Excessively oily skin can be stressful. You have to deal with constantly blotting your face throughout the day, so you don’t look like a shiny disco ball and worry about pimples popping up out of nowhere. Then there’s always feeling like sebum and impurities are clogging up your pores, so you have to watch out for blackheads too. It can all be too much!
Luckily, charcoal products are available in the market to be a skin savior to oily skin. From the trendiest charcoal soaps to the best charcoal mask out there, people with oily and acne-prone skin are always clamoring for skincare products that carry this miracle ingredient. Charcoal does wonders for problematic skin, from deep cleansing to calming active acne to controlling sebum production.
Masks are a great way to incorporate charcoal into your daily skincare regimen. Read on to see the best charcoal masks we recommend and why.
- Best Charcoal Mask Reviews
- 1. O’Linear Cosmetics Black Mask
- 2. Cool Day’s Blackheads Charcoal Mask
- 3. Freeman Polishing Charcoal Gel Mask
- 4. Biore Charcoal Instant Warming Clay Mask
- 5. M3 Naturals Charcoal Scrub
- 6. Shills Acne-Purifying Peel-Off Black Mask
- 7. Phebe Beauty Black Mask
- 8. Belei Charcoal Balancing Mask
- 9. The Body Shop Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask
- 10. Olay Black Charcoal Clay Stick
- 11. CHIC REPUBLIC Activated Charcoal Face Mask
- 12. Origins Clear Active Charcoal Mask
- What to Look for When Buying Charcoal Masks
- Other Important Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Charcoal Mask Reviews
1. O’Linear Cosmetics Black Mask
Let’s start this list with a peel-off mask that is excellent at drawing out impurities but is also packed with great natural ingredients. O’Linear’s black mask is 80 grams worth of activated charcoal, vitamin C, and botanicals that your skin will love.
How to use this mask is pretty standard. You spread a somewhat thick layer of the product on your skin (not too thin or else it may be hard to peel off), wait for it to dry, and peel. What’s great about it is that it’s effective in extracting impurities and stubborn blackheads from deep in the pore.
Many popular charcoal mask brands come out with masks that only pull out hair follicles, but this mask in particular visibly cleans the pores. All it takes is one masking session and so many blackheads on the skin, especially the nose, disappear.
The formula is also infused with vitamin C to promote the production of collagen in the skin, which is excellent for preventing wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging. Along with this, there are other natural ingredients like wheat protein, rice extracts, apple, and aloe, to help soothe the skin during the masking process.
2. Cool Day’s Blackheads Charcoal Mask
If you’re looking for a charcoal mask that’s a bit more gentle on the skin and easier to remove, this option by Cool Day’s might be for you. Its main ingredient is bamboo charcoal, which absorbs toxins from the environment and draws out grime clogging up the pores, from blackheads to dirt and bacteria.
Aside from detoxifying charcoal, the formula also contains collagen and vitamin E to promote collagen production and elasticity in the skin. With these, the mask helps to prevent the early onset of signs of aging, like wrinkles.
Like any good charcoal mask, this product clarifies the skin and removes the distracting oiliness that makes the face look greasy, at least for a couple of hours after use. Regular use of this product helps control the production of oil in the long run, so you don’t get overly oily throughout the day.
One of the best things about this mask is that it comes with a free brush for easy application of the product to the face. The brush’s bristles are made of natural and synthetic fibers, making it extra soft. However, it is not flimsy and helps build a thick, solid layer of the mask on the face.
Compared to other masks, this charcoal pore mask is quite easy to peel off. I found that it takes one slick swipe off the face to remove the entire mask, and I didn’t have to worry about tugging and pulling at my skin. No remnants of the mask stay on the skin after peel-off as well.
3. Freeman Polishing Charcoal Gel Mask
Here’s another mask option for those who are a bit wary of peel-off charcoal masks, like those with sensitive, acne-prone skin or extra conscious about tugging their skin for fear of wrinkles or pain. Facial mask brand Freeman carries this charcoal mask that is pretty much a hybrid of a soothing gel mask and a sugar scrub.
