This $21.50 clay mask is one of the most popular beauty products on the internet, and it’s the only thing that has helped clear up my skin

Aztec secret indian healing clay

  • I’ve tried a lot of face masks in my life, from dirt-cheap impulse buys to award-winning at-home facialsand nothing has improved the clarity of my skin like this giant tub of the Aztec Secret Clay Mask.
  • After seeing it all over the internet and having a colleague call it her most recommended product,” I gave it a shot.
  • It basically acts like a vacuum for your pores in the five to 20 minutes it’s on.
  • Like many Amazon reviews state, my best results came from mixing the mask with Apple Cider Vinegar.


For the last few years, face masks have been a pivotal part of ‘relaxing’ for me. Long day? Throw on a face mask! Horrible commute? Face mask. While sheet masks and hydration masks always moisturised well enough, and peels helped target dark spots and texture, it’s clay masks that have remained entertainingly garish and lavish (so, more mentally helpful) rather than a tool for improving the clarity, texture, and tone of my skin.

That is until I tried the $21.50 Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask. It has tens of thousands of 5-star reviews across the internet. Even though I’ve been obsessed with face masks for years, this is the only one that I would go so far as to claim has actually markedly (and for the long-term) improved my skin’s clarity. After a few weeks of using it once a week, my temperamental combination skin is smoother, clearer, and more even overall.

The Aztec Clay Mask basically acts like a vacuum for your pores in the five to 20 minutes it’s on. The 100% natural calcium bentonite clay draws out all the impurities deep in your skin for what has been called ‘the world’s most powerful facial’. I can’t say it’s “the world’s most” anything, but it is the first thing I have ever used that wasn’t prescribed by a dermatologist and actually works. In fact, it’s the first topical treatment I’ve ever used (prescribed or not) that has actually worked.

Like all of my best purchases, I found it through word-of-mouth after my colleague mentioned it as her “most recommended product.” Apparently, it had been hiding in plain sight. Once I had heard of it, I couldn’t stop seeing it everywhere: in articles, videos, Youtube testimonials with over 1 million views, and even the Sephora beauty blog, which is typically filled with luxe options from of-the-moment brands. But, all in all, the Aztec Clay Mask is worth the eerie, cult-favourite hype.

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A before and after shot shared on Amazon. This user got cystic acne at 24 and stopped using the topical treatments given by her dermatologist and instead used the clay mask every other day. This is the difference in skin from January to February. Amazon Customer/Amazon

Now, instead of putting on any face mask to have a fun night drinking wine with girlfriends, I apply this religiously once a week to sit with my facial muscles rendered immobile for about 10 minutes. In other words, it’s the first mask I’ve used for the purpose of what it does to my skin, rather than how it makes me feel. I actually had a moment of paranoia when I considered buying another tub (which is giant even for $21.50) in advance if the sellers catch onto the craze and raise prices.

However, you should be careful to only use the Aztec Clay Mask for the recommended 5-10 minutes if you have delicate skin. When I had a dermatologist critique my skincare routine, she recommended washing it off once I could feel it becoming tight and dry to prevent the clay from sucking too much oil from the skin (your skin will adapt and compensate by starting to produce more oil). Be prepared to feel the mask become scaly and tight on your face. I actually have to drink out of a straw when this stuff is on. It’s powerful, so you’ll see some redness after you take it off, but that has always dissipated within 10-15 minutes or so for me, despite having the sort of sensitive, pale skin that makes yoga teachers worried they aren’t giving the class enough water breaks.

Thanks to its massive popularity, you can grab it from basically any retailer. It’s only $21.50 on Amazon and will arrive the next day if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

The bottom line

All in all, I can say from experience that this cheap wunderkind clay mask is absolutely worth a try if you’d like to see clearer and smoother skin. Skincare is a touchy thing, and even with tens of thousands of 5-star reviews across the internet, you can’t know for sure that it will work for you. Still, it is so far the only thing that has ever really made a difference in the clarity and appearance of my skin, and it seems I’m not alone in feeling that way.

*Update: After many suggestions from Amazon reviews and a reader writing in, I tried the Aztec Mask mixed with Apple Cider Vinegar. It worked markedly better than before even. You may find the smell unpleasant, but it is worth it for the soft skin, even texture, and improved tone.

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