Home Skincare Charcoal Mask Vs. Clay Mask

Charcoal Mask Vs. Clay Mask

by Gabbi

Masks are a crucial part of every self-care routine. They allow us to take time for ourselves and rejuvenate our skin all at once. Masks are so relaxing and sometimes we can’t help but purchase every single one to try out. 

Some of the most popular facial masks are made from charcoal or clay. Both of these ingredients offer various benefits to the skin, and they feel satisfying to apply. But, have you ever wondered which one is the best for your skin type? 

Charcoal and clay masks share many similarities, but they do have their differences. They both have a mud-like texture that purifies and clarifies the skin that cleans out congestion. In addition, they prep the skin for your other skincare products.

But what’s the difference between charcoal masks and clay masks? Each type of mask suits a specific skin type. Charcoal is ideal for oily skin types and clay is ideal for more dry skin types, but they both have so much more to offer.

Thankfully, charcoal and clay masks are ubiquitous in most skincare routines. In addition, you can learn to customize your mask routine so you can gain benefits from both ingredients. Ready to mask your way to beautiful skin? Then read on!

Charcoal Vs Clay 

Both charcoal and clay are go-to skincare ingredients found in numerous products like cleansers, toners, and most commonly, face masks. In addition, most people can find a use for both masks and even start “multi-masking.”

Multi-masking is a great way to customize face masks for different areas of the face so you can gain the benefits of both ingredients. However, before you start putting all your products together, it’s crucial to understand each mask and how they work.


Charcoal has numerous health benefits, and it’s an ingredient that’s been used for thousands of years thanks to its versatility. Activated Charcoal is most commonly found formulated in skincare products, toothpaste, or even in supplements. 

While charcoal or activated charcoal has been used in thousands of remedies over centuries, there are still limited studies that prove its effectiveness. However, people globally have claimed to benefit from activated charcoal.

So why do people still use charcoal? According to Healthline, “research has shown that, due to its absorbent nature, activated charcoal can draw toxins from the body.” Charcoal can draw out toxins from the skin and even help with digestion. 

In addition, charcoal causes little to no irritation unless you overuse the product. However, it’s always ideal to conduct a patch test to ensure you don’t have any unusual sensitivities to charcoal.

Too much of a good thing isn’t such a good thing after all. Limit your use of charcoal masks to 1-2 times a week to avoid dryness, redness, and other forms of irritation. However, when used correctly, charcoal can provide the skin with various positive benefits. 

Benefits Of Charcoal 

Charcoal is a fantastic detoxifying ingredient that is beneficial for both the skin and the gut. But what exactly can charcoal treat, what can be drawn out from the skin, and how can you receive the maximum benefits?  

  • Acne and Oily Skin  – It’s been said that charcoal contains antibacterial properties, which are ideal for treating acne. Acne can become seriously inflamed due to hormones, bacteria, and excess oil production, all of which can be treated with this use of activated charcoal. Healthline states that charcoal can also keep your oil production at bay “by removing dead skin cells and absorbing excess oil. Activated charcoal may help give your skin a healthy glow without too much shine.” 
  • Remove Impurities – Activated charcoal is highly absorbent so that it can draw out even your deepest and darkest secrets. Charcoal can draw out dirt, bacteria, dead skin, and more from the skin to unveil a healthy complexion.
  • Gut Health – In some cases, charcoal has been used to treat overdoses because of its ability to absorb toxins. However, charcoal can also show some potential in healing the gut lining and supporting digestion. 


Clay is another common ingredient frequently used in skincare due to its purifying properties for the skin and hair. In addition, clay masks are usually composed of different types of clay to create the perfect balance.

According to one article from Healthline, “clay facial masks are made up of one of several types of clay, such as kaolin or bentonite. It’s thought that these masks have several benefits like absorbing excess oil or managing dry skin.”

Surprisingly enough, charcoal and clay share many similarities. They both remove toxins and impurities from the skin and treat acne. However, clay masks are ideal for normal and dry skin types that usually feel stripped from charcoal masks.

Clay masks are much more hydrating than charcoal masks. So even if you want to opt for a mud-like mask, clay is ideal if you are on the drier side. In addition, clay can benefit other body parts like your hair to remove build-up and excess oil.

Like charcoal, the majority of evidence that proves the effectiveness of clay is anecdotal. However, there are new studies every day proving how clay can be effective for the skin. Ready to find out what clay has in store for you? 

Benefits of Clay

Clay masks can treat various skin conditions, draw out toxins, control oil production, and treat acne. However, its hydrating properties are what make it ideal for dry and sensitive skin types.

  • Treat Dry Skin – Clay creates a barrier that is ideal for severely dry or even dehydrated skin. While clay masks are more hydrating for dry skin types or skin with a specific condition, it’s crucial not to overuse them because they can be counterproductive and increase your dryness. Instead, it’s essential to create balance within a skincare routine.
  • Eliminate Toxins – Clay can also remove toxins from the skin that are caused by environmental pollution or other external factors.

Pros And Cons


Thankfully, there aren’t too many cons with charcoal or clay masks. However, it’s always crucial to conduct a patch test before incorporating any new products into your routine to ensure you don’t have any allergic reactions.

The only adverse side effects from charcoal and clay masks happen if you use them too frequently. For example, using these face masks more than the recommended amount can result in dryness, redness, irritation, and flaky skin.


Both Charcoal and Clay masks are superhero ingredients that provide similar benefits. They both remove toxins/impurities, treat acne and skin imperfections, and control oil production. 

While they both can be suitable for all skin types, they do benefit from particular characteristics. For example, clay is more hydrating and will help dry skin types more than Charcoal, and Charcoal is ideal for oily skin types because it’s highly absorbent.

How To Use Charcoal & Clay Masks 


If you purchase a charcoal mask, it’s best to follow your brand’s directions. However, if you make your charcoal masks, you’ll want to cleanse the skin, apply your mask, and leave it on for 10-15 minutes for the best results.


There is still a broad debate if you should let clay masks dry down. For the best results, always follow the directions that your brand has given you. However, if you make your own, it’s best to monitor and watch how your skin reacts.

A good rule of thumb is to let the mask sit for 10-15 minutes. 

Can You Use Them Both?

If you have combination skin or different conditions on various facial areas, you can benefit from multi-masking. This includes using two different masks on contrasting areas on the face.

For example, you can use a charcoal mask on your t-zone where you could be more oily and apply a clay mask on your cheeks where you could be more dry. 

There are products and DIY recipes that incorporate both activated charcoal and clay into one mask. However, you should proceed with caution; while it may not be for everyone, some people see the benefits of using both components in one mask.

Anyone can gain benefits from the right balance of charcoal and clay masks. In addition, you gain a fun and relaxing step in your self-care routine.

Up Next: Does Bentonite Clay Remove Hair Color?

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