  • Nourishing: Natural muds are filled with beneficial minerals for the skin, including calcium and magnesium. They are said to boost the skin’s healing capabilities by neutralizing free radical damage. This also means that they have some anti-aging properties.
  • Cleansing: Mud masks, especially ones reinforced with charcoal or clay, are able to pull impurities from the skin. They give the skin a deep cleanse, and the help to clear our blackheads and sebaceous filaments from the pores.
  • Astringent: Mud masks, especially when their formula also includes witch hazel, work as astringents to tighten the pores. After using a mud mask you will notice that your pores, in addition to being cleaner, are also less visible.
  • Mattifying: Mud masks with a lot of clay will have a mattifying effect on the skin. Clays like kaolin and bentonite are deeply absorbent, so they pull excess oil away from the skin, and thus help prevent breakouts and take away shine.
  • Boosting Other Ingredients: Mud masks are never just comprised of muds and clays. They also contain other beneficial ingredients to the skin. The skin is able to absorb a lot from the mud masks, since they sit on the skin for so long, so they are an excellent delivery system for all kinds of ingredients.
Mud Masks vs. Clay Masks

How to Use a Facial Mud Mask?

Mud masks are a great pick-me-up for the skin, since they can clarify and cleanse it while also loading it up with much needed nutrients. Mud masks are best to use between one to three times a week.

To get the most out of your mud masks, you want to make sure you use them correctly. If you follow these steps you’ll know you’re doing it right.

  1. Cleanse

    Begin by cleansing your skin gently. If you’re wearing makeup, you might want to oil cleanse first, and then follow it up a traditional cleanser. Make sure your cleanser isn’t too harsh, and that it has a low pH as to not throw the skin off balance.

  2. Exfoliate

    Once your skin is cleansed, it is optional but highly recommended that you exfoliate your skin in order to remove dead skin build-up and to allow your mud mask to deep cleanse your skin better later on. You can choose a gentle physical exfoliant, or even opt for something stronger like an at-home peel. Follow the instructions for whatever product you choose.

  3. Apply

    You’re now ready to apply your mud mask! Mud masks are easiest to apply with a mask brush (or even a clean foundation brush!). Dip your brush into your mud mask container, and begin applying the mask to your skin in upward strokes. Make sure the mud mask covers your face completely in a thin yet even layer.

  4. Leave on

    Most mud masks are best left on the skin for 10-15 minutes, but read the packaging carefully to make sure that’s true of the mask you will be using. Leave it on for the required time, and try to relax and enjoy the experience in the meanwhile.

  5. Remove

    Once enough time has passed, you can remove your mud mask. It is easiest to do with a damp muslin or microfiber cloth, but you can also try rinsing it off with water and then wiping the skin with a cotton pad. Make sure to use cool or lukewarm water, as hot water can damage and irritate the skin.

  6. Hydrating Mask

    If your mud mask is on the more drying side, you might want to follow it up with a more moisturizing mask. This is an optional step.

  7. Apply Skincare

    After you’re finished masking, your skin will be ready to take in any additional skin treatments. This is the best time to go all out with your skincare routine. Using a cotton pad, wipe your skin with a hydrating toner. Follow it up with your go-to serums, and finish off with a moisturizer. In the daytime, make sure to also apply sunscreen, or a moisturizer with an SPF. For evening, you can finish off with a thick balm to lock in all that moisture.

Choosing the Right Mud Mask For Your Skin

A Couple of DIY Mud Face Masks to Try

Mud masks can be really fun and easy to make at home! You can put into them whatever you feel like your skin needs at any given moment, and really play around and have fun.

Please note that since these DIY mud mask recipes don’t include a preservative, they are only for one-time use. Since they’re so easy to make, though, there is absolutely no harm in making a brand new batch every time you are about to treat yourself to a face mask.

DIY Mud Mask for Combination and Normal Skin

This DIY mud mask recipe combines gentle yet purifying kaolin clay with nourishing Dead Sea mud. Lavender essential oil helps to soothe the skin, and gives everything a gorgeous aroma. You can add ingredients like aloe vera or honey to this recipe if you’re feeling dry, or you can opt for tea tree oil instead of lavender oil if you’re breaking out.


  • 2 teaspoons of kaolin clay
  • 1 teaspoon of Dead Sea mud (or another skin care mud of your choice)
  • 1 spoon of organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, and apply to your cleansed skin with a brush. Let it sit on your skin for 10 minutes, and then rinse off. Follow it up with the rest of your skin care routine.

DIY Mud Mask for Oily Skin and Acne-Prone Skin

This classic clay mud mask is perfect for mattifying and balancing oily skin, clarifying the pores, eliminating blackheads, and reducing acne. It includes purifying clays and tea tree oil to fight bacteria.


  • 1 spoon of bentonite or kaolin clay
  • 1 spoon of organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 drops of tea tree essential oil

Mix all the three ingredients in a bowl, and apply to your cleansed skin with a brush. Let it sit on your skin for 10 minutes, and then rinse off. Follow it up with the rest of your skin care routine.

A Couple of DIY Mud Face Masks to Try

DIY Mud Mask for Dry Skin

This nourishing homemade mud mask will hydrate and balance dry skin, while also giving it a deep cleanse. It includes humectant honey and hydrating aloe vera, and skin-rejuvenating rose essential oil.


  • 1 teaspoon of Dead Sea mud (or another skin care mud of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • ½ teaspoon of aloe vera
  • 1-2 drops of rose essential oil

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, and apply to your cleansed skin with a brush. Let it sit on your skin for 10 minutes, and then rinse off. Follow it up with the rest of your skin care routine.

Photos via @xkaryy, Instagram