Skin care

A Spray-on Clay Mask? This We Had to Try

Clayspray's ingenious spray dispenser takes dirt to a whole new level -- even for a jaded face mask junkie

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I'm a low-maintenance beauty junkie. While those two things might sound like they're on opposite ends of the spectrum, I find that some beauty products are so genius, they actually help me cut back on the time I spend primping. I love finding the next brilliant product that makes me say, "Why didn't I think of that?" Dry shampoo (to extend that blowout), eyelash extensions (I wake up looking instantly awake), and nail wraps (I don't have to wait for my nails to dry! Game changer) are some of my most frequent beauty purchases that keep my morning beauty routine under 20 minutes.

My go-to favorite low maintenance beauty product is, by far, the clay mask. The concept is odd -- spackle dirt on your face, and impurities are magically drawn out of your pores -- but my skin always feels ultra clean and pampered after a mask. Face masks feel incredibly productive to me. I can shoot off work emails (or, let's be honest, switch between "Friends" and "SATC" reruns) and get my pores squeaky clean and microscopic all at once. So when I heard about a mask product called Clayspray, I had to give it a shot.

To be honest, the main reason I wanted to try this product was the name. When I heard the word "Clayspray," I had visions of myself spraying on my mask like a graffiti artist tagging a subway wall. While that's not exactly the case, the packaging for this product is pretty ingenious. Instead of applying it directly to your face, you spray the hair mousse-like concoction into your hand first. This makes for a lot less mess when applying. It's also more hygienic than masks that are packaged in tubs. Think about it: Every time your finger dips into the jar, you transfer germs from your hands and face into a moisture-rich breeding ground (yes, I'm a little compulsive about cleanliness). Plus, the design is air-tight, which keeps the product stable and fresh.

This freshness means the maximum benefits from the mineral-rich clay are delivered to your face, kind of like if you hopped over to Spain's Iberian Peninsula, dug 200 feet under a mountain, and applied the 100-million-year-old clay deposits used in Clayspray directly to your face without coming up for air. Clayspray packages this clay in a slightly more convenient form.

After I got over the disappointment of not being able to blast myself with aerosol-canned mud (Why was I excited about that?), I slathered it over my face the old-fashioned way -- with my fingers. My first impression: This stuff smells like dirt -- but, seriously, in a good way. If I'm paying top dollar for first-class mud, it'd better be the real stuff. Because Clayspray is extracted from some seriously ancient deposits, they're free of environmental elements and pollution.

What's more, this stuff is muddier (again, in a good way) than most clay masks. Most clay masks contain about 20 percent clay, whereas Clayspray contains 60-65 percent. On the ingredients list, clay is first in line, meaning it's the most concentrated ingredient. Clay doesn't even get a mention on the labels of some drugstore masks I checked.

Clayspray's line includes five different masks for different skin types. There's the White Clay and Ginseng Formula, which is an "energizing" formula for normal to combination skin; the Red Clay and Cocoa Formula, which smoothes and brightens skin; the Mattifying Red Clay Formula, which regulates oily skin; the White Clay Formula, which purifies, exfoliates, and removes impurities; and the one I tried, the White Clay and Aloe Vera Formula, made especially for sensitive skin.

While I liked the formula and the results (more about that later), the mask's drying time is what really impressed me. In about seven minutes, the mask was completely dry -- even though I put on a thick layer. Most masks I use take about 15-20 minutes to fully cure. The quick drying time made me feel like my skin was really absorbing the minerals from the mask.

So far, Clayspray's stats had me pretty impressed -- but the true test is how my skin feels when I wash the clay down the drain. When this mask came off, my skin felt cleaner and smoother -- without the tingling or too-tight feeling of many masks that I've tried. Because clay masks are drying in nature (they absorb the oil from your skin), the moisturizing aloe vera in this formula really made this mask perfect for my sensitive skin. I felt like the clay worked to absorb oil from my T-zone, while the aloe vera kept it from drying out the rest of my skin.

At $59.95, this dirt ain't cheap -- but each bottle contains 15 applications, making each application about $4. Considering I've paid much more than that for mask applications at spas, and even doled out twice that for fancy-pants single-use French green clay masks that I had to mix myself, $4 per application is well within my spending range -- especially if I consider it the low maintenance (and much cheaper) version of a spa day.

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