Secret Weapon The magic detox clay that every beauty buff should have in her arsenal

Do you guys remember when Elizabeth wrote about her beauty splurges from a trip to the States? One of them was this guy:

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay close up The magic detox clay that every beauty buff should have in her arsenal

It’s a cult product in the U.S., and I totally dig the crazy packaging, don’t you? The random image, the festive colour palette, the boasting, the quotation marks and the exclamation point… I love weirdo products like this.

But since I’d never come across it in person, I didn’t realize what it actually was. That is, until I found out now has a beauty store! It just launched and they sent me a gift card so I could give it a try. Of course, since I have all the “normal” beauty products I’d ever need, I wanted to get my hands on some things that we previously couldn’t get in Canada… like Aztec Secret ( link here).

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

So like I said, I had no idea what I was getting—I assumed this stuff was some kind of face mask, and since I’m always up for trying new products, especially cult products, I just thought “cool.”

Then it arrived (very speedily, I might add—only a couple business days after I placed my order) and I realized the contents looked like this:

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay inside The magic detox clay that every beauty buff should have in her arsenal

Wait—WUT? It was full of dry, powdered clay. Bentonite clay. Which is something I’m already intimately familiar with, since I’ve been telling people for ages that it’s THE premiere treatment for drying up pimples. I have a container of bentonite powder from Now Foods that has lasted me for, like, five years.

But frankly, even though the contents are the same, it’s not quite as fun to use as this Aztec one with the packaging that makes me LOL.

Plus, HELLO, the price! Now is charging $21.99 for a pound of clay, whereas Aztec Secret is only $9.39 ($7.99 in the US!).

Bentonite clay and why it it’s awesome

Did you spot the claim on the label, that it’s “the world’s most powerful facial?” ‘Tis true. There really isn’t anything you can put on your face that is better than bentonite clay at drawing out impurities. I swear by it for the times when my skin throws me the curveball of a horrible, juicy pimple that needs drying out. (Like last week when I had to basically pull an all-nighter to get our spankin’ new design all set up while all y’all were sleeping! Skin didn’t like that much.) It won’t work too well on hardened, underground, cystic acne because the contents aren’t soft enough for the clay to get in and soak them up.

That’s right—the reason bentonite is so cool is because it absorbs up to 180 times its own weight. That’s why they call it a detoxifying treatment. It’s soaking up all that bad stuff that doesn’t belong.

How to use bentonite clay for acne

If you do a search, you’ll find all kinds of recipes online for making bentonite clay masks. They’re all probably fine, but I’m too impatient for that when I have an immediate problem such as an enlarged, flaming blemish! What I do is just scoop out a tiny bit of the dry clay powder (maybe 1/8 to 1/4 tsp—you really don’t need much if it’s just one zit) and cup it in the palm of one hand. Then I put the fingers of my other hand under running water and slowly let the water drip off, drop by drop, into the powder hand, mixing until I get enough to make a paste. You could, by the way, use apple cider vinegar instead of water if you wanted.

The mixing is messy work and would probably be easier if I used a spoon and a bowl, but whatevs. As soon as you’ve got your desired paste consistency, apply it to the target area and then let it dry.


That’s what the back of the Aztec Secret label shouts, and it’s kinda true actually. As the clay dries, it tightens up dramatically, kinda even pulling. I’ve definitely felt tingles. Leave it on at least until it dries… although I’ve even just left it overnight and it’s been fine.

What you do need to be careful with is washing it off, since it gets so dry that you can accidentally lop off the delicate skin on top of your pimple. It’s best to work really slowly and avoid peeling it off dry, or scrubbing when wet… I find it comes off the easiest in the shower under running water.

And then… prepared to be amazed at how much it’s reduced the size of your pimple. Maybe even eradicated it completely!

Other ways to use bentonite clay

FACE MASKS: If you’ve got normal-to-oily or combination skin, this makes an excellent—and ridiculously cheap—face mask, too. It literally sucks the crap right outta your pores! Plus I feel like I have a bit more of a rosy glow after using it. Apparently that’s because it increases blood circulation and removes dead skin cells.

You want to use equal parts clay and water or ACV, so I’d advise mixing that in a bowl… probably a bit easier to manage the larger volume than doing it in your hand like me. (They say one pound of clay will give you enough for 10 to 15 facials, but I think you can stretch it out more than that.) The instructions also recommend leaving it on for 15 to 20 minutes if you have normal skin, or 5 to 10 minutes if you have delicate skin. After that, you may get a slight redness that will disappear in 30 minutes.

BATH AND FOOT SOAKS: You can also try adding some to your bath for a heavy metal detox. This article has more info, and recommends using a full two cups! (So you’d have to buy two of these to have enough.) If that’s too messy for you to put in your entire tub, it also works as just a foot soak.

