How Long Should You Keep A Clay Face Mask On?

Clay face masks are far from a new skincare fad. If ancient scribes are to be believed, illustrious Egyptians like Empress Cleopatra knew all about the healing benefits of clay. However, that doesn’t mean you should leave a clay mask on all day. In fact, the longer you leave your clay mask on, the more likely it will have adverse effects. If you’re new to using clay face masks, you must read the research we’ve done on how long to wear them.

You should wash your clay face mask off after about 5 to 15 minutes. If you leave your clay mask on for longer, there’s a high chance it will irritate your skin. Clay face masks shouldn’t feel dry to the touch when you wash them off. Once your mask feels slightly tacky and looks light, it’s time to remove it.

Determining when to wash your clay face mask depends on many factors, including your skin type, the weather, and the product you’re using. To help you figure out when to peel off your clay mask, we’ve compiled a few helpful tips below. Be sure to read each of these skincare strategies before applying your first clay mask.

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How Long Should You Keep A Clay Face Mask On?

Don’t believe those trendy Pinterest photos! Clay face masks aren’t designed to be worn for hours on end. While it may feel nice as your clay mask solidifies, that’s not a good sign. Indeed, dry clay is a warning sign you’ve let the face mask sit for too long.

As a general rule, you should never keep clay face masks on for longer than 15 minutes. However, some clay masks are done in as little as three minutes. The only way to determine when to take your face mask off is to monitor how it looks and feels.

People with naturally oily skin often benefit from wearing clay face masks in the 10-minute range. This is especially the case in the summer when people are more prone to oil and sweat. By contrast, people with naturally sensitive skin should remove their face mask in less than 10 minutes.

If it’s your first time using a clay face mask, it’s a good idea to check the recommended time on the product’s label. You should also monitor how the clay looks and feels after you apply it. Once you notice your face mask turn lighter, that’s a warning sign it’s almost done. A finished clay face mask should feel tacky, but not dry.

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What Happens If You Leave A Clay Mask On For Too Long?

Portrait of an attractive young woman standing in the bathroom with a facial mask

If you leave your clay face mask on for too long, your skin will get excessively dry. While clay does a great job pulling out icky dirt and grime, it also pulls away all of the protective oils on your skin’s surface.

Dry clay could also irritate your skin cells and increase the risk of breakouts. People who leave clay masks on for too long often complain of itchy skin and red marks.

If you’re someone with extra sensitive skin, you should look into clay face masks that have naturally hydrating compounds like jojoba oil or aloe vera. These additional ingredients provide a buffer to help the clay work its magic without over-drying your skin.

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Do You Wash Off Clay Masks?

Young woman in white bath robe washing face

To remove your clay face mask, you have to rinse it off. Most beauty experts recommend gently rubbing your face in circular motions as you apply warm water. For extra convenience, you may want to use a dedicated facial washcloth for this purpose.

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Once you’ve washed all of the clay from your face, grab a clean face towel and pat dry. For a visual demonstration on how to take off a clay face mask, check out this quick YouTube tutorial:

Should You Moisturize After A Clay Mask?

woman applying moisturizing cream onto face infront of mirror

While it’s not necessary to moisturize after washing your clay mask, it’s highly recommended. Not only will a facial moisturizer rehydrate your skin, but it will also seal in all of the clay’s healing minerals. Using a moisturizer is especially important for people with sensitive skin because it counteracts clay’s drying effect.

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However, you should never apply a moisturizer before putting on a clay face mask. For optimal healing benefits, there shouldn’t be anything between your skin and clay’s lovely nutrients. In fact, it’s best to put on a clay mask after you’ve washed away all of your makeup and moisturizers in a steamy shower.

Speaking of warm showers, you may want to check out our previous post on “How Long To Stay In A Steam Shower?

How Often Should You Use Clay Masks?

Woman applying mask on her face and looking in the mirror. Beautiful woman applying natural facial mask

There’s no golden rule for how often you could wear a clay face mask. However, since clay is slightly abrasive, this isn’t a product you want to use every day. At most, you should use a clay face mask three times per week. If you have extra sensitive skin, you should only use clay masks one to two times per week.

You should also consider the weather conditions in your area. During the chilly winter season, it’s best to cut back on your clay mask sessions. In the summer, however, you could probably get away with applying clay face masks three times per week.

By the way, there are many shower gels on the market that are made for people with dry skin. So, if you’re someone who’s sensitive to products like clay, you may want to check out our post on the “13 Best Shower Gels For Dry Skin.”

Is It Bad To Sleep In A Clay Mask?

Woman in mask on face in spa beauty salon

It’s never a good idea to sleep with a clay face mask on. Not only is clay a pain to get off of your pillow, but your mask will also get excessively dry as you slumber.

If your clay mask is dry, then you’ve let it sit too long. It’s far better to take your clay mask off too soon rather than too late. Even if you took a 15-minute catnap, chances are your face mask will get way too dry and negate all of the benefits of clay.

Instead of sleeping with your face mask on, you should set a timer the minute you finish applying the clay. There are many waterproof timers now on the market that are super safe to add to your bathroom. This simple hack will help remind you to wash away that clay face mask before it gets crusty.

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Enjoy Your Clay Face Mask...But Not For Too Long!

Clay face masks are a fantastic way to de-clog your pores and tame extra oily skin. However, if you leave these face masks on for too long, they can cause skin issues. No matter what skin type you have, you shouldn’t leave a clay face mask on for longer than 15 minutes. Be sure to review your product’s recommendations and see how you feel as you use it. When in doubt, remember this pithy phrase: “As the clay dries, your skin cells will cry!”

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