Activated charcoal is still the star ingredient of this mask. It does what it usually does, which is absorb excess oil found on the surface of the skin while mattifying it, making it look smooth and matte.
However, what’s unique about this mask is the presence of another ingredient that’s great for cleaning the skin and ensuring it’s rid of all types of bacteria and grime—black sugar. Sugar crystals as exfoliators are far more gentle than the usual microbeads you see in facial scrubs, but they are just as effective in sloughing off dirt and unclogging the pores.
This mask is great for sensitive skin (among other skin types) because it’s a wash-off mask. That means you don’t have to worry about the mask getting too difficult to pull off your skin. Just apply, relax for 5-7 minutes, and wash off with lukewarm water and admire your smooth, clean, supple yet matte skin.
This mask offers great value for money because it comes at an affordable price for a mask that is so high quality and cares for your skin gently while cleansing it to the maximum level.
4. Biore Charcoal Instant Warming Clay Mask
Japan is known for its inventive innovation, especially when it comes to skincare technologies. That’s why Tokyo-based brand Biore has its own charcoal clay mask, combining two of the best ingredients for oily and combination skin.
This mask combines charcoal, which is great at absorbing and eliminating impurities and pollution from the top layers of skin, and clay, an ingredient known to curb and prevent the production of excess sebum. Together, these two make an intense, hardworking mask that is still gentle enough to be used by those with sensitive, acne-prone skin.
The directions on the product say that this wash-off mask should be massaged gently into the skin upon application. I noticed that drawing small circles on my face also helps exfoliate the skin and rub off some dead skin and dirt, making my skin more glowy and more radiant after use.
What’s unique about this mask is that it has heat technology that can make the effects of charcoal and clay even more powerful. Once water touches the mask, heat is activated, and you’ll start to feel a warming sensation on your skin. This is to help the pores open up so that the charcoal and clay can work their magic in drawing out all the gunk and clean it properly. Still, the heating feature can be a bit distracting on the face; it just takes some getting used to.
5. M3 Naturals Charcoal Scrub
If you’re looking for an exfoliating yet moisturizing charcoal mask for clogged pores, this sea salt scrub by M3 Naturals may be your best bet.
This high-priced US-made scrub combines natural activated charcoal and Dead Sea salts to give the user a deeper exfoliation that doesn’t just shed dead, flaky skin at the surface but also absorbs oil and grime from deep within the pores.
While this combo of ingredients sounds a bit intimidating, the scrub has other moisturizing and skin-strengthening ingredients that nourish the skin and make it soft and supple.
The formula is infused with collagen and fruit stem cell that can help boost skin longevity and elasticity to delay the signs of aging on the skin, like wrinkles, fine lines, and more loose skin. It also helps fight free radicals that can harm the skin and make it dull.
There are also moisturizing ingredients like jojoba oil, aloe, and coconut oil, all of which make sure the skin isn’t dried out even after exfoliating with charcoal and salts.
6. Shills Acne-Purifying Peel-Off Black Mask
For skin that is quite strong and buoyant but needs help eliminating blackheads that never seem to go away, Shills’ peel-off mask is perfect for you.
The key ingredient in this natural, organic mask is activated bamboo charcoal. It is great at absorbing oil trapped in the pores and stubborn blackheads stuck there for way too long. This ingredient is also key in purifying the skin to regulate the production of excess sebum, to make sure your face isn’t as oily as before.
After applying the mask and leaving it on for a few minutes until it dries, peeling it off the skin needs some patience, but the result is worth it. It effectively removes gunk and blackheads from the most challenging areas of skin, it also shrinks the pores’ appearance once they are cleansed deeply.
Even if this mask is meant for clarifying the skin, it still contains vitamins and plant extracts to give the skin nourishing ingredients. Therefore, we can rely on this mask to strengthen our skin and make it softer. It’s also very safe to use because it is all-organic and doesn’t use harsh chemicals like parabens, alcohols, or silicones.
The mask comes with a free spatula to use for face application, making it less messy to do a masking session with the product. And while this mask is recommended for men with more resilient skin, it is also perfectly safe to use by women, so long as their skin is not so sensitive to peel-off masks.
