The Aztec Clay Mask is a super-hyped-up product with an overwhelming number of reviews on Amazon which I know many of you like (and even recommend), but I personally have a bone to pick with this product.
- Do you have acne-prone skin? This mask is NOT for you!
- Do you have dry skin? This mask is NOT for you!
- Do you have sensitive skin? You shouldn’t consider putting this mask anywhere near your skin.
I will get straight to the point here and answer some relevant questions, as well as elaborate further on why this mask SHOULDN’T be considered as an all-time stop-shop for all skin-related concerns.
Here’s what I will be talking about in this review:
- what is the Aztec Clay Mask?
- what is it made of?
- what is supposed to do?
- what it did to my acneic and sensitive skin, and
- why I don’t recommend this mask.
Although the reviews are saying that this is the best thing you will ever apply on your skin, allow me to explain why this should be written off as a complete and totally useless bull.
What is the Aztec Clay Mask?
This product is promoted as a facial mask that once mixed will help pull out toxins and impurities from your skin and reduce congestions and therefore help clear acne.
According to the Aztec Secret Amazon website, clay has been used in beauty rituals as far back as 4,000 years ago by Cleopatra herself (?!) for a deep pore cleansing ritual that will promote overall smoothing of any textures on the skin.
The company also claims this product works because toxins in the skin hold a positive charge, while the clay holds a negative charge.
Therefore the negatively charged molecules of the clay bind with the positive ones of the toxins and it helps to draw them out.
This product comes in a powder form, which you will then need to mix at a 1-to-1 ratio with either apple cider vinegar or purified/bottled water, depending on the texture and sensitivity of your skin as well as the actual concern you want to successfully tackle.
Sure, we live in a divisive world where it can be extremely hard to agree on just about anything, but if there’s one thing that can bring us all together, it is probably a $10 face mask (that is supposed to clear every possible skin concern, ever).
Of course, a face mask won’t bring us peace in the world, but it is presented as a product that can bring us the clearest skin on a budget.
Who doesn’t love that, right?
Needless to say, this product has taken the internet by storm, and the 17,000+ reviews on Amazon can vouch for that, with men and women around the globe running over to the website to purchase this miracle powder.
What is the Aztec Clay Mask Made of?
The Aztec Clay Mask is made out of 100% natural calcium bentonite clay.
Bentonite clay is an absorbent aluminum phyllosilicate clay consisting mostly of montmorillonite and it is also called Montmorillonite clay.
It has recently been taking off as a wellness trend among people looking to detoxify their bodies and defend against illnesses. However, it is thought to come from centuries ago when civilizations used bentonite as a healing method to promote better health and ward off diseases.
Bentonite clay usually forms from weathering of volcanic ash, most often in the presence of water.
That being said, some caution needs to be taken when using bentonite clay, in terms of quantity as well as the chosen type.
What is the Aztec Clay Mask Supposed To Do?
Bentonite clay is supposed to benefit your body due to the ability to produce a charge that is electrical in nature when it comes in contact with liquid.
When the clay touches any fluid, it takes on a different charge and binds to any present toxins within the fluid.
Bentonite clay having negatively charged molecules, “seeks” toxins in the body to bind with and then effectively remove them.
So this is exactly what the Aztec Clay mask is supposed to do. It is supposed to remove the “toxins” from your skin and clear up the pesky congestion that causes acne.
All that for only $10!
Sounds amazing, right?
Well, unfortunately, that’s all it does. Sound amazing.
What Did The Aztec Clay Mask Do For My Acne-Prone Skin?
Well, nothing good, that’s for sure, but let’s start from the beginning.
I am not trying to keep it a secret that I have always had problematic and sensitive skin. This is something that has made picking my skincare products a real challenge throughout the years.
Before becoming an esthetician and learning how to properly take care of my skin as well as recognizing the ingredients in a given product I am interested in it just seemed that everything I was doing seemed to be giving me a massive backlash.
This wasn’t pretty and it was always manifesting itself in full-blown cystic acne on my cheeks and along my jawline.
Naturally, I was seeking the answer to my problem online like everybody else and ran into this “miracle product” literally everyone that had clear skin swore by.
Needless to say, it didn’t take much convincing for me to purchase the product from Amazon, determined to give it a shot and follow the clear instructions on how to use it.
When I received the Amazon package at my door, the first thing I did was ravishing through it like my life depended on it and got down to examining the powder.
I opened up a fresh new bottle of apple cider vinegar (another BS skincare trend) and immediately got down to mixing.
