Discovering the Powers of Umbrian Clay in Amelia, Italy
Unless you've been living under a rock over the last year or so, any good beauty junkie will know that Umbrian clay is currently all the rage. Quite a few of the big brands have launched clay-based products, with Fresh's Umbrian Clay face mask garnering the most publicity for its life-changing (or at least skin-changing) affects.
So when we booked our summer holiday to Umbria in Italy, I knew I had to get my hands on this clay at its very source.
We would be joining family who are based in Oslo but escape to Amelia (a beautiful small town in the heart of Umbria) every summer. So I had absolute confidence my aunt would be able to help me track down authentic Umbrian clay. And she did not disappoint. In fact she told me she's been using it herself for a few years, because locals believe it cures a number of ailments, including sinusitis. Of course I was most interested in its potential impact on the skin, as due to its high silica levels and ph balance, Umbrian clay is said to purify and detoxify the skin, clear up spots and blemishes and help with anti-ageing.
Barely able to contain my excitement, we dropped into a local pharmacy on Amelia's high street to hunt down the clay and get some tips and tricks from the shop's owners. I had my pick of two versions: a) a pre-packaged tube with a clay mixture for easy use and b) the clay in raw form to be purchased by weight. I opted for the clay itself because I thought it'd be fun to mix it myself and because I knew I'd never get a huge liquid-filled tube past airport security. Oh, the woes of a travelling beauty junkie.
Back at home, I've been trialling the clay on a weekly basis for about a month now. I mix a small portion with orange blossom water (which I sourced from Marrakech) to make a simple mask. I apply it fast (as the clay is very quick to dry) and let it sit on my face for about ten minutes. I rinse it off using a washcloth and leave my skin to settle. On first impression, I found it left my skin a bit blotchy. This despite the fact that Umbrian clay is meant to be more delicate on the skin than many others. But once this settled after a few uses, my skin started looking trés fresh. After regular use, I've noticed that my blackheads and spots also rise to the surface. This was annoying at first, but now I've embraced extractions, my skin has truly benefitted. I think going forwards I'll use it less frequently (once every two weeks) so it doesn't agitate my skin. But I'm loving using only natural ingredients and at 2.50 euro for a product that will easily last me well over a year, I'm one happy Beauty Backpacker.
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