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Mask Away Your Blackheads With These Pore Refiners

A mask a day keeps the pores at bay...
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Do you remember the episode of "Sex and the City" where Charlotte, fresh out of her relationship with Trey, reverts to her favorite "secret single behavior" of studying her pores in a magnifying mirror? There is something so satisfying about viewing and extracting these tiny dots all over your T-zone. Hey, we all do it! However, popping and squeezing these clogs is not the answer. If you struggle with clogged pores and blackheads on the regular, you probably have oily or combination skin — skin that produces excess oil, which, combined with dead skin cells and bacteria, leads to congested pores and eventually blemishes.

The answer lies in exfoliation — a mix of physical and chemical exfoliants to slough off dead skin cells, clear out pores and absorb excess oil. This is where pore refining masks come in. These masks treat clogged pores, blackheads and pimples with exfoliants like AHAs, BHAs as well as detoxifying ingredients like charcoal and clay. The best part is, they bring balance to the skin by also providing moisture so as not to strip the skin or cause an over-production of oil (to counteract over-dry skin). They also provide a mattifying and blurring effect that makes pores less noticeable. Check out some of our favorite pore refining masks that will give you the smoothest, clearest, glowiest skin around.

Image via @olehenriksen

This is a newer, gentler form of the brand's beloved charcoal mask. Bamboo charcoal detoxifies while wildflower and fermented honeys calm, heal and kill acne bacteria. The mask dries to a soft finish, so there's no tugging at skin or tight, dry feeling afterward. Enjoy soft, clear skin and a delicious honey fragrance.

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This fun, bubbly mask provides quick and gentle exfoliation to get rid of dead skin cells and clogged pores. Spread on an ample layer of mask and watch it bubble up immediately — it has tiny granules that slough off dry skin and product buildup. Leave on for around a minute and massage with warm water as you wash it off. Antioxidant-rich moringa oil helps to detoxify and kill bacteria while eucalyptus, mint and rosehip extracts cleanse and control oil. You'll find the refreshing, herbal scent to be super relaxing.

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When you're strapped for time, try this 60-second oxygenating lavender face mask. It bubbles up almost immediately once you apply it. Bentonite and kaolin clays work to detoxify pores while witch hazel tones and mattifies and a soothing blend of botanicals calms stressed-out skin. Try it in the a.m. to prep skin before makeup for smooth, even application.

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If you're looking for a natural, gentle solution to congested skin and clogged pores, this dual purpose mask-scrub is the ticket. Papaya enzymes and Aspen bark are natural exfoliants that work to promote cell turnover and unclog pores. Other natural ingredients like peppermint oil fight excess oil production, while turmeric brightens and fights hyperpigmentation and rosehip seeds physically exfoliate skin. The result is smooth, glowy skin and clear pores.

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