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10 Best Charcoal Masks in 2020

A good face mask will leave your skin looking refreshed, but the best face masks will work under the surface to cleanse or even detoxify. Masks made with activated charcoal have become en vogue in the last few years, and with good reason: activated charcoal is extra-porous, which means that it absorbs impurities from both the surface of your face and from your pores.

With the popularity of charcoal masks comes a dilemma; there are loads market, it’s hard to find the best. We delved into the science of the best charcoal masks on the market, and came up with ten contenders that deliver:

View The Best WCharcoal Mask Below

1. Vassoul Blackhead Remover Mask

Vassoul Blackhead Remover Mask

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When it comes to battling blackheads, we want a product that focuses on the pores, and this peel-off bamboo charcoal mask met with unanimous approval, especially if you follow the manufacturer’s advice to prep your face with hot water before use. Blackheads are no match for the peeling power of this mask, and the charcoal amplifies the cleansing effect: your skin will feel pristine.

Pros:
+Strong peeling action removes blackheads – peach fuzz, too
+Mask is easy to apply, dries quickly
+Can be used two or more times a week

Why We Like It – Strong enough to draw out blackheads and unclog your pores, this mask isn’t super-painful to remove (we’ve all seen those youtube horror videos!). This middle ground means you can use the mask more often – without irritating your skin.


2. Tree to Tub Activated Charcoal Clay Mask

Tree to Tub Activated Charcoal Clay Mask

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Drawing from nature to draw out impurities, this is a luxury detoxifying charcoal mask that’s safe for sensitive skin. It nourishes and calms (tea tree, lavender, and aloe vera are among the ingredients), and the hyaluronic acid provides an anti-aging boost.

Pros:
+Balanced formula purifies without overdrying
+Made with natural botanicals and free from sulfates and parabens
+A gentle mask option for acne-prone or sensitive skin

Why We Like It – While the charcoal and kaolin do their work, the botanicals in this formulation prevent dryness. It’s a splurge, but it’s also one of the best charcoal masks we discovered.


3. L’Oreal Paris Skincare Pure-Clay Face Mask

L'Oreal Paris Skincare Pure-Clay Face Mask

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If you’re on a skincare budget, this mask is one of the best in the drugstore cosmetics class. L’Oreal has customized a charcoal and kaolin clay mask base to brighten and clarify even sensitive skin without drying. And it’s fortified with natural ingredients to achieve maximum results, but with a minimum price tag.

Pros:
+L’Oreal expertise and affordability
+Mask won’t dry your skin
+Quality ingredients from natural sources

Why We Like It – Our skincare needs vary from season to season (or even day to day), and this charcoal and clay concoction yields consistent results: it wakes up dull skin and reduces the appearance of pores.


4. GleeBee Blackhead Remover Mask

GleeBee Blackhead Remover Mask

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Target trouble spots like your nose and chin, or use this charcoal mask all over your face – it will deep clean your pores and improve skin’s appearance while boosting blood circulation. The bamboo-based activated charcoal effects are delivered without a strong scent, unlike some other black charcoal masks.

Pros:
+Detoxifying charcoal in a mildly scented formula
+Targets blackheads and conditions skin
+Peels with minimal pain

Why We Like It – Peeling can leave your skin red; the best charcoal mask will root out blackheads without leaving you blotchy. This one from GleeBee does the trick, and it even helps with “strawberry nose” – large visible pores appear smaller after use.


5. AsaVea Purifying Black Peel Off Mask

AsaVea Purifying Black Peel Off Mask

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Charcoal face masks may be a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem. In essence, one of the reported benefits of activated charcoal is a reduction in radiation effects from computer screens and cell phones. But even if you’re just looking for improved circulation and smooth, refreshed skin, this mask from AsaVea fits the bill.

Pros:
+Contains collagen and glycerine to nourish while it detoxifies skin
+Removes peach fuzz
+Easy application and quick drying time

Why We Like It – No need for an application brush; this was a less-runny (and therefore less messy!) charcoal mask option. Skin feels clean, but not tight, after the treatment – it’s easy on your face and can be used more than once a week.


6. Olay Clay Charcoal Facial Mask Stick

Olay Clay Charcoal Facial Mask Stick

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White charcoal powder and kaolin clay team up in this no-muss, no-fuss stick that provides the perks of a charcoal or mud mask without the mess. Olay also offers this convenient application in black charcoal and pink mineral complexes, so you can neatly target combination skin. The white version pampers dry, uneven skin, and the black teases out impurities from your pores. The pink? It’s a revitalizing nap in a bottle.

