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This $12 face mask is reviewers’ top choice for clearing pores — and now it's my skin care staple

TikTok users and Amazon reviewers even say you can use it on your hair, too.
Courtesy Zoe Malin
/ Source: TODAY

When I was growing up, my mom faithfully used beauty masks. Luckily, she let me join in on the fun. I remember her using products made from a variety of ingredients, but her go-to was a green clay exfoliating mask.

As an adult, I started using my own exfoliator about once a week, but my expensive go-to product has been draining my wallet. So when I came across this bestselling and affordable Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask, I was intrigued.

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask

What is the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask?

The viral mask has racked up tons of positive reviews, with over 72,000 being five-star ratings. And now it has been upgraded with better packaging. You may notice the tub now has a label that says “Version 2” on it — but don’t worry! It’s still the same great formula, now in a jar that is shrink-wrapped with a security sticker for extra safety.

You might first notice that this product has a light green hue. That's because it is a true clay mask and made of natural calcium bentonite clay, says the brand. While promoted as a facial mask, it can also be used in other ways, like foot soaks and clay baths, according to the packaging. Some Amazon reviewers even say it’s helped reduce acne. Others have said they use it on their hair, too — it's multi-functional.

"Leaves my skin and hair feeling SUPER soft...," said one Amazon reviewer. "..."It works amazing for clarifying my hair and getting rid of product buildup."

According to the Aztec Secret website, clay has been used in beauty rituals as far back as 4,000 years ago. The company claims it works because toxins in the skin hold a positive charge, while the clay holds a negative charge to help draw impurities out.

Why I like it

Only a small amount is needed to cover the entire face

It comes as a powder, which you’ll need to mix at a 1-to-1 ratio with apple cider vinegar or water. I bought a cheap bottle of apple cider vinegar at the grocery store for around $1.50. Then, I mixed one tablespoon of powder with one tablespoon of vinegar in a nonmetal bowl. That was the perfect amount for my face.

The instructions say to cake your face with about a one-fourth-inch layer of clay and let it dry. Then, leave it on for up to 20 minutes (5 to 10 minutes for sensitive skin). Simply wash it off with warm water when done (you can do this right before hopping in the shower for convenience).

It’s been about a month since I bought the mask, and I’ve been using it once a week. I’m not sure I’ve felt my skin “pulsate,” as the packaging claimed it would. However, the clay does create a tightening sensation — just like my mom’s old clay mask — while it deeply cleanses my pores. It certainly feels like it’s working!

What to consider

Some reviews on Amazon say the product might cause irritation. The packaging does warn that skin may be red for about 30 minutes afterward, but it should go away. It may be a good idea to try it on a small area of skin first to check for signs of irritation. And if you're using on the hair, reviewers say it can dry it out if you don't follow-up with a hair mask or oil.

But after removing the mask, my face feels very smooth, and I make sure to moisturize right after. I plan to continue to use it once a week in place of my more expensive exfoliator. Since each application uses just a tablespoon of powder, I expect one tub to last many months.

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