This review is for Australian Healing Clay; bentonite clay. I couldn't find Aztec Secret anywhere in Australia. The closest thing I could find in most health food stores was hydrated bentonite (diluted to roughly a few %), but I was fortunate enough to find a tub of bentonite clay powder at Evelyn Faye, a health store in Melbourne CBD.
How it works: Before purchasing, I did plenty of research on how this clay works. Bentonite, sometimes referred to as Montmorrillonite, has a strong negative charge. Therefore, the molecules bond and absorb toxins (which carry positive charges). Hence it is used for detoxification, helps with digestive disturbances/allergies/intolerances. Mine is a cream coloured clay, though I have heard the colour varies between grey, cream and green.
Uses: Unlike Aztec Secret (from what I read), this products is also safe to take internally. Add a teaspoon of clay to a glass of water. It is also used for facials, mud baths, foot baths, hair masks..quite versatile.
Price: I paid $40 for 1kg, which obviously is a considerable amount more than one would be able to get Aztec Secret for. However, this is the only one I could find available in Australian stores, the quality is good (we have strict quality regulations), and it DOES NOT EXPIRE! So this will probably last me for years and years :D
My experience: I tried taking this internally every day for a few weeks, adding a teaspoon of clay to a glass of water. I felt like it helped settle my gut from discomfort or just aid disgestion from a heavy meal but I stopped taking it because it was causing my skin to purge nasty bacteria filled pimples. I tried to push past the purging stage but alas could not take it anymore. Now I use it as a face mask, using a combination of water (many use ACV, but my skin can't tolerate that) and clay once a week. I like to use it as a thick paste consistency, and leave it on until it has fully dried and hardened. It seems to suck out a lot of gunk and after I wash it off I always look forward to checking out whether it's managed to loosen up any of my pesky blackheads. Sometimes I'll do a pore strip the next day and...let's just say the results are simultaneously fascinating and gross :p Please note that it can be a very drying mask, so once a week with sufficient moisturizing after! I don't think that this will end my acne problems (I still get hormonal acne, and this will not prevent acne resulting from poor cell turnover, diet etc) but it certainly will help with cleaning out my pores from bacterial-related acne.
Warnings: Don't store or allow contact with metal objects. This reduces the effectiveness as it affects the ionic charge. If you are using this on your face, it may leave skin red for awhile after usage externally- this is normal and not a reaction, but due to the increased blood circulation that has been promoted. Also, no laughing, eating or talking or you may find yourself in wrinkletown!
Overall, I would highly recommend this for anyone with oily, acne-prone skin, or taken internally for those looking to detox/reduce bowel discomfort.
FYI here's the site of the brand that I purchased: www.healingclay.com.au/
I haven't found this to be very useful for my face because it's a little too drying for my skin type, but I hear that it's great on oily skin. Be warned that it will leave your skin looking red for about half an hour after using it; and it's very important to moisturize immediately afterwards. I would suggest mixing it with organic unrefined apple cider vinegar.
It has worked really well as a scalp treatment for dandruff. I mix it with apple cider vinegar, and a little bit of jojoba oil until it's a watery mixture. I dampen my hair first, and then apply the mixture to my scalp. I then wrap my head in plastic-wrap to prevent it from drying out. Next, sit around looking like a crazy person for 20-30 mins. I then rinse it all out and wash/condition my hair as usual. Your scalp will feel so clean, and completely flake free.
I love this stuff! I originally tried it with raw organic apple cider vinegar, but I HATE the smell of that stuff. It literally makes me nauseous. Then I tried it with water, but it just turned it into a clumpy mess. Finally, I tried it with 50/50 lemon juice and water, and it gave me the same mousse like texture that the ACV did, but with a much better smell. I love how this stuff feels on my face as it is drying. For only $7, this was a steal.
Used this a while ago when I had hormonal cystic acne. I loved the feeling of the dirt getting sucked out. The pimples looked less inflamed but the amount of acne didn't change.
I didn't use this product when I was on vacation for two weeks and I noticed my skin cleared up. I didn't think about it may had something to do with the mask so I used it again when I got back. After the first time I noticed I had more bumps but I thought that was because all the dirt got sucked to the surface so I used it again after a few days. Big mistake. My cheeks are full of red, painful cystic acne again.
Unfortunately, it's is going to take a while to clear up again.