Oh boy, here it goes.
Saying that I was experiencing a “mild burning sensation” is an understatement – my skin felt like it was literally on fire within two minutes after I applied it on my face.
It clearly says not to keep it longer than ten minutes, but I couldn’t even keep it on my face for three (?!).
After washing it off my face, I was left with severe redness with clear and distinct lines where the mask was applied and the big question – What did I do wrong?
The redness remained and persisted throughout the next couple of days and the burning sensation was still lingering.
This is when I realized I had a full-blown chemical burn from this little experiment of mine.
I was extremely hesitant to give it another shot, but after a few days of discomfort and embarrassment, I decided to go for it again )this time mixing the Aztec Clay mask with warm bottled water).
Guess what happened?
You are damn right if you thought the same thing repeated itself, cause shamelessly enough – it did.
Yup, take number two and I was once more experiencing a severe burning sensation a few minutes after applying this mixture on my face.
Here’s Why I Don’t Recommend The Aztec Clay Mask…
Severely disappointed and rather hurt, I decided to take it to Reddit with a plain question if anyone else ever experienced such a thing on a skincare-related thread.
I got a few answers from people basically repeating what happened to me, but what made this entire situation even weirder was a comment by a fellow Redditor and skincare lover.
Basically, what this person said was that the Aztec Clay mask is making her skin react in the exact same way.
Still, it really makes her comfortable because that is how she knows it works well to remove the buildup of toxins from her skin and that she likes to follow it up with a more moisturizing mask right after before continuing her usual skincare routine.
This is where I had a little bit of an issue with understanding why do people do this to themselves and their skin?
A common misconception is that if a product is giving you a tingling or worse – a burning sensation – it means the product is working.
I am not sure where this is coming from but it is wrong on so many levels I honestly don’t even know how to begin explaining it.
If a product doesn’t contain an active ingredient such as vitamin A, AHAs or BHAs, or enzymes that are meant to exfoliate your skin – it is NOT supposed to be giving you any tingling sensation or even worse – a burning sensation due to a chemical burn.
If this product contains 100% bentonite clay and nothing else, this product is simply NOT meant to exfoliate your skin – therefore it is not supposed to tingle or burn.
Moreover, I found it strange that this person almost attacked me while fiercely defending this “miracle clay mask” while all this mask was doing for her is burn and dehydrate her skin.
If a product is to be called “a miracle product that delivers instant results” isn’t it strange that you need to follow it up with a more gentle, moisturizing mask simply cause it dries the fuck out of your skin?
Needless to say, I found her comment completely unhelpful, hit a massive downvote and put an end to what was going to become an unnecessary argument over a clay mask right there and then.
Clay masks are loved by everyone, but the harsh truth is that they are extremely dehydrating and can be more harmful than beneficial for your skin as they can sensitize it and this is something that will manifest itself as dryness and sagging down the line.
My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.
The Acne Solution: Your Ultimate Guide To Flawless Complexion
An extensive, no-nonsense course showing you how to never have acne again, from a licensed Esthetician specializing in oily/acne-prone skin.
27 thoughts on “Aztec Clay Mask Review (Not As Great As You Think)”
Hi, my friend enthusiastically recommended this product and insisted that we end our girls night out with some fun facials and drinks. I may as well have poured acid on my face! It didn’t pulsate while it was on, but taking it off was so harsh. There were red lines on my face where the mask was sitting and OMG, the burning. I got home and rinsed my face with cool water then applied a good, gentle moisturizer. Woke up with severe redness, itching and burning. I put cortisone cream on and followed that with some aquaphor ointment. The burning sensation has lessened but the redness remains. I am terrified that I just permanently ruined my normally porcelain 45 year old skin with this horrific, bullshit product. Did your skin completely heal? If so, what did you use and how long did it take? Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks
Hi there! I am so sorry this happened to you, however, your quick reaction to apply a gentle moisturizer and a cortisone cream was the right decision. Your skin is not permanently damaged, however, there is a possibility that the redness will linger for some time. The only thing you can do now is to avoid exfoliating products that contain acids as well as staying away from concentrated actives that work on pigmentation, etc. The only thing you need is nourishment, therefore, continue using your gentle moisturizer but don’t forget to follow it up with sunscreen in the morning! Be patient with your skin while it heals, cause it clearly took a massive hit from the mask and it will need a few days to repair itself. On the other hand, yes, my skin healed permanently, and so will yours. I used to mix this mask with apple cider vinegar, which I totally not recommend you doing, ever. Please contact me privately as I would love to help you and also I would like to know how your skin reacts in the next few days!
