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The 12 Best Face Masks for Clean, Clear Pores

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It’s no secret that clear pores are the foundation for a flawless complexion. Once your pores are rid of dirt, oil, and more, your skin is better able to avoid blackheads, breakouts, and excess oil production. Clearing out your pores is nothing a good sheet or clay mask can't help with. And believe us, there are plenty out there. We enlisted the help of dermatologist and Acaderma founder Dr. Shuting Hu who gave us some insight on the best face masks for all your pore concerns. Dr. Hu shares that "Kaolin clay, French green clay, and bentonite clay are three great bases to look for in face masks. They’re effective at pulling impurities and oils out of congested pores without being too harsh on your skin."

While clay masks are often the "go-to treatment for pore congestions and inflammation because they draw out impurities," Dr. Hu notes that "resurfacing masks with gentle chemical exfoliants like enzymes and AHAs have become more readily available, and they’re a great option for dissolving the dead skin that gets trapped in your pores." With Dr. Hu's guidance, we rounded up 12 facial masks that offer the deep cleansing your pores desire. Read on for Dr. Hu’s expert picks, along with a few of our favorites!


About the Expert:

Dr. Shuting Hu specializes in skin biology, natural ingredients, and green technology. She is also the founder of Acaderma.

1. Best Face Mask for Blackheads:

CAUDALIE Vinergentic C+ Instant Detox Mask

CAUDALIE Vinergentic C+ Instant Detox Mask
Courtesy of CAUDALIE

Dr. Hu shares that this is her favorite mask to fight blackheads. "It’s the perfect combination of powerful yet gentle ingredients, containing ingredients such as pink clay and coffee to absorb dirt and oil," she says. Made with natural ingredients, this mask works hard to cleanse skin impurities and excess sebum. Not only will your skin's texture be more refined after using the mask, you'll likely notice that your pores are tightened and your complexion is as radiant as ever. No wonder Dr. Hu loves this mask so much!

2. Best Blackhead Mask for All Skin Types:

TATA HARPER Purifying Mask

TATA HARPER Purifying Mask
Courtesy of TATA HARPER

Another mask Dr. Hu swears by for blackheads is this one right here. Though it is a bit pricey, it's well worth this investment. As Dr. Hu points out, "Its formula includes a combination of white clay to absorb oil and dirt, star aster to protect skin from free radicals, and papaya enzymes that work to gently exfoliate the skin, leaving it soft and smooth." While the potent ingredients sound as if it would be irritating, it's actually gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin.

3. Best Face Mask to Shrink Your Pores: 

KIEHL'S Rare Earth Deep Pore Minimizing Cleansing Clay Mask

KIEHL'S Rare Earth Deep Pore Minimizing Cleansing Clay Mask
Courtesy of KIEHL'S

Fun fact straight from Dr. Hu: "You can’t actually 'shrink' your pores, but the good news is that you can make them less noticeable." If you're hoping to minimize the appearance of pores, she highly recommends this cleansing clay mask. "Pores appear bigger when they’re congested with dead skin cells, sebum, and product buildup," Dr. Hu says. "By using a clay mask like this one, you can make your pores less visible by getting rid of those clogs." Made with magical clay collected from the mouth of the Amazon River, the powerful components of this mask eliminate toxins, excess oil, and dead skin almost instantly. After one use, many noticed a dramatic reduction in the size of their pores. Another notable ingredient in this mask is sustainably sourced aloe vera, as it will soothe and moisturize your complexion to prevent over-drying and skin irritation.

4. Best Face Mask to Get Rid of Dead Skin Cells:

VERSED Doctor's Visit Instant Resurfacing Mask

VERSED Doctor's Visit Instant Resurfacing Mask
Courtesy of VERSED

This face mask is practically a facial in a tub, but for a fraction of the cost. AHA, BHA, and enzyme exfoliation work to rejuvenate your skin, while glycolic and lactic acids gently exfoliate dead skin cells. Dr. Hu shares that this is a great mask to use to ensure dead skin cells don't clog your pores in the first place. You will want to avoid using other acid-based products and retinoids for 24 hours before and after each use. Don't say we didn't warn you.

5. Best Face Mask for Oily Skin:

EVE LOM Rescue Mask

EVE LOM Rescue Mask
Courtesy of EVE LOM

Dr. Hu notes that "Face masks that are good for oily skin can be difficult to come by." That being said, she strongly suggests trying the EVE LOM Rescue Mask. "Not only is it cooling and soothing, but it also simultaneously unclogs pores and minimizes any oiliness of the skin," she says. That's because this honey-infused kaolin clay mask works quickly to draw out impurities and buff away dead skin leaving you with a purified and hydrated complexion that lasts up to 72 hours.