I really think it is because of this mask so I won't use it again
- a lot of product
- better complexion
- dramatically reduces pores
- in store availability
Comments: Wow, this stuff is intense! I was able to find this at The Vitamin Shoppe and have never seen it elsewhere (besides online). Deep cleaning and hardens to make your face feel like stone. Mix with ACV, a little of this goes a long way. Acne may surface as a result of this deep pore cleansing. Skin looks airbrushed because pores are nowhere to be seen!
I've only used this twice and haven't seen any noticeable differences but I'll update as I use it more frequently. I have stubborn blackheads on my nose and chin and I'm hoping this will help with that. I found mine at Whole Foods for around $6.
The greatest mask of all time! This baby takes all the gunk out of my face like no other. I use it about once or twice a week and I always mix with apple cider vinegar. Mixing is a pain and so is removing it but its worth it. I leave it on for 20-30 minutes. I'm an acne prone person so when I skip a week or two you can definitely tell. Love love love
WOW! Ladies and gentlemen, this product is absolutely amazing! Let me start by telling you my skin type: acne-prone, combination and scar ridden face. I have been suffering from what seems to be adult acne, for almost 3 years, on and off. I will have months where I have good skin (i.e. one small active pimple, still a bit of discolouration but can be hidden with minimal effort)...and then, I will have months on end where my skin is beyond gross.
I was sceptical about this product...mainly because I have tried EVERYTHING. I have spent thousands on skin care....PMD, acne meds, creams, lotions and potions...you name it! I bought this on a whim....I've had these tiny under the skin pimples that don't look noticeable until my face hits sunlight....talk about unattractive. I was so upset and some days I didn't even want to walk out the door...long story short, I ordered this from vitacost, slapped it on, and the next day I freaked OUT! I had new pimples, red and swollen....I tried it again the next day and they calmed down and it seems like the under the skin pimples had formed a head...and I tried it again the next. 3 days later, my skin is beautiful! Those pesky cysts are gone!!!!!!! I continue this once a week, in conjunction with a cleanser, organic moisturizer, and a honey mask once a week.
I mixed it with ACV first, but now I just use water since the ACV was a little too strong.
Good luck everyone :) Please, try it out! It's natural and simply awesome! Do not get scared by the initial "purging" stage...just make sure u dont have an important event to go to that week :P
Upon reading all of the hype, I had to give this mask a chance! I have extremely sensitive skin that is acne-prone and even if it is said to be safe and recommended, there is no way I am using ACV on it. I feel my skin begin to burn and turn bright red at the mere thought. So, I have used this mask three times, mixing it with water and applying it with a foundation brush, leaving it to dry for about 15-20 minutes. I do get the pulsating effect that is a bit annoying but not unbearable. Unbearable is when I have applied it to my neck, even just under my jawline and chin, and it gets extremely itchy and tight, very uncomfortable, so never again will I make that mistake. My skin is definitely brighter after use, it does deep clean my pores and minimizes the blackheads on my nose that ordinarily nothing will cure. This stuff is harsh, however, and I do find it to be drying. Also having such acne-prone skin that I **finally** have learned to manage in the last few years makes using this mask less appealing because I know it does purge pimples from beneath the surface, even within the matter of time I use it, when acne appears that wasn't there 20 minutes before. It could be true that the blemish would have surfaced eventually anyway, that this helps you deal with it now rather than later, but I'm not completely sure about that given the success I have had with my skincare routine at keeping breakouts from forming. I feel discouraged when that happens w/ this mask because it is like I'm needlessly tampering with the effective routine I have by using something so powerful that immediately causes breakouts, so with all that said, I don't think this product is for me. Hopefully I can find a different mask with the same good cleansing and blackhead-eliminating effects that this does, that doesn't make me an instant pizza face in the process and dry out my skin at the same time.
UPDATE, 4/12/13: Upped rating from 3 lippies to 4. I tried mixing this with witch hazel (Dickinson's 100%) and now we're getting somewhere! It worked much better than water at making the consistency of the mask easier to work with and my skin was even brighter and actually soft and smooth. Also not drying, which is weird because sometimes witch hazel is on my skin. I still broke out a little but not as bad this time and I recovered from it faster. I recommend trying with WH if water isn't working or if you're scared of ACV like me! :) & I know I swore it off sort of before, but I just have so much of it and it really does deep clean my pores... I have to use it up and if I have success again, I may repurchase.
