When it comes to the best face masks for blackheads, the formulas are abundant: There’s everything from sheet masks and pore packs to an acid-infused clay that exfoliates, too. To help you figure out which ingredients are most effective, Bustle spoke with
Dr. Neelam A. Vashi, board-certified dermatologist and Associate Professor of Dermatology at Boston University, and Dr. Henriette De La Garza, Research Fellow at Boston University’s Dermatology Vashi Lab.
“The most common cause of blackheads is oil over-production. Excess oil, dirt, and debris build up in the pore and causes clog accumulation,” Dr. Vashi tells Bustle. That’s why many blackhead masks are made from clay or charcoal. “Clay and charcoal masks help to draw oils, dirt, and toxins out of the skin, which helps to unclog the pores. Some masks may also contain sulfur to break down the dead skin cells that make up blackheads,” says Dr. Vashi.
If you have mild blackheads, salicylic acid is the “go-to ingredient,” according to Dr. Vashi. “Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid that removes excess oil and exfoliates the cells from the surface of the skin. It penetrates and clears out the pore and also encourages cell turnover,” Dr. Vashi says. “Alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic acid are also helpful and have the added benefit of evening out skin tone and texture.” For stubborn blackheads, Dr. Vashi recommends retinoids: “They reduce the stickiness of the cells that clog pores and speeds up the rate at which the skin turns over and regenerates, which helps to push out blackheads.”
In a hurry? These are the best face masks for blackheads:
1. Overall Best: Philosophy Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor Mask
2. Best Mask For Sensitive Skin: Cetaphil Pro Clay Mask
3. The Cult-Favorite Mask: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay
4. Best For Stubborn Blackheads: Azure Hemp & Retinol Nourishing Sleep Mask
5. Best Oil-Free Clay Mask: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Clay Face Mask
6. Best Overnight Peel: DERMA E Overnight Peel
7. Best Peel-Off Mask: TONYMOLY Tako Pore Black Peel-Off Pack
8. Best Sheet Masks: Burt’s Bees Charcoal Facial Sheet Mask
9. Best Sulfur Mask: Proactiv Skin Purifying Acne Face Mask
10. Best Mask With Skin-Balancing Probiotic Extracts: Tula Skin Care Detox In A Jar Exfoliating Treatment Mask
11. Best Egg White Mask: Skinfood Egg White Pore Mask
12. Best Mask With Absorbent Volcanic Clusters: Innisfree Pore Clearing Clay Mask
Because blackhead masks may dry out the skin, it’s important to
follow up with a moisturizer. “We recommend using noncomedogenic moisturizers which are formulated specifically to keep your pores clog-free,” Drs. Vashi and De La Garza say. “If your routine isn’t working, it’s important to consult with a board-certified dermatologist to receive professional and personalized guidance according to your specific needs,” they added.
No matter your
skin type, keep scrolling for the best pore-cleansing masks on Amazon.
Overall Best Face Mask For Blackheads
Formulated with salicylic acid, white kaolin clay, and natural exfoliants, this
pore extractor mask draws dirt and oil out of the skin to help unclog pores. The exfoliating mask also helps scrub away blackheads and remove dry skin, leaving your face smooth and glowy. Just massage the creamy mask — which has a light, fresh scent — onto clean, dry skin, allow it to dry, and rinse with warm water. Best of all, this mask is recommended for all skin types.
A helpful review: “[…] I have always had issues with blackheads around my nose as well as large pores. I was able to see immediate results after using this. It was also gentle on my sensitive skin – no red face after use! I will definitely be using this on a regular basis.”
Best Mask For Sensitive Skin
Cetaphil is usually a go-to brand for those with sensitive skin, and this
fragrance-free clay mask is a great example. It’s made with gentle kaolin and bentonite clays to absorb excess oil, draw out impurities, and exfoliate the skin. The mask also contains apple fruit extract and cucumber seed extract to help hydrate and brighten skin tone. And this rich, creamy mask does it all while being hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic.
A helpful review: “I have very sensitive skin and yet lots of blackheads. I have tried so many clay masks and even tried to make my own at home and every single one of them makes me super red and over-dries my skin. This is the only clay mask that doesn’t do that and I am actually able to use it more than once a week its that gentle. I just make sure to use a hyaluronic acid moisturizing face mask afterwards to replenish and its amazing. My skin feels gently exfoliated and renewed.”
The Cult-Favorite Mask
With more than 56,000 reviews and an impressive 4.6-star overall rating, the
Aztec Secret clay mask has a cult-like following on Amazon. It’s made from 100% bentonite clay that draws dirt and oil from the skin, and you can use this mask on your face, body, and hair. You’ll just need to mix with water or apple cider vinegar and stir into a smooth paste before applying. There’s no fragrance added, and the mask is ideal for those with combination skin.
A helpful review: “[…] I have combination, acne-prone skin (cystic, lots of blackheads), and after just four uses (2x a week for 2 weeks), i can’t remember the last time my skin was this clear (i’m 26). Pretty much no new breakouts in the last 2 weeks […].”
Best For Stubborn Blackheads
Dr. Vashi recommends retinoids for stubborn blackheads, and this
sleep mask is a great option. Along with retinol, the mask is formulated with organic hemp seed oil, hyaluronic acid, collagen, vitamins B3 and B5, and other nourishing ingredients. Just apply the mask to your face after cleansing, leave it on while you sleep, and rinse off in the morning. It’s hypoallergenic and unscented (though reviewers note it has a clean, fresh fragrance), and recommended for all skin types.
