Do you remember when MAC Cosmetics came out with the 'Volcanic Ash' Thermal Mask and Exfoliator? I believe that was back in 2008/2009. I was working for MAC at the time & they had launched a limited edition Volcanic Ash skincare line. I wasn't really into masks back then & my first impression of applying BLACK goo all over my face was kind of terrifying. I received the products as gratis & I'm so glad I did because after trying them out, the results definitely changed my mind about charcoal masks. I mean, who would think getting your face "dirty" would actually be beneficial? Although the MAC skincare is NOT made with activated charcoal, the benefits of Volcanic Ash is pretty similar as far as removing toxins. After a few weeks of trying out the volcanic ash, I noticed the texture of my skin was a lot softer & smoother. I was so bummed when I ran out. MAC later decided to bring back the exfoliator, which was a plus for all the die hard fans. I have tried numerous charcoal masks since then & in this post, I'll share some of my favorites.
There are many beauty benefits in using charcoal masks. When you apply activated charcoal on your skin it acts like a magnet & helps purify the skin by drawing out dirt, oil & other toxins from your pores. It is not metabolized or absorbed by the body. If you suffer from acne or excess oil, using a charcoal mask will help keep your skin clear & matte.
I do a charcoal mask about once a week. Twice, if I really need it or just for spot treatments. My skin type is combo, & pretty dry during the winter. If you're extremely oily, I recommend doing a charcoal mask at least 3x a week. I always make sure my face is clean prior to doing a mask. I like to do a mask after I get out of the shower, the steam from the shower helps to open up my pores. On other days, I'll just take a warm wash cloth & press it against my clean face for a few minutes.
Here are a few charcoal masks you need to try:
Origins Clear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Mask To Clear Pores $26 ( 3.4oz )
The Origins mask is probably one of my favorites! Aside from the activated charcoal, this product also contains white china clay: a gentle and effective clay that absorbs environmental toxins & lecithin: dissolves impurities. I love the way this mask dries. It just feels like its working its magic & sucking everything out. If you're a fan of a mask that dries tight, you'll love this one! You literally can't smile or talk when it's on. I recommend you fully moisturize right after. I like to do the Origins Drink Up, right after.
Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque $42 ( 2.5 oz )
The Dermalogica Masque contains both charcoal and volcanic ash in its ingredients. This mask claims to be an "all-in-one" that detoxifies, brightens, & invigorates all skin conditions. It has a bit of cooling effect when you apply it. Just like the Origins, this one leave your skin feeling tight when it dries.
GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment $69 ( 1.2oz )
The GlamGlow line is pretty well known for their treatments. I've tried a few of them & do find them to do what's expected. GlamGlow claims the Supermud is a scientifically advanced treatment that targets, prevents & heals problem skin. Just like the other masks, you can totally see where all the dirt & gunk is as the product dries. The only con I would say about this product is it's pretty pricey, especially for the amount of product you get in the jar.
Boscia Charcoal Pore Pudding Intensive Wash-Off Treatment $38 ( 2.8oz )
The pudding treatment is quite cool. You get a swirl of black & white charcoal throughout the jar. You also get a spatula so you're not dipping your fingers into the jar, great for sanitary purposes. To use this product, mix both the black and white before applying to the skin & leave it on for 20 mins. The pudding treatment is great for all skin types but if you're more on the dry side, you'll appreciate that this doesn't leave your skin feeling dry and tight. It's formulated to hydrate & moisturize your skin.
Boscia Luminizing Black Mask $34 ( 2.8oz )
This black mask doesn't contain charcoal like the pudding but I think this mask is pretty effective at sucking out the gunk from your pores. It's one of those masks that when it dries, you peel it off. You can literally see everything it sucks out. Sometimes I like to just apply this mask on my nose, forehead & chin, as you would a biore pore strip. I've heard that this mask is quite painful when pulling it off, mainly because it pulls some of your little facial hairs. Maybe a good thing for those who want to reduce facial hair? Hehe. I, however, didn't deal with any pain what-so-ever, but I did find it to slightly burn my eyes.
Lush Dark Angels Cleanser $12.75 ( 3.5oz )
Dark Angels isn't quite a mask, more so an exfoliator, but definitely a good charcoal one. It comes in a solid form & you break off a little piece, enough to cover your face, add warm water to create a paste & massage onto skin. I find this one to be a little on the messier side, but other than that, it works great with getting rid of dull skin & deep cleaning pores. The price is pretty reasonable as well. Lush also makes a Charcoal bar, that I've heard great things about.
There are quite a few charcoal masks out there. I haven't tried them all, so if you have a favorite that you recommend I try, please list them below!
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