I can't say I've ever been confounded by a skin-care product, but that was before I met Charlotte Tilbury's contradiction of a clay mask, Goddess Skin. And, I mean that in the best possible way. As a long-time acne sufferer, I've experienced more than my fair share of clay. Pink, green, gray, black — I've tried them all and then some, plus the occasional mud pack here and there in an effort to soothe, shrink, and stave off my frequent breakouts. As such, I've been conditioned to think of clay as one thing and one thing only: drying. So, imagine my surprise when I sat in a press preview with the radiant Tilbury as she gushed about the hydrating properties of her new clay mask. It's made with Spanish clay, which, as she explains, is what makes it so different right off the bat. Like most clays found in the Mediterranean, it's a nourishing, hydrating clay, rather than the drying ones we're used to. "In Ibiza, where I was raised," she says, "we would rub the clay all over our bodies and then rub sweet almond oil on top — it's an ancient Ibizian beauty remedy." It also contains frangipani to hydrate and soften skin (which gives it an intoxicatingly sweet, floral smell — very far from the medicinal odors I'm used to), plus rosehip oil to nourish, and Tilbury's patented BioNymph Peptide Complex (also found in her fab Wonderglow and Magic Cream products) to boost collagen in the skin — or, as Tilbury tells it, plump the skin and give it "bounce." The result is soft, hydrated, plump, poreless skin — "baby skin," in Tilbury's words. I was intrigued, but skeptical. So, I went home with my tube of Goddess Skin and prepared to put it through its paces. Tilbury recommends applying it to freshly washed skin and leaving it on for 10 minutes. To remove, she advises using a hot washcloth, then once all the residue is removed, wiping your skin with a cold towel to "really cement that poreless look." Squeezing a quarter-sized amount on my skin, I was immediately taken by the delicious smell of the frangipani — I felt like I was suddenly somewhere much warmer and lusher than my tiny, grimy NYC bathroom. The mask applied smoothly, but as it started to dry, I saw the typical crusting and flaking I've come to expect of masks made with clay. My skepticism of Goddess Skin's hydrating properties started to grow with every flake. After the allotted 10 minutes (plus 10 minutes more — I got really wrapped up in a Daria binge on Hulu and forgot the time), I went to the bathroom and proceeded to remove it. Now, I'm not one to use a washcloth when I cleanse my face (I much prefer a konjac sponge), so the double-cloth removal was a bit of a pain for me. But, as I dried off my face and stroked the back of my hand across my cheek, it was all worth it. My skin was infant soft, the tone was more even, my pores looked smaller, and my complexion looked overall reinvigorated. I had to stop myself from squeezing out the whole tube and rubbing it all over my body to replicate the effects. I've been using it twice a week for a few weeks now, and I continue to be impressed by the results. My complexion is glowy, smooth, and hydrated — things I never thought a clay mask could do. I find myself looking forward to Clay Day, as I've taken to calling those days when I have the mask on the roster for my daily routine. Tilbury did tell me it was inspired by Tanit, the Ibizan goddess of rebirth, fertility and creation — and there's definitely something celestial happening here, at least if my skin is any indication. Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask, $70, available at Nordstrom.
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page!