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Monday, 11 October 2010

Mud Masks

Using a Mud Mask for regular Deep Cleansing

Using a mud mask is a very old-fashioned beauty remedy... but one that works. The use of clay (which becomes mud when wet) to heal the skin is known as Pelotherapy from the Greek word Pelos meaning Mud or Clay. All sorts of different types of mud from various locations around the world is suitable for deep cleansing of the pores. Some of the most famous are Dead sea mud, Argiletz clay from France, Rhassoul mud from the Atlas mountains in Morocco.

All of these are rich in mineral salts in varying quantities and work on the same principle of drawing toxins out through the pores of the body. There are minor differences between them, in particular the Rhassoul mud is less 'drawing' than the others, and my personal favourite, though it is possible to purchase Argiletz clay in different colours and textures for different skin types.

The principle is this. You Clean your face with your usual cleanser and leaving your skin slightly damp you apply the mud mask and then relax for ten to fifteen minutes. After which time you rinse it off. Apply a little toner or tepid water, pat the skin dry and then apply your usual moisturiser or night cream if you are preparing for bed. A regular deep cleanse in this fashion - say once a fortnight to start with, Will help to keep blackheads and pimples under control as well as removing the natural top layer of dead skin cells - revealing the fresh young skin beneath.

The Basic Mud Mask goes like this...

Take 20g of your favourite type of clay and mix with warm (previously boiled) water to a paste like consistency. Spread mud over the face avoiding the sensitive areas around eyes and mouth. Relax while the mask dries. Once dry, rinse with clean warm water, dab with a toner then pat dry and follow with moisturiser.

Variations on a Theme.

Mash a little ripe fruit or vegetable into the mud mask. It may feel a little strange to be scouring the fruit bowl or vegetable basket for your weekly pamper session, but get used to the idea, the kitchen is really just an annex to your cosmetic cupboard. I shall be posting more about using fruit as a natural skin peel soon. For now the best bet is to look for a ripe banana!

Why not add some oats to your clay mixture? Oats are excellent skin softeners and work really well on more mature skins. Simply grind them up a little and pop the powder in.

You could try adding a herbal tea or a flower hydrosol (or flower water) to your clay mixture rather than plain water. Or you could add a few drops of an essential oil blend for your particular skintype. (A good book on Aromatherapy may help you here). If you are using essential oils in a small quantity of face mask then keep it to two or three drops maximum... depending upon the types of essential oils you use. If you experience any kind of irritation remove the face mask immediately.

Honey is excellent for the complexion and will help control a number of skin problems. Simply add a small amount to your mixture.

Cream or Yoghurt is good in a face mask too. Cream if you have very dry or mature skin and yoghurt for normal to oily skins. If you do choose yoghurt make it a 'live' one. You know the ones with the friendly bacteria in!

Vegetable oil added to the clay can help reduce the drawing effect... especially helpful if you have very sensitive and delicate skin. Simply go back to the kitchen cupboard and use sunflower, olive or rapeseed... whichever you normally cook with. They work just as well and have their own skincare benefits.

Rhassoul mud comes from the Atlas mountains of Morocco. It is my all time favourite clay for face and body masks (yes you can smear your whole body, not just your face... the benefits are the same.) If you have very sensitive skin then I would suggest Rhassoul over the other clays (though you can cut down on the length of time you keep the mask on your face if you are very sensitive), rhassoul is good not only for sufferers of acne but also those who have eczema or very dry skin.

A mud mask will cleanse very deep into the pores and you may find that the following day you have developed the odd spot or two, this is because you have encouraged deep down dirt to surface. It's perfectly normal and natural and provided that you keep scrupulously clean it will clear up in a day or two.

It may be better to choose your deep cleansing days with this in mind.

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