Riders spend a lot of time in the sun, wind, sand, and dirt, which settles into pores and dulls the skin. So how to fix this? According to the Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Group, the key to getting a healthy, glowing complexion back is activated charcoal. Charcoal has officially left the BBQ pit and become a skincare staple.
The benefits of using charcoal face washes and masks go beyond acting like a magnet to clean out your pores. “When the carbon in activated charcoal comes into contact with impurities,” the Beverly HIlls Plastic Surgery Group writes, “it soaks up the sheen on your face.” This is especially helpful for people with oily skin since this process will help balance out the extra sheen.
In a recent trip to Ulta, I asked a few different beauty advisors which face masks or peels they suggested. Everyone suggested charcoal because, like the Beverly Hills group said, it’s the best at cleaning out dirty pores. I picked five of the different masks they recommended and tried them out.
My #1 go-to charcoal face mask for the past year has been the Clinique City Block Purifying Charcoal Clay Mask + Scrub. My skin is a combination of oily and dry, and extra sensitive, so I needed to be careful about what I put on my face. This one I’ve used once a week and it leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth, but a little dried out. Moisturizer is a must-use after this mask. For daily maintenance, I used the City Block Purifying Charcoal Cleansing Gel.
I’ve been hearing great things about the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, so I gave this one a try as well. I’m a big fan of Origins already and knew that the ingredients they use would be fine for my sensitive skin. Before using this mask, I opened your pores with a warm water as instructed. After the mask dried, I rinsed off and could immediately feel the difference in my skin. It was soft, and not too dried out. I didn’t feel like I had to use moisturizer after this mask. With this, I’d recommend using Origins Checks and Balances as a daily face wash.
Trying a sheet mask was not my favorite, but I’m glad I tried the Freeman Beauty Infusion Cleansing Sheet Mask with Charcoal and Probiotics. My personal preference is a mud mask, but the serum in this mask felt cool and energizing as it worked. This mask left my skin feeling refreshed, rehydrated, and barn-dirt free. I did end up breaking out a little after I used this one, so if you have sensitive skin consider steering clear.
Yes To Tomatoes is one of Allure’s favorite beauty brands, so I was more than excited to try their Clear Skin Detoxifying Charcoal Mud Mask. If you have sensitive, acne-prone skin, this mask comes highly recommended. This mask dries quickly and left my skin feeling refreshed and moisturized. I didn’t feel the same refreshing feeling as I did after some of the more exfoliating masks, however.
I saved the best for last. I was skeptical of the Feeling Beautiful Detoxifying Charcoal & Black Sugar Mud Mask at first. With ingredients like Dead Sea Minerals, I wasn’t sure how my skin would react. To prepare, I washed your face with warm water, then slathered on the mud mix. With this one, a little bit does not go a long way so I had to use a lot to cover my face. Ten minutes later, I rinsed and felt some difference. It wasn’t enough to sway me away from my trusted Clinique — until I woke up the next day. My skin was soft, even, and had a glow to it. The second time I used it, about a week later, that soft, glowing result was instantaneous.
The more time I spend at the barn, the more I’m realizing how important it is to set aside some time for me. Even if it’s ten minutes to put on a mud mask and wash the week’s rides away. Sand, dirt, sweat, and the occasional horse kiss are part of life as a rider. But that doesn’t mean those things need to stay with you, in your pores, forever.