7. Phebe Beauty Black Mask
Phebe is not exactly a very well-known skincare brand, but they provide a simple yet effective and skin-strengthening charcoal peel off mask as awesome as those that popular brands carry.
They use fine, high-quality activated charcoal for their mask, which gives a very deep clean and absorbs oil and gunk in the pores. Because of how deep the clean goes, your pores end up looking smaller after using this product. The charcoal also helps out with regulating the oiliness of the skin my managing the production of sebum.
Aside from just charcoal, this mask also contains natural botanicals that your skin will thank you for. One of these ingredients is lavender oil, which is known to soothe and heal skin. It also promotes skin regeneration so that youthful, radiant skin can start peeking through to replace dull skin on the top layer of skin. The mask also has strong antioxidants that can help delay the signs of aging on the skin.
Because of the oils and botanicals used in this very simple formula, this product smells a lot more pleasant and relaxing than many other charcoal masks today. That makes it a great option for those who love some aromatherapy while doing their nightly skincare routine.
They recommend that you do a face steaming session or at least wash your face with warm water, so you can open up your pores and make it easy for the mask to draw out all the dirt trapped in your skin.
8. Belei Charcoal Balancing Mask
Some people have combination skin and are looking for a charcoal mask that can cleanse their faces deeply and provide them with the hydration their skin needs to stay strong and healthy. If that is the case for you, look no further than the American brand Belei’s charcoal mask.
Belei’s mask combines activated charcoal and hyaluronic acid to give your skin a balance of deep cleansing and hydration. Charcoal absorbs oil on the skin to make your face less shiny and more matte while giving it a deep cleanse. On the other hand, hyaluronic acid draws moisture from the air and retains it in the deeper layers of your skin, so it can be soft and plump.
Because of its gentle and thoughtful formula, this mask also helps soothe existing acne and blemishes and even minimizes large pores’ appearance after just a couple of uses.
However, it’s important to note that since this mask prioritizes nourishing the skin and not drying it out, it isn’t the type of mask that can easily pull out blackheads, like other charcoal masks that have a peel-off format.
Belei creates clean skincare products that will bring no harm to the skin, so this charcoal mask has no potentially harsh ingredients like parabens, fragrances, sulfates, or phthalates. The formula is dermatologist-tested and approved, so you can be sure you’re only getting the best of the best.
9. The Body Shop Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask
The Body Shop is one of those brands that have been known for decades for their products’ use of all-natural, skin-loving ingredients. If you’re vegan and looking to try out a charcoal mask that can help with problematic skin as well, then you’ll love this Himalayan bamboo charcoal mask by the popular brand.
This clay mask contains bamboo charcoal that helps purify and mattify greasy skin that produces excess oil. It also softens and unclogs pores of grime and hardened oil, for easier extraction of blackheads and other comedones after the masking session.
Furthermore, the formula also includes green tea leaves. They are generous with antioxidants that make the skin stronger and soothe any inflamed or irritated patches of skin. Tea tree oil is another great ingredient found in this formula, helping clear the skin of blemishes by treating them properly without drying them out too much.
Some of the natural ingredients used to make this clay mask are ethically sourced from small communities in Kenya. So if you’re trying to be more ethical and sustainable with your skincare purchases, know that buying this product helps out not only your problematic skin but also those trying to make a living through farming.
This mask is 100% vegan and cruelty-free for those who are conscious of the exploitation of animals. It also does not contain any potentially harmful chemicals, like parabens, silicones, or mineral oils.
10. Olay Black Charcoal Clay Stick
If you do multi-masking or apply different masks depending on which part of your face is more problematic than others, you know how much of a mess it can be. Luckily, Olay carries clay face masks in stick form for convenient application to the face. My favorite one that they carry in this line is their black charcoal clay stick.
The mask stick is formulated with charcoal and kaolin clay. They are both known to be good at pulling out impurities from the skin to give it a deep cleanse while clarifying it too to look refreshed and matte. Because they’re excellent at absorbing oil, they pull out even the tiniest bits of dirt and grease from the pores to ensure that the skin can breathe.
While the formula is simple (without compromising the quality of the mask itself), it is the unique and innovative format that really captured my attention.
