SOS: Active Charcoal Masks
Sep 5, 2013
The fall transition is notoriously hard on my skin. Turning on the heat in my apartment dries it out, so I over moisturize, and with the increased moisture in the air each morning, everything just goes sideways. But maybe not this year, since I recently discovered active charcoal masks to help unclog pores and brighten skin. They’re a great tool for acne sufferers, and if you don’t have problem skin, they’ll gently exfoliate and brighten your already clear complexion. But should you splurge or save?
GlamGlow Super-Mud Clearing Treatment ($69 for 1.2 oz). was on my must-try list from the moment I saw it advertised. A big fan of the original Glam Glow mask, I was intrigued by claims that this charcoal, coal and AHA-infused mask could de-clog pores and minimize scaring.
When you remove a Glam Glow mask, there is always a moment of, “Wow, that looks and feels awesome!” Your skin feels like silk and looks like you got 12 hours of sleep, even if you use it at 11:00PM. The mask definitely lived up to expectations helping clear up a problematic cheek breakout and removing the remnant dry skin from my Montana trip.
Also, since the product said it worked on ingrown hairs, I decided to apply a bit to a nasty one that came up on the back of my neck post-wax. I wasn’t expecting too much, but after two applications, the ingrown was completely cleared. So if you have a man in your life who suffers from post-shave issues on his face, this might be worth a try.
I used up all of my GlamGlow mask in about eight weeks, making it a fairly expensive habit. The pot container makes it tough to regulate how much you’re using each time, so sometimes you’re over-applying and other times you’re digging for seconds and thirds.
Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask ($16 for 1.6oz). Shortly after I ran out of GlamGlow, I received the Origins mask in my Birchbox. The consistency of this product isn’t as thick or luxurious as the GlamGlow, but that actually makes it easier to apply, and the squeeze bottle makes it easier to get the right amount each time.
Unlike the GlamGlow, the post-removal “wow-factor” is greatly diminished, but the long-term effects are very similar. My skin felt smoother, pores tighter and breakouts cleared up more quickly. Not as quickly as with the GlamGlow, where one or two applications was often enough to clear even a stubborn breakout, but the Origins mask definitely helps clear even stubborn acne much faster than applying a topical cream alone.
Verdict: Truth be told, I could go either way on this one. Both masks clear acne, exfoliate gently and don’t leave skin feeling tight or dry post-mask. They both brighten and soften the skin. And you couldn’t go wrong with either product, however…
Because it is so difficult to regulate how much mask you are using when you apply the GlamGlow, it doesn’t last as long as you think $69 worth of mask should. So unless you have a complexion that desperately needs intervention, the Origins should give you a very similar result at a much nicer price.