I love a good spa day as much as the next girl or guy. Even when I can’t devote a whole day to pampering, I try to infuse a few pampering-lite moments into my day. One of my favorite ways to interject a little bit of self-care in my day-to-day is by whipping up a DIY peel-off face mask.
While I still love my classic Cucumber, Honey, and Oatmeal Face Mask, this DIY Peel-Off Face Mask with Activated Charcoal is my newest obsession. It sprouted up because I was purchasing a well-known natural brand’s charcoal mask to use regularly. I loved it, but every time I had to plop down $15 for a tiny tube, I cringed. It finally occurred to me that I can do what I do with everything else in my life—DIY it!
This Activated Charcoal Peel-Off Face Mask is Glue-Free
Promise me you won’t slather school glue on your face, friends! After an intense Googling session, I realized that Pinterest is filled with people making their own Activated Charcoal Peel-Off Face Masks using school glue as the base of the mask.
And while I’m sure those masks yank out every last bit of grime from your pores (it is, ahem, GLUE, after all), I’m also 100% sure that school glue is not meant to be slathered on your skin regularly. Yes, I know we all did it as kids. Yes, I know it is “non-toxic.” But I know I want better for my skin than putting school glue on it. Don’t you?
An All-Natural Version of the DIY Peel-Off Face Mask
This glue-free version uses a trio of skin-nourishing ingredients to get that nice peel-away texture—bentonite clay, activated charcoal, and unflavored gelatin. When mixed together with hot water and then lovingly painted in a thick layer on your skin, the mask dries solid and then peels off in large, flaky chunks. This isn’t the Mission Impossible-style face mask peel off, but it still does come off in satisfying, pore-cleansing chunks.
Activated charcoal and bentonite clay both have drawing properties—meaning they pull out impurities in your skin. They both can also help reduce an overabundance of oils in the skin. The gelatin nourishes the skin while solidifying so you get that satisfying, blackhead-pulling, peel-off action.
Tips for DIY Charcoal Mask Success
- Paint the mask on nice and thick with a makeup brush. The thicker the mask goes on, the easier it is to peel off in large chunks later.
- This mask does get quite hard and solid—some folks might find it uncomfortable. If at any time you feel uncomfortable, either during the drying or peeling process, just rinse the mask away with warm water. The mask is 100% water soluble. You still get a lot of wonderful skin benefits by using this as a wash-away mask.
- The mask is ready to peel away when it feels completely dry and solid. If it feels damp or cool at all, give it a few more minutes.
- The best way to start peeling is to move your facial muscles to break up the mask—then peel off the chunks. You look silly, but that’s part of the fun!
- A tip I learned from the queen Jonathan Van Ness: charcoal masks tend to bring blemishes to the surface, so avoid using them the day of or even day before a big event.
- Bentonite clay reacts with metal, making it less effective—use wooden, glass, or plastic utensils and bowls here. I use a small low-ball glass and a large popsicle stick to mix.
- If your final mask has a few lumps and bumps when you paint it on, it’s just fine! No need to be perfect here.
- Hesitant to invest in bentonite clay, activated charcoal, or gelatin? For about $30, you can make hundreds (HUNDREDS!) of homemade face masks. Plus, you can use all the ingredients for the other uses like Poison Ivy Salve, Antimicrobial Black Drawing Salve, and Elderberry Gummies. These three ingredients are must-haves for a home herbalism or DIY beauty product hobby—your investment will not go to waste!
As with all homemade beauty products (or honestly, any beauty product!), if you have sensitive skin, it’s important to do a patch test before applying this mask to your entire face. Enjoy your pampering!