DIY all-natural blackhead busting blackout mask

DIY all-natural blackhead busting blackout mask

Can you see me?

There I am! Just letting this miracle mask sink in and work its magic (and secretly hoping my boyfriend will come home soon so I can give him a little scare). I’ve dubbed this mask the “blackhead busting blackout” mask since 1) its ingredients clarify the skin by pulling dirt from pores and thereby helping to eliminate blackheads, and 2) it’s as black as the night sky.

Or should I just say that it’s as black as charcoal (activated charcoal, to be specific), one of its main ingredients? I suppose that would make more sense.

Activated charcoal is similar to common charcoal, but is made specifically for medicinal use. To make activated charcoal, manufacturers heat common charcoal in the presence of a gas that causes the charcoal to become very porous. These pores allow activated charcoal to trap chemicals. Activated charcoal is used to treat poisonings, intestinal gas, nausea, and bile flow issues (cholestasis) during pregnancy. Activated charcoal also works wonders for the skin when applied topically: it keeps skin clear by acting as a magnet to draw dirt out of pores. It not only clears pores but also improves skin-tone by removing dry patches.

Bentonite clay also acts as a magnet to draw dirt from the pores. High-quality bentonite clay can be ingested to pull toxins from the body. When applied topically, it absorbs toxins, draws out blackheads, and kills acne-causing bacteria. You may recognize this ingredient from my DIY all-natural detoxifying deodorant, which uses bentonite clay to pull toxins from the underarms while keeping you odor-free naturally.

So let’s get to it!


  • 2 capsules of activated charcoal (approximately 0.2 grams) opened and emptied. To open gelatin capsules, simply twist the two halves and gently pull them apart as in the picture below.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bentonite clay
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of water

diy homemade blackhead remedy


Mix* all of the ingredients together into a smooth paste, and spot test the mask on your cheek or underside of your wrist to make sure that you do not have any adverse reactions. Wash face with a mild cleanser and pat partially dry (so that it is not dripping wet, yet moist). Apply the mask evenly avoiding the delicate skin around your eyes and lips, and let sit until dry, about 7-10 minutes. As the mask dries, it feels tight on the skin, which can sometimes feel a little itchy (if you start to feel uncomfortable, wash the mask off).  After the mask dries, wash it off, pat face gently with a clean towel, and let the skin breath or apply a mild all-natural moisturizer (I usually just apply jojoba oil to any areas that are prone to dryness).

That’s it! Easy-peasy as always.

*Be sure to stir this mixture with a plastic or wooden spoon, as both charcoal and clay pull toxins from metals. Also be sure to store your clay in a non-metal container.

As a side note, I typically use this mask the day after exfoliating with this all-natural DIY clarifying facial exfoliant so that it can penetrate the skin more deeply. Also, if any of the mask is leftover, it makes for a wonderful overnight spot treatment for blemishes.

Interested in learning about the chemicals in your cosmetics and beauty products (and why all-natural DIYs are a great way to avoid unnecessary nasties)? Click here!

Want more natural DIY skincare and beauty recipes?

Click here to check out more of my favorites!


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87 Responses to DIY all-natural blackhead busting blackout mask

  1. Hi, Sumita! I link to where you can purchase the ingredients in the post (under the “ingredients” heading).

  2. Hi, Sarah. Oh no! That is very strange and I have never had this issue before – and I often leave it on overnight as a spot treatment. Was your skin dry by any chance? If yes, the mask may have gotten trapped under the dry skin. I suggest exfoliating beforehand.

  3. I’d prefer to use vegetarian capsules of the activated charcoal. Will this make any difference at all to the mask’s texture, consistency or results?

  4. I’ve been doing a similar mask for a long time and saw a friend yesterday who hadn’t seen me in a while. She said my pores looked so much better than the last time she saw me! Instead of water I use lemon juice and ACV, both or one or the other. I also add baking soda. Best mask I have ever used!!

  5. Awesome recipe! Be sure to stir this mixture with a plastic or wooden spoon! This charcoal and clay mixture pulls toxins out of the metals, and storing the clay in a metal container or using metal utensils can ruin the clay!

  6. Activated charcoal also acts as a chelator, helping to remove heavy metals from the body. My DNP recommended taking a capsule an hour before going to dentist to have my amalgam fillings removed.
    My 17yo daughter and I use it as a tooth whitener too. You think it’s scary looking on your face, wait till your SO sees you smile while brushing your teeth with it!

  7. I followed the link for the clay ingredient to Mountain Rose Herbs and I’m curious what was the deciding factor in using bentonite clay vs french green clay or any of their other clay options? The descriptions make them all sound like fabulous products, and that makes it so hard for me to decide which would be the best to use! Please share your decision making process when it comes to similar ingredients!

  8. Hi, Riversana! Good question. To be honest, I know much more about bentonite and have been using it for awhile now and for a variety of purposes. For me, it is tried-and-true and very versatile. I will have to look more into the other clays to understand their healing properties. I agree, the French green clay sounds great, particularly for this purpose! If you do chose it, I’d love to hear how it works for you!

