Nothing feels more beautiful than having clear, vibrant skin. And, now more than ever, women are opting for natural products as facial masks — with bentonite clay being one of the most popular.

Are you wondering if bentonite clay works? And, if so, are you wondering where to buy bentonite clay?

You’ve come to the right place. Below, I outline what bentonite clay is, how and why it works, as well as my top picks for bentonite clay products — and where to get them. Enjoy!

Before we too far down this path, I think we should define “bentonite clay,” or at least share some of the other terms is known by. You may have heard of Aztec clay, Indian clay, Aztec healing clay, Montmorillonite clay — it’s all roughly the same thing. When you hear these terms, you’re hearing about a clay that can be ingested or placed on the skin for healing or comfort benefits (which I write more about below). But, before you get confused, I just wanted to let you know what we’re talking about when we say “bentonite clay.”


What is Bentonite Clay? (And Where Does it Come From?)

The skin care world is buzzing about bentonite clay (or similar clays with different names). But what is bentonite clay? And where does it come from? You’ve arrived in the right place if you want answers.

First of all, bentonite clay is clay that forms over time after volcanic eruptions. Basically, a volcano erupts and casts ash into the air. The ash finally settles and leaves dust deposits across the earth. Over time, these dust deposits begin to absorb minerals and nutrients — good stuff. And the dust plus minerals plus nutrients for a clay that’s known to have amazing healing powers.

Why “bentonite”? Because the largest known deposit of this type of clay is found in Fort Benton, WY. There’s another huge deposit in the Montmorillon area of France, which is why bentonite clay is something called Montmorillonite clay.

What’s known as “Aztec healing clay” is from California’s Death Valley. It’s the same type of clay as what you’ll find in Wyoming or in France, but it goes by different names because of where its mined. Today, in general, most healing clays are found in the United States, France and Italy. “Bentonite clay” has become the most widely accepted trade name.

Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona — the white stuff is bentonite clay.


Why is Bentonite Clay so Popular?

Bentonite clay has become a popular skin care product, mostly because it’s thought that this unique clay draws toxins out of the skin.

Which isn’t so far-fetched when you think about it. Animals have always eaten dirt and clay when they have stomach aches, because they know that dirt and clay can help them feel better — because of how they pull toxins out of the body. They aren’t eating dirt and clay for the taste, that’s for sure.

And, now, humans have finally come around to the notion that animals are onto something. Bentonite clay actually holds an electrical charge, and, when that charge is hydrated, it begins to tug chemicals, heavy metals and other impurities out of our stomachs or out of our skin, depending on we’re using the clay. The clay is positively charged, and the toxins are negatively charged. It’s a perfect match.

Seriously? Yes, seriously. Hydrated bentonite clay is known to absorb up to 180 times its own weight. When you get the clay wet, it begins to swell and expand like a sponge. That’s simply its electrical charge in action.

But wait: Where are we picking up all these toxins in the first place? From breathing the air, from pesticides, from cleaning supplies, from less-than-pure water, from the mercury and other chemicals found in fish, from high-fructose corn syrup and other sources. Toxins are all around us, every single day.

This isn’t a 21st-century thing either. Plenty of cultures in the past have used similar clay for similar purposes, including Central African cultures, Australian cultures and Andes cultures.

Still not convinced? Let’s ask the academics: An Arizona State study indicated that “certain varieties of clay have the ability to aggressively kill a range of pathogens including E. coli and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (also known as MRSA). Yes, it’s powerful and effective, both when ingested and placed on the skin.

Now, all you need is a quality bentonite clay product. Lucky for you, I took one for the team and tried out about a dozen different types. Here’s a look at your five best options (each in 1-pound containers). Choose your best fit, and start enjoying the benefits of bentonite clay!


1. Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay — Our Top Pick!

I’m going to be honest: This product comes with a ton of hype. Too much hype, if you ask me. And I went into my test skeptical of what it could do.

But I’ll be equally as honest when I say: This was far and away the best product I tried. It’s easy to mix. I just heaped a spoonful of powder into a cup of water. It mixed well and it applied easily.

And it’s only about a 20-minute process. The label warns that, if you have sensitive skin, don’t apply for more than 10 minutes. I don’t have sensitive skin, so I did 20 minutes right before bed. My skin was a little red when I washed it off, but the redness was gone in the morning.

What’s cool about Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay is that you can actually feel it working. Your skin tingles and you feel your pores tighten as the clay goes to work. And I feel like it’s been effective at keeping me clear of blackheads and other blemishes.

Some people recommend using this with apple cider vinegar instead of water. You’re welcome to give that a shot. Water worked just fine for me.

Is Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay right for me?

Buy this clay if …

… you want a fast-acting and effective healing clay that’s easy to apply and that gets results you can actually feel.

Pass on this clay if …

… you want a product that actually draws its clay from the true bentonite clay deposit in Fort Benton, WY — this clay comes from Death Valley.


