Deep Cleansing Mud Mask Recipe

Deep cleansing mud mask facial recipe with herbs and essential oils

Writing a book is stressful! It caused my first autoimmune flare in months and the first time I’ve had a skin breakout in years. I’m back on the autoimmune reset diet and my symptoms are all fading quickly, but to help speed up the skin healing, I’ve been doing my deep cleansing mud mask recipe (in fact, I have one on my face as I type this!).

I got a natural facial as a gift one time and it was so relaxing and my skin felt great for days. My budget doesn’t allow regular facials, so I wanted to find a good at-home option instead. This mask has been great for clearing up my stress-induced breakout and getting my skin back to normal.

Ingredients Needed

  • Bentonite Clay: I like to use this Aztec Healing Clay for external uses like facials. I’ve written before about the many benefits of healing clays, and bentonite is especially good at firming and detoxing the skin. It is also great for detoxing the hair and restoring natural volume and shine.
  • Honey: Another facial ingredient I love, honey is naturally soothing and cleansing. I often use honey alone to cleanse my face in the evening (I use the oil cleansing method in the morning) with great results. Raw honey is naturally antibacterial and is great for skin healing. It also adds a smooth and silky texture to the mask.
  • Herbs and Essential Oils: I put some chamomile flowers and calendula flowers in the blender to make a fine powder and add to the clay before mixing with the honey and water to add some extra skin nourishment. I also like to add a couple of drops of lavender essential oil for scent and skin health. If I don’t feel like powdering the herbs first, I just make a strong tea with them instead and use the liquid in place of water in the recipe below.

Mud Mask Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of bentonite clay
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon of water (or more if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp of powdered calendula and chamomile flowers (optional)
  • 2 drops of lavender essential oil (optional)

Mud Mask Instructions

  1. Mix the bentonite clay with the powdered herbs (if using) in a small bowl.
  2. Add honey and mix to form a thick paste.
  3. Add enough warm water to form a thin paste. Add lavender essential oil (if using).
  4. Immediately apply to face and neck in a circular motion, avoiding the eyes.
  5. Leave on 10-15 minutes or until it has hardened.
  6. Wash off with a (dark colored) wash cloth soaked in hot water (really hot water helps to steam off the mask without having to rub the skin).
  7. Pat skin dry and enjoy your smooth skin!

Ever made a mud mask at home? What did you use? Tell me below!

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Reader Comments

  1. I have not made a mud mask. But I am using your recipe replacing the clay powder with cunamon and using it for an exfoliator. I will let u know if it works.

  2. For about 3 weeks I’ve been mixing bentonite clay with apple cider vinegar to form a thick paste. I leave it on for 20 min, then rinse it off in the shower. I apply it on my neck as well, and the little wrinkles I had are almost gone! For tge past 2 weeks I’ve included my eyelids and have noticed a dramatic lifting effect, which is great! Much love to you, Katie

    • Can you please tell me the amounts as I burned my skin once with ACV.

    • Joan could you share your mask recipe? Thanks

      • Such recipe is written down on my bentonite clay box:
        Mix clay with equal parts of raw apple cider vinegar and/or water. Stir the mixture well to a smooth paste. Add more clay or liquid as needed. Apply to the face and let it dry for 5-10 minutes for delicate skin and 15-20 minutes for normal skin.

    • How much apple cider vinegar to the clay? for necks and eyelids?

    • Have you ever had trouble with staining in your tub? I rinsed off clay once while showing and the floor of the tub is stained light grey! I’m in a rental and really want to leave the tub shiny white! Thoughts?

      • Hi Nina, I haven’t yet tried the following solution after Bentonite clay, but for normal usage for a home with five people, it has worked better than everything else (including my old favorite commercial cleaner, Top Job).

        Get a spray bottle, or reuse an old one. (I use an old Top Job spray bottle, or a commercial one that I bought at Sally’s Beauty Supply, which lasts longer than the cheap ones from the dollar stores.)

        Mix 3 parts white vinegar with 1 part blue Dawn Ultra dishwashing liquid. (It has to be blue Dawn! Some people do use regular blue Dawn instead of ultra, and mix it the vinegar and Dawn half-and-half instead.)

        Spray in your bathtub. It will smell awful. Sorry. But it works. I usually go do something else for a few minutes, although I’m not sure it’s necessary. Then I return with a regular yellow-and-green kitchen scrubber/sponge, which I have designated for bathroom use. Using the green scrubbing side of the sponge, I wipe the tub down and rinse. Works beautifully!

      • Scrubbing with baking soda works. My kidz use charcoal mask that leaves a mess.