INSECT BITES AND STINGS: Same principle here as with the acne—it draws out the impurities and dries up the blisters while it soothes the itching. I can’t believe I never thought to try that, but I definitely will this summer since bugs always eat me alive!

Where to buy Aztec Secret

Find it at and

Have your say

Ever tried Aztec Secret?
What benefits have you noticed when you use it?
Do you use any other kinds of clay masks—DIY ones or ready-made?


Tuesday, June 4/2013 at 4:28 pm

I’ve had this product for quite a while – live in the US and every Whole Foods carries it. The face pulsating kinda freaked me out a little but I have read amazing reviews on the stuff. I didn’t notice a dramatic change in my skin but I probably just need to use it on a regular basis. Beware this stuff seriously makes your skin red for a few hours after using so only do it at night when you have nowhere to go!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, June 13/2013 at 9:02 pm

Yeah it’s totally freaky the first time you feel the pulsating! Especially if like me you forget and then don’t know what’s happening :)
I need to use this as a mask more too, I tend to do it more often as a spot treatment instead of all over my face…


Wednesday, June 5/2013 at 5:29 am

I’ve been using clay since my teens. I used to break out regularly and most of the time I turned to clay. I still get the occasional pimple (I’m 33 now) but I don’t use it all over my face anymore since it’s pretty drying.
There are umpteen ways to use clay; as a mask with just water or mixed with yogurt, curd, honey or different kinds of facial oils. Or I just took some of the dry powder to get rid of shine. With cane sugar it’s a good peeling. And my grandma used to drink water mixed with clay.
I bought a 1 kg package and it lasted for years. This stuff is pretty neat.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, June 13/2013 at 9:04 pm

I’ve heard of people drinking this stuff too… I think it can be constipating though :)
That’s interesting about using it dry for shininess – you don’t find the colour shows?


Wednesday, June 5/2013 at 8:28 am

Do you suggest this one than glamglow mud mask? Is this one safe for breastfeeding since its a detox powder? Thank you..


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, June 13/2013 at 9:11 pm

Ahhh I have been meaning to get my hands on the GlawGlow! I haven’t tried it yet so can’t tell you for sure… it would definitely be a more user-friendly, elegant mask since this Aztec stuff you have to mix yourself. But I think Aztec is hands down the best for drawing junk out of the skin like acne – it certainly works better than any other pre-mixed clay masks I have (eg. John Masters Organics, Kiehl’s, etc.). They all have emulsifying ingredients in them to keep the mixture moist so it doesn’t dry out… which means they’re a bit less effective. But it really depends on your needs. Something like GlamGlow won’t be as drying and it has some other good-for-your skin ingredients like essential oils, antioxidants, etc.

As for whether it’s safe for nursing women, what I’ve read is that external is ok, internal not ok. But check with your doctor :)


Katrina Persad
Thursday, June 13/2013 at 9:32 pm

I’ve used the GlamGlow mask a few times & so far don’t understand the hype. My skin texture feels nice (velvety almost) but otherwise looks the exact same. For me it doesn’t deliver the results Michelle described about the Aztec clay, and it’s a heck of a lot more expensive.


Wednesday, June 5/2013 at 10:50 am

wow I never knew this, great information, I’m a huge skincare freak and thought your post taught me a lot. I’ll have to buy the clay and try it out, thanks for sharing, very well written


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, June 13/2013 at 9:12 pm

You are most welcome – let me know what you think if you do try it!


Wednesday, June 5/2013 at 12:09 pm

I’ve had a jar of this for about eight months now (I live in the US) and still haven’t opened it! When I read the directions about mixing it with apple cider vinegar in a bowl with a spoon I was too lazy to try it out. Reading that you just mixed it in your hand inspires me to try it out now!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, June 13/2013 at 9:12 pm

Haha – yes, I’m super lazy so if I can do it all in my hand while hovered over the sink, then I will! Let me know if you try it :)


Wednesday, June 5/2013 at 1:31 pm

I have this exact thing! And I really do love it–an incredibly cheap but effective face mask for my terrible acne. It smooths and softens my skin, and my pores feel much cleaner!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, June 13/2013 at 9:13 pm

Glad you agree!


Wednesday, June 5/2013 at 3:14 pm

Oh my frickin’ gosh! I am off to the States in the first week of July. I am buying!!!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, June 13/2013 at 9:13 pm

Are you in Canada? You can also order on now – they just opened a beauty store!


Thursday, June 6/2013 at 12:27 am

Love this. Combining it with apple cider vinegar smells awful but is a serious kick in the butt for congested skin.
Also, they sell this at the Big Carrot in Toronto! :)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, June 13/2013 at 9:14 pm

Nice! I had no idea it was already here. Thanks for the heads up!


