SKIN | Battle of the mud masks


Mud masks are a bit much-of-a-muchness, right? Apart from assuming that different colours came from different types of clay, I have to admit I didn’t know too much about mud masks. I’ve never had any reason to use more than one at once, so it is hard to know the difference. All I needed to know was that it made a difference to my oily skin.

But then! I had some free time and a lot of masks to try. So I did what any sensible person would, and put all of them on my face.


Here’s what we’re working with. Let’s look at price and size, first of all. I’ve ordered them by price per ml, because although their textures varied slightly, I used roughly the same amount of each mask. Surprisingly, the Origins mask comes out on top, thanks to the recent price drop at Mecca Cosmetica. For the masks that came in sachets, I’ve considered the price per sachet as the most important. Realistically, if you don’t use a whole sachet in one go, it’s a pain to save it and use up the rest later, especially if you don’t use masks regularly.

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, 100ml, $39 NZD (39c per ml)
Trilogy Mineral Radiance Mask
, 60 ml, $35.90 NZD (60c per ml)
Linden Leaves Clay Cleansing Masque*, 55 ml, $34.99 NZD (64c per ml)
Sukin Purifying Facial Masque*, 2x8ml sachets, approx. $3.27 NZD (20c per ml, $1.63 per sachet)
Glam Glow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment, 50g, $89 NZD ($1.78 per g)
Living Nature Deep Cleansing Mask*, 50ml, $45 NZD (90c per ml, $4.50 per sachet)


All of these masks claim to draw out toxins and unclog pores. They use kaolin clay to absorb oil and therefore ‘balance’ the skin (although it’s important to note, they won’t do anything to regulate oil production over the long term). These masks also contain oils – like rosehip – for antioxidants and to ‘nourish’ or hydrate the skin.


I’ve ordered them by colour on my arm for frivolous reasons, and to show you the texture of them. It’s actually really hard to take a photo of your arm with your other hand and get everything in focus, so forgive a couple of these for being blurry. Use your imagination, or something. The Living Nature and Glam Glow masks are the thickest and grittiest, and the Sukin and Trilogy masks were much thinner and lighter. The Living Nature and Linden Leaves masks were quite similar, both dry and chalky.

clay_masks_5Clockwise from top left: Trilogy, Origins, Glam Glow, Living Nature, Linden Leaves, Sukin.

The Linden Leaves, Living Nature and Glam Glow masks dried to a crust quite quickly, and gave the tight feeling traditionally associated with clay or mud masks. Once they were dry, they constrained the movement of my face considerably. The Glam Glow mask showed dark spots over my pores where oil was being drawn from the skin. On the other hand, the Origins, Trilogy and Sukin masks dried to a thin film over the skin and didn’t show any signs of directly impacting it.


I washed all of these masks off after about 30 minutes, and had no difficulty removing any of them with just warm water and my hands. It has been a couple of days since I took these photos and, as expected, it’s fairly difficult to compare what effects each has had on my skin. I had whiteheads appear where I used the Glam Glow and Linden Leaves masks, but it’s hard to say as these may have come up anyway.


So what’s the verdict? It’s a bit hard to say, really. If you like the feeling of a tight, dry mask on oily skin, I’d suggest going for the Linden Leaves option (it’s cheaper than Glam Glow and easier to get a hold of). For something lighter and probably more normal-combo skin friendly, the Origins and Trilogy options are the most affordable. Beyond that, there’s not a whole lot between them. The next thing I’m going to try is making my own clay mask by mixing clay powder and a facial oil. I’ll post about it when I try!

If your skin is sensitive to certain ingredients then check for that before buying anything you’ll leave on your skin for a while, obviously. That being said, I didn’t see any irritation from any of these masks, and my skin does tend to irritate easily.

Have you tried any of these? What’s your favourite mud/clay mask, or do you prefer to mix your own?

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  • Laura Lock

    I love that you popped all of them on your face! Best.
    I’ve always loved the Skinfood mud mask, it does dry out my skin a bit though – oh the joys of combination skin.

    I would LOVE to try and make my own, and hadn’t thought about it until you just said you were going to do it – looking forward to seeing your experiments!

    • I haven’t tried the Skinfood one yet! After making this post I’ve realised I -really- don’t need to be buying any more face masks any time soon.

