The best face masks for blackheads
Our go-to formulas for clearing clogged pores
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / December 20 2018
If your regular skin care routine isn’t keeping those dreaded blackheads away, it’s time to turn to a mask.
Blackheads are pores that have been clogged by oil and dead skin cells, so it’s no surprise that charcoal and clay face masks are the preferred formulas for giving blackhead-prone skin a good clean and clear. Also look out for acids in your formula, as they help break down stubborn debris that sets up home inside your pores.
Now, blackhead masks aren’t like your usual pampering, hydrating masks - they are real go-getters who come to work. Rather than a more potent version of a moisturiser, think of them as a supercharged cleanser. Use them about two to three times a week at first, then as your skin starts to clear, just top up with a weekly application as a regular preventative measure.
Good to know: You may have seen all the recent hype on YouTube around using a blackhead peel off mask, however when we asked an expert whether it’s actually good for your skin, she had these words of caution to share.
Looking for a great face mask to send your blackheads packing? Our Beauty Crew team and SUPERcrew members rate these ones as their favourites. Read their blackhead mask reviews below to find your perfect match.
#9 / Sand & Sky Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment
Australian skin care brand Sand & Sky has earned itself quite the glowing reputation worldwide for its pink clay-enriched formulas. This mask works to refine pores, mattify the complexion by absorbing excess oil, and resurface skin for a smoother appearance. In addition to using clay found here in Australia, you’ll also find macadamia and bamboo in there, which gently remove dead skin cells; and fruit acids that get deep into pores to clear them of any oily debris.
The review: “Not only does this clay mask clear out the blackheads and smooth the skin, it also minimises pores. It's honestly the best product I’ve ever used on my blackheads.” Anne, SUPERcrew member
#8 / La-Roche Posay Effaclar Sebo-Controlling Mask
If you have sensitive skin and blackheads, this is the blackhead mask for you. As this mask works to clear away excess sebum, dust and pollution particles from your skin to unclog pores (thank you, kaolin clay), it also soothes and hydrates so your sensitive skin won't become irritated in the process.
The review: “Great for unclogging pores and leaving skin clean and refreshed. [It uses] gentle ingredients so it's good for even sensitive skin. This, in conjunction with a BHA product, has been fantastic for clearing my pores, blackheads and sebaceous filaments.” Milan, SUPERcrew member
#7 / L’Oréal Paris Pure Clay Detoxifying & Brightening Charcoal Mask
A charcoal face mask is great for clearing blackheads as they work to draw out impurities. This L’Oréal Paris one was a hit with our Review Crew®, who awarded it four stars during their trial. The formula purifies and rebalances skin, without feeling drying.
The review: “The L’Oréal Paris Pure Clay Detoxifying & Brightening Charcoal Mask is a great mask for detoxing the skin and nixing blackheads. I use this mask when my skin is feeling sluggish and it definitely leaves my complexion looking bright and more refined.” Sally Hunwick, marie claire’s Beauty Director
#6 / Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Absorbing Mask
Calling upon the excellent oil-absorbing abilities of kaolin clay and bentonite clay, along with skin-soothing colloidal oatmeal and willow bark extract, and hydrating glycerin and aloe, there’s a lot your skin will love about this mask. It gently decongests pores, calms skin and won’t over-dry it in the process. What you’re left with is a smooth, matte complexion.
The review: “This is great for my sensitive skin and only has great ingredients (no alcohol, essential oils, fragrance, etc). It reduces oiliness and blackheads as well as pore size, whilst still being nourishing and soothing on my skin, which is fantastic as I have found many masks to be quite drying and stripping.” Georgia, SUPERcrew member
#5 / Sukin Oil Balancing Anti-Pollution Facial Masque
Another blackhead mask to use the superpowers of charcoal (specifically bamboo charcoal in this case), Sukin have also jam-packed their formula with quince, bilberry and pomegranate extracts to tighten pores, reduce shine and balance the complexion, while a nourishing trio of avocado, coconut and rosehip oils make sure your skin doesn't experience any feelings of dryness.
