As someone with combo skin throughout my youth and during the summer, I’ve tried my share of deep cleansing clay masks. Even though I’m often tempted by new releases, I still keep going back to the Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque. It’s a staple in my routine year-round, and it’s about time I talked about why.
Table of Contents
What is it
An efficacious pore minimizing and cleansing clay mask formulated with Fairly Traded Amazonian White Clay & Bentonite Clay, known to help absorb excess oil and detoxify skin. Helps draw out impurities from the skin and unclog pores and blackheads to leave skin visibly more refined and feeling smooth.
Best suited for
Oily skin types will enjoy using this as an allover mask, while combo, normal, and dry skin types can use this as a spot treatment on their t-zones.
Things to note
Alcohol free and fragrance free.
A white plastic jar, spatula not included.
Smells faintly of dirt, which is expected since there’s no fragrance to mask the natural clay scents.
Thick. It’s probably one of the thickest clay masks I’ve used, so it can be a bit hard to spread initially, especially at cooler room temperatures. But once it warms up on contact with skin, there’s less resistance and it’s easy enough to get even and full coverage.
Dries down really quickly, so don’t leave this on for too long! Skin can feel tight and almost itchy if left to dry out. Once rinsed out, skin feels thoroughly clean but not too dry. Pores appear smaller and much cleaner too!
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Kiehl’s Cleansing Mask Ingredients
This mask uses two just clays for its awesome pore cleansing abilities:
- Amazonian White Clay aka Kaolin – Of all the clays used in face masks, this is of the gentler variety. It’s still great at absorbing sebum, but not as aggressively as Bentonite.
- Bentonite – The most commonly used of all the oil absorbing clays and rich in minerals. It also has a negative ion charge and can attract things with a positive charge like bad bacteria, making this a suitable ingredient if you have acne-prone skin.
I appreciate the simple formula of this mask: no extraneous botanical extracts, just a couple of soothing ingredients to help combat the dryness:
- Aloe Vera Juice – moisturizing and anti-inflammatory.
- Oat Kernel Flour – Same anti-inflammatory benefits as oat extract, plus it contains some moisturizing lipids.
- Allantoin – anti-inflammatory and promotes wound healing.
- Apply immediately after cleansing on damp skin, focusing on areas with larger pores that are prone to oiliness. This is typically your t-zones, or for oily skin types, all over.
- Apply a thin layer, enough to fully cover the skin, but not too thick.
- Wait 5 to 10 minutes for the mask to dry, and rinse off with warm water or a wash cloth.
For a deeper pore cleansing effect, you can add a BHA toner and cleansing oil to your routine:
- Apply a BHA toner/serum generously to the treatment area. Wait 30 minutes
- Follow the previous steps to apply the mask, but this time on dry skin.
- After rinsing off the mask, apply some cleansing oil (ideally the kind that emulsifies) over the treatment area. Wait 20 minutes
- Massage the oily gently into your pores for 1-2 minutes. This is when you may feel things coming out of your pores, but don't stress if you don't.
- Rinse off the cleansing oil and continue with the rest of your routine.
Usage Experience & Results
Unlike other skincare products that take weeks or even months to see results, I pretty much knew whether I’d love or hate this mask after one use. Obviously I loved it, but it does have its flaws too.
It’s not the most elegant mask going on. It neither feels creamy nor lush, instead it’s thick and isn’t the easiest to apply. Since I only use this on my t-zones, the application experience wasn’t a deal breaker for me. But I will say that of all the pore cleanse masks I’ve tried, this was the least enjoyable to apply.
It also dries down pretty quickly, especially if you use a thin layer. And once it dries, you’ll know because the tightness can be uncomfortable – another reason why you shouldn’t use this all over unless you have oily skin. And definitely follow up with a moisturizer.
But really if you can get past these two issues, the Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing mask is amazing for clarifying the skin and minimizing the appearance of pores. It always makes my skin feel so refreshed afterwards!
A little goes a long way too. I only use this mask once a week in the summer and once every other week in the winter, or if I’m dealing with a breakout. The full sized jar is more than enough to last me an entire year.
Looking for products that address skin texture? The AHA moment: 13 exfoliant for baby smooth skin
What Others Say
When I washed it off, the clouds parted and angels of the Lord came down to celebrate my radiance. Well, no, but they may as well have, because my skin hasn’t looked this good in I-don’t-know-how-long. My pores are tighter, clean and clear. My skin feels smooth and soft even days later.omghiii, combination skin
I wouldn’t say this removes blackheads, but it DOES help keep oil and things from clogging your pores. My skin is softer, more even, and I even use less makeup.Emmmaaaaaaaaaaa, oily skin
I love how it feels when I put it on my skin. It tingles a little, and feels refreshing. My skin seems softer and brighter after I rinse the mask with warm water, but my pores are still not clean!Julieh89
Kiehl’s Rare Earth Mask Alternatives
Fresh Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask
Underwhelming in every way compared to the Kiehl’s. It do
esn’t deep clean as well, and it’s pricier. The only good thing about the Fresh one is how it’s less drying.
Youth to the People Superclay Purify + Clear Power Mask
I like the addition of BHA in the YTTP mask, and it’s also much less drying on the skin. This is one I would use all over as a weekly clarifying treatment, and a great option if you don’t have major pore concerns.
GROWN ALCHEMIST Deep Cleansing Facial Masque
One of the gentlest clay mask I’ve tried that still cleans well. It’s not as powerful as the Kiehl’s but it does leave my skin with a lovely glow afterwards. Another great option to use all over!
Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask
A clay mask that actually hydrates the skin. I know, it sounds crazy but it works, and is one of my favorite in-shower masks to use. It is a bit messy to clean, so all the more reason to wear it in the shower.
- Visibly minimizes pores
- A little goes a long way
- Great as a spot treatment for pimples
- Can feel drying
- No effect on skin texture
Scores & Summary
If you’re looking for a mask to help minimize and deep clean your pores, this is it. It doesn’t do much else and you may need to moisturize like crazy afterwards, but in my opinion the results are so worth it. If you’ve been disappointed with other clay masks, I highly recommend buying the 28ml jar to give this a try.