Review: Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask | Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog

12 October, 2013

Review: Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask

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So if you've been following my blog regularly lately, you may have noticed that I've had sort of a love-hate relationship with Freeman Beauty's mask offerings. I liked their pineapple mask (except for the inclusion of microbeads), but their starfruit mask was a total disaster for me. Since I'm a crazy person, I feel compelled to press on and try every single one of their masks. For uh... research purposes.

Today I'll be reviewing Freeman Feeling Beautiful Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask, which I purchased in the 0.5 fl.oz / 15mL "travel size". Will it be better for me than its predecessors were? Only one way to find out!

Freeman Charcoal and Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask

So... it's a sugar scrub! With charcoal in it! Sounds neat. Before I get into the specifics of this mask, I'd like to just say a few words about scrubs and sugar scrubs in general: Proceed with caution if you have sensitive skin. Obviously different things are going to work differently for different people (duh), and while scrubs such as this exfoliate well they can also be pretty harsh. Personally I don't have especially sensitive skin, and I still only use products like this once every week or so. I do prefer sugar scrubs over other types of scrubs (like St. Ives or anything made with walnut shell fragments) for my face because the sugar crystals melt a little bit once you add water, making them less like sandpaper on your skin. Blah blah blah getting off my soapbox now.

Here's the product description from Freeman's website:

Polution…debris…it's a wonder skin can breathe! This unique mask and scrub works double time to detox skin. First, naturally purifying Activated Charcoal helps absorb oil and impurities without over-drying. The, Black Sugar helps exfoliate away dulling skin cells for softness and clarity. Perfect for all skin types.

Full ingredients list:

Freeman Charcoal and Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask ingredients

A brief outline of the key ingredients and what they are for:
  • Sucrose: Sugar, a physical exfoliant.
  • Carbon (activated charcoal): Absorbs sebum.
  • Kaolin: A type of clay which absorbs sebum.

So basically what this scrub/mask is supposed to do is to polish the skin whilst absorbing excess sebum, which I think makes it mostly suitable for people with oily or combination skin. If you have dry skin you might still enjoy this, but using it too often could leave you feeling parched.

Here's a close-up of the scrub:

You can see the sugar crystals, right? Yum yum yum. (Note: Don't eat this. It is definitely not a food.)

The directions say to apply this to the skin for 5-7 minutes then rinse off with warm water. The mask is pretty sticky, so be careful not to drip on anything. I like to pull sassy faces in the bathroom mirror while I'm waiting:

It's a great look for me, I know. When it comes time to rinse the mask off, massage it gently into the skin to get the full exfoliation benefits - just don't do it too hard unless you want a raw face. It also helps to wet it a bit first so the sugar melts a little.

So what did I think? I actually really liked this mask. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of fragrance - charcoal conjures up visions of campfire stench, but this actually smells more like fruit (which is totally agreeable). I also did feel like it had some oil controlling properties, which is good because I was having an obnoxious hormonal breakout when I used it. My skin was super-soft after using it (thanks sugar!) so all around it was a win-win-win. I think this might even make a nice body scrub if you're prone to body acne. Anyway, I really liked it so once I deplete my giant stack of masks to try I may pick this up in full size. At US $3.99 for a 6 fl.oz (150 mL) tube I think it's quite the steal.

Bottom line: Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask has nice exfoliating and oil-controlling abilities. Use cautiously and sparingly if you have sensitive and/or dry skin.

Where to buy: Folks in the USA can find Freeman in a variety of drugstores - I bought mine at Walmart. If you prefer to shop online, you can get the full-sized tube from, and both the full size and travel size from Freeman's website. Not sure if/where Freeman is available outside the USA, so if you know feel free to mention it in the comments!

Do you ever use sugar scrubs? What are your favorites?

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