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Charcoal Mask: Glamglow and Beautycounter Counter+

Charcoal Mask: Glamglow and Beautycounter Counter+

  • November 13, 2019
  • by

Mention activated charcoal and most people who are into skincare will tell you favourite charcoal mask. Earlier in the year, mine had been Glamglow Supermud until it started leaving me with redness and inflammation longer than usual. [Their website’s “Glam Tips” says that it “tingles to let you know it is working. Skin may appear flushed for a short time. This is normal!”] There goes my sensitive skin again…

Beautycounter Counter+ Charcoal Face Mask vs Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment

For the past two months I’ve been sharing about my Fall skincare purge-and-replace on Instagram Stories. I usually do this twice a year, coinciding with the change in season when my skin goes bonkers. The Sephora holiday sale is also here and it’s the perfect time to buy high-ticket items at 20% off. It’s all strategic. This time around, I’m making a conscious choice to not only find products that are effective for my skin type (sensitive, acne-prone, with mild rosacea), but also safer, cleaner and more sustainable.

I actually haven’t used a charcoal mask until this year when I purchased Glamglow Supermud. It worked fine as a purifying mask for a while, but there were no significant and lasting benefits. At the same time, it didn’t worsen things and kept breakouts at bay. When you have finicky skin like I do, sometimes you are just happy with that.

What I liked about Glamglow Supermud: Tightened my skin and reduced the look of pores. It zapped the living oil field out of my T-zone. My skin was left feeling smooth after rinsing.

What I didn’t like: The tightness was too much and my skin had a slight red reaction to it from the beginning, which I attributed as normal reaction. Even though it was smooth, my skin became devoid of moisture once the mask is rinsed off. I needed to slather on a hydrating mask right away, often layering with face oil. It’s like a rescue mission afterwards. I only used it once a week for this reason.

Beautycounter Counter+ Charcoal Face Mask vs Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment

Switching to a new Charcoal Mask

I was introduced to the Counter+ Charcoal Facial Mask when I started using Beautycounter products. My skin loved their Overnight Peel and Soft Cream moisturizer, so I ordered the mask a few days later.

What I like about the Counter+ Charcoal Facial MaskIt had a smoother application and had just the right amount of tightness while it was on. I felt neither stinging nor itchiness during or after. Post-rinsing, my skin was surprisingly smooth and supple, and almost…moisturized. It seems unusual, but it really felt nice and I wasn’t reaching for the tub of heavy moisturizer. I still put on a light moisturizer with two drops of Balancing oil to end my mini facial.

What I don’t like: Nothing. I’ve used this a handful of times and love it. It feels gentle enough to use twice a week.

Beautycounter Counter+ Charcoal Face Mask vs Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment
What the masks look like when you spread them on your skin.

Charcoal Mask Ingredients

Here’s a table comparison of the two masks I’ve used and their EWG Skin Deep Rating. GlamGlow touts the charcoal masks’ SUPER 6 Acid Blend: Glycolic, Salicylic, Lactic, Mandelic, Pyruvic, and Tartaric. In hindsight, I should have looked into this more because that is a lot going on in one product. And then there’s fragrance.

GlamGlow SuperMud (50g)

Price: CAD77 (USD59)
Counter+ Charcoal Facial Mask (60ml)

Price: CAD 62 (USD49)
SUPERMUD is our most advanced clearing treatment and #1 best-selling charcoal mud mask. Fights problem skin and skin imperfections with charcoal, a blend of six acids, and K-17 clay. The activated-x charcoal helps lift dirt, toxins and excess oil from the deepest and toughest areas to purify pores. The SUPER 6 Acid Blend helps loosen dead skin cells to exfoliate and sweep them away, leaving fresh, smooth skin behind.

INGREDIENTS: Water\aqua\eau, kaolin, magnesium aluminum silicate, mandelic acid, carbon, eucalyptus globulus leaf, tartaric acid, pyruvic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, eucalyptus globulus leaf powder, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, hedera helix (ivy) extract, symphytum officinale (comfrey) leaf extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) extract, peg-12 dimethicone, caprylyl glycol, sodium hydroxide, butylene glycol, mentha piperita (peppermint) oil, hectorite, hexylene glycol, glycerin, calendula officinalis extract, maltodextrin, ethylhexylglycerin, xanthan gum, fragrance (parfum), limonene, benzyl benzoate, linalool, phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, iron oxides (ci 77499).
Ten minutes to a purified complexion: this nutrient-rich kaolin clay mask with activated charcoal purifies and balances, absorbing excess oil and drawing out impurities. Salicylic and lactic acids aid in a gentle exfoliation, giving skin a smooth, polished look with a minimized appearance of pores. Perfect for those concerned with congestion and oily skin.

INGREDIENTS: Aqua/Water/Eau, Kaolin, Charcoal Powder, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Illite, Glycerin, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Xanthan Gum, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf, Olea Europaea (Olive) Seed Powder, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Powder, Salicylic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Extract, Allantoin, Lactic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Hydroxide, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol.
EWG Skin Deep Score based on the Build Your Own Report Tool: 7EWG Skin Deep Score based on the Build Your Own Report Tool: 3

You can check and create your own EWG product ingredient report here. Just paste the list of ingredients.

Here is Beautycounter’s Ingredients Glossary for additional reference.

Which one is better?

One works a lot better for my skin and checks my required boxes for safety and being less toxic. The choice is up to you. I have included several points of comparison to help you decide. You can sample both products—you can likely ask for a GlamGlow sample at Sephora, and you can ask for a Beautycounter sample from consultants like myself** [See Disclaimer at the bottom]. I always read product reviews from several websites as well and are keen on reviews from those with skin type similar to mine.

If you’re left with products like I am, what can we do with them?

Unfortunately, I made the wrong move of putting SuperMud on one side of my face after taking these photos (ugh, the Asian in me that doesn’t want to waste!) and that side became so itchy. My right cheek was red for the evening. Thankfully, we were in a dark concert hall for a couple of hours. Eek. I guess I’m not finishing up that jar.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) says: “That decision depends on the product. If the product doesn’t contain high-hazard ingredients, or if the replacement cost is high, use it up. Next time, buy a safer alternative. For many items, the risks accumulate over time. Single, short-term use almost never causes an immediate problem. Water pollution from these chemicals is a growing environmental problem, so don’t dump personal care products down the drain. Although all options pollute, throwing them in the trash is generally a better option.”

**Disclaimer:This is not a sponsored post. Beautycounter products have worked incredibly well for my skin that I have decided to become a consultant with them. Nevertheless, my thoughts are my own and my status as a consultant does not change my opinions on the products. I have had problem skin for the longest time and I'm sharing my experience in hopes that someone else will benefit from them. I will always mention if something does not work for me, or if I have not tried it. Everything on my "Skincare Purge" series are products I have used and purchased. If you have questions and/or would like to know about the products I posted here, please comment below or send me an email at

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