8 Face Masks To Help You Make Peace with Your Pores

Best Face Masks For Pores

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Regardless of our skin type, we all have pores. Pores aren’t the problem. But when pores are clogged, due to excess oil or built-up dirt, they can lead to acne. And clogged pores, when not taken care of, can lead to enlarged pores (1). And that might give you uneven skin texture. So it’s no surprise that we turn to skincare to stop this whole thing in its tracks. And when it comes to fast-acting skin care, nothing beats face masks. There are masks you can use for pores to clean them up and minimize their appearance. And if you’re not sure where to start, I’ve listed down some of the most effective face masks for pores that stood against the test of time.

Though I round it down to 35 most of the time, I’m 37 and I’ve had pores -large pores- my whole life. I used to smear my MAC Studio Fix Foundation all over my face back in college. The more I applied, the worse my pores looked. And as I started to focus more on skincare and less on makeup, I realized that my problem was not necessarily the pores themselves but my congested, blackhead-filled pores.

I kept experimenting with several products for congested skin using different ingredients. And I managed to clean them up and keep them that way. Today, my pores are still there but they’re clear. I honestly don’t see them when I look in the mirror anymore. Besides a good skincare routine that I follow rain or shine, I keep several masks in my cabinet to maintain clear pores so that I don’t end up back where I started.

And out of those countless masks that I tried, some have been my staples. And some new discoveries turned out to be surprisingly helpful too. So don’t worry. There’s no need to bring genetics into this conversation. There may be no way of getting rid of pores, but there are several ways to clean up and minimize them.

Ahead are the best face masks for pores.

The Best Face Masks For Pores

1. Glamglow Supermud Instant Clearing Treatment Mask

Glamglow Supermud Instant Clearing Treatment Mask - Best Face Mask For Pores

One of the most effective masks I’ve ever tried for my pores is this one. And I’m saying this considering both the formula and the base. The charcoal mask applies like a light, thin cream and dries down fast. The exfoliating acids, both alpha, and beta hydroxy acids help unclog pores, and fade acne, leaving the skin clean, and shine-free. Please note that the acids might irritate your skin if you have sensitive skin. The multi-acid mask is not cheap. But the mini-size is reasonably-priced and goes a long way.

Base: Charcoal
Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid
Key Benefits: Cleans pores, reduces shine
Skin Type: Combination, oily, acne-prone
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml

2. Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Minimizing Cleansing Clay Mask

Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Minimizing Cleansing Clay Mask

This is a very light, creamy pore-cleansing clay mask. The base warms a bit from the heat of your fingers, which makes the mask go on very easily. And as it dries down, clay draws out impurities and blackheads from pores, leaving them clean and clear. It doesn’t dry out your skin or leave it tight, but super soft and smooth. The mask also has aloe to soothe the skin too. This huge jar lasts very, very long.

Base: Clay
Key Ingredients: Aloe
Key Benefits: Clears pores, reduces oil
Skin Type: Normal, combination, oily, acne-prone
Size: 4.2 oz/125 ml

3. Innisfree Pore Clearing Clay Mask

Innisfree Pore Clearing Clay Mask

An affordable clay mask that is just as effective is this Korean pore-clearing clay mask. It’s infused with volcanic clusters to detox the skin. The creamy, non-messy formula spreads super easily and doesn’t dry down hard or thick, which makes the removal easy too. The good thing is that it also contains lactic acid to very gently exfoliate, purify pores, and soften the skin texture.

Base: Clay
Key Ingredients: Volcanic ash, lactic acid
Key Benefits: Exfoliates, refines pores
Skin Type: Normal, combination, oily
Size: 3.38 oz/100 ml

4. Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores

One of my absolute favorites from the brand is this clay mask. It provides deep cleansing to unclog your pores and if you have oily skin, the charcoal powder mattifies your complexion too. After you rinse it off, you’ll see that your skin looks smoother and your pores feel tighter. You can use this even if you have sensitive skin because the mask is super gentle.

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores - Best Face Mask For Pores
Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask by Ejollify

Base: Clay
Key Ingredients: Charcoal powder
Key Benefits: Clears pores, decongests, reduces oil
Skin Type: All
Size: 2.5 oz/75 ml

5. Herbivore Blue Tansy BHA and Enzyme Pore Refining Mask

Herbivore Blue Tansy BHA and Enzyme Pore Refining Mask - Best Face Mask For Pores

Salicylic acid offers a more targeted approach to dealing with blemishes, congested skin, and large pores. So this mask utilizes anti-inflammatory willow bark extract, a gentle, natural source of salicylic acid. And it has enzymes for superficial exfoliation. And because this is gel-based, it doesn’t leave the skin matte. That’s why I love it as a workaround to deal with congested pores without drying the skin. It’s spiked with hydrating ingredients, which is great when you have dry skin too.

