by Natalie Bell
Being caught in your green facemask is a beauty cliché. I decided to one-up the old “you caught me during my private beauty routine,” slathered on Neem Clay Mask ($25.50, Amazon.com), and wandered around the office (you can see a picture on Nicki’s Friday update). Fortunately, not too many people caught me product testing. My own vanity aside — Neem Clay Mask promises to purify and draw out oils and impurities, leaving you with a fresh face.
Clays are often used in skin care because they’re full of minerals. This pale green clay, also called French clay because of its origins, comes from recently deposited deep-sea sediments (Fangotherapy Fun). Originally, it was mined in France and sun dried, but the clay is now found just about everywhere (just because it says “French” clay doesn’t mean its from France). It has fine granules and a smooth feeling when wet. On study found it to have antibiotic properties that could work against a host of bacteria including E. coli and MRSA (Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy). Other studies have found this and also that illite clay increases the body’s ability to heal after exposure bacteria (The Clay Minerals Society). And it helps your skin in other ways. One study found that illite clay increased Tyrosinase, which acts as a melanin-inhibitor (Current Mincrobiology).
Sunflower oil is more effective than olive oil for hydrating. That’s because it contains 60% linoleic acid, which incorporates into skin lipids to hydrate and keeps hair from losing water (British Journal of Dermatology). It’s a source of vitamin E (Journal of the American Oil Chemist’s Society). It lessened transepidermal water loss, healed scaly lesions, and added lecithin in an extremely small — three-person — study (Journal of Investigative Dermatology).
Neem, found in India, is an evergreen tree used often in folk medicine to treat skin conditions (Mosby’s Handbook of Herbs and Natural Supplements). It’s also been shown to be an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial substance. That’s part of the reason it has been recently tested and shown to be effective as a spermacide and lice shampoo additive (Skin and Allergy News). The anti-fungal capabilities of neem were tested and found to be effective on pig skin (Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology). It’s also been classified as non-irritating (Consulting GmbH).
Personal Use and Opinions
Neem Clay Mask has a smooth texture with granular pieces. It tingles on your skin and the neem has a menthol smell — which both make it feel super fresh. That tingling lasts for a while and it’s a little intense, so if you don’t enjoy the sensation, this product isn’t for you. Once I washed it off, my skin felt softer and fresher. It was a little dry — clay is known for absorbing oils — so I needed to moisturize, but my skin looked bright. I would try it as a part of a regular routine.
Neem Clay Mask is a good purifying facial treatment with a lot of antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has hydrating properties, but the oil extraction leaves skin feeling a little tight. The scent is potent and matches the tingling sensation when you put the scrub on, which might be too much for sensitive skin. Overall, it’s a good choice for a face mask treatment.
Product Rating: 7/10
- High or optimized concentration of key ingredients: 2/3
- Unique formulation or new technology: 2/3
- Value: 3/3
- Sunscreen: 0/1
Aqua, Illite (French Clay), Helianthus Annus (Sunflower Oil), Azadirachta Indica (Neem Leaves), Cetearyl Alcohol & Ceteareth 20, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Essential Oils, Phenoxyethanol & Caprylyl Glycol
About the author: Natalie K. Bell is the former magazine editor of The Pitt News. She has nearly five years of experience in print and communications. She loves big sun hats and good grammar. For more, please visit our About page.