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 / Updated  / Source: TODAY
By Lyn Mettler

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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, like egg whites, but her go-to was a green clay exfoliating mask.

Naturally, as an adult, I started using my own exfoliator about once a week, and for the last several years, my expensive go-to product has been draining my wallet. So when I came across this best-selling $11 Aztec Secret Indian healing clay on Amazon, I was intrigued. It has more than 18,000 reviews and has earned a 4.4-star rating. Even Mindy Kaling said she loves it.

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask, $11, Amazon

This product is made of natural calcium bentonite clay. 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.

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 the clay holds a negative charge while toxins in the skin hold a positive charge, which helps draw them out.

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.

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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 — 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). Repeat weekly.

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. But 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!

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, replacing my other, more expensive, exfoliator. Since each application uses just a tablespoon of powder, I expect one tub to last many months.

Some negative reviews on Amazon say the product might make pimples worse or 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.

If you're looking for something else, here are some other top-selling beauty masks on Amazon:

Organic Dead Sea Mud Mask, $12, Amazon

This mask is often bought with the Aztec Secret mask, according to Amazon. The brand says it uses organic mud from the Dead Sea along with shea butter and various oils, and it comes ready to apply with its own application brush.

According to the packaging, the mask is safe for all skin types to leave on for 20 minutes and promises exfoliation, moisturization and younger-looking skin. It's also supposed to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite.

Majestic Pure Activated Charcoal Mud Mask, $15, Amazon

Made with coconut charcoal powder, this mask is meant to cleanse and hydrate. In addition to charcoal powder, which is known for its detoxifying abilities, according to the company, the mask includes organic aloe leaf juice, bentonite clay (the same ingredient as the Aztec Secret mask), organic olive oil and organic jojoba oil. It also comes premixed.

Asutra Sodium Bentonite Indian Healing Clay, $16, Amazon

Asutra makes another version of the Indian healing clay. It is also made from sodium bentonite but comes in a 2-pound container with a small wooden scoop for $16. The company claims the clay is ground into a finer powder to keep it from clumping. Plus, in addition to skin benefits, the company recommends applying it to thin hair for added shine and volume.

Want a face mask ASAP? Head to your local drugstore and try these 15 options.

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