  • Nishu

    Things we do for blogging! You did so good with that arm shot… It’s damn difficult! and interesting to see that not much differs between them. I guess effects are more subjective! and making your own clay mask is super easy. We Indians have been doing this for centuries 🙂

    • Thanks Nishu! Do you have any tips for making your own?

      • Nishu

        Harriet if you go to any Indian grocery store.. Just ask for “Multani Mitti” or Fuller’s earth its called in English! It’s a special clay known for its skin related properties and is super cheap. Once you have that powder..just mix it with anything you fancy… rose water, milk, money, yoghurt, water.. anything really! Depends on your skin type. I usually do youghurt as its moisturizing. For more homemade masks… get “Besan”/chick pea flour from Indian shop and mix it with any of the liquids mentioned above.. It clears up skin and is exfoliating aswell coz you massage to take it off!

  • jamie-lee

    I’ve had terrible skin since moving to Sydney – probably all the pollution – so I could probably use a mud mask. Last time I did though.. I ended up with a rash on my face so I’m a little hesitant (it was an NZ brand which the name escapes me at the moment, Nina’s used it though). Is there anything else that you’d recommend? I’m the worst when it comes to skincare… haha..

    • If you can remember which brand it was, it might be useful to look at the ingredients list! I really liked the Trilogy one in this post actually, for a good balance of gentleness/effectiveness. The other thing that’s good is to follow up with a moisturising mask – I really like the Antipodes aura mask.

  • Sophie ♥

    I love face masks! GlamGlow SuperMud (the one in the white packaging…I think that’s its name) is good although I don’t use it all that often because of the tight, how I imagine botox to feel feeling. I quite like the Skinfood one-it’s very gentle & also the Superfacialist one. Masks are the business, let’s be honest.

    Sophie | Nana Wintour

    • Glamglow is definitely the most heavy-duty 🙂

  • Great post! I don’t really use face masks but I might pick up a Trilogy or Origins one – they sound good (and I’m all for the more affordable things :p)

    Caitlin | Thistle & Tea

    • A face mask is a nice treat, and because you only use it once a week it doesn’t end up costing you too much in the long run 🙂

  • I’ve been really wanting to try out some face masks to help the oil slick that is my skin, they all sound good.

    Ashley |

    • Definitely worth picking one up!

  • C Joely

    I use the natio face mask purifier and I love it!!!!! So good for my large pores and oily skin, really cheap too and is meant to be good for sensitive skin

    • Nice, thanks for the tip! I might have to try it out.

  • Courtney Ramsdale

    Hey Morgan 🙂 I love reading your blog, so I’ve nominated you for a ‘One Lovely Blog Award’!

    • Thanks so much Courtney!

  • Zoe

    I love the Wellington Apothecary mud mask (the green clay one for normal/combo skin) – it works in a similar to how the Glam Glow looks, i.e. dark spots showing were the oil is being extracted from. You have to mix it with water as it comes in powdered form which can be a bit of a faff but if you can look past that it looks to be a strong contender! Also so cheap too at $6 for 50g and I use around a 1:1 powder to water ratio.

    • Oh nice, I might have to pop in and check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Those first pictures made me laugh (and reminded me of the “Somebody That I Used to Know” music video). Thanks for taking one for the team and trying out a bunch of different masks so that the rest of us wouldn’t have to!
    I know you’re not looking for any more masks but I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents. The Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque is super inexpensive (less than $5USD for 8 oz) and something I really liked using. It shows dark spots where the gunk is being pulled out and has a nice minty smell and feel, especially if you keep it in the fridge. Just thought I’d put that out there in case you ever want another face mask in the future!

    • Thanks Alice! The Queen Helene mask is definitely on my list but I forgot that I wanted it when I last ordered from iHerb! I like the idea of it being minty

  • simplesocialsister

    I love the way you present you posts. Your photography is sooooooo pretty and well thought out! A great way to show a variety of products tested in one go. I’ve been looking for a new face mask so I’m definitely going to be considering some of these! 🙂

    • Thanks lovely! There’s a face mask for everyone here so I’m sure you’ll find one suited to you! The Origins one might be the easiest to find if you’re not based in NZ.