Oh no! I had heard so many good things about this when I saw it at Marshall’s $9.99 for the large container, I knew I needed it. I have skin breakouts right around my period and the occasional makeup build up. I typically use lush products and thought that this would be nice to have when I couldn’t make it to lush. I tried it and as I was reading this I shortened the length the container said. It said 5-10 for sensitive skin, 15-20 for normal. I kept it on about 5 mins in fear of what I was reading. So far it did seem to bring out the dirt but I do feel a slight burn. It did not make me feel anyway like what lushes masks and scrubs make me feel. I’m wondering if Marshall’s will take it back or I’m just out the $10.
I don’t think mine came with a seal, so you may very well try and replace it for a different product. However, I strongly don’t recommend this clay mask on any skin no matter how sensitive or normal it is.
I hate to be dramatic right from the start, but I am currently crying because I feel like I completely destroyed my face with this mask. I’ve used it in the past and when I have I haven’t done anything differently, but this time something went horribly wrong. My skin was very red afterwards so I moisturized it and it was red throughout the day, but then when I went to wash my face at night my face had a million little red dots all over it and I was starting to break out (which I never do). I’m trying to let it heal, but I can’t stop crying every time I look in the mirror. I want to wear makeup but I know it’ll only irritate it more. If you have any advice I would be so incredibly grateful. Also, any reassurance that I did not just ruin my skin completely would be so so appreciated. Ugh, I wish I could sue : (
Hi Meredith and thanks for reaching out! From what you are saying I would assume that you are experiencing a chemical burn as a consequence of using the Aztec clay mask. Although this is uncomfortable, I would like to reassure you that your skin will definitely heal and it is definitely not ruined forever, so hang in there! On the other hand, I would like to ask what products are you currently using in your routine as well as have you recently made a change of products that could have also caused your skin to react the way it did with the mask? I would also like to suggest that you keep it simple for the time being until your skin recovers and by this I mean a gentle cleanser and a nourishing moisturizer is all you currently need. Please do not hesitate to contact me via email should you need product recommendation or further support 🙂
Wow, I thought I was alone! I love skincare. I love masks and acids and fun-smelling products in little glass tubes. Love skincare. Everyone, their sister, their grandmother, and their hairdresser has been telling me to try this mask for years. I tried it in January of 2019, water+clay, and experienced the worst burning I’ve ever had with a mask. I had to rush back to the bathroom to scrub it off with a wet towel (because my friend told me that it completely clogged her drain). I basically had a rash all over my face. Did tons of ultra-hydrating and soothing after that. Straight aloe, hydrogels, no makeup, the works.
Everyone I complained to told me that I did it wrong and that I should be mixing it with ACV. … Alright. So I waited several weeks to give my skin time to heal and tried it again. Burned even worse. I couldn’t even finish applying it to my face before I scrubbed it off again. I spent the rest of the day applying raw aloe and praying that I hadn’t burned my face again. Thankfully I only had a mild rash along my jawline, but it was still painful.
I have no idea what the difference is, since the people who recommended it to me tend to have way more sensitive skin than I do, and I’m used to the mild burning of chemical peels, but my skin HATES the Aztec Clay mask. This whole time I’ve just assumed that the one I got might have been fake, but I ordered it from the one Amazon listing that has thousands of positive reviews. EVERYONE is in a cult-like infatuation with this stuff. It wasn’t until now that I’ve seen more people coming out to say that they’ve had a bad experience with it.
Thank you for your comment, Tori! As I was reading it and getting down to the part where you were about to try it out with ACV, I immediately assumed that, unfortunately, this didn’t end too well for you.
I bought this product for the same reason you did after seeing hundreds of posts about it on Pinterest and everywhere else so I just assumed this will be the miracle product that will help my severe acne, however, that wasn’t the case.
Therefore, I made it my mission to write all about my experience and hopefully help people that have fallen into this trap as I did. And boy, I wasn’t wrong for doing that as so many people reached out having experienced similar or worse side effects from this product.
