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Best Charcoal Mud Masks

Updated November 2022
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Best of the Best
Boscia Activated Charcoal Pore Pudding Intensive Wash-Off Treatment
Activated Charcoal Pore Pudding Intensive Wash-Off Treatment
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Best for Sensitive Skin
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A smooth, black and white-swirled charcoal mask that will prove its worth in a single use.


Pudding-like texture goes on smoothly. Many users notice results after one use. Works well on sensitive skin. Softens and cleanses skin. Moisturizes and improves circulation of skin.


Some say that it's too harsh for dry skin.

Best Bang for the Buck
Origins Clear Improvement® Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores
Clear Improvement® Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores
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Best for Blackheads
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Unbeatable when it comes to blackhead removal, and easily washes off.


Very strong and excellent at cleaning out pores. Affordably priced. Good for those with blackheads and signs of aging. Leaves skin smooth and soft. A little goes a long way.


Doesn't have a particularly pleasant or noticeable scent.

Fresh Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask
Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask
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Customer Favorite
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A solid charcoal mud mask that cleans out pores and gives your skin a healthy glow without over-drying.


Three-in-1 product that can be used as a mask, cleanser, or spot treatment. Helps control minor breakouts and shrinks pores. No mixing or measuring required. Gentle formula won't dry out skin or pores.


Some users find this product more effective as a cleanser than a mask.

GlamGlow SUPERMUD® Activated Charcoal Treatment Mask
SUPERMUD® Activated Charcoal Treatment Mask
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An Allure award-winning charcoal mud mask that combats oily skin without excessively drying you out.


Exfoliates and cleanses skin. Shrinks pores and removes blackheads without drying out your skin. Easy to put on and wash off. Contains salicylic acid to prevent future breakouts around the T-zone area.


May be too strong for sensitive skin.

Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask
Peter Thomas Roth
Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask
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Most Powerful
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A vitamin- and mineral-packed charcoal mask that only requires a small amount to be effective.


Shrinks pores and eliminates redness. Fragrance-free. Goes on smooth and washes off easily. You get a lot of product for the money. Volcanic ash is effective at controlling excess oil.


Some users have claimed it didn't work on their blackheads.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best charcoal mud masks

Face masks can be highly effective additions to your skin care routine, but you have to be sure to choose the right mask for your skin type and concerns. Charcoal mud masks are ideal for deep-cleaning and detoxifying, and they can be used by most skin types.

Finding the best charcoal mud mask can be a serious challenge, though, because there are so many options to choose from. You have to figure out the best ingredients for your skin, whether you prefer a peel-off or wash-off formula, and what other features will lead to a glowing complexion.

At BestReviews, we work to take the frustration out of shopping. Let us worry about the in-depth product research, so you can simply focus on the key information.

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Always do a patch test before using a charcoal mud mask. Place a dab near your jawline, let it dry, and then remove it. Wait 24 hours. If your skin doesn’t react, you can safely use the mask all over your face.

Benefits of charcoal mud masks

In recent years, activated charcoal has become a very popular ingredient in skin care products and for good reason. Charcoal mud masks work well for most skin types, including oily, combination, normal, and dry. That’s because mud is water-based, which means it won’t dry out your skin like clay or clog your pores like a mask that contains rich, hydrating ingredients. Sensitive skin types can also use a charcoal mud mask, but they should be careful about the formula.

A charcoal mud mask is an ideal option when your face needs deeper cleaning than your usual facial cleanser provides. The activated charcoal helps attract dirt and other debris to the surface of your skin, so it can be easily removed. The mud also helps draw out dirt for squeaky clean skin.

In addition to removing dirt, activated charcoal is extremely effective at drawing out other impurities from the skin. In particular, a charcoal mud mask can help remove toxins from environmental factors, like pollution, that can build up on the skin. Environmental buildup isn’t necessarily visible to the naked eye, but it can leave your complexion looking tired and dull.

The charcoal and mud in charcoal mud masks also draw excess oil and sebum out of your skin, so you’re less likely to have blackheads, clogged pores, and breakouts. A charcoal mud mask absorbs excess oil from the surface of your skin as well, so oily skin looks more balanced and stays shine-free longer.

If facial scrubs are a little too harsh on your skin, a charcoal mud mask can gently exfoliate your face to remove dead cells from the surface of your skin. This leaves you with a smoother, brighter complexion.