2. Molivera Organics Bentonite Clay

Hey, here’s your bentonite clay that’s actually from Fort Benton, WY! I’m not sure if that means anything to you or not, but this is tried and true bentonite clay if that’s what you want.

I found that this option from Molivera Organics offers the same tingling feeling as the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. It’s a sensation as if you can feel the blood flowing through your face, which sounds weird (but it’s kind of cool).

The biggest thing this product has going for it is that it doesn’t leave the redness that I experienced with the top choice (and some others). It was as if I could feel it working, but it didn’t leave any indication afterward. Yes, the redness with other products went away in time, but there really wasn’t any redness with this one in the first place.

The No. 1 drawback to this product was that it didn’t get the same results as the top pick. I feel like it did help my complexion, but I felt like I got better results with Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay — which is why this option from Molivera Organics lands at No. 2 on the list.

Is Molivera Organics Bentonite Clay right for me?

Buy this clay if …

… you want a bentonite clay that’s really from Fort Benton, WY, and you prefer a product that leaves zero redness after use.

Pass on this clay if …

… you want the dramatic results that you get from Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, and you don’t mind a little redness after use.


3. Anjou Bentonite Clay Mask Powder

I was really excited to try this option. When I ordered, it suggested adding my favorite essential oil for aroma and effect — so I did. I mixed in a little sweet orange, lemon and lime from my favorite Edens Garden kit, and I hoped for outstanding results.

But the mix is a little tough on this one. It was far clumpier than other options, and I could never get the consistency I wanted. I finally applied anyway, and it was much like Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay in how it felt and how it turned my skin red after I washed it off.

But, man, this product is a mess to use. It just wasn’t as simple a process as I would like. I’m sure it gets the job done, but ease of use is right up there with effectiveness for me when it comes to choosing a product.

Is Anjou Bentonite Clay Mask Powder right for me?

Buy this clay if …

… you want to add your favorite essential oils to enhance the mask.

Pass on this clay if …

… you hate messes and want bentonite clay that’s simple to mix and apply.


One Last Thing: Sodium vs. Calcium Bentonite Clay

If you look closely at the listings, you’ll find that the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay is a calcium-based bentonite clay while the other two are sodium-based bentonite clays. Does this matter? Not in the least.

The calcium and sodium are just means to an end. They are what charges the clay and gives it the power to draw out toxins from the body.

There’s a rumor going around that calcium bentonite clay can be ingested but that sodium bentonite clay cannot be ingested. That’s not true. If you want to ingest bentonite clay, find a product that’s labeled “food grade.” You’ll find both calcium and sodium options that you can ingest. That said, if it’s not food grade, stick to using it as a facial mask.


What to Look for in Bentonite Clay

Let’s say you’re doing a blind test of bentonite clay options. What are you looking for? Three things:

  • Color: Bentonite clay should not be white. If it is, you may have a product that’s not what it’s claiming to be. Instead, quality bentonite clay should be grey or cream in color.
  • Odor: There should be no scent. Quality bentonite clay smells like nothing. If you want an option that smells good, go with one that allows you to add an essential oil.
  • Texture: Bentonite clay powder should be incredibly fine. If it’s clumpy or rough before you mix it, that’s not a good sign.
    Appearance: Your clay should at first look like soil that’s not seen rain in a long time. Look for dry, powdery clay that has cracks like dry earth.


How to Use Bentonite Clay

Each product is going to come with its own directions. But, here’s a look at how to use bentonite clay for different applications, just in case you need a helpful guide:

  • Face Mask: Mix in a plastic or glass cup or bowl (not metal). And apply across your entire face or on specific blemishes. Most products call for use of no longer than 20 minutes, and expect to see some redness afterward — redness that should dissipate in time. Use a few times a week or as need.
  • Detox Bath: The rest of your skin would like some bentonite clay, too, ahem. So, run a bath, and mix about one-fourth of a cup of bentonite clay into the bath. It will detox and soften your skin. Again, spend about 20 minutes in the bath. And I would recommend then showering off, just to make sure you get all of the powder clear.
  • Ingestion: OK, so we’ve already said: Only ingest food grade products. Once you find a food grade product, follow the instructions. In general, you’ll drink about a teaspoon mixed into water. The purpose here is to settle an upset stomach or to get your digestion moving if you’re stopped up.


Final Thoughts on Where to Buy Bentonite Clay

My job gives me a chance to do a lot of cool things. For example, I’ve had the chance to test out both activated charcoal and bentonite clay. Some users of activated charcoal suggest that you can use an activated charcoal mud (by Active Wow or another manufacturer) and that you don’t need bentonite clay at all.

I would disagree. From my tests, I’ve found that activated charcoal is best for teeth whitening, and that bentonite clay is best for a face mask. You can test different products on your own, and you may come to different conclusions. But I’ve trie a lot of different products, and that would be my recommendation.

Have you had an experience (good or bad) with bentonite clay or a bentonite clay alternative? If so, let us know about it in the comments section below, or send us a message directly through our contact page.