Notably, the stick format makes masking way cleaner and easier than the usual masks that you can find in a jar or have to apply with a brush. All you have to do is swipe it on your skin, and it’s ready to work magic on your face!
11. CHIC REPUBLIC Activated Charcoal Face Mask
If you are looking for a charcoal mask that cleanses and clarifies like it’s supposed to but are too scared of it drying out your skin, then you’re in luck. CHIC REPUBLIC offers an activated charcoal mask that nourishes the skin and gives it the vitamins and nutrients it needs to stay soft, healthy, and radiant.
Charcoal and kaolin clay are the main ingredients of this mask. They help absorb excess oil and dig out dirt and impurities from the deeper layers of the skin, to help refresh and cleanse the skin, especially for those affected by daily pollutants.
Aside from these, the mask is packed with anti-aging oils and ingredients that the skin will drink up, from rosehip oil to primrose oil to spirulina. These hydrates the skin, but they also strengthen it and boost collagen production and elasticity, so you don’t see fine lines and wrinkles anytime soon.
It also has vitamin C, a powerhouse ingredient for brightening the overall skin tone for a more even complexion. This is an ingredient that you don’t usually find in charcoal face masks, making this variant by CHIC REPUBLIC all the more unique.
12. Origins Clear Active Charcoal Mask
The last product on our list is from Origins, another famous premium brand relying on natural botanicals mixed with science-led skincare technologies for highly effective products. Their rather high-priced mask has great activated charcoal that sucks out grime and pollutants to give you clean and clear skin.
Microporous bamboo charcoal that is amazing at absorbing oil that dwells deep in the pores is the main ingredient of this lovely mask. With one masking session, you can tell by the size of the pores that they are cleaner and hold almost no impurities deep within them.
White China clay is another significant ingredient in this formula. While it assists charcoal in drawing out impurities from the pores, it also flushes out harmful toxins and pollutants that may have been trapped on the outer layers of skin.
Overall, this mask also rids the skin of its dullness, and the skin always looks brighter, cleaner, and smoother than before with each use. It’s a great way to do a deep cleanse for your skin when it feels dirty and congested or to feel refreshed after your skincare routine.
What to Look for When Buying Charcoal Masks
High-quality charcoal powder
Activated charcoal does wonders for the skin because of its ability to suck up and draw out all the impurities imaginable that may be trapped in your pores. But not all charcoals are created equal. Read the label of each product you’re looking to buy to see if their charcoal powder is fine, natural, and high quality.
One good example of activated charcoal that is high quality and will be incredible for the skin is bamboo charcoal. Such powder can go up to four times stronger than ordinary charcoal. This means it can draw more impurities out of your pores and pull out even the most stubborn blackheads and grime that have been stuck in your skin for quite some time.
Charcoal masks often get a bad rap for being too drying, especially the peel-off ones that leave the skin suspiciously squeaky clean. There’s always a risk for these masks to strip the natural oils from your face during the peel-off step. Hence, it’s essential to look for masks with at least some hydrating properties to replenish the skin during masking.
Some great hydrating ingredients that can be found in many charcoal masks are oils like jojoba oil and coconut oil. Meanwhile, others even have hyaluronic acid to retain as much moisture as possible in the skin. Ensuring that your charcoal mask has ingredients like these is especially important for those with dry, parched skin.
Trustworthy brand name
When looking for a charcoal mask, especially when you’re a beginner, it’s quite comforting to go for products manufactured by the experts.
Try to look for masks produced by household names in the skincare world, like Biore or Origins. If you want to go for a brand that isn’t so popular, make sure to read up on them and what they stand for as a brand, or read reviews on their products for your peace of mind.
Remember that these brands are trusted by many for a reason—because they’re high quality and achieve results for you in the safest and most timely manner. Don’t just go for obscure brands that have no excellent reviews online. Take care of your skin by making sure it only drinks up products from brands that deserve your trust.
Easy peel-off formula
Peel-off masks are actually quite controversial in the modern skincare world because of how much they can tug at your skin. This may speed up the process of getting wrinkles, crow’s feet, and other signs of aging on the skin.
