Why Bentonite Clay Pulsate & Cause Redness After Clay Mask?

Redness after clay mask is normal so long as you did not leave it on for too long and that it did not feel painful. We explain why this happens and how to reduce it.

redness after clay mask
Redness After Clay Mask

The bentonite clay mask is drawing blood to the surface of your skin through a process called cutaneous vasolidation that can sometimes cause your face to pulsate. This increases blood circulation and detoxifies your skin through the exchange of ions.  

As moisture is evaporating from the face mask, heat is generated, drawing blood to the skin’s surface. You will start to feel tightness as a clay mask dries further and begins to crack. Depending on how evenly you’ve applied the bentonite clay mask and the weather conditions of your surroundings, you should get the full benefit within 10-15 minutes.

If the redness after clay mask starts to feel like a burning or itching sensation while the mask is still on within 10 minutes, there is a good chance that bentonite clay mask may be too much for your skin to handle.

In this case, your experience outweighs the benefits and you might want to rinse off and stop using the clay mask immediately. Regardless of what others may have said about the benefits of bentonite clay mask, your skin’s safety takes priority.

Don’t worry there will be bentonite clay mask alternatives that may be more suited to your skin type that you can try and there are other ways to use bentonite clay. For example, bentonite clay homemade toothpaste recipe and even as one of the home remedies to treat toenail fungus.

Another reason for such a reaction is that you may be using it incorrectly.

If that is the case, allow your skin to recover for a few days then go through this checklist below and try again.

bentonite clay redness
Bentonite Clay Redness

Sensitive Skin

Reaction to an ingredient in the mask’s composite could be a very likely cause. The bentonite clay redness happens when the mask draws blood to the surface as part of its detoxifying and circulation effect. This is called cutaneous vasodilation. It also helps to unclog pores by absorbing excess facial oil which can be beneficial for those with oily and combination type skin.

RELATED  Calcium Bentonite Clay Vs Sodium Bentonite Clay for Skin & Internal Use.

I find that if my bentonite clay mask is on for more than 20 minutes or when it starts to appear dry with cracks, then my face will look as red as a cooked lobster after the rinse-off.

Normally for me, the redness after clay mask disappears completely after 20 to 30 minutes.


If you have fair complexion or have extra sensitive skin, expect to see more redness as compared to others.

Whether I use sodium bentonite clay or calcium bentonite clay, I still get the redness. For me, it is more intense with calcium clay mask as it is more alkaline.

For calcium bentonite clay, I use Aztec Secret: Indian Healing Clay Mask. I have also used Bioglan that is a form of sodium bentonite clay.

Sodium Bentonite Clay (Bioglan) and Calcium Bentonite Clay (Aztec Secret)

Mixing the Bentonite Clay Mask with Tap Water

If you are mixing up your own bentonite clay mask, depending on your sources of tap water, you may be introducing impurities, pollutants, and even trace metals and minerals into your bentonite clay paste.

Why Can’t I Use Metal with Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay has negatively charged ions and will react with metals causing an exchange in ions.

My location uses 30% bore water as one of its primary sources. The water in my area is categorised as hard water due to its geology and high mineral composites of calcium and magnesium.

If I mix hard water straight from the tap with my bentonite clay powder, I get a stronger redness effect after my rinse-off.

However, if I use reverse osmosis water that removes a majority of the trace minerals as well as chlorine and fluoride, I will not get the redness as much.

This leads me to believe that using filtered water might be a better option to be kinder to my skin.

In case you’re wondering, my skin type is combination, leaning towards oily and acne prone with a sensitive condition.

Leaving The Mask On For Too Long

If your bentonite clay mask is looking craquelure and dry, most probably you are leaving it on for too long. For me, the optimum time for my mask to work its magic is about 10 minutes which is exactly what is recommended on the packaging. I still get the bentonite clay redness but it will soon wear off in about 30 minutes.

RELATED  Benefits Of Drinking Bentonite Clay. Why and How To Do It.

Ratio of Water to Powder

The instructions on my bentonite clay packaging asks for 1 to 1 ratio of 2 teaspoons of water to 2 teaspoons of bentonite clay that would suffice for a full face mask application.

By not following the recommended guide your paste might turn out to be too concentrated or too diluted for optimum benefit. Please use as directed.

Skin Type

Dry skin types or those with a delicate condition need to be more wary of using bentonite clay as the clay goes into a tightening and drawing phase. And in some cases, this may break down your skin’s natural barrier, depleting your skin’s natural flora. This may allow the build-up of less friendly flora resulting in acne breakouts soon after.

Determining your own skin type and condition is the first step towards finding your Holy Grail regime. Not knowing your own skin intimately could lead you to be taken in by any shiny object that comes along and claiming to be the next saviour to your skin’s problems.

No doubt you will be wasting a lot of time, heartache and money in the process too.

Why Does Bentonite Clay Pulsate?

why does bentonite clay pulsate?
Why does Bentonite Clay pulsate?

As explained in calcium vs sodium bentonite clay, bentonite clay is negatively charged and is actively seeking out positively charged free radicals to draw them out of the body through your skin.

When it is wet, the clay expands thus expanding its area of reach and when it dries, it contracts, starting the drawing or sucking out process. That is when you may feel the pulsating effect of your bentonite clay mask.

However, if you’ve left the bentonite clay on your face for too long, it will start to crack and by then, it is literally sucking out every bit of your skin’s natural moisture the longer you leave it on.

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That is why after about 15-20 minutes, it is best to start the rinse-off. Then allow for the redness after clay mask to settle down or you could try to speed up the cooling down process by using some methods.

How to Reduce Redness After Clay Mask?

Most of the redness after a clay mask will go away on its own after about 30 minutes. Our post on how to cool your face down after clay mask offers more options and further explanation. Here’s the brief version of our suggested methods;

  1. Splash cool regular water on your face or use a cold compress. Dab lightly to relief redness.
  2. Use a green tea toner. Green tea contains polyphenols which are anti-inflammatory that can help cool down your face.
  3. Aloe Vera Stem Cutting or Gel. Made up of 99% water, it reduces redness in no time.
  4. Blended Cucumber. Cucumber extract, mask or gel works well to soothe facial redness.
  5. Witch Hazel. Use as a toner for anti-inflammatory purposes.
  6. Avoid going under the sunlight right after your bentonite clay mask as your face is still reddened by the experience and needs time to cool down. 
  7. Drink Water. Don’t forget to rehydrate yourself internally too.

Redness After Bentonite Clay Mask Summary

You may be forgiven for rushing out to get your hands at the first sight of bentonite clay, after hearing and reading about its overwhelming benefits.

However, just like any great product, there are some things that have gotten lost in the hype that you need to consider. These include; redness after clay mask and why does bentonite clay pulsate which has been mentioned on its packaging as a bit of a warning.

The blood circulation and detoxifying process that happens between your skin and bentonite clay mask is called cutaneous vasodilation. This causes bentonite clay redness and it is very real for some people especially for those with dry and sensitive skin. Please ensure to moisturise after use to restore hydration or simply just do not leave the mask on for longer than 10-20 minutes.

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Eve MayHew

Eve Mayhew is a stay-at-home Mum, graphic designer and wife who takes more of a relaxed and practical approach to her lifestyle. She prefers to live a more stress-free life and enjoys food and drink in moderation by counting her blessings rather than counting the calories or feeling guilty over the odd soft drink or fast food fix every now and then. (Contact Author)