Scarlett Johansson Uses This Clay Mask for a “10-Minute Reset” Whenever Her Skin Needs a Gentle Detox

It’s surprisingly gentle and hydrating.

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scarlett johansson intvw + outset launch

Courtesy of Outset

The era of the celebrity skincare brand is bumming me out. I have lost track of the dozens of brands popping up every other day in what is an obvious cash grab. There are few options that actually merit genuine adoration regardless, or maybe in spite of, the celebrity association, and the Scarlett Johansson and Kate Foster-founded The Outset is one of them

I tried The Outset during a period when my skin was terribly inflamed and angry. The plain white glass bottles with simple blue text were a refreshing break from the sensory overload of most beauty brands’ packaging. A look at the ingredients further convinced me to experiment. Everything from the brand is clean, gentle, pared down, and soothing. Surprisingly, this applies even to its first launch of 2023: the Purifying Blue Clay Mask

I am suspicious of all clay masks. I understand the purpose is to clarify skin and clear impurities, but these formulas are almost always too drying and harsh for me. I wash the mask off and feel an extreme tightness and dryness to my skin that eventually gives way to blemishes and inflammation. So yes, maybe the blackheads on my nose are less pronounced, but in their place, I have zits that are even more of an eyesore. 

Blue Clay Mask

The Outset

Shop now: $46;

“[With the Blue Clay Mask] we’re saying take a 10-minute reset and do something good for your skin,” Johansson tells InStyle, adding that “most of our products are meant to get you out the door. I use it anytime I need to detox my skin in the most gentle way possible.” 

This is a complex formula with ingredients like kaolin (the decongesting and purifying clay), glycerin for long-lasting moisture, and niacinamide that brightens the complexion, battles blemishes, and improves texture. I tried it for the first time a few days before I started my period, when my skin was congested and tender. The second time was a week after my period ended, when my skin was coming down from the hormonal fluctuation and needs dullness shed. 

Two days later, I assessed the changes. The most immediately noticeable change was in the blackheads and small bumps that plague my T-zone. The first time, it changed them from black holes into ditches, and by the second use, my skin was smooth and flat. Some of the dark spots were much lighter, the dullness shed (which I swear made me look less tired), and my pores were pinpoints rather than crevasses. 

Another highlight is what was missing — my skin wasn’t tight and red and I didn’t have giant zits a few days later. Foster tells InStyle that she and Johansson “[tried] a lot of aggressive masks in our pasts that are loaded with stinging acids in the name of pore reduction or purification.” They wanted this product to be nurturing and moisturizing, like all Outset products, while “being a treatment that purifies and detoxes without harsh ingredients that can strip.” 

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Outset’s Clay Mask, the harshness of the product seemed antithetical to the comforting formulas that have become my safe (skincare) space. But Johansson and Foster have created a treatment that feels like the comfort of a warm blanket instead of the pain of rubbing sandpaper. Head to The Outset to shop the new Blue Clay Mask

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