About Blaq Mask
With a product range that features activated charcoal as its core ingredient, Blaq is an Australian skin and body care brand that promises to help deliver clearer pores, smoother skin, de-puffed eyes, and whiter teeth. And with only “the finest natural ingredients under the sun,” we’re told they’re all safe on sensitive skin.
How do they work? According to the Blaq website, their activated charcoal draws skin contaminants like bacteria, poisons, chemicals, dirt and other micro-particles to the surface, where they can be washed away, leaving you with a flawless, radiant look.
But regardless of the condition you’re concerned about—whether it’s acne, dry skin, or discolored teeth—can you expect the Blaq lineup to deliver on its promises? Should you choose another activated charcoal product? Here, we’ll provide the details you need to make a more informed decision.
Your Quick Reference Guide to Activated Charcoal for Skincare
According to WebMD, activated charcoal is “made from coal, wood, or other substances. It becomes "activated charcoal" when high temperatures combine with a gas or activating agent to expand its surface area.”
Medically, activated charcoal’s large surface area is often used internally to treat overdoses or poisonings, since drugs and toxins bind to it. And from a skincare perspective, this ability to attract toxins has also made the ingredient a recent addition to a variety of skincare products.
But, whether used in Blaq’s mask or any other brand, does externally applied activated charcoal work the same as when ingested internally?
LabMuffin tells us that, while there “isn’t any good data on whether or not it works” to draw impurities away from the skin, “theoretically, it could work.”
They explain this is because it could “potentially absorb oil from pores like a clay mask, so it could draw out dirt within a pore with it,” thereby allowing it to “clean deeper inside the pore.” However, they emphasize that “in studies on activated charcoal, it typically takes a few hours for it to take its full effect.” Which is obviously much longer than you’ll leave a mask in place.
Interviewed for a Reader’s Digest article, Ivy Lee, MD, a Pasadena, CA dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA, mirrored this same sentiment:
“If [activated charcoal] purifies toxins in our GI tracts it will probably purify toxins on our skin as well. The tough thing is, there’s not evidence for this. There’s no scientific evidence that it purifies the skin.”
With these details in mind, in addition to activated charcoal, let’s investigate the specific ingredients found in Blaq’s lineup and find out what authoritative sources have to say about the results you might realistically expect.
How It Works: Taking a Closer Look at Blaq Mask’s Ingredients
Note: For each ingredient found in Blaq’s six-product lineup, we relied on sites like Truth In Aging, EWG.org, Paula’s Choice, WebMD, and the Natural Medicines Database to provide cumulative details about their intended use, efficacy, and potential side effects.
Blaq Body Scrub
This blend promises to help you exfoliate, nourish, and rebalance skin, simply by scrubbing. Just apply using circular motions in the bath or shower, rinse off, dry your skin, and moisturize. Use twice per week to maintain results.
Ingredients: Sea salt flakes, molasses, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, calendula officinalis flower oil, bamboo charcoal, fragrance
The sea salt in this Blaq formula acts to physically exfoliate skin (remove old cells from the surface to reveal the younger, fresher cells underneath), which can also be accomplished using many other types of granules, including plastic microbeads, sugar, bamboo beads, baking soda, rice powder, and even nuts.
Olive oil is a natural skin conditioner and moisturizer, while calendula officinalis (Golden Marigold) isn’t listed as effective for any condition, when applied topically.
Blaq Dual Sided Wipes
These wipes feature two sides: A cleansing side for removing surface-level makeup, and an exfoliating side for deeper cleaning, both working together to “draw out impurities and dead skin cells” and leave you with clean, smooth skin.
Start by using the smooth side on your eyelids, face, and neck. Then, flip to the textured size and apply to your face, “paying a little extra TLC towards your T-Zone.”
Ingredients: Bamboo charcoal, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, glycerin, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, PEG-8 caprylic/capric glycerides, propylene glycol, polyaminopropyl biguanide, decyl glucoside, chlorphenesin, bronopol, bisabolol, retinyl palmitate, 3-o-ethyl ascorbic acid, tocopheryl acetate
According to the sites above, most of these wipes’ ingredients work as skin conditioners (aloe, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, PEG-8 caprylic/capric glycerides, propylene glycol, decyl glucoside, retinyl palmitate) and preservatives (polyaminopropyl biguanide, chlorphenesin, bronopol).