6. Best Face Mask for Combination Skin:

BENEATH YOUR MASK Illuminate Clarifying Face Mask

BENEATH YOUR MASK Illuminate Clarifying Face Mask
Courtesy of BENEATH YOUR MASK

Struggle balancing your combination skin? Dr. Hu recommends trying this clarifying mask. "Packed with detoxifying clays and plant superfoods, this mask works wonders for even the toughest skin by removing sebum and providing added hydration to dry spots at the same time," she notes. Noted to contain a "holy grail" combination of ingredients, users rave about this clay mask's ability to balance both oily and dry skin. No longer will you have difficulty balancing your combination skin.

7. Best Fragrance-Free Clay Mask:

INNISFREE Pore Clearing Clay Mask 2X

INNISFREE Pore Clearing Clay Mask 2X
Courtesy of INNISFREE

While sweet smelling fragrances such as essential oils can make a face mask that much more alluring, Dr. Hu shares that they're best to be avoided if you're trying to clean your pores. "Oftentimes, clogged pores and inflammation go hand-in-hand so the 'cooling' effect of ingredients like peppermint oil and lavender essential oil can feel nice at first. However, they can be highly irritating and cause even more skin damage," she shares. For that reason, we recommend trying this fragrance-free mask from INNISFREE. Super Volcanic Clusters and AHA cleanse out your pores while also exfoliating to even out your skin tone and getting rid of pollution particles.

8. Best Face Mask for Acne-Prone Skin:

ORIGINS Clear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Mask

ORIGINS Clear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Mask
Courtesy of ORIGINS

For a mask that will banish blemishes, look no further than this charcoal mask from ORIGINS. Specially formulated with bamboo charcoal, it acts as a magnet to draw out all sorts of impurities that can clog your pores. This mask will leave your skin feeling refreshed, while also offering a deep cleansing most other masks can't. Those who've struggled with acne swear by this mask. It truly is a skin-saving skincare product that your skincare routine desperately needs.

9. Best Brightening Clay Mask: 

GLOW RECIPE Watermelon Glow Hyaluronic Clay Pore-Tight Facial

GLOW RECIPE Watermelon Glow Hyaluronic Clay Pore-Tight Facial
Courtesy of GLOW RECIPE

This delicious mask is packed with a ton of incredible ingredients to give you the clear complexion you deserve. Hyaluronic acid-infused kaolin clay is the base of this facial in a jar, working to minimize the appearance of pores, even your skin tone, and hydrate your complexion. Then, chemical exfoliants, watermelon enzymes, BHA, and PHA free your skin of cell buildup to get rid of any unnecessary debris and impurities that would clog your pores. And finally, blueberry seed powder slough off dry, flaky skin so your skin looks and feels moisturized.

10. Best Sheet Mask:

TONYMOLY I'm Real Red Wine Sheet Mask

TONYMOLY I'm Real Red Wine Sheet Mask
Courtesy of TONYMOLY

Who would've guessed that red wine was incredibly beneficial for your complexion? Not us, though we're glad TONYMOLY did. Their Red Wine Sheet Mask is a fantastic way to unwind after a long day, as the combination of red wine extract and antioxidants reduces the appearance of enlarged pores while tightening and purifying the skin. All it takes is 20 minutes of relaxation. What could be better?

11. Best Peel-Off Mask:

PUREHEALS Pore Clear Black Charcoal Peel-Off Mask

PUREHEALS Pore Clear Black Charcoal Peel-Off Mask

Sometimes you can't be bothered to wash off a clay or mud mask. Sometimes you want a mask that will peel right off. See where we're going with this? When you need a mask that will come right off and take the dirt, oils, and other impurities clogging your pores with it, grab this peel-off mask. Infused with sebum-regulating green tea extract, it will keep your skin oil-free all day long. No more midday shine messing up your makeup.

12. Best Glow-Boosting Face Mask:

JJ YOUNG Pore Glow Mask

JJ YOUNG Pore Glow Mask

Get that glowing skin you dream of with a little help from this mask. It's menthol-infused clay base soothes redness, brightens skin, and tightens pores. But that's not all. Skin-brightening, acne-fighting niacinamide combined with potent fruit extracts calm your complexion and keeps your pores clear to seriously boost your glow in just one use.

Did you know the IPSY Glam Bag can give you access to the best face masks for pores, along with other incredible skincare products to help you achieve a clear complexion? It sure can. Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
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Ashley Locke
Ashley is a Long Beach-based freelance writer who loves sharing beauty and skincare hacks with her fellow “lazy girls” out there. When she isn’t writing, you can find her crying while listening to The Maine or watching "The Office".
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Article Last Updated September 5, 2021 12:00 AM