I love using masks and particularly love trying different charcoal masks which promise a way to clearer complexion. I've used many with different results, but there are only a few I keep coming back to, actually repurchase and don't move on to the next product. The Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask To Clear Pores is one of those.The mask comes in squeezy tube packaging and there are a couple of different sizes available, including travel friendly small one-use sachets. Among other ingredients it contains active charcoal, which absorbs 100 to 200 times its weight in impurities, and white china clay, which has excellent absorbent properties, is used to draw out impurities and toxins and clears the skin of excess oil, dirt and pollutants.
The mask has a dark grey color and gel texture that smoothly spreads on the skin. It has a slight scent but nothing too strong and as the mask dries on the skin the scent also goes away and becomes even less noticeable. They recommend applying it onto clean and dry skin and also advise to open the pores with a warm damp towel, which helps the mask pull out the impurities. I've also found that this step is key, if you want the mask to work really well. Using a scrub before applying it is also a good idea. I apply a generous and even amount all over the skin and particularly focus on more problematic areas, where I usually apply a bit more product. Before I let it dry I also gently massage it while it's on the skin and then leave it on to dry completely. It takes about 10-15 minutes to dry on the skin in which time it acts like a typical clearing mask, so it dries completely and tightens on the skin. It doesn't burn, tingle or cause redness while it's on my skin, but you can feel it get tighter as it dries. Depending on how much time I have I wash it off quickly after it dries, but if I have more time available I leave it on for longer (between 30 and 40 min). I usually use a damp warm cloth, so all residue gets removed efficiently without making a big mess.
Using this mask on a regular basis (1-2x weekly) helps control oil production of my skin and with blemishes. It is one of the best masks I've found to remove blackheads completely. It also leaves the skin smoother and with less texture. I mainly use it in the evenings and follow up with another mask, this time hydrating, because it can feel a bit drying if I leave it on for too long.
Water, Myrtus Communis (Myrtle) Leaf Water, Kaolin, Bentonite, Butylene Glycol, Montmorillonite, Polysorbate 20, Peg-100 Stearate, Charcoal Powder, Xanthan Gum, Lecithin, Peg-150 Distearate, Propylene Glycol Stearate, Sorbitan Laurate, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol Laurate, Simethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Trisodium Edta, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol.
I think this one is particularly suitable for oily and acne prone skin and it's been working quite nicely for me. Available here.