Clay Masks vs. Sheet Masks: Why We Believe in the Superiority of Clay-Based Masks

There’s just something about taking the time to put on a face mask that screams “me time!” One of the easiest go-to’s when it comes to self-care, a face mask is one of those steps in your beauty ritual that just doesn’t feel like a chore, especially during this time period when many of us are still working from home. And with an endless supply of mask types to choose from, you can make sure you’re using a mask that is truly custom for your skin type and the skin conditions you’re trying to address. We’ve had a few folks ask us why we chose to use clay as the base for our new at-home facial masks (and why we also use them over sheet masks in our facials)

With sheet masks rising in popularity in recent years and clay masks having been around, well, since the beginning of beauty rituals, sheet masks may seem like the shiny new toy on the beauty counter shelf, especially since they’re a staple in K-Beauty and all over social media.

However, with Nefaire being born from a real struggle with acne (and not just for the sake of creating pretty skincare packaging), we believe that clay masks are the superior choice not only when it comes to overall effectiveness, but also for their sustainability, effectiveness, skin-loving ingredients, and versatility.


Clay Mask Skin Benefits


Clay masks are hands down the go-to if you’ve got oily or acne-prone skin, full stop. There’s a reason that folks who come to get professional facials or who have problematic, acne-prone skin are seldom scene pushing sheet masks. Clay masks on the whole are able to use their absorption properties to draw dirt, oil, toxins and other impurities from deep within the skin, and further regulate the production of sebum which is the oily substance that can clog your pores and cause acne if overproduced – bentonite clay is especially effective at this. Clays are also known for their ability to gently exfoliate the skin and remove dead surface skin cells that contribute to acne, which can make them a gentler alternative for people who might be sensitive to treatments like Benzoyl Peroxide. 

Clays are deeply cleansing, can help remove makeup, reduce breakouts and blemishes and even minimize the appearance of pores. Sheet masks are better for overall hydration and moisturization, but tend not to extend any exfoliating or oil-absorbing benefits. With a sheet mask you might see some instant, skin-brightening results, but they don’t tend to offer the long term skincare solutions that clay masks do with repeated use.

There are several different types of clay commonly found in face masks, and though they all boast various absorption properties, they also vary in their mineral composition and benefits to skin, allowing you to choose the clay that best suits your skin type

Perhaps our favorite benefit of clay-based masks is their ability to multimask! You have the option to mix and match various masks on different areas of your face to address particularly problem areas or treat different skin concerns with different masks. A sheet mask is a one and done moisture infusion to the entire face, regardless of condition. 


Clay Mask Ingredients

When it comes to skin-loving ingredients, clay masks take the cake! Clay masks in general don’t contain any added synthetic fragrances, alcohol, mineral oil or formaldehyde- all of which are ingredients our estheticians recommend to avoid. While sheet masks can be beneficial for those with dryer skin, the additives that are used in them can cause irritation if you aren’t diligent about checking the ingredients in them – sheet masks often contain a material % of alcohol, which can be particularly irritating to the skin, and many times parabens are used in order to preserve the mask and prevent fungal growth on the sheet. 


Clay Masks and the Environment


We’re also partial to clay masks since they avoid the single-use stigma of sheet masks. While some sheet masks are biodegradable, many others are not, and using a sheet mask multiple times per week can quickly add up when it comes to waste being added to our environment.

Choosing an environmentally friendly sheet mask will normally mean a more expensive choice, as well. All natural materials like bio-cellulose are the most environmentally friendly options and the most expensive as well, whereas inexpensive options like non-woven fiber or cotton are poorer materials overall.

Ultimately, When it comes down to it, the choice between a clay mask and a sheet mask is clear! Unless you have excessively dry skin for which a clay mask would not be suitable, clay-based masks are the best choice for treating everything from normal to acne-prone skin, as well as for the environment and your wallet! 


Shop our clay-based at home facial masks