Features to consider for charcoal mud masks


The highest-quality charcoal mud masks typically feature all-natural formulas made with organic ingredients. In particular, make sure that the mask contains genuine activated charcoal, which is actually carbon that’s been treated to increase its absorbency. Activated charcoal usually comes from natural materials, like coconut husk, bamboo, or willow peat. For the charcoal mud mask to be as effective as possible, choose a product that lists activated charcoal as one of the first ingredients so you can be sure there’s plenty of it in the mask.

When it comes to the mud in charcoal mud face masks, black mud or volcanic mud is often used. Black mud contains both organic and inorganic compounds and has a range of anti-aging benefits. Many face masks use black mud harvested from the Dead Sea. Volcanic mud is harvested in areas where there has been a volcanic eruption. It’s rich in minerals and organic nutrients, so it promotes healthy, glowing skin.

In addition to the two main ingredients of activated charcoal and mud, charcoal mud masks often contain other natural ingredients that are beneficial for the skin. Here are a few to look for:

  • Aloe vera: Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties, soothes the skin, helps retain moisture, promotes healing, and contains antioxidants to help fight the signs of aging.

  • Olive oil: Olive oil contains a wide array of vitamins and antioxidants. It also fights bacteria and effectively moisturizes the skin.

  • Jojoba oil: Jojoba oil moisturizes the skin and promotes healing.

  • Shea butter: Shea butter deeply moisturizes the skin, helps fight the signs of aging, offers anti-inflammatory properties, and promotes healing.

That said, if you have oily or acne-prone skin, choose a charcoal mud mask that’s free of oils and heavy moisturizers like shea butter, which can clog pores and lead to breakouts.


When it comes to charcoal mud masks, there are two main types: wash-off masks and peel-off masks. Each formula can be effective, but it’s important to consider your skin type and preferences when choosing one.

Wash-off charcoal mud masks require warm water to rinse away. Some can be a little tricky to remove, so you may need a washcloth to fully remove all the residue. A wash-off mask is less likely to irritate your skin.

With a peel-off charcoal mud mask, you peel the mask off your skin once it has dried. A peel-off formula exfoliates, and it pulls plenty of dirt, oil, and other residue from your skin. But it’s often difficult to peel the entire mask off, so you may need to rinse or scrub some areas to fully clean your face. A peel-off mask is a poor option for dry or sensitive skin because the peeling motion can cause dryness, redness, and inflammation.

Time required

To see the full benefits from a charcoal mud mask, you must let it sit on your skin for the amount of time specified. Some masks only require 10 to 15 minutes, while others must dry for up to half an hour. Choose a charcoal mud mask that will fit into your skin care routine.


Charcoal mud masks typically come in either a tub or squeeze tube. A tub allows you to take out a precise amount of the mask, but it’s not very hygienic because you have to reach into the container with your fingers. That can introduce bacteria to the rest of the mask in the container.

A squeeze tube can sometimes be difficult to squeeze, which makes it hard to get the right amount of product out. However, you never have to worry about bacteria getting into the rest of the charcoal mud mask.

Prices for charcoal mud masks

Charcoal mud masks vary in price based on the quality of the ingredients, but you can typically expect to pay between $5 and $23.


Charcoal mud masks that don’t feature all-natural formulas are the most inexpensive option and usually run between $5 and $9.


Charcoal mud masks that feature all-natural ingredients generally cost between $9 and $18.


The most expensive charcoal mud masks are those that feature all-natural, organic ingredients, and they usually range in price from $18 to $23.

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If you opt for a charcoal mud mask in a tub, you can keep the container hygienic by using a flat foundation brush to apply the mask to your face.


Q. How often should I use a charcoal mud mask?

A. You should always consult the instructions on the charcoal mud mask to determine the proper usage. In most cases, though, you should use the mask one to two times a week to see the best results. However, if you’re using a peel-off mask, it’s usually best to limit your usage to once a week to avoid irritating your skin.

Q. Can I use a charcoal mud mask on acne-prone skin?

A. A charcoal mud mask is very beneficial if you suffer from acne. The activated charcoal removes dirt, oil, and bacteria that clog your pores and lead to breakouts. And because mud is water-based, you don’t have to worry about the mask drying out your skin. Make sure any charcoal mud mask you choose is oil-free.

Q. Is a charcoal mud mask suitable for mature skin?

A. If you’re trying to fight the signs of aging, a charcoal mud mask can be an ideal treatment to add to your skin care routine. A charcoal mud mask containing oils or shea butter can hydrate the skin to eliminate dry patches, exfoliate to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and add a healthy glow.