Face masks are gaining popularity, in particular, charcoal face masks which are favoured for their ability to remove blackheads and excess oil and reduce pore size. But, don’t be fooled by the gimmicky, peel-off, charcoal face masks that claim to instantly remove blackheads – they are made primarily of glue and could actually be doing more harm than good!
Melissa Piliang, MD, explains in this article that, “The mask ‘sticks’ to not just the blackheads, but also the skin and hair on the face. When the mask is removed, it pulls off the outermost layer of skin and associated oils which serve as a barrier to protect the skin from the environment. This, plus pulling out the small hairs, would cause significant pain—just like waxing the face.”
Dr Yannis Alexandrides explains in this article that this is no doubt why your face feels instantly smooth, but with the mask goes many of your essential oils and protective cells, which keep the skin healthy and help guard against bacteria. In the long run you are leaving your skin more open to harmful pollutants and the end result is damaged, dry skin.
In an article published by Seventeen Magazine, California-based dermatologist Christine Choi Kim recently explained how using the peel-off charcoal mask could be doing the opposite of what you want it to. She explains, “This charcoal and glue mixture could actually clog pores, leading to blemishes. Sensitive skin types may react to the stripping action of peeling off dried glue which removes the top protective layers of the epidermis and could lead to rashes [and] dryness.”
You can still reap the benefits of charcoal in a mask without the use of glue, and after months in the making, I’ve concocted the unique charcoal face mask that’s quickly become a best-seller in the Modern Hippie Shop! Today, I’ve decided to share my “secret” recipe with you!
About the Ingredients
Activated Charcoal is a form of charcoal (usually derived from wood, peat or coconut shells) that has been heated in order to increase its ability to absorb substances. In fact, it is so effective at binding to things such as alcohol, drugs and poisons, that it has been used in the medical industry for many years as an alternative to stomach pumping.
Activated charcoal has more recently been gaining popularity in the skin care industry because of the incredible detoxifying effect that it has on your skin due to its ability to absorb 100 to 200 times its weight in impurities. Activated charcoal also minimizes the appearance of pores, giving skin a smooth, refined appearance, helps balance oily skin, eliminates black heads, and gently exfoliates.
Green Tea Leaf Powder, or matcha (both are ground green tea leaves), is used for its powerful anti-oxidant properties and contains Vitamin C and Vitamin E, helping to reduce wrinkling, leathering and premature skin aging.
Bentonite Clay is a naturally occurring clay from volcanic ash sediments with over 70 trace minerals. It is a highly absorbent cosmetic clay that draws oils and impurities from the skin.
Vegetable Gylcerine restores elasticity to aging and damaged skin. It is also non-irritating, soothing, and very moisturizing for dry and cracked skin. Vegetable Glycerin is noncomedogenic (meaning it does not clog pores) and is an ideal choice for inclusion in formulations intended for oily and acne-prone skin. Note: opt for palm-free, organic vegetable glycerine like this!
Witch Hazel has wonderful astringent properties due to the high levels of natural tannins found within it. These natural astringent properties help to tone the skin, removing excess dirt and oil and tightening the pores. Witch hazel also contains procyanadins, resin, and flavonoids, all of which add to its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties.
Castile Soap is a very gentle, low sudsing and 100% natural liquid soap made from saponified olive oil. Castile soap’s addition to the mask allows for gentle and easy removal once it’s dried.
How to Make an Activated Charcoal Mask with Matcha and Clay
This is a wonderfully simple DIY that requires no heat, oils or melting. A kitchen scale is always helpful when making your own skin care products, as weighing the ingredients is much more precise and gives more consistent results, especially when it comes to measuring powdery substances and solid oils and butters.
- 30 g Activated Charcoal (approx. 2 tbsp)
- 30 g Bentonite Clay (approx. 2 tbsp)
- 5 g Green Tea Leaf Powder or Matcha (about 1 tsp)
- 30 g Witch Hazel Hydrosol (approx. 2 tbsp)
- 30 g Vegetable Glycerin, palm-free & organic (approx. 2 tbsp)
- 2.5 g tsp Castile Soap (approx. 1/2 tsp)
- 4 drops each Peppermint Essential Oil, Bergamot Essential Oil, Tea Tree Essential Oil
- 2.5 g Leucidal Liquid (optional), a natural preservative derived from fermented radishes (approx. 1/2 tsp)
In a separate bowl, or small measuring cup, measure out the remaining ingredients and whisk together.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and slow;y whisk until thoroughly combined and no lumps are present.
Transfer to a small glass jar and seal with a fitted lid.
If you’re using leucidal liquid, a natural preservative derived from fermented radishes, then your mask will last up to a year or more. If you’re not using a preservative, you should try to use up your mask within a couple of months to prevent it from going rancid, although with proper storage and hygiene practices (don’t put your dirty fingers directly into the mask etc.), it could last much longer.
Makes approximately 8 masks.
To get the most out of this mask, first, cleanse your skin with a quality facial cleanser, making sure to remove make up and any moisturizer, and steam face with a hot wash cloth to “open” your pores.
For easy (mess-free) application, paint the mask on using a clean foundation brush, avoiding contact with eyes.
Leave the mask to harden on your face and wash off once it’s completely dry.
Rinse mask off using warm water. Activated charcoal particles are the perfect size and abrasiveness for exfoliating the delicate skin on your face, to exfoliate simultaneously while removing, use gentle pressure and a circular motion.
Finally, rinse with cool water to “close” pores and mist face with a Hydrating Face Toner.
Note: Some people may notice the charcoal lingers in the pores as black dots – this can easily be removed by gently rubbing the area with a warm wash cloth.