I recently used a charcoal mask, and it massively improved my skin during a breakout. I hope this review helps you with your purchase.
My Review of the Pore-Fectly Clear Mask
Who doesn’t love a good face mask? I recently tried a few new ones in my never-ending quest for flawless skin—from radiance and hydration, to peels and clay masks. The Pore-Fectly Clear face mask from Good Things "combines active charcoal with caffeine to draw out impurities for deeply cleansed, clearer looking skin.”
This product usually sells for £5.99 in the UK, and I got mine from Boots. It’s a pretty good value because I get between 10–20 uses from the tube. Of course, that will depend on how much you apply each time.
I’m not going to include before or after photos simply because I can never tell the difference! The mask affects the skin's texture first and foremost, and any changes in appearance will occur over time. Overall, during a bad breakout, this mask massively improved my skin! Because I didn’t take a photo mid-breakout (who would?), I have nothing for reference.
How the Mask Feels on My Skin
I applied the mask with my fingers, and I used a generous amount.
- Despite all the bulking agents in the ingredient list, it applies a bit sheer. I actually had to go back over some areas, and, as you can see, it’s still patchy!
- I like a nice, thick mask—something that doesn't allow you to see your skin at all, so I was a little disappointed with the thin consistency.
- It feels slightly gritty as well, maybe because of the clay and charcoal. This isn’t a bad thing, because I found it to be mildly exfoliating.
- It smells like the generic "unscented" smell you usually find in cosmetics. This is good for anyone who prefers fragrance-free products. If you’re looking for something that smells like heaven, then you’d better look elsewhere.
Removing the Mask
- It is recommended to keep the mask on for 10 minutes. Personally, I just leave it on until it is completely dry.
- It dries down like any other clay mask and settles into all the fine lines you didn’t even know you had!
- Luckily, this mask doesn’t flake at all, so there’s no risk of leaving a flaky trail around the house!
- It’s easy to remove. I used warm water and a washcloth. Afterward, I used micellar water for a sweep-over.
- It definitely made my face a lot softer.
- My nose, which usually has a few blackheads on the tip, seemed much smoother and cleaner.
- My skin got a little dry from the clay, so I followed up with my usual moisturiser and skincare routine.
- Overall, my skin feels fantastic after the mask! Even at the time of writing (a few hours later), my face feels smoother and looks a little brighter, too. This is definitely a winner for me, but I would prefer it if it were thicker and more opaque.
- The packaging is pretty cute—nothing too fancy. The product comes in a grey plastic tube, which goes nicely with the blue cap and the blue/pink colour scheme.
- It features a prominent "Free From" stamp, which highlights that this mask is free from animal ingredients, mineral oils, sulphates, and parabens. The jury is still out on whether these ingredients are harmful or not, but for those who do prefer to avoid them, this brand is ideal.
- The entire brand is also vegan for those who prefer to keep things entirely animal-free.
- The squeeze tube design is also a lot more hygienic than a tub because you’re not constantly dipping your fingers in and out.
- However, using a tube can be annoying when it begins to empty because you need to squeeze harder to get the product out.
The back of the packaging gives directions on use, a list of ingredients, and the usual company background and information. The blue writing at the top (a short history of the company) can be a little difficult to read against the background.
A Breakdown of the Ingredients
The ingredients are listed in the usual way: from the highest concentration to the lowest.
1. Aqua: This is just water.
2. Kaolin: Also known as "China Clay," this is used for many cosmetic purposes.
- It bulks out your product.
- It’s used as an emollient to add moisture. Curiously, it is also used as a drying agent to help dry out spots and oily sections of the skin.
- It acts as a slight exfoliant, which helps with the post-mask smoothness.
- Kaolin clay appears to be perfectly safe unless you inhale it as a dry substance. Because the mask is wet, the risks are low.
- Kaolin is not absorbed by the body, which is great for anyone trying to lighten their chemical load.
3. Bentonite: Like kaolin, bentonite is a type of clay that absorbs oils and grease from the skin. It is a purifying ingredient. It is also a bulking agent, so it may have been included to make the product go further as well as increase viscosity and opacity so the mask doesn’t end up too thin or runny.
4. Butylene Glycol: Because this brand claims to be "all good" and hints at the absence of weird chemicals, it was a bit strange to see a funny chemical name within the first five ingredients. Following a bit of research, it turns out that butylene glycol is a solvent used to dissolve other ingredients that won’t dissolve in water. It also acts as a skin conditioner to add a bit of softness. However, there is a slight risk of irritation. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to do a patch test first, just in case!
5. Polysorbate 20: Rounding out the top five ingredients, we find another chemically-sounding name. This ingredient actually helps other ingredients dissolve into butylene glycol as a surfactant. It’s also an emulsifier that helps small quantities of oil dissolve in the water-based mixture. Fortunately, it is quite soothing to the skin, so it balances out the possible irritation from butylene glycol.
- Note: The charcoal mentioned on the front of the packaging, along with the caffeine and willow bark extract mentioned on the back, did not make the cut this far up the list, which implies that they are present in only small percentages. In skincare, a low concentration does not necessarily mean that the product is ineffective as many ingredients only require a tiny amount to work.
6. Activated Charcoal: Charcoal absorbs and draws oils and impurities from the skin. It can also remove bacteria, which is a huge help if you’re currently treating acne issues or trying to prevent breakouts. Like kaolin, it is not absorbed by the body, so when the mask is washed off, all of the charcoal and the impurities wash away as well.
7. Caffeine: We’re probably more accustomed to getting caffeine in our coffee, but, lately, it has been a popular trend in skincare. The claims are that caffeine makes you look less tired, but you’re probably better off drinking it to look awake! It is, however, a powerful antioxidant, so it may have an anti-aging effect. It can also penetrate the skin and constrict blood vessels, therefore reducing redness.
8. Willow Bark Extract: A bit of online research shows that this ingredient contains "salicin," which can be converted into salicylic acid in certain conditions. Salicylic acid is generally considered to be an effective spot treatment, but it's very unlikely that salicin will have the same effect. Willow bark is soothing on the skin, but considering that it is the very last ingredient on the list, it’s likely that it won't have much of an impact on the final result.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Have you tried this mask yourself or perhaps found something better? Maybe I’ve left out something important, or you’ve thought of a question that I haven’t answered. If so, leave a message in the comments, and I’ll get back to you ASAP!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Kirsten (author) from England on January 09, 2017:
That depends on how you rate the effectiveness, it certainly made my skin feel smoother and after using it for a while it's clear that it's calmed down my breakout spots. I didn't feel quite as oily the day after using it although I suspect this is temporary and you'd have to use the mask fairly regularly to ensure your face stays that way! Is there anything else you'd like to know? Perhaps you'd like to compare it to a different charcoal mask?
Hope this helped :-)
FemaleAdda on January 03, 2017:
How effective was this charcoal face mask ?