A helpful review: “I am 26 and have skin that is prone to dryness and redness. However, this product STRENGTHENED my skin and actually made it less red over time! It also made my skin less breakout prone and dealt with some wrinkles that had just started to form! […]”
Best Oil-Free Clay Mask
If you have oily skin, this
oil-free clay face mask helps control shine while removing dirt and pore-clogging impurities. The purifying mask is formulated with gentle kaolin clay and glycerin, and it helps the skin look matte and feel super smooth. It does contain fragrance, but reviewers note there’s no strong scent.
A helpful review: “[…] It keeps my skin glowing and non-shiny, and makeup looks smooth and pores are invisible. This is a great medium strength clay mask, especially if you have oily or slightly oily skin and enlarged pores.”
Best Overnight Peel
overnight peel is formulated with alpha-hydroxy acids, vitamins C and E, green tea, and jojoba oil to brighten, hydrate, and calm the skin. Just apply it to a clean face before bed, let it work overnight to exfoliate and smooth the skin, and rinse off in the morning. There’s no synthetic fragrance added, and reviewers note it has almost no scent and a gel-like texture. This peel is ideal for those with combination and oily skin types.
A helpful review: “I swear by this product to keep my face clear, having dealing with acne for over 20 years. I finally got rid of blackheads, whiteheads and all small little bumps. It even helped with my cystic acne. My face has a natural glow now and people ask me what I use to have such beautiful skin […].”
Best Peel-Off Mask
Not only does this
peel-off mask come in a portable and adorable octopus-shaped container, but it’s also a powerful purifier that lifts blackheads, dirt, and excess oils. The mask contains charcoal and marine plant extracts and clings to pores, making it easy to extract impurities, and reviewers note it has a mild scent. Just apply the mask, let it dry, and peel off gently. However, since peel-off masks are more aggressive than other options, Dr. Vashi recommends using them sparingly and avoiding them altogether if you have sensitive skin.
A helpful review: “i was very impressed with this product. it is thick, which makes it difficult to move around on your face, but is also nice because it doesn’t slide off or gloop up like other masks sometimes do. this mask did help with my blackheads and pores, although i think it takes a few times for there to be a huge difference. the packaging is just precious and is cute enough to leave out on the counter as a decoration. will definitely be buying this product again!”
Best Sheet Masks
If you prefer sheet masks for your self-care routine, this set of
detoxifying charcoal masks from Burt’s Bees are a popular choice with over 1,300 Amazon reviews. Sold in a set of six, each mask contains charcoal and honey to remove impurities and gently cleanse the skin. The masks have no added fragrance and are safe for all skin types. In addition to charcoal, the brand offers four other hydrating masks within the same listing.
A helpful review: “[…] After removing the face mask I initially did not think the mask did anything like most products I tried, but after 10 minutes I could not stop feeling my face, it felt really smooth and clean, all the build up was actually coming out of my pores. For a weekly facial mask to detox your face I was highly recommend this […].”
Best Sulfur Mask
sulfur mask from Proactiv can help unclog pores and reduce redness and irritation. The mask also contains kaolin clay, vitamins E and F, tea tree, and lemongrass to absorb excess oils and help soothe the skin. It can also be used as an acne spot treatment to help clear blemishes. Plus, this mask is safe for all skin types.
A helpful review: “Every time I use it my skin looks and feels amazing afterwards. So soft and free of dead skin, my pores always feel so clean!”
Best Mask With Skin-Balancing Probiotic Extracts
Formulated with probiotic extracts and bentonite and kaolin clays, this
Tula face mask can help balance skin while removing dirt and excess oils. The mask also contains volcanic sand to gently buff and exfoliate the skin, leaving it smooth and glowy. It’s recommended for all skin types but does contain synthetic fragrances, so keep that in mind if you have sensitive skin.
A helpful review: “[…] The mask clears my pores and removes excess oil. There are exfoliating beads but they’re not the typical mini plastic beads, they break apart. After removing the mask my skin feels soft. I also like that I don’t have to leave it on very long.”
Best Egg White Mask
While DIY beauty blogs talk about tossing egg white on your face to tighten up pores, this
Skinfood mask does a heck of a lot more without the mess. This pore-clearing mask contains egg whites (along with clarifying kaolin clay and plumping hyaluronic acid), which are jam-packed with vitamins and a litany of amino acids. While these ingredients are great for the body internally, for the skin, externally, they work together to regulate oil control, dissolve blackheads, minimize the appearance of pores, and kill bacteria that causes breakouts. As if that wasn’t enough to make you want to grab a tub of this stuff, egg whites also boast anti-inflammatory properties, which are perfect for those with sensitive skin or acne-prone skin.
A helpful review: “I have combination skin, and sometimes clay masks can be too drying. This drew the impurities out of my skin without stripping it of its moisture. It’s not overly-scented (very pleasant & mild). Great for blackheads and giving tired skin/pores a good “reset.” My pores were visibly smaller after using, and my night cream seemed to absorb better.”
Best Mask With Absorbent Volcanic Clusters
deep-cleansing mask contains volcanic clusters to absorb excess oil and lactic acid to gently exfoliate and minimize pores, leaving the complexion glowing upon removal. The mask is on the thick side, so allow it to completely dry for 15 to 20 minutes to ensure you receive maximum benefits. The creamy, luxurious mask is recommended for oily and combination skin and contains no added fragrance.
A helpful review: “Nice texture and feels soothing on the skin. It’s been helping to clear clogged pores due to a heavy sunscreen that caused me to break out.”
Dr. Neelam A. Vashi , board-certified dermatologist and Associate Professor of Dermatology at Boston University
With contributions from Dr. Henriette De La Garza, Research Fellow at Boston University’s Dermatology Vashi Lab