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The YS Beauty Lab

I’ve always found it fascinating to see charcoal in skin care products . When I think charcoal, I think of the coal used to heat homes in the olden days, even though that’s different from the type of charcoal used in skin care. Who knew this dark chalky substance holds skin-beneficial properties!

In skin care, charcoal’s main benefit is to remove toxins. This ingredient can absorb excess sebum, dirt and impurities in pores, making it highly suitable for oily skin types. My skin type leans towards combination, but it does amass oil as the day wears on. I decided to try COSRX’s Poreless Clarifying Charcoal Mask and SOME BY MI’s Charcoal BHA Pore Clay Bubble Mask to see the effects of charcoal on my skin. I’d never been as excited to trial new beauty products as I was with these two masks. During application, one magically changes colors while the other bubbles up! Scroll through to see if these charcoal masks work on my skin!

What it is: A wash-off mask that starts out pink, turns gray and ends up white! It contains pink calamine to soothe skin, charcoal to detox skin, and salicylic acid to provide gentle exfoliation. The mask dries off to a white finish, tightening pores and leaving skin smooth. It’s suitable for sensitive skin.

My experience: I was already hyped about trying this mask, and the pink packaging and Cool Whip texture heightened my excitement. Following the instructions to a T, I cleansed my skin and patted it completely dry before applying the mask with my hands. I evenly spread the mask across my face, massaging it in circles until it turned gray. After roughly ten minutes, it dried to a white finish. I watched the color transformations in my bathroom mirror, and was awestruck to say the least.

Upon applying the mask, I initially noticed tiny white particles, but they disappeared as the mask dried. I didn’t expect instantaneous results, but after rinsing off the mask, my face felt smooth and looked clear. My pores also noticeably shrunk. I used a comedone extractor after showering per my usual routine, and barely any whiteheads and gunk came out. As tempting as it was to use this mask every night, I resisted knowing it could potentially dry out my skin. COSRX’s mask is a satisfying treat to indulge in a few times a week!

What it is: A wash-off mask that contains charcoal and kaolin clay to flush out skin toxins and tighten and clean pores. The formula also contains the Korean beauty brand’s patented centella asiatica ingredient Truecica™ to soothe skin, BHA to gently exfoliate skin, and carbonated water to maintain a healthy oil-water balance. The mask bubbles up upon contact with skin, and it keeps skin moisturized without drying it out.

My experience: A nice contrast to COSRX’s pink mask in pink tub packaging, SOME BY MI’s charcoal clay mask comes in a gray bottle with an easy-to-use pump to dispense the cool black liquid. I applied a generous amount over my face and left it alone as it fizzled up, forming small bubbles and becoming foamy. The process was instant. Five minutes later, I rinsed off with lukewarm water in massage-like motions. I felt a slight tingle, which is expected due to the carbonated water. When I pressed the comedone extractor against my skin afterwards, whiteheads came out easier than usual – I think the BHA greatly helped with that. Overall, my skin felt hydrated without the drying feeling that charcoal products sometimes leave on my skin.

Final Thoughts

The two masks obviously share similarities as charcoal formulations infused with BHA for gentle exfoliation, but they were also effective in different ways. The major effect I felt with COSRX’s Poreless Clarifying Charcoal Mask was its pore tightening effect, whereas SOME BY MI’s Charcoal BHA Pore Clay Bubble Mask made whitehead extraction easier.

While I like both masks, I favor COSRX’s Poreless Clarifying Charcoal Mask over SOME BY MI’S Charcoal BHA Pore Clay Bubble Mask because the entire process of using the former felt gentler from start to finish. I especially like the COSRX mask’s cute pink packaging and intriguing color transformations. I can confidently assert that my skin looked clear and smooth after using it. It’s wonderful to have a charcoal mask to go home to!

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