Update, numero dos! 4/23/13: Ok, now I caved with the ACV and have used it with the mask twice. It turned my skin every shade of red that I thought it would and my skin felt the most dry of anything I have used it with, but it seriously cleaned out my pores best. Despite the acne and some redness I have, my skin looks so clean and smooth. With moisturizer and an hour or so, the redness went away, also. As some have said too, I do notice it might take a day or two after use to really see improvement but it's worth it when you do. I'm a believer now because I think this will be a good weekly mask to help clarify my skin after a week of full face makeup and such. :D I will often use it again with witch hazel, or so I intend. ACV when I really need it. Water only if I'm out of the other two products. ;) This stuff is great and I totally recommend if your skin needs deep cleaning and pore unclogging. (I think this is the most obnoxious review I've ever written with all of the updates)
I can't believe I haven't reviewed this product yet! I've been using it several times a week for a few months now, and my skin just loves this stuff. I actually picked this up the same day as the Queen Helene's Mint Julep Mask after reading some of the many many glowing reviews on that one (it sadly does nothing for me- for some reason I'm the unlucky one that most user-beloved products don't work for). I get this clay at Vitamin Shoppe- $5 for a one pound tub that will last you forever so you can't beat the price. It's a fine powdery clay that you mix with water or the preferred apple cider vinegar with non-metal utensils and bowl, so it requires some kitchen fun but it's totally worth it.
My skin is sensitive, prone to dryness and blemishes- usually small but persistent little whiteheads in the chin area or elsewhere. They usually don't go away on their own so this is a great intervention! (I can't say how this works on regular pink blemishes, but I imagine it would incinerate any blackheads). This mask helps my skin feel vacuumed out before I start my day (when I have the time). Granted, it will make your face pink where the mask was for about a half hour, plus dry if you are prone to this.( If I leave the mask on for too long it may even leave me with some white flaky patches, but I'm prone to this anyway and washing with honey or green tea remedies this just fine, and I imagine a lotion would too).
When applied correctly this mask will dry and harden like a cement- I mean you won't be able to eat or drink or talk. But I think that must be part of this stuff's power. I usually experiment with the ratio of the clay with Bragg's ACV, using enough of each so that it forms a mousse consistency. I've found that different ratios of each result in different mask experiences and outcomes so this is just something you'll have to experiment to see what works best for you ( I haven't even figured out how to make the best consistencies yet, whenever it happens it's by accident, but if I get it I'll let ya know!). The directions say something like making the mask a quarter inch thick-which is totally ridiculous in my opinion. I find that applying a thin layer allows it to dry best and therefore work it's best- but it should be thick enough that it's not see-through if you know what I mean. In places the mask is thicker, it doesn't dry completely and so I'm guessing it's drawing power is very limited there- these spots can just peel right off, where the ones that dry completely are totally glued on.
So the mask usually is dry by about fifteen/twenty minutes, and as it really solidifies it actually separates on your face, like into puzzle pieces or cracked desert grounds. That's how much it dries and pulls! It literally pulls down my eyelids, so I look absolutely ridiculous with this on (don't let anyone see you or you may laugh together and it'll hurt! haha). You'll see what I mean when you look at yourself in a mirror- like a facelift/mountain troll version of yourself. The first time I tried this I think I was afraid it was going to rip my skin off with it in the sink (it does come off after splashing and then massaging with warm-hot water for a few minutes). The jar even says feel your face pulsate!- and I've noticed it does this best when I'm moving around more to get the blood moving versus just sitting on my couch. Thank god for it's pulling power though because sometimes those whiteheads are totally taken care of with this (not 100% of the time though), leaving just a pink mark behind which is much more ideal than messing with it myself. I'd experiment with the amount of time you leave it on after it hardens though and see what suits you best.
So since I've been using it very often for several months, I can't say it's prevented new breakouts, and therefore isn't a totally perfect product, but I think that problem is hormonal so I guess I can't expect it to work miracles (no topical product has done this for me, only helps or clears marks). However, it does make my skin feel much fresher and cleaned out for that day, so I love it just for that! Have fun experimenting with this, as there's very little reason not to try it for the price! Just experiment when you don't have to leave the house right away or when people can laugh at your crazy face ;-)