I’ll be the first to admit it; I love a good viral video. I enjoy cackling at someone else’s pain like when you were a kid watching America’s Funniest Home Videos and some poor dad got clocked in the nuts with a Wiffle ball bat by his three year old. It’s just funny so we share it and laugh. So when the Charcoal Mask/Blackhead Mask videos started popping up everywhere on the internet with testers screaming their asses off while ripping at their face I decided: Hell yeah I have to try it.
I hopped on Amazon and purchased two different masks. I tried the Daiso Japan Charcoal Peel Off Mask and the LuckyFine Purifying Peel-off Mask. Both were black and looked like they’d pull the skin off of your face so I was in.
(Disclosure: The above are affiliate links, which means that if you visit Amazon.com through those links and purchase those products, I’ll get a commission. Don’t worry–the price is still the same for you and I paid full price when I bought them!)
The user reviews on these products will make you believe this might kill you. One user even claimed that it was the “7th circle of hell sitting next to Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler for the 10 minutes it took to rip this godforsaken thing off of my face.” My personal hypothesis, though, was that while entertaining, the women in these viral videos either had a really fucking low tolerance for pain or that they were being a tad hyperbolic with all of the agony and crying. I mean, I have like ten tattoos and I was gutted in order to give birth to my spawn. Surely I could handle a little face mask.
My friend Greg, agreeing to be my partner in crime, decided to try this little experiment with me. Before we masked ourselves we had to be fed so we ate a shitload of pizza, which may account for the gas pains that I had the next morning. We also decided to shave. He got out his regular, big boy razor and shaving cream and did his everyday morning shave. I busted out my Tinkle and did a quick shave of anywhere my facial hair grew back from the first time I shaved it, getting rid of the bearded lady again for a couple of weeks.
After re-reading the reviews, trying to read the back of the packaging (which was written in another language) and putting some on our hands to try, we decided – fuck it, let’s just do this thing, and headed to my bathroom to apply it.
Somehow, in our excitement, we forgot to follow the steps that we JUST FUCKING READ. Step One (was to): Use a hot towel and apply to the nose/face for 1-2 minutes so that the pores fully open. So if you’re going to try this – do this step first. My pores, however, remained closed. Step 2: Apply this shit to your face. I used the Daiso brand and he tried the LuckyFine so we could see if there was any difference in pain de-application between two brands. I read that the thicker you apply it, the easier it will come off when it’s time to tear it so we liberally applied it to our faces, which was more difficult than I imagined. It’s thick and I was trying my best to apply it evenly. You have to be really careful that you don’t get any in your eyebrow hairs, in your nostril, or too close to your eyes. Greg ended up looking like Batman, since he obviously couldn’t apply it to his deliberate facial hair.
This was our party time. We spent the next thirty minutes climbing into my bed to watch last week’s Real Housewives of Atlanta and talk about our philosophical problems with Kenya. (I really am educated, I swear). We made videos, danced, and abused Snapchat much like all of the time we’re together. During this time, the mask hardens and become taut and tight. It was like vaginal rejuvenation for my cheeks, except we reached a point where I could no longer laugh or smile. This was a problem because I was laughing my ass off and couldn’t stop, causing myself unnecessary pain. Don’t plan to laugh or smile once you put this shit on your face. Seriously, don’t.
Step 3: Gently remove from top to bottom. Now, understand that the directions are in another language (Japanese, I think) so the English translation was bad. In fact, the exact wording/syntax of step 3 was “after paste Do not move, and so on for 10-15 minutes after dry bitie, from top to bottom gently peel off or with warm water clean.” No lie. That was exactly what was written. It was in, like, Yoda, or some shit. Never ones to follow the rules, we began peeling from the bottom up.
Since we both ended up with very similar experiences, I’ll just discuss mine. I started just to the right of my chin, finding a good, grab-able piece and began to peel upward. I’ll admit; there are definitely places where you feel it more than others, specifically places where I missed the hair on my face with my trusty Tinkle. In fact, I think they should use this as facial wax instead of a blackhead mask. And I hate to let everyone down, but it was pretty anticlimactic. I’ve seriously taken shits that hurt more. I didn’t scream, I didn’t cry and I certainly didn’t beg for mercy. There were a few winces and some deep breathing but it was nothing like the viral videos and I certainly didn’t feel like it was my 7th layer of hell.
I was pretty mesmerized by the mask once it was off, which I was able to do all in one piece. As a kid who used to cover her hands in glue and peel it off, this was pretty much my Shangri-La. There were definitely pieces of SOMETHING in it. Whether they were hairs or black heads, I have no idea. The more I tried to examine them, the more confused I became. Maybe it would be easier to tell if the mask was white. I thought about keeping it but decided that really bordered on something serial killers do so I tossed it.
Once it’s off, you’re left with super soft and smooth skin with a very slight burning feeling. Not quite a Chlamydia-like burning or anything. More like the “you got a little too much sun at the pool that afternoon but you covered your face in cucumbers because you heard it’s good for you” type. Unfortunately, the next day my face was back to the “warm and greasy” feeling that I normally wear, though, so that was kind of a bummer.
Overall, I’d say it’s definitely worth trying. Both masks were less than $12 each and there’s a lot left in each tube, for other applications. Do you have a suggestion on something else I should try, other than actually washing off my mascara every night? Let me know! And check out Greg’s and my videos experiences on the Inappropriate Suburbanite YouTube Channel.