  3. Could you use liquid Bentonite clay in replace of power form? I really enjoy your website!

  4. I made a clay mud mask last night!
    I used:
    2tsp calcium bentonite clay
    1tsp activated charcoal powder
    2tsp of raw honey
    2tsp of Apple cider vinegar with “mother”
    1/2tsp of matcha green tea powder
    3 drops each of Rosemary, Clary Sage, and Tea Tree essential oil
    Mix it all together and leave on for a half hour. (The charcoal is a little messy so rinse it off away from fabric or carpet.)

    • I will try this thanks x

  5. I usually use bentonite clay for my mud masks, but instead of using water I use a blend of water and raw apple cider vinegar.

  6. I have no idea where to get this bentonite clay from, I looked at numerous pharmacies in three different cities in Uruguay because I wanted to make your homemade toothpaste, I even found an English speaking dentist and asked her and she had never heard of it. Super annoying, I feel totally alone in my all natural, organic, homemade bubble sometimes.

    • I was shocked when I read “bentonite clay”. My family has been using the stuff for over ten years to seal our pond. I don’t think it would be the exact same stuff as what you would put on your face, but even if it was, I don’t feel like buying a 50 pound bag to have around. Does anyone know where I can find some more suitable to what would be needed for facials? Thank you!!

      • She has a link to what she gets on Amazon. I get mine at

      • Be careful, this is not the same stuff. Make sure you are getting the food grade for your beauty products and not the stuff from the pool store. xoxo

      • Calcium Bentonite clay, not sodium bentonite clay is to be used in beauty and health products. I’m betting the pool sealer is sodium bentonite clay.

    • If you have access to a computer you can order it on Amazon’s website. They have a large variety of bentonite clay from a variety of vendors.

    • Amazon is where I got mine.

  7. Hi. Have you tried this with apple cider vinegar? Also, safe to use if pregnant? Thanks!!

  8. How often do you do this treatment?

  9. Just a reminder: NEVER use metal when using clays, including bentonite clay. It destroys the clay’s effectiveness. No metal containers, no metal spoons or stirring utensils at all. Glass or plastic containers and utensils only.

    Just wondering: I have sodium bentonite clay from Mountain Rose Herbs (I have asked them to obtain the calcium also) but aside from the obvious (sodium/calcium), what is the difference? They look and feel exactly the same, but I know they aren’t…nor are they interchangeable, but why?

    • Too late in response? I was curious after reading the question and found this article

      It sort of explains the chemistry, basically sodium bentonite will draw out more toxins due to its stronger charge, while calcium is more likely to add minerals to your skin (weaker charge).

      You probably found the answer, too 🙂

      And yes! Rubber facial bowls only!

  10. great info here TY

  11. Love this, Katie! I actually used to use almost this same exact recipe as an exfoliating face wash years ago. Only difference was that it also included ground oats. I love masks! Yay!

  12. I just discovered your website and I am overjoyed. I have been exploring more healthy choices for my face and skin and looking forward to trying the mud mask and other recommendations. Thank you

  13. Hi Katie! It sounds great!!! How many times a week do you use it?

    • Usually just once a week, but sometimes more often if I feel like I need it.

  14. Love this 🙂 Trying it tonight!

  15. I’m interested in this for aging skin. Someone suggested it with ACV. What would the quantities be. I know that I have burned my skin using ACV directly on it.

  16. I am looking to package this in zipper pouches. Is it okay to use honey powder instead of raw honey?

    • Yes. I have been doing it and it’s worked wonderfully!

  17. Can this be made and stored for later use?

    • Yes, but you just don’t add water or any liquid until you are ready to use it.

      • Would you include honey as one of the liquid ingredients? My parents used to keep bees and basically anything could get into our honey, except water, and it would remain stable, but that once the honey got wet it was no longer any good … but I am unsure about packaging it as a gift with the honey as a paste, or simply packaging it as a powder with directions for adding the honey and liquid.

        • I would really like to know too!

  18. Hey Katie, thank you for this great recipe, I am going to try it later.
    I have something on my heart for ages, my skin turned very bad in the last two years and I started not only having a couple of pimples, I actually have acne nowadays. I went an saw several skin doctors and everyone wants to give me medical creams, antibiotics or the pill! I don’t think any of these “remedies” are a good option though, they all come with side effects. Do you have any recipes for me to use daily on my skin? Any self made cream and/or washing liquid to use that might help with my acne? I am certainly following a certain diet to improve my skin, but it doesn’t seem to do much.
    I tell you, I am desperate to get my skin back to normal. I happy for any tips!
    Much love, Margret

  19. Hi Katie, I’m so thrilled that I found this recipe. My daughter (13y) has severly acne and I had a doctors appointment next week in order to get her the pill that would have stabilised the skin. Tomorrow I will cancel the appointment of course. Thank god I found a Swiss online shop to order the bentonite clay so I may start the treatment mask soon on my desperate daughter. Thank you so much !! Regards from Switzerland

  20. Hi Katie, love your blog!
    Question – why couldn’t this be made ahead of time and kept in plastic container? I would love to take this with me when traveling and not bother with trying to mix the ingredients every time I would need to use it.

