The first documented use of activated charcoal was in 3750 B.C., used by none other than the Egyptians for making bronze. These days, activated charcoal has many practical uses, including being a popular ingredient in face masks. But should you moisturize after using a charcoal face mask? Or would it be best to use a toner? Here is what we have discovered.
Since charcoal face masks can dry out your skin, it is important to apply moisturizer after using them. After using a mask, the proper steps to follow are first to apply a toner, then a serum, and finish with a moisturizer.
Besides giving you the right process to follow when using a charcoal face mask, we have also dived into the science behind this beauty product and how it works. Keep reading to learn why you shouldn't leave these masks on for too long and what charcoal face masks we recommend.
What Does A Charcoal Mask Do To Your Face?
Activated charcoal undergoes a special heating process that increases its surface area and creates a lot of jagged pores that are great for toxins to cling to. That is why medical professionals use it to help absorb ingested poisons. But what do charcoal masks do to your face?
We would like to preface this by stating that there is no scientific evidence to support the claims many skincare brands attach to their charcoal products. However, it can be reasoned that charcoal face masks can bind to and draw out excess oil and impurities such as bacteria because of their strong absorption qualities. There have also been claims made that activated charcoal can protect the skin from environmental factors and reduce exposure to free radicals, which causes signs of aging.
The only real evidence we found is that charcoal face masks are absorbent and not hydrating; therefore, we recommend that these products work best for those with oily or acne-prone skin. If you have dry or sensitive skin and want to try a charcoal face mask to help get rid of blackheads, first test the product on a small section of skin to see if there are any adverse reactions.
What Do You Put On Your Face After A Charcoal Mask?
After washing off the charcoal face mask, it is recommended to use a toner. In fact, once you have cleansed your face in any skincare routine, it is super important to use toner. The reason for this is that toners sweep away any leftover impurities, restores your skin's natural pH, and preps the skin to absorb the rest of your skincare products better.
After toner, you can apply any serums you may desire and then finish with a moisturizer. Again, these masks are incredibly drying, so you need to add some hydration back to your skin to prevent irritation. A good rule to follow is to start with products with a thinner consistency, such as serums, and work your way up to your thickest product, usually those creamy moisturizers.
Is there such a thing as too much hydration for your skin? Read this article to get the scoop on if you can moisturize too much.
Is It Okay To Use Toner After Exfoliating
Due to the fact that some face masks have exfoliating properties, this is a relevant question. The answer lies in the pH levels of the products you are using. When using active ingredients like those in chemical exfoliants, you want to apply them from lowest pH to highest pH levels.
Most exfoliants are on the acidic side, with a pH level of 3.0 to 4.0. Toners are typically more neutral, with a pH level of 5.0 to 7.0. Therefore it is not only okay but highly recommended to use a toner after exfoliating!
If you ever experience irritation from exfoliating, take a break. Some people can handle exfoliating every day, while some skin types can only exfoliate every two weeks. We recommend only using a charcoal face mask one to two times a week if you have oily skin. Normal to dry skin should probably use charcoal face masks even less than that.
What Happens If You Leave A Charcoal Mask On Too Long
A quick search of the internet shows that there are a variety of charcoal face masks available, but the most popular is the peel-off charcoal mask. While it is very gratifying to see blackheads pulled from your pores, these types of masks can actually do more harm than good. The adhesives used in peel-off masks are a physical exfoliant that removes both dead skin and facial hair.
If a peel-off mask is left on too long, it can be quite painful to remove while also causing redness and irritation. In some extreme cases, the use of these types of masks may result in loss of healthy skin. We would recommend avoiding these peel-off charcoal masks altogether.
However, we must caution you that even if you use a charcoal face mask that washes off, you still need to be careful not to leave it on too long. Due to the absorption qualities of activated charcoal, if left on too long these masks can also cause redness and irritation. Always read and carefully follow the package directions when using any charcoal face mask.
Curious about how and when to apply a face mask? Check out this article that discusses if you should put face masks on wet or dry skin.
Top 4 Charcoal Face Masks
We scoured the internet to find you the best charcoal face masks available on the market. Time after time, we discovered these four masks at the top of everyone's list.
1. Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Honey Mask
Honey is a humectant that helps retain moisture, which allows this charcoal face mask to purify and nourish your skin without leaving it feeling tight or dry. Reviews rave about how good it smells and that it leaves their skin radiant and soft. Click here to view this product on Amazon.
2. Olay Masks Pore Detox Black Charcoal Clay Stick
The brilliance of this charcoal face mask is that it removes the mess of applying a mask. Simply swipe the stick all over your face, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then rinse. Perfect for targeting those oily areas like your t-zone. Click here to view this product on Amazon.
3. Glam Glow Supermud Clearing Treatment
This product contains purifying charcoal as well as a potent blend of AHA's and BHA's. These chemical exfoliants promise to minimize pore sizes, even out your skin's texture, and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Click here to view this product on Amazon.
4. Boscia Luminizing Black Mask
Even though we aren't huge fans of these peel-off masks, we know that some of you just love to break the rules. If you absolutely must try out a peel-off charcoal mask, this one seems to have the most positive recommendations. Reviews suggest you apply a thick layer to make it easier to peel off and to gently start at the outer edges. Click here to view this product on Amazon.
After reading this article, you now know that you should use toner and moisturizer after a charcoal face mask and the proper order in which to apply these products. Furthermore, we have shown you some highly reviewed charcoal face masks that you can use. If you want to remove impurities and excess oil from your skin, then charcoal face masks are a great tool to add to your skincare regimen.