This is why it’s important to look for a formula that is easy to peel off, especially for sensitive skin. Gel formulas are much easier to remove than the more hardcore matte mask formulas.
Those with resilient, stronger skin that is not so sensitive can afford to go for more intense masks, but it’s still important to always be careful when peeling off the mask, so it doesn’t create any trauma to the skin.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What are the best charcoal masks?
The best charcoal masks will differ depending on your skin type and problems. For example, for those with dry skin, the best charcoal masks will be those that are hydrating and have nourishing ingredients—probably a wash-off mask like the Belei Charcoal Balancing Mask, which balances hydration with the purification of the skin.
On the other hand, if you have oily skin, you can opt for a peel-off mask that can eliminate greasiness on the skin and regulate sebum production. One of the best ones for this is the Shills Acne-Purifying Peel-Off Black Mask, which is super powerful when it comes to removing nasties from the pores.
How do charcoal masks work?
Charcoal powder in masks works by digging deep into your pores and absorbing the oil trapped inside of them. Like clay, charcoal is terrific at cleaning and refreshing the skin by deep cleansing. It also has properties that work to minimize the pores for a clearer and smoother complexion.
Who are charcoal masks for?
They are mostly used for drawing out impurities from the skin to cleanse it deeply and unclog the pores, which makes them most beneficial for those with oily skin and clogged pores.
Many people also use charcoal masks specifically for blackheads that are too stubborn to remove by manual extraction, so they are another group of people that can benefit from charcoal masks. Charcoal masks work great for this specific skin issue, especially when they’re in the peel-off format.
What are the different types of charcoal masks?
The two main types of charcoal masks are peel-off and wash-off. Those with oily skin that have major issues with blackheads will probably go for the peel-off ones because they are more hardworking in terms of pulling out as much as they can from the pores.
Those with dry and sensitive skin, on the other hand, may opt for wash-off masks, as these are the ones that are more hydrating and don’t require you to tug at your skin just to remove the mask.
Some brands carry charcoal sheet mask options, but these are not as common as the first two types. It is peel-off and wash-off masks that steal the show as far as charcoal is concerned, but if you do good enough research, you can probably find sheet masks that are great as well.
Why do you need a charcoal mask for blackheads?
Blackheads are one of the monsters of the skincare world. They’re so tiny and hard to extract, even when you seek professional help. Other than that, they are ridiculously stubborn and may take months or even years to finally get rid of.
But with activated charcoal masks, it’s easy to dig deeper into the pore and pull those nasty blackheads right out. Without these masks, many blackheads will probably be stuck there for even longer than just a few years and continue clogging the pores, giving you an uncomfortable, congested feeling on the face.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most trusted charcoal mask brands?
Some of the most trusted brands for charcoal masks include Origins, Olay, and The Body Shop. These three brands are known not only for their charcoal products but also for natural ingredients and high-performing skincare technologies. So you’re sure that the products you get from them are the best you can get in the industry.
Belei is another great brand when you’re looking for a charcoal mask. While it’s not as popular as the brands mentioned above, it is a rising star in the skincare industry. Notably, a lot of people have expressed love for it, especially for its charcoal mask.
Another brand people love for charcoal masks not mentioned on this list is the Inatur charcoal face mask. While it drives results too, I’ve found that the ones listed here are many times over more effective, and at a faster pace.
What is the most painful charcoal mask?
Among the masks on this list, it is Shills Acne-Purifying Peel-Off Black Mask that can probably be tagged as the most painful. This is why it’s recommended mostly for men with resilient skin, although women can use it as well if their skin can handle it.
When using this mask, be sure it suits your skin type. Moisturize or tone with a hydrating essence or toner immediately after as well, so that your skin does not dry out.
How can I more easily peel off charcoal masks without tugging at my skin??
If you’re scared of having a hard time peeling a mask off, be sure to apply a thicker layer on your face at the start of the masking session. The thicker the layer, the easier it is to hold on to when peeling. A thicker layer also increases the chances of the product holding together once dry. That means you can pull it off your face in one go without any remnants left behind.
Can charcoal masks remove pimples?