  9. I have made a similar mask with the french green clay and activated charcoal and it worked great. Once I used yogurt instead of water – and my face just glowed.

  10. Just bought my supplies and realized the bottle says not to use activated charcoal when nursing. I assume this is referring to ingesting and not topically. Is it safe to use on the skin when nursing?

  11. Trying this am. Lil too much water maybe. I have my capsules all emptied into a glass jar to use for my charcoal brushing. So that amount may be inaccurate. Intrigued by this. How often does one apply?

  12. Just out of curiosity, would this stay if you made a larger amount at one time. I have a few friends who are paying 60 dollars at Sephora for a jar that is very similar in ingredients but with added chemicals. I would love to be able to slip a small jar into their Christmas goody bags but want to know if it is safe to store.

  13. I think I added a tad too much water. It was SO cool though. It did stain my face ;( More like got stuck in my pores. I massaged some coconut oil in and was able to clean it out. Amaze. Will do again. (: I would totally give as gift w lil add water directions and a lil pamper thing <3

  14. So I am intrigued. I spend way too much time in front of the mirror squeezing my pores clean only to have them clogg up again the next day. Despite tons of OTC treatments plus proactiv nothing works. I am cautiously hopeful that this will work for me.

  15. I am ISO of acne scar repair. My face is starting to clear up but after years of acne, my once, spotless face is scared….it is so upsetting to look at my wedding pictures. It was caused from a medication I no longer take… to undo years of damage, natural, and DYI?

  16. Just made a batch and it was lumpy (used it still though)… Next time, I’ll pretend I’m making a cake and add the liquid a little at a time, stirring in between,.

  17. Can I mix up a bigger batch of this, like maybe 5x, but just leave out the water? Then I could give it as a gift.

  18. I love activated charcoal powder and all it can do. But how did you keep it from staining your face?

  19. About to try with liquid bentonite clay. Not sure what difference that will make to the measurements – maybe a tsp and a 1/2 instead of the 1/2?

  20. Let me just say that I am so excited that I have come across your site! I have tried out the facial exfoliant and am currently ENJOYING this mask.
    Can’t wait to make a few more purchases so I can try out more!

    Thanks for all of the awesome post. :)

  21. So, I made another similar mask only it was made w/ coconut oil, baking soda, and then charcoal. I put it in a plastic bowl, mixed it with a wooden spoon and then…covered it in tin foil. It was only after four days that I realized that I may have jeopardized all my work by using the tin foil to cover it. So I’m asking: is the mixture still okay to use? Or did using the tin foil as a covering compromise the whole thing and I should just mix up a new batch?

    Thank you for your advice in advance!

  22. Did the foil touch the mask? I’m not 100% sure but I’d think if they didn’t come in direct contact, then you’re OK.

  23. Just ordered everything, looking forward to giving it a try! I was going to get the GlamGlow mask until I saw someone comment to do this instead.

  24. Tried this today, my skin feels super soft now and it was so easy to do. For the comments regarding the staining, I experienced the same problem and it got stuck in my pores but I used a “norwex” cloth to wipe my face after rinsing the mask off and followed with a bit of Arran oil to moisturizer and that fixed the problem :) excited to see the long term results!

  25. Since I’m a bit older than you girls (55) I used Apple Cider Vinegar instead of water-I also use it as a toner & followed up with a honey/lavender oil masque. After the charcoal masque-skin did glow-pores looked smaller! I have Manaku honey from New Zealand-quite pricey here in USA & a few drops of a pure lavender essential oil-put it in a container with tight lid so I can use again! How often do you use the charcoal masque? My blackheads aren’t huge but cover my nose! I’m thinking of making a double recipe of it & using on my husbands back! He could shower it off! Has anyone tried it for body/back? Guys who work outside & sweat a lot tend to get them

  26. Hi! My boyfriend and I are going to do this as soon as I get all the ingredients in the mail. Should he avoid putting the mask over his facial hai

  27. Hi, I’ve tried this and loved it! I was wondering if i could add any essential oils to this mask?

  28. Weirdly I tried t comment a day or two ago and it didn’t seem to work.. anyway, Do you ever add any essential oils to this? Would that even work?

  29. Finally did this last night. I used fuller’s earth clay because I couldn’t get my hands on any bentonite.. I also added a few drops of lavender but I swear I think the charcoal ate it… Next time I will need to use less water.. but it worked so well and felt so good! Thanks for sharing this. It’s like the Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Origins mask I used to love, but now I get to make it for a fraction of the cost. Awesome! I love the other commenter’s idea of making up a dry batch to give as gifts. That’s on my to-do list now!

