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Clay Mask VS Sheet Mask | What’s the Difference?

by | Last updated Sep 1, 2020 | Published on Aug 25, 2020 | FAQ | 0 comments

There are so many face mask options out there, how do you know which one is best for you?

Clay masks and sheet masks are two of the most popular options.

You probably have a lot of questions!

What is the difference between a clay mask and a sheet mask? Are clay masks or sheet masks better? Do I use a clay mask or sheet mask first?

In this post I will go over the specifics of each and do a comparison to answer all of your questions.

Clay mask vs sheet mask- let the games begin!  

In summary

What is a clay mask?

Clay masks are formed by combining clay powders with a variety of liquids, such as water, different oils, or apple cider vinegar. The main advantages are removing excess oil, impurities and pollutants from the skin, and delivering nutrients and minerals.

What is a sheet mask?

Sheet masks are a physical mask generally from the Korean beauty markets. The mask is doused in a serum-based formula and is well known for hydration. They do not cleanse or exfoliate the skin.

Which mask is better on the environment?

Clay masks are much more environmentally friendly than sheet masks. Sheet masks are single-use and will inevitably end up in the landfill, and as they break down over the following decades, they release methane into the ozone layer.

So obviously there’s a rather apparent appearance difference between a clay mask and a sheet mask. 

One of them you look like a zombie in and the other like you have a cracking desert on your face. 

If I’m being honest. 

But there are actually quite a lot of differences between the two types of face masks. 

So here’s how to choose which face mask to use for your skin type.   

clay mask vs sheet mask

What is a clay mask?

Clay masks are made from natural clay derived from the earth and plants. They are rich in minerals, negatively charged, so they naturally detox and remove nasties from your skin.

There are several different types of clay, each with different mineral makeup, so they all act a little different for your skin.

Clay masks are especially a good choice for those who suffer from acne or oily skin.

That’s because clay adsorbs excess oil and impurities from your pores.  Because oil is the leading cause of different types of acne, clay is very effective here.

Clay masks are a good choice if these apply to you:

  • acne prone skin
  • oily skin
  • enlarged and/or clogged pores
  • combination skin with oily t-zone
  • uneven skin tone
  • looking for natural face mask option
  • skin is subjected to lots of pollution
  • use lots of non-natural makeup products

Do not use a face mask if you have dry skin.  Clays are great at adsorbing excess oil, but with dry skin you want to keep all that oil to yourself.  The only clay that will work for dry skin is Rhassoul Clay.

With clay masks you can either choose to purchase a clay powder or a ready to go hydrated clay.

The clay powder ensures that your product is free of chemicals and preservatives, because it’s just the one ingredient, clay!  The powder can be mixed with different liquids to form a paste.

Our facial clay assortment pack includes 4 different types of clay so you can try each variation.

Or if you are not up for mixing your own clay mask, some of my favorites are Sand & Sky, Eve Hansen or Purity.

What is a Sheet Mask?

Sheet masks are a physical mask that is soaked in a type of serum and placed on the face for a certain period of time.

It is said that sheet masks originated in Japan hundreds of years ago, where geishas would use silk fibers from their kimonos and soak them in flower water and apply to their skin. Not sure if it is true, but sure sounds fancy!

Sheet masks are notoriously good for moisturizing and hydrating your skin.

The most popular sheet masks come from the Korean skincare market these days.

Some sheet masks are made of cotton, but a lot of times they are made from a combination of synthetic materials, including plastic microfibers, nylon, and even polyester.  Choose a hydrogel or bio-cellulose for best absorption.

Cotton sheet masks don’t allow for the ingredients to soak into your skin.

The masks are soaked in a combination of different serum-based formulas, and then packaged individually. Unlike a powder clay mask, there is no prep necessary. 

Each mask will have a different combination of ingredients, which can range from green tea to seaweed to charcoal.

Depending on what type of skin you have, certain masks may be better for your skin than others.  Use a sheet mask if you have:

  • dry and flakey skin
  • aging skin
  • wrinkles

Do not use a sheet mask if you skin is:

  • oily
  • acne prone (may cause pore blockages)
  • needing exfoliation
  • sensitive skin (should be careful of ingredients)

Each sheet mask will vary depending on the ingredients of the mask.

Make sure you know what you are putting on your body before you give them a whirl! 

Clay Mask VS Sheet Mask Showdown:

Still confused? This comparison might help simplify your choice:

Clay maskSheet Mask
Skin TypeOily, Normal, CombinationNormal, Dry
Acne ProneYesNo
Sensitive skin

Yes (Kaolin or Rhassoul)

*read more

Clogged poresYesNo
Uneven skin toneYesYes
ApplicationMix and Apply1 time use packet application
IngredientsJust clayIngredients vary per sheet
PreservativesNo (powdered clay)Yes
100% NaturalYesNo
Environmentally friendlyYesNo
Cost per application$1 per mask (with this assortment pack)From $1 to $8.49

If clay masks are for you, there are a couple types of clay you can choose from, including:

  • kaolin
  • bentonite (indian healing clay)
  • rhassoul clay
  • french green clay
  • pink clay

Each has their own advantages and can help with different skin types. For a comparison of each, you can see my article explaining the types and benefits of each clay.

Similarly, sheet masks each have their own benefits as well, depending on the type you choose. A common denominator between them, however, is that they are excellent at delivering hydration to the skin.

Which mask is better for our environment?

With our world in the midst of global warming, I try and keep in mind my environmental footprint in every purchase I make.

Winner hands down here is clay masks.

There are a number of contributing factors, but the main reason is how wasteful sheet masks are. They are designed to be one-time use applications. No matter what the material consists of, they are pretty much useless after the mask is used. 

That means one sheet mask equals one more thing in our landfills. Although there are some brands that offer biodegradable masks, most are made of microplastics and unnatural fibers. As these materials break down, they release methane into the atmosphere, as well as microplastics into the earth.

Because clay masks are all natural and dont need any delivery method like a sheet mask does, they are best for reducing our carbon footprint. We need to take care of our mother earth, and avoiding sheet masks is one way to help.

We are proud to have designed our packaging with recyclable materials, not too mention one package will do a minimum 25 face mask applications.

Multi-masking: Clay or Sheet mask first?

Perhaps you want to give both masks a try. If so, what order should you use them in?

Since clay masks are known best for absorbing excess oil and pollutants out of your skin, it will be best to use clay first.

Once you have all of the excess gunk pulled out of your pores, that is the best time to apply any hydrating products. Sheet masks can aid in hydrating the skin after the detox of a clay mask.

Multimasking tip: Detox and cleanse first with clay. Follow up with hydrating sheet mask.

One thing to be careful of is introducing too many new products to your skin all at once. Not only does this increase your risk of your skin getting inflamed or having a reaction, but you won’t know which product caused it.

So if your skin really loved one and would show benefits, you might not get to see them at all because of the negative reaction of the other or the combination of the two together!

In summary,

I hope this article helped you gain some clarity around some of the most important questions relating to skincare these days!

I would love to hear your feedback if you have experience with clay masks vs sheet masks.

Leave a note in the comments if so!

Disclaimer: Our content does not constitute a dermatologist or medical advice.

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Clay Mask VS Sheet Mask | What's the Difference? 1

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