The Amazon reviews of Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay–nearly 800 of them!–are so overwhelmingly positive it makes me wonder how I’ve never before heard of these miraculous bentonite particulates of the earth. Maybe I was too busy cultivating my beanstalk. People herald the clay’s ability to visibly extract bacteria and blackheads from the face, chest, back, ass, you name it as it dries. But you know what else visibly extracts bacteria and blackheads from those places? Duct tape. And you don’t even have to wait for it to dry.
In all fairness, Indian healing clays are centuries-old beauty solutions for fighting acne and assuaging skin irritations. Supposedly similar bentonite clays were used by Cleopatra, ancient Roman spas, and people from France, such as the priest Kneipp and the Conehead Beldar. This particular brand hails from the prolific Aztec population living in…uh, California’s Death Valley…and is sun-dried for up to 6 months to turn it into the powdered form that gets packaged for use in facials, body wraps, clay baths, foot soaks, insect bite and poison ivy treatments, and chilled clay muscle recovery packs.
To liquefy, mix equal parts clay and raw apple cider vinegar or water (the former is touted for skin treatments) to form a smooth paste. Apply in a thick layer–1/4″ to 1/2″–to desired area, and allow to dry for 5 to 10 minutes. Apparently, you’ll “feel your face pulsate!” and know it’s working. Use warm water to remove. Reviews warn against peeling the clay off dry or scrubbing it with a cloth, and recommend getting in the shower or having a trusted friend blast you with a garden hose in the back yard to avoid a mess.