I can't say that I am a frequent user of clay masks, but I have used them from time to time. As I continue to coax my skin back from a lifetime of congestion build-up, I am looking for treatment options to help clear my pores without irritating my skin too much and that can be easily added to my current routine.
Read on for the full details of this 'volcanic' clay mask.
Full product name: Mizon Pore Clearing Volcanic Mask
Purpose: A wash-off clay mask with ash from volcanoes on Jeju Island, supposedly with special properties to draw sebum and impurities from your skin, helping to clear it and reduce pore size.
Scent: Mild. Flowers and herbs with obvious clay scent.
Texture: A very fine-grained, smooth paste that was much more silky than any clay-type mask I have tried before. Not at all 'gritty', feels like baking soda mixed with something creamy.
Availability: Online, I got mine from this ebay seller but be warned it took almost two months for my package from this seller to get here. I was not impressed. It's also available from this one but I haven't ever ordered from them.
Price: $10-12 USD.
Repurchase: No, I think I will try the Gommage type next. I just wasn't blown away by the results.
So the idea behind this mask is that the special powers of Jeju volcanic ash draws the goo out of your pores, clearing your skin, removing dullness, and tightening your pores in the process. In fact, the Mizon official website shows a handy little diagram here of the effect it's supposed to have (link) but I can't say that I've really noticed much plugged-pore-blasting action.
The fine print on the front says:
6,400mg of volcanic ash from Jeju island contained
I am going to guess that "caring pores" means caring for pores, as in the combination of clay + plant extracts = better effect on skincare for your pores.
On the back it says:
Volcanic ash from Jeju island absorbs excessive sebum and skin wastes to tighten pores. Mild plant extracts add a synergy effect on caring pores.
Well thank you, we did read the front, Mizon, let's go on to the directions:
Spread appropriate amount after wash up, and rinse after 10 minutes with warm water.
So pretty much your standard clay mask directions. Personally, I find that if I put too thin a layer on my face, it doesn't have much effect, so slightly thicker is better. I would also caution you not to go as full-out with cleansing before you use the mask to avoid over-working your skin. It does tingle/heat up a bit, but very briefly and overall it's a more soothing mask type than an 'invigorating' one. I think the sensation I get is my skin reacting to the clay as opposed to a deliberate effect.
I will say that it's more gentle than other clay masks I have tried, and provided that I haven't been too enthusiastic with my cleansing routine for a few days, I can get away with using this mask about once a week. I tend to switch off between the clay mask and the Holika Holika Pore Cleansing Oil (reviewed here) because my skin is too sensitive for me to get crazy with deep-cleansing products. I can't even use my Clarisonic daily, as it becomes too much for my skin, so that means the process of reclaiming my skin from the desert-damage is very slow going. I'm glad that it didn't aggravate my volatile skin, but I am disappointed I didn't get much in the way of results. It's possible that you need to use it a few times a week to see a really solid effect, but my skin won't tolerate that frequency of use, so keep that in mind.
As I mentioned earlier, it also has a very smooth and silky texture, which also was a surprise. It made spreading it evenly over my face easier, although depending on the humidity of your climate you may have to wet your skin before you apply it to ensure it doesn't become too tacky to spread easily.
Before I apply the mask, I steam open my pores with a warm washcloth and gently cleanse my face. I do not put any sort of moisturizer on my face before the mask, as I assume that would defeat the purpose of it digging down into my pores and kicking out the goo in there.
Again, though, you want to be very careful and not irritate your skin with cleansing before you apply the mask, and you will need to hurry to get the mask on before the water on your face begins to cool off and shrink your pores, or evaporate and start drying out your skin.
As it dries, it does tighten a bit but never to the point where it feels uncomfortable or inhibits me from talking or flexing my face.
As you can see, although it started off red, it does dry to the normal white clay colour I am used to seeing in beauty masks.
If my skin is feeling desperately in need of a serious exfoliation, I buff the clay off with my fingers while it is still try, and then wash off the residue with warm water. You are supposed to wash it off instead of using the dry method, but there are times where I feel I have layers of skin that need to be buffed off and this does a decent enough job without being too irritating.
If you follow the correct method, it washes off very easily with warm water, I just wet my fingers and gently massage it off my skin, allowing the very fine grit to buff away dead skin layers and any lingering impurities that have been drawn up by the clay, if in fact it's helping with that at all.
And that really is the bottom line ... I am not sure that it's helping. :\
Does this clean my pores? Yes. Does it brighten my skin? Yes. Does it do it as well as other products I have? Definitely not. It slightly reduced the appearance of my blackheads but did not get rid of them, and it did brighten my skin a little bit, but nothing special. Nothing remarkable in the pore-minimizing category either. If you find that your skin responds really well to clay masks then you may like this product, otherwise, I would keep searching. That's exactly what I am going to do.
Leave me a comment with your clay mask or pore-clearing secrets, or just to show me some love ;)
All the best,
**Disclaimer: All products reviewed/mentioned in my blog, are 100% purchased with my own money, with a single exception of a press sample I tested & reviewed in 2015 which swore me off of them forever. This blog contains both affiliate and non-affiliate links, and clicking the former before you shop means that this blog may receive a small commission to assist in this blog supporting itself. Please see my Contact Info & Disclaimer policy for more information.