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Beauty Review: Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

Origins Clear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Mask To Clear Pores

What it is: a facial mask infused with charcoal and white china clay that is designed to draw out impurities in your pores

Product information: available on Origins’ website

Available at: Sephora, Macys, Origins

Retail price: $25 (3.4 oz)


My ridiculously porous skin has long been not only one of my biggest insecurities, but one of my biggest investments as well.

My pores are large, easily clogged, and most of the time my nose looks like a strawberry thanks to the surplus of blackheads that have bred like jackrabbits there. I’ve tried a lot of products and I’ve spent a lot of money in an effort to keep my pores emptier than a Nickelback concert, but I’m still always searching for the absolute best solution for my personal skin hell.

Enter Origins’ Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask.

This mask is formulated with bamboo charcoal, white china clay, and lecithin – ingredients which Origin claims are able to clear out clogged pores, absorb toxins, and dissolve all impurities. The Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask is a rinse off mask (rather than a peel), and it’s designed to be used in a short time span (compared to masks which are designed for overnight use).

I have been trying this mask on for size for roughly two months now, using it once or twice a week immediately following my normal cleansing routine (and facial steaming).

I would lather on a decent amount of product to ensure that the mask was evenly distributed on my skin, and then the wait would begin. The initial sensation the mask brought upon my face was a very mild stinging (which usually occurred when my cleansing method was my Clarisonic brush), but that feeling would subside quickly and turn into a cool sensation that was definitely relaxing.

My skin would feel noticeably tighter as the mask would dry and harden, making it absolutely impossible to even move my face or break a smile without cracking the mask (this ultimately became a cruel game for my jerk boyfriend and sister, who purposely wanted me to lose face).

Even though this product does revert back to a more liquid form when exposed to water, it still takes some time and serious rubbing to rinse it off completely. It also leaves one hell of a mess, as the rinsed off product would stick to my sink basin rather than sliding down the drain, leaving slippery, nasty grey residue everywhere.

So, on to the big question here: does Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask deliver on its promise of clear, clean skin?

Well… yes and no.

I did experience some small breakouts after using the mask the first few times (which is natural and normal, as the mask purged out the underlying impurities), but after a few more uses this stopped. I also noticed that my non-hormone related breakouts seemed to decrease considerably, which made me and my acne prone skin extremely happy.

But as far as blackhead control goes, I wasn’t impressed.

Some of the blackheads on my skin were eliminated after using the mask, but I saw little to no change regarding the more stubborn blackheads that plague my nose, which is the area I had the highest hopes for. I have tried using the mask on my nose alone several times, but to no avail.

Yet even though this product did little to clear out those pesky blackheads from my nose, I still find Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to be a valuable asset to my beauty arsenal. This mask definitely helps to keep my acne and oil in check, and that alone is worth the $25 asking price.

Final thoughts (or TL;DR):

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask is suitable for all skin types, so if you’re plagued with clogged pores, excessive oil, or acne (which are all related, by the way), then this mask is definitely worth a try. However, those of you with stubborn blackheads may not see the results you were looking for, as this mask simply doesn’t have the pulling power needed to extract blackheads that are deeply embedded.

Pro Tips:

  1. Before putting on this mask (or doing anything relating to your pores for that matter) it is extremely important that your pores be open. Origins suggests placing a warm, damp towel over your face for a few minutes prior to using this mask to open them suckers up, but you’re really going to get the best results by applying the mask after a hot shower or after using a facial steamer machine.
  2. Keep some all purpose cleaner handy, as you’ll probably have to clean up the mess that this mask leaves in its wake.

What products do you use to keep your skin clear and gorgeous? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to check out our other beauty reviews!

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