Base: Gel
Key Ingredients: Willow bark extract, enzymes, aloe, blue tansy oil
Key Benefits: Helps clear acne, opens up pores, calms
Skin Type: All
Size: 2 oz/60 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free

6. The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Night Mask

The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Night Mask - Best Drugstore Face Mask For Pores

Similarly, this is another gel-based mask that works fast! In fact, this is an overnight mask. It wraps your skin up with salicylic acid and anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory tea tree leaf oil. It minimizes blemishes and clears up blackheads, and pores without drying your skin. Wash it off in the morning to reveal brighter skin with refined pores.

Base: Gel
Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, tea tree leaf oil, aloe, hyaluronic acid
Key Benefits: Unclogs pores without drying skin, reduces blemishes, hydrates
Skin Type: Normal, combination, oily
Size: 2.6 oz/75 ml
Good To Know: Vegan

7. Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Mask

Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Mask - Best Mask For Pores

It’s not always about getting rid of oil or mattifying the skin when it comes to dealing with pores. Because overdrying your skin, especially when it’s already prone to dryness, can be counterintuitive. For that reason, I love this complexion-clearing mud mask. Mud helps keep your pores clear and it’s not as absorbent as certain types of clay. So it won’t dry your skin or leave it flaky. The mask has a very light consistency and is very easy to remove too.

Base: Mud
Key Ingredients: Charcoal powder, volcanic ash
Key Benefits: Clears pores, balances complexion
Skin Type: All
Size: 5 oz/150 ml

8. Youth To The People Yerba Mate Resurfacing + Exfoliating Energy Facial

Youth To The People Yerba Mate Resurfacing + Exfoliating Energy Facial - Best Face Mask For Pores

This is a cream-based mask perfect for managing pores when you have dry skin. It has a bit of a gritty texture for physical exfoliation but it’s incredibly gentle on the skin. And to avoid drying or irritating your skin while reducing pores, the mask contains gentle exfoliant lactic acid and enzyme exfoliants. And hey, it has niacinamide to protect your skin and refine pores too. If you have enlarged pores because of aging skin, you’ll love this madly antioxidant-rich treatment.

Base: Cream
Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, niacinamide, enzymes
Key Benefits: Gently exfoliates, removes flaky skin with physical exfoliation, nourishes
Skin Type: Normal, combination, oily
Size: 2 oz/59 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free

So these are some of the best face masks that clear pores and reduce their appearance. If you haven’t found what you’re looking for here, below is your guide to help you find the right one for your skin.

What to Look For in a Face Mask For Pores


You should look for clay-based masks made with bentonite clay or white clay to use for pores (2). Leaving aside the ingredients, clay alone is helpful in picking up impurities from the surface of the skin and inside the pores. Clay is known to reduce excess oil and shine too. But clay is not a must. There are also cream-based or gel-based masks that can help you with pores. But that’s when you need to look for certain ingredients, which brings me to my next point.


Look for pore-reducing ingredients like salicylic acid (3) in your mask. Salicylic acid or other exfoliating acids like glycolic acid unclog pores and minimize their appearance.

Other Ingredients

To avoid drying your skin, look for other restorative, hydrating, or anti-inflammatory ingredients in your mask. These can be soothing aloe, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and skin-repairing niacinamide. Drying out your skin is not the way to go.



  1. Lee, S. J., Seok, J., Jeong, S. Y., Park, K. Y., Li, K., & Seo, S. J. (2016). Facial Pores: Definition, Causes, and Treatment Options. Dermatologic surgery : official publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [et al.]42(3), 277–285. https://doi.org/10.1097/DSS.0000000000000657
  2. Lynda B. Williams & Shelley E. Haydel (2010) Evaluation of the medicinal use of clay minerals as antibacterial agents, International Geology Review, 52:7-8, 745-770, DOI: 10.1080/00206811003679737
  3. Fox, L., Csongradi, C., Aucamp, M., du Plessis, J., & Gerber, M. (2016). Treatment Modalities for Acne. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)21(8), 1063. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules21081063

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