I hate to admit it. Not really. But I’m on a bit of a skin care frenzy. My distaste for this obviously, healthy – but compulsive habit – is that it’s burning a whole in the pocket of my new high-waisted denim jeans.

Okay, so yes. Thus far, quarantine has driven me into complete boredom where I find myself scrolling on the web for countless hours creating virtual baskets of trending items. But I did this before quarantine. The kicker? Somehow, in some way, I’ve stirred up enough confidence to actually click ‘Confirm Order’ on the web page.

Crazy, I know.

One of those late-night, shopping purges – where instead of browsing the aisles one by one, I’m now filtering items through the comfort of my computer screen – I ordered from Sephora. You may have already heard me gob about how great the first product was on this post here, so for those who’d like to keep up-to-date: here’s part two.


I’m starting to think that on this blog, I’m only sharing staples. To be fair, I’ve tried many products from Origins, but never this one. On the contrary, my internal library on all things charcoal masks is well versed. I guess you might say when it comes to charcoal masks that I am an amateur, connoisseur of some sort.

My Sephora order only contained two items. A makeup primer and a face mask of the skin care kind. Not a risky purchase, but one could imagine the price tag of two full-sized products nonetheless.

I had began to notice my skin had lost its funk. It needed a detox, and there wasn’t a good face mask to be found in my home. This is what spurred my online order.

What is it?

I purchased the Origins Clear Improvements Face Mask – a deep cleansing clay face mask – strictly because it contained activated charcoal, and that was familiar to me and my slightly sensitive skin.

What does it do?

This product draws out oil and dirt from pores, reducing breakouts and minimizing the appearance of pores.

The idea here is to reduce the amount of dirt and oil on your face, so there is less oil to stretch your pores, and this will help reduce its visibility.

What’s the fuss about activated charcoal?

By definition, activated charcoal (the byproduct of carbon-containing material like wood, coconut shells, or peat) that has been treated so it’s more porous than regular charcoal. It has a negative electric charge that is useful for drawing out toxins from our bodies. It acts as a magnet for oils, dead skin cells, and debris from the environment.

Consider this – our weekly schedules involve so much environmental exposures. That environmental exposure eventually becomes absorbed into our skin. From car fumes, to smoke, to cosmetics – our skin takes it all in. With time, our skin becomes congested. And if you’ve ever glazed at a woman’s magazine in the checkout line at a grocery store, you’ll know that congested skin is more susceptible to accelerated aging, breakouts, irritation, and enlarged pores. This leaves our skin dull and uneven.

Although, a face mask isn’t the quickest option for dissolving some of the gunk in your skin. I like to think that steady wins the race. Charcoal face masks have a lot to offer. With repeated and consistent use in a skin care routine, they can reduce the visibility of pores, balance oily skin, and treat acne. Activated charcoal in face masks attaches to dirt and oils, and helps pull it from your pores. With time, this will reduce the visibility of your pores.

Sometimes – depending on the severity of your acne – activated charcoal can help to clear your skin. Its properties can help absorb oils and toxins on and below the skin. The best part is you can use this in one of two ways; either as a spot treatment or as a mask for your face.

First impressions?

The packaging is cute – there wasn’t much I could complain about. It’s a simple, clear squeeze bottle. Many reviews mentioned how petite the bottle actually was, and so I’m not sure why I was so surprised by this when the product finally arrived. It’s indeed quite small, so if you’re looking for a bargain – this probably isn’t for you.

How it feels/smells/looks?

Oh my god, this formula. The smooth charcoal-grey formula looks and smells like clay, and has an immediate cooling effect. It has a thick creamy texture that hardens as it dries. It rinses off very easy and left my skin refreshed and toned.

There are face masks that often leave a hue of redness after rinsing usually caused by irritation. I was very pleased to discover this reaction didn’t occur! Woohoo, Origins!

How to apply the product?

The instructions recommend using a warm, damp cloth on makeup-free skin to open the pores before beginning to apply the product. Next up, apply the face mask either using clean hands or a face mask applicator. When dry, rinse using warm water.

What are my overall impressions?

As I mentioned, I’m not new to the activated charcoal scene so this face mask had a lot to stand up against. I loved the cooling effect it had on my skin, and was genuinely pleased by how radiant it made my skin appear afterwards. For the size of the container, the price is a little steep. That being said, I would prefer to repurchase a product that I know works wonders rather than buying a bunch of sub-par ones.

Activated charcoal tends to act as a drying agent in skin care products helping to balance oils. I had placed the mask over my entire face, and didn’t find it to be insanely drying, although, this was only one use. I would probably caution from using this daily, and at most, I would incorporate this into a weekly skin care regime.

What you need to know:

Before I end this Sunday saga of skin care saviours, I’d like to make one thing clear as day. You can cannot erase your pores. I repeat: you cannot erase your pores.

I’m sorry to burst your bubble.

I know it’s tempting to hunt the beauty aisles in drugstores for nose strips and peeling face masks. Believe me, I used to thrive off these too. But – if Anatomy 2011 taught me anything, I now know a thing or two about our lovely skin.

So, here’s the tea.

Nose strips and peeling face masks are the public enemy 101. I get it. You witnessed first hand the gunk peel away on that nose strip and you know for a fact that your skin feels much softer after using a peeling face mask. Ever wonder why?

These products are quite literally ripping away a thin layer of skin and vellus hairs as you peel away. That’s why your skin feels like a perfectly ripe peach. And that gunk you witnessed on the nose strip? It’s mostly oil from your sebaceous glands, and those are necessary to your skin’s pH balance.

Moral of the story is pores are normal. I blame Dr. Pimple Popper for making us feel otherwise. A charcoal face mask is amazing for weekly routine skin care, not daily pore extraction. While I fully support the use of enjoying a face mask, it’s just as important to accept our impurities – pores and all – as a permanent part of that beautiful face of yours.

But the choice is yours – whatever is easier.

With love,


Let’s connect! Find me on InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest for daily content.


This has been one of my favorite masks for years. I’ve tried several other charcoal masks, but keep coming back to this one because 1) it doesn’t include any ingredients I’m allergic to 2) it doesn’t cause redness aaaand 3) I actually notice a difference in my skin after using it! I loved reading your review!

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