The Living Nature brand is a recent addition to the TIA shop, and I’ve seen several intriguing posts on this New Zealand maker’s offerings – and its commitment to natural, safe, and environmentally-friendly products and production. TIA asked me to try Living Nature’s Halloysite Clay Deep Cleansing Mask ($47). It’s an appealing line, but my conclusion was that this product is probably perfect for some, but not right for me. That said, I would certainly try something like its Hydrating Gel Mask or Ultra Nourishing Mask, which sound more suitable for “mature” skin (loathsome euphemism).

The Deep Cleansing Mask is just that, and its purpose is “to deeply purify and refine pores.” I imagine that it is intended to combat blemishes and eliminate breakouts, and its rather gorgeous ingredients should facilitate healing and balancing as well as cleansing and purifying. (The website refers to the antimicrobial properties of manuka extract, which is interesting.) Halloysite clay, Wikipedia says, has as its main constituents aluminum, silicon, and hydrogen; the very pure form found in New Zealand is used in making bone china.

When I opened the box, I was surprised and pleased to see that it did not contain just a jar of sludge-y goo, but 10 individual foil packets. I think that it is very smart to have it pre-measured: it makes using the mask much easier and far less messy (and more hygienic!). You simply open the packet, squeezing out and applying the quite thick paste all over the face, and leave it for “at least 20” minutes, then rinse. It’s suggested for use once a week.

Like every other clay-based mask I’ve ever used, this one dries up completely and quickly on the face, leaving a caked-on coating of white that takes a bit of effort to rinse off. I did feel squeaky-clean – without, I should add, feeling parched, which I’d feared. It’s been nice to try once a week after a hot, sticky summer day when even drier skins feel clogged and dirty. In fact, one evening I used it after a hot shower to really open up my pores. So for me, it might be an occasional summertime fix after a swampy, sweaty week. But I don’t have routine problems with clogged pores or with blemishes, and it wouldn’t be something I’d use often or regularly.

I think TIA could get a more useful evaluation from someone who does have problems with oiliness or frequent breakouts. In the meantime, I’ll look forward to sampling something else from Living Nature’s interesting repertoire.

Ingredients: Aqua (water), Kaolin (Halloysite clay), Macadamia ternifolia seed oil, Prunus amygdalus dulcis (almond) oil, Persea gratissima (avocado) oil, Mel (manuka honey), Cetearyl wheat straw glycosides, Cetearyl alcohol (from coconut & palm oil), Citrus grandis (grapefruit) seed extract, Zinc oxide, Limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, Sclerotium gum, Oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil, Triticum vulgare (wheat) germ oil, Citrus medica limonum (lemon) oil, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Leptospermum scoparium (manuka) oil, Backhousia citriodora (lemon myrtle) oil, Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, Totarol, Citral*, Limonene*

*From natural essential oils