Rub some dirt on it

Face masks can feel like one of life’s greatest luxuries. A blast to your skin to let it know you mean business. Especially when your skin feels like it’s holding on to 20 lbs. of dirt and regret. Or when your pores looks like pods appropriately sized for living creatures to nest in. Or when it’s not enough to try to deal with life’s stress, but you need that extra fun of wearing it like a badge across your face in the form of breakouts.

Ya feel us?

Here are some recommended mud, clay or charcoal masks for when the wounds of life are deep and all you can do is rub some dirt on it.


My skin is dehydrated/dry. So normally I reach for something hydrating when I’m in need of a mask. I don’t often need a mud or clay mask, because often these types of masks are targeting oil and impurities. My skin needs all the natural lubrication it can get. But every once in awhile I do feel like I need a good overall purge. I then reach for my Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue masque. This mask is a total multi tasker. It exfoliates, detoxifies, brightens and calms all at once. Exfoliation is happening with both physical and chemical ingredients – volcanic ash and sea silt, along with hydroxy acids. It detoxifies with with kaolin clay and activated binchotan charcoal, drawing out oils and impurities. And it calms the skin with niacinamide, which has anti inflammatory properties. This masque is recommended for normal to oily/acne prone skin, so I personally can’t use it often, but when my skin feels like a little bit of a mess, it works wonders. I should add that it does also have sulfur in it, which obviously has a very distinct smell that tends to linger…. somedays a little too long… so if you’re sensitive to smells, I’d get a sample of this to try before you pull the trigger.


You know those times when you’re trapped inside all day and your face feels like it’s about as clean as a movie theater floor? I get like this sometimes. My skin tends to be more on the oily side, especially during seasonal transitions, so I like to keep some masks on hand that help draw out the ick, but I also don’t like to feel like they’re sucking out my soul and turning me to stone. I recently got a decent sized sample of Origins Original Skin Retexturing Mask With Rose Clay– it dries down a little on the hard side for my taste, but it has jojoba beads in it that somehow leave your skin feeling pretty soft. I like it.

When I went to Costa Rica last month, one of the highlights was visiting the volcanic mud bath and hot springs. If they would have sold that magical mud, I would have bought gallons.

But they didn’t, and that left me on the hunt for something similar. I stumbled on this volcanic mud mask by Lavo on Amazon, and I love it! It smells really nice and minty, a little goes a long way, and it feels refreshing- not drying- on your face. This is the one I’ve been reaching for more and more lately.


One of the first high end i.e. non-drugstore products I ever tried was the Origins Clear Improvement® Active Charcoal Mask. It was my first line of defense when breakouts would occur. But over the years, I’ve gotten away from it. Maybe because my skin has changed from combination to primarily dry? Maybe because I’m always on the hunt for the next life changing product and left this one behind? Maybe it lost it’s magic? I’m not sure of the reason, but it’s been awhile since I’ve used it. Luckily, I found a sample that still had a good treatment left in it in my stash of samples and I gave it a go this week. (i’ve had more breakouts in the last month than i’ve had in the past three years. it’s been a joy.)

pretty thin layer but enough to give it another try

Guess what? It’s still really good! Definitely makes your skin feel cleaned out without feeling tight. Like something good happened to your face because you used it. I’m gonna need to pick this OG up again.

I had heard the Sephora Collection Mud Mask Purifying & Mattifying was a dup for the obscenely expensive GlamGlow YOUTHMUD™ Tinglexfoliate Treatment and I’m hear to tell you–it’s pretty darn close. Each has giant chunks of black…exfoliants? They look like flakes of dried out black trash bags mixed with a dense black mud you slather on, let dry, and then scrub into your skin when you rinse. Both give you a tingly sensation after it’s been on your skin. And both do seem to clean out your pores and give you a nice glow after rinsing without too much tightness. But here’s the thing–if I’m completely honest–I’m not sure how much I love either of them. Mostly because applying them is messy and kinda terrifying and the tingling can be intense. But there’s no disputing the results–which really do make your skin look fresh and happy–and dare I say–youthful. So I love the Sephora option for how it makes my skin look. But it’s definitely not a relaxing process.

E&N tip: Masks, like the GlamGlow can get pricey. A great way to try out a new mask is to ask for a sample at Sephora. You can generally get two applications out of one of those little plastic containers–and sometimes that’s all you need to get you through a particular skin situation. If you’re in the neighborhood–check out the different options–get the most expensive one you can find and give it a go! It’s a cheap way to treat yourself to a little something special.

What mud masks do you reach for when your skin is in need? Do you have other dups you like for higher end masks? Let us know about your magic mask experiences in the comments below.

Per usual, we used our own money to purchase these products. Or we got samples. Either way–it’s on us.

9 thoughts on “Rub some dirt on it

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