While charcoal does not directly remove or get rid of pimples, many activated charcoal masks are infused with ingredients that can help eliminate pimples and blemishes by soothing them and even treating them. An example of this is The Body Shop’s charcoal mask, which includes tea tree oil to care for active acne.
When doing charcoal masking while you have active pimples, it is recommended to go for a wash-off option instead of one that you have to peel off. Peeling off a layer of product from your skin might be irritating to active pimples. So it’s best to stay away from them until your skin is ready for that intensity and possible tugging.
Do charcoal masks actually work?
Yes, charcoal masks have been proven for decades to work incredibly well to draw out impurities and stubborn blackheads from the skin. They have slowly become one of the most trusted ingredients in the skincare realm, and for a good reason.
How do I use charcoal masks?
Peel-off masks are a lot of fun to use. You simply apply a medium to thick layer of the product on your skin and wait until it is dry. It’s crucial to be patient and make sure the layer is completely dry on all areas of the skin. Or else you’ll have a difficult time peeling it off. Once ready, you can go ahead and very gently peel off the mask and bask in the satisfaction of the gunk and blackheads it has pulled out.
Wash-off masks are a lot more simple. All you do is apply a layer on your skin and sit back and relax for a few minutes. One the mask has hardened a bit, you can then wash it off. Unlike peel-off masks, you shouldn’t wait until the mask is completely dried out before washing it off, because this might dehydrate your skin and suck out all the healthy oils that keep it hydrated.
What do I do if a charcoal mask is difficult to peel off?
If a mask is difficult to peel off, don’t panic! There are ways to help you remove the mask’s remnants without having to tug at your skin. One way is to get a towel wet with warm water and carefully rub against the mask to scrub it off little by little.
You can also just opt to rinse the mask off if you wish. It will take some time, but it is safer than just picking at the mask and ripping it off like a band-aid. You should never do this because it can cause a lot of problems for your skin, like wounds or rubbing your skin too raw.
What should I do after I use a charcoal mask?
Even the best charcoal face mask can get a bit drying, especially if there are little to no hydrating ingredients in the mask’s formula. That is why it’s imperative to tone and moisturize the skin after finishing a masking session with activated charcoal as the main ingredient, especially if it’s a peel-off mask that could have stripped away some of the natural oils on the surface of the skin.
What is the best way to store charcoal masks?
Charcoal masks should be kept away from direct sunlight and stored in a cool, dry place. While charcoal masks usually take a long time to dry out in their packaging, it’s important to always look at your mask’s expiration date to see when you can expect it to harden or solidify.
Can I make my own charcoal masks at home?
Although it’s possible to make your own natural charcoal mask through a DIY session in the kitchen, I recommend that you trust in carefully formulated skincare products by beauty companies. When experts working for beauty brands create the formulations for charcoal masks, they include the best ingredients possible to make the mask more nourishing and have multiple benefits for the skin.
If you make your own mask at home using activated charcoal without prior knowledge about chemistry and dermatology, you might end up with a concoction that can dry out your skin and do more harm than good.
Should charcoal masks be different for men and women?
No. Generally, most skincare products are great for all genders, and charcoal masks are no exception. Adult men tend to have resilient skin, so charcoal peel-off masks are something they can tolerate. Every product listed in this guide is a charcoal mask for men and women.
Where can I buy charcoal masks?
Like most skincare products, charcoal masks can be found in many convenient and accessible stores near you. Many local beauty shops will carry brands that have these masks. There are also a handful of drugstore charcoal mask options when you look for them in the right places.
The best place to buy them, however, are online through shopping websites and eCommerce stores. When you go shopping online, you can research at the same time so that you can read product reviews by real people or to check if the ingredients in the formula are best for your skin type.
There is a huge array of charcoal masks to choose from. Your decision depends on what you feel like doing for your masking session. It can be a rejuvenating and nourishing wash-off charcoal mask to a clarifying and satisfying peel-off mask that draws out blackheads. Regardless of which one you go for, you’re sure to get amazing results because of the nature of charcoal as an ingredient, and its many benefits.
I hope that with this list of recommended options, you have narrowed down your options for the best charcoal mask for you. Get ready to kiss those blackheads goodbye. Have a great charcoal masking session!