The review: “One of my favourite masks for easing congested skin is the Sukin Oil Balancing Anti-Pollution Facial Masque. I always have a tub on hand at home for any emergency breakout control. I like to give my face a good steam and exfoliation before popping this bad boy on to work its magic. It contains charcoal, which helps draw out impurities and absorb excess oil. It leaves my skin feeling like it’s had a nice deep clean without being drying.” Isobel Larkin, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Assistant
#4 / Innisfree Super Volcanic Clay Mousse Mask
Trust a Korean beauty brand to make such an effective blackhead removal mask - and squeeze six solutions into one lightweight mousse formula. It minimises the look of pores, controls excess oil, gently exfoliates, deeply cleanses, evens out skin tone and cools the complexion. The hero ingredient is volcanic clusters from Jeju Island in South Korea, and this natural ingredient is excellent at drinking up excess sebum and dirt for a clearer complexion.
The review: “Besides the fact that I love the creamy texture of this mask, I’m even more impressed with the results. I tend to use it just once a month and I find that it helps to leave my skin feeling super clean and fresh, with the excess oil I tend to get in my T-zone under control. While I can’t feel the exfoliation that the ingredients claim to be doing, I definitely notice my pores look so much better after rinsing, and some of my blackheads have disappeared.” Carli Alman, Beauty Crew’s Editor
#3 / Cosmedix Detox Activated Charcoal Mask
Purifying but equally gentle, the activate charcoal in this mask works like a magnet to draw out oil, dirt and impurities from pores to clear and unclog them, plus it exfoliates to shed dead skin cells, which can also cause blackheads to appear.
The review: “I love this mask because it’s incredibly effective at removing any build-up of dirt, impurities and blackheads, but the main reason it’s become a staple in my skin care routine is because it doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight afterwards. Instead of that awful stripped feeling, I’m left with clean, smooth and refreshed skin.” Kate Niven, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Writer
#2 / Philosophy Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor Exfoliating Clay Mask
This is a pretty potent blackhead mask, so if your acne and clogged pores are on the stubborn side, add this one to cart. It uses white clay along with salicylic acid and exfoliants, and our Review Crew® gave it 4.5 stars when we sent it to them to trial. What did they love about it? “Philosophy's Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor Exfoliating Clay Mask is the best $48 you will ever spend, if you have spent your life trying to improve your pores and blackheads.” says SUPERcrew member Ariane, who found her blackheads were practically non-existent after just a few applications of this mask.
The review: “I have sensitive combination skin that’s quite prone to congestion and blemishes and have tried many products over the years to try and remove my blackheads from my nose with very little success. The Philosophy Pore Extractor Mask is applied on cleansed skin and is a thin, creamy white texture with fine exfoliating grains. When rinsed off, my skin was definitely smoother-feeling and my pores looked smaller! What amazed me even more was after just 2 uses about half the blackheads on my nose seemed to have vanished! These were deep set ones I had not had any success with removing for years! I did however learn after my first use not to apply this to my entire face and applied to my T-zone only as it was a bit too drying for the rest of my face, which isn't as oily as my nose and chin.” Mandy, SUPERcrew member
#1 / Glamglow Supermud Clearing Mask
With 213 five-star reviews on Mecca’s website, and having just taken out the mask category in MECCA’s Beauty Election 2018 and Allure’s Readers’ Choice Award 2018, it’s safe to say this is a crowd favourite. It provides a deep pore extraction with the help of activated charcoal, while a blend of six acids - glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, pyruvic acid and tartaric acid - do their bit to minimise pores and leave skin clear and decongested.
The reviews: “This charcoal mask feels like it’s homemade because it has actual bits of eucalyptus leaves in it. You paint it on your face and you can feel it working - it does feel tight as it dries, but you can also see where it’s working on de-clogging your pores. Afterwards my skin always feels soft, less congested and more radiant.” Chelsea Tromans, Beauty Crew’s Contributing Editor
Have you heard of a blackhead vacuum? Here’s everything you need to know about the at-home treatment, including whether or not our skin care experts recommend it.
Plus, read our guide on how to remove blackheads, including the products you should be using in your daily skin care routine.
What's your pick for the best blackhead mask? Share your review with us below.
Main image credit: @emrata
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.