Homemade 'Cat Litter' Mask for All Skin Types

Would You Put Cat Litter on Your Face? Maybe You Should

Cat litter
kitty litter can be used for face masks. courtesy Amazon.com

Did you know that the ingredient found in many luxurious clay masks can be found in a simple cat litter? It's true. For mere pennies, you can create a homemade cat litter mask that rivals the $100 masks found in spas.

The secret lies in the main ingredient found in most cat litter: sodium bentonite clay. This clay is basically volcanic ash and it works in cat litter because it absorbs water, creating clumps that you can then easily pull out and throw away.

It works in a similar way with face masks, the clay absorbs oils, leaving your face feeling soft and refreshed.

I recommend this mask for oily, acne-prone and combination skin. It's too drying for dry skin. Always follow with a moisturizer.

The Benefits of Bentonite Clay

There are all sorts of claims that bentonite clay does much more than clump your cat's pee together and soften your skin. According to the popular Wellness Mama blog:

Bentonite clay carries a strong negative charge which bonds to the positive charge in many toxins. When it comes in contact with a toxin, chemical, or heavy metal, the clay will absorb the toxin and release its minerals for the body to use. Bentonite also helps get oxygen to cells as it pulls excess hydrogen and allows the cells to replace it with oxygen instead.

Hmmmmm. And then there's Michelle Phan, perhaps the world's most popular YouTube beauty vlogger, who posted a video back in 2009 about using kitty litter as a face mask.

 Watch her YouTube video. According to Phan, not only does the clay have the ability to suck out impurities from your skin "like a magnet," but it helps to visually improve any blemishes, cellulite, sun spots, and she goes on and on.

So is any of this scientifically true or is it just mumbo-jumbo? I asked Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., the Chemistry expert at About.com and she said, "Clay does purify skin, but I think it's mainly a matter of pulling oils and bacteria away.

The rest of that may not be based in scientific fact."

Kitty Litter vs. the Clay Mask Brands

The same stuff that's in a 15-pound bag of kitty litter is what is found in Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, the most popular brand of bentonite clay on the market today. You can buy it from Amazon.com for under $10. You can also buy Crazy Cat Lady Gritty Kitty Purrifying Litter Mask w/ Bentonite Clay from Amazon.

The main difference between cat litter and the clay marketed for face masks is that kitty litter is not as finely ground as the clay used for masks. The resulting paste is less thick and more watery, but the minerals will work just the same.

You can grind up your kitty litter in a coffee grinder for better results.

To make your own face mask, simply follow these directions:

Buy the Right Kitty Litter

You can't use just any kitty litter. You don't want any scents or added chemicals on your skin.

Buy a kitty litter that contains only sodium bentonite clay. No scents. No silicas. Precious Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter is an excellent bet. You can buy an 18-pound bag for $10 from Amazon.com. That is a lifetime of clay masks. Put a few scoops in a jar (always plastic or glass, never metal, as clay will lose its potency if it comes in contact with metal), and give the rest away to a friend with an actual cat.

This kitty litter is beloved on Amazon.com, so your cat or your friend's will be very lucky.

I called the Precious Cat company and verified that their product contains only bentonite clay. The very nice man I spoke to (and who preferred to remain anonymous because he was wary of being associated with skincare) said it did and comes from a mine in Wyoming, where most bentonite is mined from. He recommended the Ultra over the Classic version because the clay is more finely ground. He said other versions of their cat litter contains silicas (their litter for aging cats). Another version contains "herbal essences," but the Ultra Premium does not.

And no, he had never heard of kitty litter face masks. We had a good laugh over that one.

Make Your Mask

To make a mask, simply put a couple tablespoons in a glass bowl and add enough water to make a paste.

Mix together until a somewhat granular and clumpy paste forms. I like to use my fingers to combine the clay and the water.

At this point, you can add extras if you want:

  • A teaspoon of aloe vera if you want to soothe your skin.
  • Essential oils for healing properties and scent. Don't miss The Best Essential Oils for Your Skin Type.
  • A teaspoon of oil: jojoba, olive, coconut all work well for skin that can dry out.

Stir in your extras.

Phan recommends nuking your mask in the microwave until it's nice and warm (10-15 seconds). She says this opens up the pores. I believe it just feels nicer. You can skip the nuking.

To apply, use only the clay water, not the clay granules which can cause microscopic tears to the skin. Lightly dab the water all over your face. Apply a second layer if need be.

Let your mask dry for at least 10 minutes.

Rinse with warm water. Slather on moisturizer.

Other uses:

Mix with a few drops of water and apply to bug bites or eczema. It will help stop the itching immediately. You may need to cover with gauze, a Band-aid or a pad to keep the clay from rubbing off.

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