  30. I am enjoying exploring your blog and all the great recipes. Haven’t tried this one yet, but it sounds great.
    NOTE: Bentonite clay has many great properties from things I have read, but one property it has that I haven’t seen anyone mention is its abilities to absorb water. It is much like concrete in its make-up and thus can do some really nasty stuff to your drains. A face mask has such small quantities that over time, it would take time to build up. Not wanting to be a Debbie Downer, but just something I hadn’t seen anyone mention.
    I am excited to go home and try this, just think I will wipe my face and throw the mask in the garbage.

  31. I want to try this! My acne has cleared up, but I’ve been getting some blackheads. Hope it works for me too! :) Did you notice an improvement after 1 use?

  32. I have been using face dr soap and mositurizer for almost a year. It has helped. But I was still getting cystic acne. I was put on medication and am almost done. I have not seen huge improvements. I went out and bought the ingrediants for this mask. I took my make up off with coconut oil and a baby wipe. Used the mask, washed it off and use witch hazel with rose hip as a toner. My skin feels amazing!
    How often do you do the mask?

  33. Trying this today. How long does this mask last? Does refrigeration help its shelf life? Wondering how many weeks or months it stays good. Thank you!

  34. I read a lot of the comments on here about the black charcoal staining or sticking in your pores. I realized this too when I made the mask with water. Instead mixing it with water try mixing in with honey. :) That’s what I usually do and it does not stain your fave. I did notice that it did stay in my pores on my nose but I just scrubbed it with a facial brush and now my pores are clear. Great post by the way!

  35. Hi Nadia, is the link that you put for the activated charcoal on this post okay to use for teeth whitening as well? On your post about using activated charcoal for teeth whitening, you had a link to activated coconut shell charcoal, but I was wondering if the one you put on here is fine to use for that.

  36. Oh, yep! I just started buying the coconut shell one more recently which is why you’ll see it in more recent posts :) Good luck and let us know how it works out for you!!

  37. Am I the only one who had horrible black blocked pore all over my face?! Did I missed some thing? (I add 1/2 tsp matcha green tea,1/2 tea spoon turmeric herbal powder,2 drops of tea tree oil )

  38. I have a bulk jar of charcoal. Does anyone know how much in teaspoons of the charcoal to add. I don’t have a scale that measures .2 grams.

  39. I just tried the mask with Moroccan red clay, and my skin feels amazing!! The health food store was out of bentonite clay. I moisturized with coconut oil, a personal favorite! I didn’t measure, just made a nice goopy paste.

  40. I just took off the mask like literally 10 min ago, and I got to have to share how great the mask is. At first I was afraid the mask will “stain” my skin, but it was not. All I did was mixing 2 capsules of Activated Charcoal (brand is Nature’s Way)(green cap), 1/2 teaspoon of Bentonite Clay (brand is Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay) and 1 teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar Organic Raw-Unfiltered with the ‘Mother’ (brand is Bragg). I mix them up and add some more Bentonite clay or ACV or both until the mixture is barely runny because for me, it is easier to spread on my face. I applied it on my skin and waited for 15 minutes; I washed it off with warm-hot water in the shower to make it less messy. The result is amazing because my face was not as dry as just bentonite clay + ACV alone, and my face feels like baby. Again, it did not stain my skin, whatsoever. This mask is a must-try.

  41. Hi Nadia I came across your blog four days ago and decided to try this mask – coal and clay. Thing is, I can’t have it on for more than 3 minutes as my face simply goes on fire… Like I feel as though I’m burning. The first time, I put it on for about 5 minutes and had to dash to the shower! Today, I didn’t last 3 minutes with it. Is this normal? Has anyone experienced this before?
    I really like how it makes my skin feel, smooth and all… But the fire-effect is worrying! Please help.

  42. How often would you recommend using it as a spot treatment? They always say to do a mask once or twice a week, but do you think it would be ok to use every other day until the spots have subsided? I used it once this week and it did wonders for the pain and overall swelling!

  43. Oh boy… not for me but everyone is different. Did it last long? Maybe the clay was a little too drying for your skin…?

  44. I just got through trying this. I exfoliated this morning to prepare my skin. I still got the staining that others have mentioned, along with red skin. I exfoliated again using a baking soda and water paste and got the stain off. The redness has gone away and my skin is super soft. Thanks for the recipe.

  45. Honestly that FASCINATES me because I have never once gotten the staining!! But I’m glad that you are happy now that everything is complete! Thanks for sharing with us :)

  46. Hi Nadia! I was planning on giving this to a friend of mine as a gift but I don’t know how to package it. :) Do I simply mix both ingredients together in huge quantities, place it in a jar, and ask my friend to get a teaspoon of the mixture to mix with water? :) Or is there some sort of base I can use to mix both and still be able to add water? :) Thank you so much for this recipe! It’s done me wonders and I really am excited to share this with my friend as a surprise for her birthday. :)

  47. What a great idea! When I gift face masks, I usually just mix the dry ingredients in a jar and add a tag with the ingredients & instructions that say to mix about a teaspoon of the mask mix with either water, raw honey (it they’re not vegan), or ACV depending on their skin needs (honey is nourishing and ACV is more deep-cleaning while water is good for any skin type).

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