  21. Hi Katie,
    I’ve been reading up on bentonite and other healing clays, and i was wondering if they would be helpful in getting rid of cold sores. What do you think?

  22. I’d like to make this for friends and family as Xmas presents. How do you preserve it?
    Will it spoil and mold up?

  23. I just used this mask exactly per the instructions. It was a weird consistency but I think that is bc it is homemade and doesn’t use all those crazy smoothing chemicals. My skin looks unbelievable. Wow!

  24. I just used this mask exactly per the instructions. It was a weird consistency but I think that is bc it is homemade and doesn’t use all those crazy smoothing chemicals. My skin looks unbelievable.

  25. I use witch hazel instead of water to dilute the mixture.

  26. l use yogurt in my clay and sometimes aloe vera juice. Also add some turmeric, probiotics, and sea salt. That salt might be drying for some but l remember how my skin would always clear up at the beach with saltwater so l add that. l sleep with it overnight. Plastic spoon and glass bowl!!

  27. You mentioned this recipe doesn’t keep for long. How long can it be stored? 24 hours? 48 hours?

    Thank you!

  28. How long does the clay mixed with apple cider vinegar last in a jar?

  29. I’ve tried it with Yogurt Powder, ground Oatmeal and with Cocoa Powder. I have the same question others have asked. Once mixed, how long does the Bentonite mask last? Would putting it in the fridge extend its life?

    Thanks for all your extremely useful recipes, Wellness Mama!! I’m very new to this, and I’ve already made lots of natural replacements for less healthful personal care supplies.

  30. Would using aloe vera or vegetable glycerin instead of honey and water help for longer shelf life?
    I’m thinking making this recipe as gifts for my girls and need it to last longer.

  31. Question: Should I use this before or after a shower? Is it okay if I wash my face with different products beforehand, or should I just use water?

  32. What is the shelf life of this face mask?

  33. I love your “recipes”! My favorites so far are your liquid laundry detergent and remineralizing toothpaste. But my oh my, this mask is number one! It left my skin feeling soft and smooth. Glowing! Too bad I’m just going off to bed. Next time, better planning!!

  34. I wanted to make this (and still will). However It’s called a mud mask, but you’re actually using bentonite clay, as the mud. If I add dead sea mud mix to this, it would be different, correct? Just want to be sure before making a list of what to buy. Thanks, love your site!

  35. I absolutely love your recipes wellness mama!! I can’t stop reading your website 😀

    Question though!
    I used this recipe but just replaced the lavender with tea tree EO, and I waited about half an hour and my mask didn’t dry. I am just worried that since the clay didn’t dry that it didn’t absorb all the stuff out of my skin! Any thoughts?

    • I might spread it a bit thinner the next time and see if that helps … let me know! 🙂

  36. Do you use a moisturizer after using this mask? Or would that just reclog your pores?

    • I’ve never needed to use a moisturizer after a mask…

  37. Just made a mask this afternoon I mixed activated charcoal, licorice, peppermint , hibiscus powder, orange peel powder, b. Clay , and green tea water. Feels kind of a mad scientists when it comes to mask so I don’t know but it feels great.

  38. Hi Katie,

    I would like to make this mask for my wife, but I want to give it to her as a gift. Will the mask harden soon after I mix the ingredients together?

    If anyone else has an answer, I welcome your responses.

    • I don’t think it’s something you should pre-make. Not sure about bacteria etc but it definitely changes/dries quickly. You could buy the ingredients and wrap them in craft baggies and place them in an open gift basket. Only downside is she has to make it herself, but it is really fast/easy and even better she’ll have ingredients left to keep making the mask and experiment with other stuff on the website. The ingredients have multiple uses. Good luck.

  39. So excited to make this recipe. I’m only going to be using the Honey, clay and water though. I found some natural Bentonite clay while i was out camping. So im going to grind it up into a powder and use that. That way the mask will be SUPER natural. Super excited.

  40. I used bentonite clay for the first time with a mixture of clay and breast milk. It was amazing! I used about a teaspoon of powdered clay and maybe 1 oz of milk. It made more thanews I really needed so I would only use a half tspan clay and enough milk to make it easily spreadable!