Down and Dirty


Long before modern ingredients, people looked no further than Mother Nature to keep their skin looking its best. In fact, the indigenous people of Mesopotamia, which is widely known as the benchmark of civilization in the west, utilized mud and clay for both medicinal and
aesthetic purposes, due to its composition of botanicals, enzymes, and minerals. Today, although there are myriad products and ingredients available to help clients achieve softer, hydrated, and healthy skin, treatments featuring mud and clay remain in demand because of their natural and proven benefits. “Mud and clay masks have oil-controlling properties, absorb toxins, and purify the skin,” says Cassie Miller-Hart, west coast regional educator for HydroPeptide. “Minerals in mud aid in detoxification and provide nutrient support to the skin. Mud is a centuries-old, tried-and-true step in beauty regimens for its unique mineral content and healing properties.”

For hundreds of years, bentonite clay has been used for both medicinal and beauty purposes in many cultures, because this particular form of clay is excellent at drawing out impurities from the skin. At My Oasis Spa (Whittier, CA), clients can experience the benefits of bentonite firsthand with a variety of bentonite clay treatments, which can be added on to any regular service. For example, they can choose to add the Back Body Scrub ($35 add-on), which helps remove excess oil to prevent breakouts on the back while stimulating the lymphatic system. Bentonite clay is combined with jojoba, peppermint, and tea tree essential oils to gently exfoliate and hydrate the skin.

Treatments incorporating mud and clay are especially beneficial to those suffering from acne because of their drying properties. “Mud or clay treatments are great for clients with oily or acne-prone skin,” says Lydia Sarfati, CEO and founder of Repêchage. “These skin types tend to produce excess sebum and bacteria, which lead to clogged pores as well as inflammation. Mud and clay masks help to disinfect, as they cleanse and calm the skin.” At Dolce Vita Day Spa (Houston), visitors have a variety of options to choose from that feature Hungarian wellness mud, the only therapeutic mud authorized to be used in medicinal spas in Hungary. Among the most popular treatments is the Acne Mud Facial ($90, 60 minutes), which helps improve the condition of acne, reduce the appearance of large pores, and revitalize the skin. And because the mud used contains almost 60 percent silicon dioxide, it helps maintain skin’s elasticity.

But, beware, warns Miller-Hart. The same properties and benefits mud and clay offer for those suffering from skin conditions may prove detrimental for clients with regular or dry skin. “Because mud and clay masks typically have a drying effect on some skin types, I recommend looking for one that has hydrating properties, in addition to the other active ingredients,” she says. “As an esthetician, one of my favorite tricks is to apply a serum-based product before the mask application. This will allow the beneficial actives to penetrate into the skin and minimize the drying.”

According to Annet King, director of global education of Dermalogica, it is important to take into account which type of mud or clay product you choose when offering clients body treatments. “With body masks, it needs to penetrate the skin, but then you need to be able to get it off the skin quickly, so plan for this to be used in a wet room or have a shower in the room,” says King.

Offering mud and clay treatments in your spa is also a great, and inexpensive, opportunity to add unique and fun packages or add-ons to your spa’s menu. At The Standard Spa (Miami), guests can enjoy the Mud Lounge. Before, between, or after treatments, for $20, they can choose from Red Earth Detoxifying Mud, Purifying Golden Body Mud, or Spirulina Smoothing Mud, which they then apply themselves all over their bodies and faces before relaxing in one of the spa’s bayside lounge chairs. The mud then tightens pores, clears toxins, and improves skintone.

Whether incorporating mud and clay treatments into your facial or bodycare services, there are a variety of options to offer your clients. “A treatment protocol including mud or clay can be marketed in many ways, according to your spa demographic and desired results,” says Caroline Rushworth, director of education for Decléor Paris. “A body wrap can be promoted as an enhancement to massage services to warm the tissue prior to treatments to improve overall results. That way, relaxation and wellbeing are induced even before the massage commences. Or a self-warming clay-based mask can offer immediate lifting results by aiding the penetration of the key actives of ingredients applied.” No matter how you decide to incorporate mud or clay treatments into your menu, show your clients how getting down and dirty at your spa comes with benefits.


Help clients stimulate and detoxify their skin with the help of these mud- and clay-based products.


Alaska Glacial Mud Co. The Glacial Facial Purifying Mineral Mud Masque: This mask contains glacial clay from the Alaska Copper River Delta. It is also enriched with wildcrafted botanical extracts with moisturizing, skin-softening, and anti-aging properties.


Amber Products Seaweed & French Green Clay Mud Masque: This mask features French green clay and marine clays, such as laminaria, spirulina, and ulva lactuca, to stimulate and detoxify skin.


Bioelements MudTherapy: This therapeutic mud in powder form is formulated with natrium mud from Germany that is purifying, stimulating, and detoxifying.


Cellcosmet Cellmen Precious Mask: This mask brightens and harmonizes skintone and reduces the size of the pores with a complex of specific clays and precious earth from the Amazon.


Christina Cosmeceuticals Sea Herbal Beauty Mask: This mask contains mud and minerals, which help regulate the moisture of the skin, promote healing, and smooth the skin.


Éminence Organic Skin Care Hungarian Herbal Mud Treatment: This clarifying, stimulating, and detoxifying treatment contains Hungarian thermal mud, which opens pores, eliminates toxins, and increases circulation.


FarmHouse Fresh Splendid Dirt: This nutrient-rich mud mask contains bentonite clay and white illite clay to help deep cleanse and de-clog facial pores while boosting skin’s overall radiance.


Germaine de Capuccini Marine Body Mud: This mud formula contains a mixture of natural marine sediments enriched with trace elements like copper, iodine, and zinc to absorb toxins, stimulate lymphatic circulation, and activate blood flow. North & Central:; South & West:


G.M. Collin Oxygen Puractive+ Mask: This mask combines white clay, an oxygen complex, and 100-percent natural ingredients to purify, detoxify, and revitalize the skin.


HydroPeptide Instant Peptide Miracle Mask: This mask is made from oil-controlling bentonite and kaolin clays that help extract impurities without drying skin.


Prana SpaCeuticals AHA/BHA Refining Masque: Featuring kaolin and smectite clays, this mask helps reduce oil and detoxifies skin.


Prima Fleur Free & Clear Regulating Masque [No. 1091]: Featuring pascalite clay from Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains, this exfoliating mask also balances and purifies the skin.


Rhonda Allison Kojic Clay TCA: This formula contains a complex of bentonite clay, kojic acid, trichloroacetic acid, and a deep-sea composition, which works to increase cell turnover and remineralize the skin.


Shira Esthetics Shir-Organic Pure Cherry Clay Mask: This organic cherry clay mask rids the skin of impurities that cause breakouts, absorbs excess oil and dirt, and helps tone, balance, and minimize pores.


Sonya Dakar Skincare Blue Mask: This cooling mask contains kaolin clay to calm skin. It helps moisturize and heal irritated skin, replenish dehydrated skin, and strengthen, soothe, and improve the skin’s elasticity.


SpaRitual Instinctual Clay Masque Indonesian Ginger: This mask contains red clay to help promote the removal of impurities and toxins from the skin.


Vitelle Dermatology Labs Sulphur Purifying Mask: This mask contains pore-minimizing kaolin clay, antiseptic sulphur, and antimicrobial date fruit
extract to clear pores and refine and clarify skin texture while detoxifying impurities and eliminating excess oil.