3-o-ethyl ascorbic acid is a type of vitamin C that has some clinical evidence indicating it might help boost collagen synthesis, and chamomile is often used as a calming fragrance.
Blaq Hydrogel Eye Mask
After cleansing your skin and eye area, apply each mask about one cm below the eye, leaving in place for 10-15 minutes before peeling off the skin. Continue using twice per week.
Ingredients: Water (89.5%), glycerin (5%), hamamelis virginiana extract (4%), bamboo charcoal (0.5%), xanthan gum (0.2%), chondrus crispus powder (0.1%), glucomannan (0.15%), algin (0.1%), citric acid (0.1%), potassium chloride (0.05%), potassium citrate (0.05%), phenoxyethanol (0.1%), diazolidinyl urea (0.1%), iodopropynyl butylcarbamate (0.003%), fragrance (0.005%)
In addition to bamboo charcoal, the only other active ingredients in the Hydrogel Eye Mask formula include hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel), which is listed as possibly effective for relieving mild skin irritation, although not as well as hydrocortisone, in addition to glucomannan, a natural fiber that may help skin retain moisture.
Blaq Mask Tube
Draws out toxins and impurities, while removing blackheads, by applying to your t-zone areas (be sure to avoid your lips, hairline, and brow), and waiting 15-20 minutes before removing.
Ingredients: Water, polyvinyl alcohol, alcohol, bamboo charcoal, propylene glycol, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, triethanolamine, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, fragrance
Polyvinyl alcohol (PV) is a common ingredient found in over-the-counter eye drops, as they can help retain moisture. The remaining ingredients in the Mask Tube mainly act as skin conditioners (propylene glycol), surfactants (triethanolamine), stabilizers (acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer), and preservatives (sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate).
Blaq Teeth Whitening Wand
Uses activated charcoal and coconut oil to naturally lift stains and impurities, “without causing tooth erosion or damaging enamel,” and even kills bacteria that can cause bad breath.
Works just like a pen by applying a thin layer of the gel to your teeth and whitening in about 20 minutes. Can be used daily to maintain results.
Ingredients: Activated Charcoal, Coconut Oil, Glycerol, Aqua, Sodium Chlorite, Cellulose Gum, EDTA, DL Menthol, Citric Acid
Remember when we talked about activated charcoal’s exfoliating ability with the Blaq Body Scrub earlier? It can also work to help scrub away surface stains on teeth. Although, as we discuss in How to Choose an At-Home Teeth Whitening System That Works, it’s important to emphasize that this surface scrubbing won’t address intrinsic (or under the surface) stains.
The remaining ingredients act as texture enhancers (glycerol, cellulose gum), preservatives (sodium chlorite), cleansers (EDTA), and flavoring (DL menthol, citric acid).
Meteor Shower Shimmer Scrub
According to the company’s website, this is “formulated with actual meteors from outer space” and blended with activated charcoal to help leave your skin with an almost incandescent glow. Twice per week, massage a handful onto the skin in circular motions, rinse, and dry.
Ingredients: Sea Salt Flakes, Meteorite Powder, Mica, Activated Charcoal, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Sugar, Olea Europea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Fragrance
Again, the meteorite powder, sugar, and activated charcoal in Blaq’s Shower Shimmer Scrub work as exfoliants, while olive oil is a skin conditioner. Glycine soja is high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Could Blaq’s Mask & Other Ingredients Cause Side Effects?
According to Truth In Aging, EWG.org, Paula’s Choice, WebMD, and the Natural Medicines Database, the majority of these ingredients won’t cause side effects, although they indicate that witch hazel might cause minor skin irritation (no specifics provided).
Blaq notes their products are designed for all skin types (except for those with eczema), although it’s completely normal to look a little flushed after your mask is peeled off. With this said, if you have sensitive skin, they recommend performing a quick patch test 24 hours before applying.