I thank you for your comment one more time and I hope your skin is now doing better 🙂
How I wished I had read this earlier. Unfortunately, I did this mask last night and mixed it with ACV. I was able to tolerate it for 15 minutes. Afterwards, I tried to continue with my regular moisturizer. It burned like hell. I woke up this morning with red splotches all over my face, but mainly my cheeks. I went to wash my face with my hydrating Cerave wash and it burned! So I used the foaming Cerave wash and everything was fine. Didn’t think nothing of it. I applied my makeup and went on with my day. Tonight I removed my makeup with micellar water like always then tried to do an oil cleaning. It burned. So washed with the foaming Cerave again. No burning. Went to apply my moisturizing toner and it burned too! Washed that off and just tried to apply plain moisturizer and yet it still burns! I have no idea what to do. I don’t want to dry out my skin (even though the mask already did that). I normally have combo leaning oily skin but today it was so dry. If you have any tips, I would greatly appreciate it. I will definitely be sharing your post!
Hi Jennifer and thanks for reaching out!
I am really sorry that happened to you, but don’t worry! Your skin may be sensitive in the next few days and it most definitely needs extra nourishment with gentle products like a gentle cleanser and a good moisturizer.
I would like to advise you to give your skin a short break and avoid using anything else besides a cleanser and a moisturizer. Toner isn’t really all that necessary as your skin is clearly rebelling against it, so you may very well skip it for now.
Another very important thing is to always (especially now) protect your skin with a broad-spectrum, high SPF as your skin is super sensitive right now due to experiencing severe dehydration and most probably even a chemical burn as a result of the apple cider vinegar and clay combo.
Other than that, don’t worry all too much. Just take care of your skin and this will go away soon!
Also, please leave your review on Amazon because that mask has an overwhelming amount of excellent reviews, and unfortunately, people don’t always read the negative ones, therefore, they aren’t aware of the potential dangers of using this mask. Please contact me via email or social media should you need any further help! xx
This was such a helpful and insightful article. It feels very refreshing to hear about your experiences (although awful, I’m sorry) because the same things happen to me every time I try this mask. I used to be a frequent user of it a couple of years ago and it always burned severely. I thought this was something I had to deal with because of my severely light, sensitive skin. I do not have too many breakout issues, but my T-zone is always oily and my pores are larger than I’d like sometimes. I used to put up with the mask’s consequences because I thought it may have been worth it but honestly, I’m not sure if I even see the benefits. I tried the mask tonight after a couple years because I’d forgotten about it, and lo and behold, I once again got a chemical burn. I can clearly see the outline the mask left burned into my face, and while it is starting to fade, why is this necessary? No no no. No thanks, I’m done.
All of this venting aside, do you have any other face mask recommendations to help with detoxing or pore refining? I have a lactic acid serum but I’m not sure if it’s really working much…
Hi Susannah and thanks for reaching out!
I am so sorry this happened to you, but I am glad that you will not be using it anymore. It’s so upsetting that when you see all these positive comments online you start thinking that there is something wrong with you when your skin is simply reacting badly to some crap that shouldn’t be on it in the first place.
If you want something for exfoliating the pores, I would suggest Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant as a part of your skincare routine for long-term results, however, should you wish for a mask you can do every now and again, Paula’s Choice also came up with a Clay Mask that’s gentle and pore-refining.
I hope this helps! x
I literally just used this mask and my face was burning while it was on and I tried to tolerate for the 10 min , I was easily distracted by a FaceTime convo , then I rinsed it off with cool water. Once CB I looked in the mirror my face was red and there were lines right where the mask was drying , I’m freaking out and go rinse my face again . I haven’t used this product in months , but I didn’t have this reaction the other times I used it. I immediately applied a moisturizer for sensitive skin and looked online to see if anyone had a similar experience. Luckily I found my mask that i intended to use initially but couldn’t find so I won’t ever have to put the Aztec clay mask on my face ever again ! (Freeman anti stress clay mask is a life saver btw) will literally remove your pimples the same day and I also have sensitive skin , and it doesn’t irritate it at all )
Hi Lia and thanks for reaching out!
I am so sorry this happened to you, especially after using it without a problem the previous times. I am happy that you found a replacement that works for you, so please don’t ever use the Aztec clay mask on your skin again, this is pure crap designed to harm the skin not help it in any way.
Very true, caught by the hype I choose to buy Aztec! First day during my patch test Aztec and rose water on my wrist it was as cool as ice, no burning.
Weirdly second day I mixed water n Aztec n applied on my wrist it burnt like as if I applied a pain balm n smelt like one.
I was shocked what on earth would it do it my face!!! Deadlyyyyy….
Tommrow again I’ll test it with rose water to see the results.. not on face never only patch test…
Good job for being smart and doing a patch test. And that’s what the Aztec clay mask is – just a hyped-up and harmful product.