Pros:
+Neat, no-mess application
+Targets trouble areas with ease
+All the complexes contain kaolin clay, a micro-exfoliator

Why We Like It – White charcoal is gentle on the skin, but still packs a powerful pore-cleaning punch. But the best aspect of this charcoal mask is the easy-to-use, no-cleanup stick application. We loved the convenience, and the results stand up to conventional charcoal face masks.


7. Belei Charcoal Balancing Mask

Belei Charcoal Balancing Mask

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Let’s face it: the peeling portion of the festivities might be satisfying, but sometimes you want the benefits of an activated charcoal mask without the adrenaline rush. This gently formulated wash-off mask combines activated charcoal and hyaluronic acid (which increases your skin’s natural moisturizing abilities) with aloe to soothe and revitalize your skin.

Pros:
+Deeply hydrating ingredients
+No “mask face” redness aftereffects
+Free of fragrance, sulfates, and parabens

Why We Like It – The charcoal treats your skin effectively without peeling, which makes this face mask a good choice for sensitive skin, as does the fragrance-free formulation. Bonus points for the luxurious feel of this mask – it’s spa-quality.


8. ORIGINS Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

ORIGINS Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

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For oily or acne-prone skin, this may be the best charcoal powder mask we found (it may be a bit much if your skin tends to get dry). Kaolin (white China clay) augments the bamboo charcoal’s ability to absorb impurities, and lecithin (a soy-derived oil) provides light nourishment. This charcoal face mask washes off, rather than peels – use a warm washcloth for the best results.

Pros:
+Deep-cleans pores without peeling
+Great for oily skin
+Lecithin conditions skin without aggravating acne

Why We Like It – A face mask should treat skin issues without creating new ones. The balanced formulation removes excess oil from pores – without stripping your skin down to dryness.


9. O’linear Black Charcoal Mask

O'linear Black Charcoal Mask

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This two-product kit includes an activated charcoal mask as well as a face care gel to use afterward. The mask, which contains bamboo charcoal and botanical extracts, is excellent for t-zone treatment as well as full-face application. (Some reviewers noted it’s easiest to peel this one off in a steamy shower.) Use the gel to reduce post-mask redness – it’s aloe vera-based and soothes while it moisturizes.

Pros:
+Two products for a great price
+Gel reduces the redness that charcoal masks can cause
+Works for all skin types

Why We Like It – This mask e is chock-full of nurturing ingredients, from apple extract to B vitamins. The aloe vera and glycerin in the face gel calm your skin after you remove the mask, an appreciated bonus.


10. Garnier SkinActive Pore Purifying Charcoal Face Wash

Garnier SkinActive Pore Purifying Charcoal Face Wash

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Although all the face masks that made our list can be used by women or men, this one’s super convenient for the guy on the go: it’s a combination cleanser and mask. Whatever way you use it, you’ll get the benefits of kaolin clay, charcoal, and salicylic acid: impurities and oil are washed away, and skin is left clean and shine-free.

Pros:
+Formulated especially for men’s skin
+Dual use as a cleanser and detox mask
+Contains salicylic acid for acne control

Why We Like It – Some men prefer products that do double duty – as long as they’re effective. This cleanser/mask clears pores, soaks up excess oil, and contains salicylic acid, one of the best acne treatments available.


Charcoal Masks Buyer’s Guide

In your search for the best charcoal mask for your skin – be it sensitive, oily, or dry – keep in mind that the more activated charcoal the mask contains, the more potent it will be when it comes to absorbing impurities. Look for facial masks that feature black charcoal powder (or the white version) high on the ingredients list. Also, bear in mind that activated charcoal is delivered in either a soothing mud mask concoction or an uber-effective peel option:

Peel away pore problems

Young woman wearing a face mask

If blackheads are your main concern, go for a peeling charcoal face mask that’s designed to clear sebum and control strawberry nose (visibly large pores). The best peeling mask will give you some flexibility in usage frequency: look for brands that can be used more than once a week for optimal blackhead control.

Moisturize while you mask

Woman relaxing with a charcoal facial mask

Those with sensitive or dry skin may want to seek out charcoal in non-peeling masks. Look for products that rinse off – many of these mud- and clay-based masks are richly formulated with moisturizing compounds that will nourish your skin as the activated charcoal performs its magic. Skin will be cleaner, but not stripped. Again, if you want the best charcoal has to offer, find a rinse-off mask that’s recommended for more frequent use.

All skin types can benefit from the purifying effects of a charcoal mask, but to find the one that’ll perform the best for you, be mindful of your skin’s overall needs.

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