The 7 Best Peel-Off Charcoal Masks

by Taylor Fuller
Originally Published: 
Young beautiful woman is relaxing at home with applied black peel-off mask on her face

There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing immediate results from a skin care product — and that's one of the things that makes the best peel-off charcoal masks so alluring. Simply slather on the black goop, wait for it to dry, and then peel it off to reveal what has been populating your pores.

Chances are you've probably seen this rip-off-and-reveal routine on YouTube as beauty gurus get up close and personal to show viewers the gross, albeit satisfying, results of these charcoal face peels. But if you've seen those videos, it's likely that you've also encountered more than a few tutorials that went horribly wrong, which may have left you wondering if peel-off masks are good for your skin.

Well, that's a tough question. Many doctors seem to agree that peel-off masks don't actually offer any long-term benefits, and simply give the illusion of clearing out your blackheads by removing the most superficial, oxidized layer of the clogged pore. Blackheads are a lot deeper than they appear to be, and these masks aren't actually going to penetrate your pores that deeply. On the other hand, there's no denying that peel-off masks do work to physically exfoliate the outermost layer of your skin, so they can encourage a smoother, softer complexion, at the very least.

And though there are a lot of different types of peel-off masks on the market, charcoal masks seem to be the most popular. That's because there are a ton of amazing benefits of activated charcoal, which may extend to your skin. Because activated charcoal is used as medicine to help absorb bodily toxins when a patient has been poisoned, some believe that, when applied to skin, activated charcoal can help remove bacteria and impurities in a similar way (though the evidence on this matter is limited.) This can purportedly help reduce acne and clogged pores, and lead to a generally cleaner, clearer complexion.

But enough science — back to masks. If you do plan on using a charcoal peel-off mask, there are a few things to keep in mind. First: use them sparingly. If you use them too frequently, you risk dehydrating and damaging your skin, as well as inflammation and redness. Of course, sensitive skin types will be way more susceptible to these types of irritation, so it's best to steer clear of peel-off masks if your skin falls into the sensitive category.

Those who think their skin can handle a charcoal peel-off mask should wash their faces prior to application, and use a hotel towel compress or facial steamer to open up their pores before applying. Post-mask, make sure you follow up with a rich, soothing moisturizer to counteract the mask's drying effects.

Now that you're properly informed about how to use peel-off masks safely, scroll on to shop seven of the best peel-off masks, all of which use charcoal as their star ingredient.

1. An Affordable Charcoal Mask From A Popular Japanese Brand: Daiso Japan Natural Pack Charcoal Peel Off Mask

Daiso is the Japanese equivalent of The Dollar Store — but don't let that deter you; Bloggers, Amazon reviewers, and Asian beauty enthusiasts all swear by this popular peel-off mask, and at just over $5, you really can't do better for the price.

One Amazon reviewer commented "I wasn't expecting to like this given how cheap it is and that I can't read any of the ingredients on the bottle. But... it actually does work. Like, surprisingly well. It's basically a giant Biore strip for your face. If you have a lot of peach fuzz, you've been warned. It's like waxing your eyebrows... if your whole face were made of eyebrows."

2. A Charcoal Peel-Off Mask Made With Less Harsh Ingredients: No B.S. Charcoal Peel Off Mask

Though sensitive skin types should probably steer clear of peel-off masks altogether, if you simply can't resist the allure, the No B.S. Charcoal Peel Off Mask will probably be your safest option. That's because it's infused with good-for-skin ingredients like niacinamide, squalane, and glycerin, which help counteract the drying effects of the charcoal mask. Meanwhile, garden cress extract works alongside the activated charcoal to boost this mask's detoxifying effects. Plus, it's cruelty-free — always a bonus.

3. The One Enriched With Collagen: AsaVea Blackhead Extractor

A longtime fan-favorite, the AsaVea peel-off mask has nearly 75% of reviewers on Amazon giving it five stars. Activated charcoal works to clear up clogged, congested pores, while the included brush (which you can use to apply other masks, too!) ensures easy, mess-free application each time. Also nice: it's infused with polypeptide collagen to leave your skin radiant and glowing.

"I love LOVE LOVE this mask !! It's definitely a PEEL OFF , which I like . I work in the beauty/skincare industry and there's products EXACTLY like this that sell for $60 ++ !!! This is a way more affordable option and performs equally if not BETTER! It's awesome to see all the dirt and blackheads removed from your face when you peel this off. Afterwards, my skin felt insanely SMOOTH and NOT red at all ( I have VERY sensitive skin BTW)" commented one reviewer.

4. The Best Charcoal Peel-Off Mask For Travel: Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Peel Off Mask

Not only does this charcoal peel-off mask from drugstore-favorite brand, Yes To, come in a TSA-approved 2-ounce bottle, but its smartly designed applicator, which comes with a built-in spatula, makes it an especially convenient choice for travel. You can use the spatula to apply the mask and peel it off, so both processes will be easier and less messy. In addition to charcoal, the formula also contains antioxidant-rich tomato extract and hydrating glycerin.

5. A Charcoal Peel-Off Mask Made With Argan Oil: SpaLife Argan Oil & Charcoal Peel-Off Black Mask

For a peel-off mask that'll actually leave your face moisturized, SpaLife included argan oil in the formula of their Argan Oil & Charcoal Peel-Off Black Mask. While the charcoal helps clean and purify your skin, fatty acid-rich argan oil, which also contains vitamin E, ensures your face is left smooth, soft, and moisturized. You might find it a bit stickier than most other charcoal masks, but thats because the formula is less drying.

"I love this face mask," wrote one reviewer. "I order it before i even run out. Takes away the dead skin cells and helps clear my face and chest."

6. The Most Innovative Charcoal Mask Formula: Secret Key Black Out Pore Peel-Off Pack

From Korean beauty brand Secret Key, this peel-off mask contains a unique blend of ingredients, like black sugar, black garlic, black bean, and black sesame, in addition to the detoxifying charcoal and kaolin clay. Meanwhile, rice extract, which has exfoliating and brightening properties, rounds out the innovative formula. This mask has a gel-like texture, initially, which turns into an easy-to-remove rubber film.

7. The Best Mask Set: Cosmask Black Mask & Snail Cream

This mask set contains a charcoal mask blackhead remover plus a snail cream, which includes organic snail mucin, to hydrate skin and improve texture. You'll find super unique ingredients in these formulas. For the black mask, it uses bamboo charcoal, plus biotin (Vitamin H), horse chestnut, allantoin, and niacinamide (Vitamin B3).

"This stuff is awesome. When I normally buy a charcoal peel off mask I have to lather it on there. And use half the bottle to really work. This stuff isn't like that! It really gets into the pores too. The snailcream soothes the skin afterwards," one shopper raved.

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