Friday, June 7/2013 at 6:23 am

I love the label! Using it for insect bites sounds like a great idea. I’m going to have to try that out this Summer (the mosquitos in my back yard are already swarming). The idea of using it on your feet sounds nice, but I’m not prepared to use 2 whole tubs of the stuff for that! I think it would make my feet feel really nice though!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, June 13/2013 at 9:15 pm

I know… would be pretty messy but maybe one summer day when I’ve got hot aching tired feet I’ll try it…


Beauty Vancouver
Sunday, June 16/2013 at 8:55 pm

I love BeautiControl’s Tierra Azul Thermal Fango Masque ($26). This warming masque makes me feel like I’m being pampered in a Mediterranean spa! It deeply cleans pores and purifies skins, but it also moisturizes for soft, supple skin. For acne-prone skin, there is Skinlogics Clear Purifying Scrub/Masque ($22).


Friday, June 28/2013 at 11:06 pm

Does it also has healing properties, as my skin gets really irritated and does scars when I have pimples, so I was wondering
Thank you!


Comment Avatar Gimped
Friday, July 12/2013 at 12:50 pm

I think it’s AWESOME that Amazon now has a Beauty department! I’ll have to check out the stock — can you get some of the “only avail in US” prodz I wonder….

Thx for the review. I’ve seen reviews for this product all over the internet but can’t find it in Canada. Great to know we can get it now! Ever tried Mario Badescu Drying Cream? It was reco’d recently in Lou Lou mag. Wondering which would be better.


Saturday, August 10/2013 at 10:31 pm

I have sensitive skin and large pores, pimples once a while…ekk…try to find treatment that can really clean my pores!

Do you recommend this to sensitive skin?
Kind of afraid since my to cheeks always get blemish…



Thursday, September 5/2013 at 6:59 pm

I love this clay! I found it at my local Sprouts a few months ago for about $7.00 and I use it as a weekly treatment. I’ve been mixing it with warm water as I found that it helps dissolve the powder better. If the ACV makes it smoother, I may try that next! I’m also using an e.l.f foundation brush to apply it to my face. This is great since it prevents messy fingers, the mask goes on without clumps, and it’s easy clean-up.

I’ve been mixing it in a small plastic container with a lid. I found that if I made to much, the excess will not harden if I keep the lid closed…just need to add a bit more liquid and powder for the next time!


Monday, September 30/2013 at 9:52 pm

Where can I find it in Toronto? Or the GTA? Does Whole Foods Canada carry it?


Tuesday, November 12/2013 at 9:57 pm

You can buy it at Whole Foods and The Big Carrot in Toronto. It’s great stuff and such a good deal.


Saturday, January 11/2014 at 5:19 pm

Love Bentonite clay! However, don’t use anything metal with this stuff. No metal spoons to mix. No metal bowls. No metal! It has magnetizing agents and will pull the metal into the clay. When you put it on your face it will replace the toxins with the metal instead of the calcium or sodium, depending on what kind of clay you use.


Tuesday, February 4/2014 at 5:03 pm

um, I was just wanting to know. If I were to use this stuff everyday, could it have a negative impact on my face or will it just speed up the process.


Wednesday, February 5/2014 at 11:17 pm

The only thing I noticed when using it too often is that my skin really dried out. I now apply once a week to the whole face and maybe an extra application to just the nose area.


Monday, February 17/2014 at 12:13 pm


I bought bentonite powder (not this brand) at the new Herb & Spice Wellness Shop on Bank Street in Ottawa. It can be a bit tricky getting a smoothe paste, I would add water in small increments and mix really really well. I put a REALLY thick layer on and let it sit for an hour. Its touch to get off, its probably best to do it in the shower bc it does get messy!

My skin was definitely red and rosy for half an hour but it really did look and feel great the next morning!

I have oily/dry combo skin with a few occassional pimples around my chin if I dont wash my face at night and eat junk.

Michelle, what have you heard about royal jelly? I saw a small bottle of an organic royal jelly serum at the same shop and I’m curious about it. Apparently Burt’s Bees has one as well but theirs had a bunch of preservatives in it, whereas the one at Herb & Spice did not and has to be refridgerated (a good sign in my eyes!).


katie mcloud
Sunday, June 8/2014 at 5:23 pm

I have been using the Citrus Clear Clay Mask for about 3 weeks now. I only use it once a week. The one thing I noticed when I opened the jar was the very strong mint/menthol smell. It is a good smell, but very strong.

You simply apply the mask to your face and leave on for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove with warm water. In the time I have been using the Citrus Clear Mask, I have had fewer breakouts and blimishes. I LOVE the tingly-ness that is leaves when I am finished. My face just feels clean!


Thursday, July 24/2014 at 1:49 pm

I’m a naturalista and use this in my hair to clarify my scalp, and will try it in my daughters bath as she has eczema and sunburn from summer camp, I want to use it as a facial mask too but I wonder if Aloe Vera juice will work just as good as ACV.


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