Good Things - The Pore-Fectly Clear Charcoal Face Mask Review
So who doesn’t love a good face mask? I’ve tried a few new ones recently, glow masks, hydrating masks, peel-masks and clay masks in the never ending quest for flawless skin. The Pore-Fectly Clear face mask from Good Things promises to do just that; “The Pore-Fectly Clear Range combines active charcoal with caffeine to draw out impurities for deeply cleansed, clearer looking skin.”
So the packaging is pretty cute, nothing too fancy but a pretty tube nonetheless. It’s grey plastic which goes nicely with the blue cap and the blue/pink colour scheme. This type of packing is also much more hygienic than tubs as you’re not constantly dipping your fingers in and out, but I find them a little annoying when the tube begins to empty as you need to squeeze harder to get any product out.
It also features a prominent ‘Free From’ stamp, maintaining that the product is free from animal ingredients, mineral oils, sulphates and parabens. While the jury is still out on whether these ingredients are harmful or not, for those who do prefer to avoid them this brand is ideal for you. The entire brand is also vegan for those who prefer to keep things entirely animal-free!
The back of the packaging gives directions on use, a list of ingredients and the usual company background and information. It’s all pretty clear aside from the blue writing at the top (basically a short history of the company) which can be a little difficult to read against the background.
Finally the ingredients list; the company lists these in the usual way, from the highest concentration to the lowest. The ingredients are, for the most part, just as advertised. There’s nothing with too much controversy here.
Aqua: This is just water, nothing special here
Kaolin: Also known as China Clay, this is used for many purposes. It bulks out your product which may be why it is the largest ingredient after water. It’s also used as an emollient which adds moisture to the skin and curiously also as a drying agent which may help to dry out spots and oily sections of the skin. Kaolin is not absorbed by the body which is great for anyone trying to lighten their chemical load. It does act as a slight exfoliant, adding to the post-mask smoothness. Kaolin clay appears to be perfectly safe unless you inhale it as a dry substance, but as the mask is wet, the risks of this are pretty low.
Bentonite: Bentonite is a type of clay as well and, like Kaolin, absorbs oils and grease from the skin; this is one of the main ingredients supporting the ‘Purify’ claim on the front of the bottle! It is also a bulking agent so may also be included to make the product go further as well as increasing viscosity and opacity so the mask doesn’t end up too thin or runny. It’s pretty good for oily skin so it perfect in this mask.
Butylene Glycol: Now because this brand claims to be ‘all good’ and hints at using no weird chemicals, it was a bit strange to see a funny chemical name within the first five ingredients! Following a bit of research, it turns out that Butylene Glycol is a solvent, used to dissolve other ingredients that won’t dissolve in water. It also acts as a skin conditioner to add a bit of softness so it seems like including it was pretty well thought out. However, there is a slight risk of skin irritation, if you have sensitive skin you might want to do a patch test first, just in case!
Polysorbate 20: Rounding out the top five ingredients we find another chemically sounding name. This actually helps ingredients dissolve into the solvent (Butylene Glycol) as a surfactant. It’s also an emulsifier to help mix small quantities of oil into the water-based mixture. On the plus side, it is quite soothing to the skin so balances out the possible irritation from Butylene Glycol.
So there are the first five ingredients. Funnily enough, the charcoal mentioned on the front of the packaging along with the caffeine and willow bark extract mentioned on the back did not make the cut this far up the list which implies that they are present in quite small percentages. However in skincare, a low concentration does not always mean ineffective as many ingredients only require a tiny amount to work.
Activated Charcoal: Like the clays above, charcoal absorbs and draws oils and impurities from the skin, it can also remove bacteria which is a huge help if you’re currently treating acne issues or trying to prevent breakouts. Like Kaolin, it is not absorbed by the body which means when the mask is washed off, all of the charcoal and the impurities it has absorbed are washed off as well.
Caffeine: Although we’re more accustomed to getting caffeine in our coffee, it is popping up more and more in our skincare. Although claims are made about caffeine making you look less tired, you’re probably better off drinking it to look awake! It is a powerful anti-oxidant so may have an anti aging effect on the skin. Because it can penetrate the skin, caffeine may constrict blood vessels and therefore reduce redness on the skin.
Willow Bark Extract: A bit of online research shows that this ingredient contains Salicin which can be converted into Salicylic acid in certain conditions. While Salicylic acid is generally considered to be an effective spot treatment, its very unlikely that Salicin will have the same effect. However it is soothing on the skin, but considering it’s the very last ingredient on the list, and therefore the mask contains only a tiny percentage of it, it’s likely that is doesn’t have much impact on the final result at all.
Now, onto testing the mask!
I’m not going to include before or after photos simply because I can never tell a difference! The mask affects the skins texture first and foremost and any changes in appearance will occur over time. I will admit that I’ve had a seriously bad breakout recently and this mask has improved it massively! But because I didn’t take a photo mid-breakout (who would!) I have nothing for reference.
You apply the mask pretty much like any other, get some on your fingers and smear the lot on your face! Despite all the bulking agents in the ingredient list, it does apply a bit sheer, I actually had to go back over some areas but as you can see, it’s still patchy! I like a nice thick mask, something where you can’t see your skin at all so I was a little disappointed at the thickness of this. It feels slightly gritty as well, maybe because of the clay and charcoal, however this isn’t a bad thing as I found it to be mildly exfoliating. It smells pretty much like you would expect, the ‘unscented’ smell you usually get in cosmetics, this is good for anyone who prefers unscented due to irritation risks or anyone who prefers to not include unnecessary extras in their face products; however if you’re looking for something that smells like heaven then you’d best look elsewhere.
The mask is recommended to be kept on for 10 minutes; personally I just leave it on until completely dry. It dries down like any other clay mask, settling into all the fine lines you didn’t even know you had! But this mask doesn’t flake at all, unlike other, thicker masks so there’s no risk of leaving a flaky trail around the house!
It’s easy enough to remove; I just used warm water and a face cloth but had a quick sweep over with micellar water afterwards just to make sure! It definitely makes your face feel a lot softer and my nose, which usually has a few blackheads on the tip, seems much smoother and cleaner! You skin can get a little dry from all the clay so I follow up with my usual moisturiser and skincare routine. Overall my skin does feel fantastic after the mask! Even at the time of writing, a few hours later, it seems smoother and a little brighter than usual.
The mask usually sells for £5.99 in the UK and I got mine from Boots, however it’s probably sold elsewhere as well. It’s pretty good value as I’d get somewhere between 10-20 uses from the tube, but that will depend a lot on how much you apply at a time.
Overall, this is definitely a winner for me. I would prefer it if it was thicker and more opaque, but I’m more than happy with the final result.
Have you tried this mask yourself or perhaps found something better? Maybe I’ve left out something important or you’ve thought of a question that I haven’t answered. If so leave a message in the comments and I’ll get back to you ASAP!