8 charcoal peel-off masks that are actually worth trying
Meet the mess-free, hardworking formulas
By Kate Niven
Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / September 04 2019
If you’ve scrolled through Instagram or YouTube of late, there’s a good chance you’ve stumbled across a video of someone using a charcoal peel off mask. And while we’d forgive you for being sceptical of any beauty trend taking social media by storm, we’re here to tell you this is one that you can certainly get behind.
The benefits of charcoal
Before we get into the nitty gritty of charcoal mask peels specifically, let’s take a moment to sing the praises of ALL the benefits of activated charcoal in general. “Activated charcoal acts like a magnet to draw impurities such as pollution, dirt, oil and clogging debris from the skin,” explains skin expert and skin care clinic owner, Sarah Hudson. She adds, “regular use of a black charcoal mask will help to detoxify your skin from daily pollution and free radical damage, which can lead to accelerated signs of ageing. By cleansing away pollutants, you help to restore a visibly brighter, more radiant complexion.”
The perks of peel-off masks
Because charcoal peel-off masks are easy to remove and don’t leave a mess in your bathroom, many people have switched to the trendy new formula. Another great thing about the rise of this product category is that it includes a range of different mask types, namely pore strips, sheet masks and formulas that set to a hard film that you can then physically peel off your skin. The benefit of peel-off masks like these, as opposed to traditional ones you paint on your face, is that they trap their potent ingredients on the skin once applied, making sure all that charcoal goodness is delivered deep into the skin.
While both charcoal-infused pore strips and sheet masks can work wonders on the skin, it’s important to note that not all peel-off masks are made equal. In fact, Hudson notes that those charcoal face peels that set into a hard film can cause skin damage. These masks work by pulling the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis), which also happens to be the skin’s first line of defence against bacteria, pollution and viruses.
So, rather than reaching for the latter type of peel-off masks, opt for one (or all) of these skin-loving charcoal face masks.
#8 / Skin Republic Bubble Purifying + Charcoal Face Mask Sheet
Eliminating impurities and exfoliating dead skin cells in one, this formula begins to bubble and foam when exposed to air. The fun single-use mask deeply cleanses, leaving skin feeling refreshed and looking luminous.
The review: “This Skin Republic Charcoal Bubble Mask is lovely. It has a tingling sensation as it bubbles up on the face, which I find pleasant (although this definitely isn't for everyone). After using this mask my skin feels so incredibly soft and looks clearer within the next couple of days. I would recommend this mask for anyone who is having issues with congested skin.” Isabel, Beauty Crew member
#7 / Sephora Collection Hero Mask
Packed full of black charcoal fibres, this mud mask absorbs excess sebum, refines skin texture and tightens pores in no more than 15 minutes.
The review: “This mask has a good cleansing effect and I could see a reduction in the appearance of black and white heads after first use. My skin also feels less oily.” Jacinda, Sephora reviewer
#6 / Patchology Detox SmartMud No Mess Mud Masque
This charcoal sheet mask is the perfect fuss-free formula for those looking to banish pore-clogging dirt, debris and impurities from the skin. Kaolin clay and glycerin also combine with activated charcoal to leave skin cleansed and radiant.
The review: “This face mask is hands down one of my favourites! It has everything you could want in a mask minus the mess. I leave mine on until the sheet begins to dry out then remove, wash away any residue and you're left with smooth, glowing skin. I have also found this helps with redness and inflammation when I have a nasty breakout.” Megan, Mecca reviewer
#5 / Karuna CleanMUD Charcoal Face Mask
Recently reformulated with charcoal-infused mud and hyaluronic acid, this purifying sheet mask flushes out dirt and excess oil, while keeping the complexion moisturised, healthy and glowing.
The review: “This is by far the best face mask I’ve ever used. It was a little tricky for me to put on but I felt it work immediately. When I took it off my skin was 10 times brighter and incredibly smooth. It also has a really great clean smell to it which helped make my face feel even more refreshed!” Nuemann, Sephora Reviewer
#4 / Skin Republic Charcoal Nose Strips
A charcoal blackhead mask specifically for decongesting the nose, these fast-working strips minimise the appearance of pores while preventing future blackheads. They’re formulated with witch hazel to tighten pores, and aloe vera and mugwort to soothe redness and inflammation.
The review: “These nose strips are really good. They are easy to apply and get rid of most of my blackheads. Would recommend!” Jordyn, Priceline reviewer
#3 / Burt’s Bees Detoxifying Sheet Mask
The serum in this sheet mask contains detoxifying charcoal and nourishing honey to leave skin looking hydrated, clean and healthy. Made with 99 per cent natural ingredients, it’s also a great choice for those looking to cut back on their use of synthetic or chemical ingredients.
The review: “This charcoal mask is great for making my skin feel cleansed and renewed. I will usually put one on after a shower, and I always feel super clean and refreshed afterwards. It's very gentle, so I would definitely recommend those with sensitive skin buy it too.” Lily, Beauty Crew member
#2 / Garnier SkinActive Pure Charcoal Tissue Mask with Black Tea
Charcoal, black tea and hyaluronic acid all combine in this ultra-hydrating mask to mattify and rebalance oil levels in the skin, while ensuring it’s left both hydrated and soft.
The review: “When you’re someone like me who loves the idea of a face mask but doesn’t love the thought of the mess/effort involved with application and wash-off, the arrival of the sheet mask was a godsend. Besides the fact that the Garnier SkinActive Pure Charcoal Tissue Mask with Black Tea ticked that box, I love that it incorporates detoxifying charcoal to help with my congestion-prone skin. After a few minutes of wear my skin feels soft and hydrated, and looks glowing (but not shiny). The best bit? I could just peel the benefits of the charcoal off – no need for water or messing up my bathroom.” Carli Alman, Beauty Crew’s Editor
#1 / Bioré Deep Cleansing Charcoal Pore Strips
Because an overproduction of sebum can clog pores and lead to blackheads, we’re always on the hunt for products that ensure pores are clean and clear. Formulated with natural charcoal to trap and draw out impurities, these deep-cleansing strips are perfect for the job.
The reviews: “I’ve been using these pore strips for quite a few years now and always stock up when they’re on special at Priceline. They’re formulated with charcoal to help draw out impurities and excess oil. I like to steam my face beforehand to loosen up any gunk, use the pore strip and then follow with a mask. I find that doing this every week or so helps to keep my nose free of blackheads.” Isobel Larkin, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Assistant
“Blackheads, be gone! Don’t underestimate these tiny patches, these work in just under 10 minutes to remove blackheads, dirt and gunk.” Iantha Yu, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Editor
Looking for more skin care tips? Then check out Jesinta Franklin’s clever DIY skin tricks and discover the best products for getting rid of dark circles. If you're thinking about making the switch the natural skin care, these are the top-selling natural skin care brands in Australia (spoiler: Drunk Elephant and Origins made the list, along with an impressive number of Aussie brands!).
Main image credit: @bioreus
Kate started working for BEAUTYcrew in early 2016, first as a contributor, and was then named Beauty Writer in 2017. She loves picking the brains of the industry's top experts to get to the bottom of beauty's toughest questions. Bronze eyeshadow palettes are her weakness and she's forever on the hunt for the perfect nude nail polish to suit her fair skin. Her words can also be found in Men's Health magazine, and she now works in PR.