Finally, they emphasize that their products are made with natural ingredients, so if they come in contact with your eyes or your clothes, you should just rinse thoroughly with warm water.
How Much Do Blaq’s Products Cost?
Blaq’s products are priced as follows:
- Body Scrub: $16.95
- Blaq Dual Sided Wipes (25 ct): $12.95
- Blaq Hydrogel Eye Mask (set of 5): $29
- Blaq Mask Tube (60 ml): $29
- Blaq Teeth Whitening Wand: $19.95
- Meteor Shower Shimmer Scrub: $24.95
All come with a 90-day money back guarantee, less S&H, which you can request by reaching out to customer support at hello@BlaqMask.com.
What Can We Learn From Blaq Mask Customer Reviews?
Blaq’s Mask was a viral sensation on Instagram earlier this year, so it’s no surprise that all of the testimonials on their website were highly complimentary.
This also seemed to be the case on Ipsy.com, where the Mask specifically had an average rating of about four stars. There, most compliments appeared to revolve around effective results (removed blackheads, smoother skin, etc.), while frequent complaints revolved around painful removal (especially for stray hairs caught in the mask), less than stellar results, and temporary irritation.
MamaMia’s Brittany Stewart wrote that the Blaq Mask wasn’t quite a “skin savior” and it didn’t leave her face “miraculously clear of blackheads,” but “it was incredibly mesmerizing to watch on others and satisfying to feel the pull of the mask. The reactions are hilarious and the dead skin layers disgustingly great.”
We encountered very few customer reviews for Blaq’s other products at the time of our research, although they seemed to be similarly positive.
From a company perspective, Blaq was founded in 2016 by Australian Ryan Channing, who also works as a model and personality for Scoop Management.
Are There Other Activated Charcoal Masks Like Blaq?
While Blaq’s advertising angle is admittedly sleek and sophisticated, whether we’re talking about masks, wipes, teeth whiteners, or body washes/scrubs, there are perhaps hundreds of different products from dozens of manufacturers competing for many of the same customers. Furthermore, many of these are priced meaningfully less. How to decide if it’s worth paying more?
Any time you’re thinking about trying a new skincare product, it’s always a great idea to speak with your dermatologist before placing an order. This way, they can advise whether or not specific ingredients can help you achieve your goals, as well as about any potential side effects based on your specific diagnosis.
From there, in How to Find the Perfect Face Mask for Your Skin, Debra Jaliman M.D., board-certified NYC dermatologist, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and author of “Skin Rules: Trade Secrets From A Top New York Dermatologist” told us that “there is no real difference between expensive and inexpensive masks.”
Instead, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Kally Papantoniou recommends that, whether you’re considering Blaq or another brand, you start with your skin type (e.g., dry, oily, combination, dull/aging skin, sensitive, etc.).
From there, “It is worth it to do your homework before making a purchase,” she says, by looking at the label to understand the type—and quality—of ingredients being used. Also, she emphasizes that you should “read reviews if available, and look out for reviews that are posted in exchange for a free product.”
Speaking of which, based on our experience writing about hundreds of beauty and skincare products, we’d recommend only doing business with companies who:
- Provide a full list of ingredients, including dosages/concentrations (when appropriate)
- Offer at least 30-day refund policies, with no restocking fees
- Come with a mostly positive online customer reputation
Our Final Thoughts About Blaq’s Mask & Activated Charcoal Products
The bottom line is that, perhaps more than any other class of product, skincare is an intimately personal buying decision. What works fantastically for one person might be a beauty disaster for another, so it often takes some trial and error before finding a perfect match.
In order to help you find some direction, avoid potential side effects, and maximize the value of your hard-earned money, though, it’s always a smart idea to talk with your dermatologist beforehand.
With all of this said, Blaq’s activated charcoal products (especially their mask, and especially from those with oily or acne-prone skin) seem to come with mostly positive online customer feedback, and the company stands behind them with a 90-day refund policy, which should be plenty of time to figure out if they work for your skin type.