Maybe it doesn’t work for everyone, I’ve had nothing but amazing results! I never go red and my skin is very sensitive to most products. I leave this mask on for about half an hour have been using for a while now has never dried my skin out, use it on my legs, face and as a butt mask. Best thing on the market! The dramatic changes in my skin is amazing after suffering with bad skin for years. For the price I recommend everyone give it a go! Just like everything else, do a sensitive patch test first.
Hi Karina and thanks for reaching out!
I am happy that you’ve had a positive experience with this mask and this only proves that not every skin is the same. While some skins are more sensitive, others are more resilient to certain things.
Your skin might be showing sensitivity to other products but it seems to be tolerating this mask very well. However, from personal experience and after reading so many comments from people that have had a very similar experience as I did, this mask gets a bad name in my book.
Remember to be careful with using it and always listen to your skin.
I thought it was just me. Thank you for the honest article. Well done. I believed the Amazon hype, bought the clay, mixed with apple cider vinegar, applied and within a minute my entire face was on fire. FIRE. Burn. Not tingle. Burn. Immediately I Washed it off, looked in the mirror and my face was bright red, like a sunburn. And it was still burning, hot, and itchy. It was at least two days before it went down. Now I sit with a giant tub of powdered clay that, by the way, read the fine text, shouldn’t be washed down the drain as it can clog plumbing. Nice. ? Thank you again for your honesty.
I am so incredibly sorry that happened to you! But I totally feel your pain and it is incredibly frustrating when you place your trust into a hyped-up skincare item and buying it turns out to be the worst thing you’ve ever done for your skin.
It is incredibly shady they would only put the disclaimer that it can clog the plumbing in the fine print when something like this should be in your face. How else are we supposed to wash it off then?
I truly hope this product gets taken down sometime soon so that it can stop causing skin issues and setting your skin up for dehydration, irritation, and a plethora of other conditions like rosacea down the line.
it doesnt give my any reaction, my face isnt that sensitive but it sure dryed my face up. are their any good moisturzers out there you know of?
Hi Fatima and thanks for reaching out!
I have articles written about moisturizers suitable for different skin types, so feel free to check them out 🙂
I tried this product a while back with warm bottled water and am now left with redness from my nose up. My eyes are irritated also. I have sensitive skin and allergic to many different products for face and body. Hence why I used the bottled water.
My face turned red within 5 minutes of washing the mask off. I quickly applied an organic aloe vera gel and instantly felt relief.
Thanks for this article! I was hoping I was not the only one experiencing this.
Hi Sara and thanks for reaching out!
This product is so horrible and while I am so sorry people are experiencing these reactions when they use it, I am also glad that a lot of people are coming forward and spreading the word so that others don’t get burned!
Please share this article if you think it’s going to help someone else.
I am currently using it and initially it worked pretty awesome but now that I am on break, there are more clogged pores than before. Umm!
I’ve been blessed with zero zits on my skin UNTIL I stopped getting my period a little earlier than the usual menopause age and now I have these hormonal under skin cysts on my lower face and neck. They will be popped with a needle and it’s only clear liquid, it helps relieve the pain, but never that white pus people talk about. I’m so sick of this and it keeps coming back so I got the Aztec Clay. It does help dry them up but I’m unsure if it does help clear them for good. It’s like a temporary fix to a long term issue. I’ve mixed it with both ACV and Tea Tree Oil (my favorite) to see if one is better. I’ve added matcha tea powder to one batch and even a bit of Manukka Honey to another. It’s not burning so I’m not worried of a burn issue but I do find it can be drying. Any other all natural, low costing alternative to clear up hormonal cystic acne? Thank you!
Hi Dina, and thanks for reaching out!
I would suggest that you look into completing your skincare routine with a good retinoid.
Ideally, I would advise you to visit a dermatologist and request a prescription-strength option as this will not only clear cystic breakouts but will also improve lines, uneven skin tone, and texture.
However, if this isn’t an option for you, perhaps you may want to look into over-the-counter options such as La Roche Posay’s Adapalene or Differin (not both of them together).
Besides that, make sure to have a good moisturizer because irritation, sensitivity, as well as purging are always present during the period of getting used to these products.
For this, you can look into La Roche Posay’s Cicaplast Baume B5:
And lastly, make sure to apply sunscreen in the mornings and choose something with SPF 30+.
EltaMD, La Roche Posay, and Eucerin all have a variety of excellent sunscreens for various skin concerns.
I hope this helps.