We tried the $15 Amazon clay mask celebs are obsessed with

CNN —  

Hunting for buzzy, quality products on Amazon is not unlike searching for buried treasure. You dig and dig, and when you finally come across something that hits the ultimate trifecta — it’s got a gazillion positive reviews, is decidedly cheap and is actually great — well, the satisfaction is on par with finding that treasure. (Or finding, say, an incredible $25 Amazon ice roller that immediately depuffs your face.)

The latest cult-favorite Amazon beauty must-have checks all these boxes and is definitely considered a treasure among its devoted users. The Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay is a natural, calcium bentonite clay mask that the brand declares is akin to the “world’s most powerful facial.” And Amazon reviewers agree. The mask currently has more than 30,000 reviews (75% of which are 5-star) and the product’s organic hashtag, #aztecclaymask, has some 60,000 posts linked to it.

This face mask has over 55,000 positive reviews on Amazon

We tried the trending face mask. Here’s what we thought.

More proof it’s no flash-in-the-pan product: Since it first went viral a few years ago, it’s won praise from celebrities like Mindy Kaling, Lili Reinhart and Kourtney Kardashian — who, according to her blog Poosh, rotates the mask in during her “self-care Sundays.”

What’s so great about it? Well, chief among the product’s selling points is its efficacy. Users have called it everything from the “holy grail of acne solutions” to a “miracle product.” After being bombarded by the mask everywhere from Instagram to YouTube — this compilation review of Aztec alone has over 5 million views! — I decided to give it a try.

Known for drawing impurities and dirt out of your beleaguered pores, the Aztec mask tingles and pulsates while it’s slathered on your skin, letting you literally feel just how hard those minerals are working. Next it becomes hard as a rock, making your face totally immobile — not in a scary way, more in a hilarious, what-on-Earth-is-happening-here type of way.

Crazy side effects aside, my skin was visibly brighter immediately after using the mask. (You can expect 20 to 30 minutes of initial redness.) My pores were squeaky clean, and the next day any blemishes I had were significantly reduced. Read: It actually worked.

Since then, like many Amazon reviewers, I’ve been using the mask twice a week minimum, especially when I feel a breakout coming on. Some of the most poignant reviews on Amazon — and believe me, lots of them are emotional tear-jerkers — identify the mask as the only product that has ever come close to healing years of painful, acne-prone skin.

Another thing people are obsessed with: the experience. Unlike those fancy luxury masks (and don’t get me wrong, I have a special place in my heart for Tatcha’s luxurious Violet-C Radiance Mask), Aztec requires a bit of elbow grease. Users need to mix the clay powder in a 1:1 ratio with either water or apple cider vinegar (the widely preferred ingredient) to create a paste that you then lather on your face. I used my fingers, but a whole new crop of special “face mask brushes” is now on the market, too. One YouTube reviewer exclaimed, “I feel like Bill Nye the science guy!”

More to know about the mask: It’s multipurpose. The Aztec instructions actually recommend using it for everything from body wraps and clay baths to foot soaks and insect bites, but check out the #aztecfacemask hashtag and you’ll find dozens and dozens of videos showcasing the product’s superpower as a hair mask that removes buildup and returns shine and bounce to curly locks.

Lastly, one of the main reasons Aztec has gone viral multiple times over is simply because it only costs 15 bucks. And it’s one-day Prime, so order it today and it will literally be on your doorstep tomorrow. In the world of fancy splurge face masks, Aztec’s price point is a welcome respite.

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay ($14.95, amazon.com)