Skin & Tonics : Skincare Guides & Product Reviews

Skincare guides & product reviews for hydration lovers & the moisture barrier obsessed

Missha Black Ghassoul Tightening Mask Review

Having sensitive, acne-prone skin, yet constantly testing new skincare products is pretty much a recipe for a balls out zit party. As a result, it’s rare that a month goes by where I don’t experience some kind of breakout, and for that reason, one of my favorite types of products to try is spot treatments. I’ve tried quite a few recently (reviews forthcoming), but was recently surprised when this Missha Black Ghassoul Tightening Mask – which is not marketed as a spot treatment – turned out to be one of the best overnight acne zappers I’ve tried in a very long time.

Missha Black Ghassoul Tightening Mask Review

What is it?

Missha Black Ghassoul Tightening Mask ($9) is a moisturizing, clay-based, wash off mask that promises sebum control, pore cleaning, and tightening.

Water (Aqua), Kaolin, Butylene Glycol, Bentonite, Propylene Glycol, Moroccan Lava Clay, Glycerin, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, Palmitic Acid, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Stearic Acid, Charcoal Powder, Fomes Officinalis (Mushroom) Extract, Camellia Japonica Flower Extract, Rhus Semialata Gall Extract, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Bark Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Sanguisorba Officinalis Extract Pelargonium Graveolens Extract, Uncaria Gambir Extract, Titanium Dioxide, Polysorbate 20, Panthenol, Steareth-21, Dimethicone, Sorbitan Stearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Ammonium Acryloyldimethylaurate/VP Copolymer, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, CI 77499

Missha Black Ghassoul Tightening Mask Review

In true Missha style, this mask contains a number of gentle plant extracts. These plant extracts are not present in high enough qualities to work any miracles, but most of them do contain a number of antioxidants, which is great. In addition to the extracts, the ingredients I believe make this mask effective include:

Kaolin – Kaolin is a soft, white, mineral clay that’s extremely absorbent, thanks to its high silica content. There are all kinds of claims surrounding the healing and skincare benefits of Kaolin, which has been used for centuries as a skincare treatment. Strangely, there are no scientific studies confirming any of the claims. However, the ability of this clay to absorb oil/sebum is confirmed, and that’s good enough for me.

Bentonite – Bentonite is a clay derived from volcanic ash. It works by constricting the skin as it dries, which gently squeezes excess oil and sebum from the pores. The clay absorbs the oils as they exit the skin. Bentonite also possesses antibacterial properties.

Moroccan Lava Clay – Also known as Ghassoul, Ghassool, Rhassoul, and Rhassool clay, this clay is high in silica content, and extremely absorbant. I constantly see it described as “mineral-rich,” but I have had a really hard time figuring out which minerals it’s actually rich in. In addition to being antibacterial and extremely absorbant, Ghassoul also possesses skin-softening properties. I often see claims of healing properties as well, but could not find any scientific studies regarding this claim. It’s been used for centuries as a beauty treatment in Morocco, which is where this clay comes from.

Charcoal Powder – Charcoal is found in a variety of face masks, and is usually accompanied by claims that it removes toxins and other impurities. There is no scientific data available to support charcoal as a topical “toxin” remover, but it is an extremely absorbent substance, which helps greatly with sebum control.

This mask formula does contain Cetearyl Alcohol, which I’m sensitive to in larger quantities. Cetearyl Alcohol ranks a 4 out of 5 as a potential acne trigger on COSDNA, and a 3 out of 5 as a potential irritant. Additional potential acne trigger include Palmitic Acid and Stearic Acid, which both score a 2 out of 5 as potential acne triggers.


Missha Black Ghassoul Tightening Mask comes packaged in a tub. I can’t recall whether or not it came with a spatula. I much prefer using clean hands to dispatch the mask from the container.

There is no added fragrance in this product, so there’s nothing frilly or perfumey about the scent, but it does smell like clay. I rather like the smell, which is not overpowering, and not very noticeable once it begins to dry on the face.

Missha Black Ghassoul Tightening Mask Review

This mask is designed to be used a rinse-away mask. The instructions say to apply the mask to clean skin after the application of toner, and wash away after 10-15 minutes. The suggested frequency of use is 1-2 times a week.

Applying the mask is nice and easy, as the formula is very smooth and easy to spread. As it dries, it hardens and is definitely less comfortable on the skin. Rinsing away takes a little bit of effort, but no scrubbing

I did use this mask per the instructions a couple of times when I first got it. My skin did feel tighter after usage, which is to be expected since the clay is rather drying. It ended up in the back of my skincare shelf where it was forgotten until last week.

Last week, I decided to use it as a spot treatment on three gigantor pimples that were plaguing my chin area after a bad run with a product I’d been testing. For this, I smoothed the clay over the affected area, waited for it to dry enough that it wouldn’t smear all over my pillowcase, then slept in it overnight. I washed it off in the morning with my morning face wash.

Missha Black Ghassoul Tightening Mask Review

First, let me just talk about those gigantor pimples a little more. They were awful – they were cystic, painful, and worst of all, they were slowly oozing. I tried to be patient and gentle with them, but after two days, I was desperate for them to be gone.

I decided to apply the Missha Black Ghassoul Tightening Mask as an overnight spot treatment. In theory, it seemed the clay should help stop some of the oozing, at least. As soon as I washed it off the next morning, the first thought was “holy crap!” My second thought was about how deeply I regretted not taking before and after photos. All three spots had been reduced from huge, silhouette-changing chin mountains, to dry, slightly raised, red bumps. They were smaller by at least 80%, no longer painful, and no longer oozing. I was so ecstatic that I decided to try it again the following night. Again, they were even smaller the following morning. I tried it for a third night, but it seemed the clay had done all it could do at this point – the spots looked pretty much the same as they did the night before.

Still, I was and am overjoyed with the results, and will definitely continue to use the Missha Black Ghassoul Tightening Mask as a spot treatment as the need arises.

Missha Black Ghassoul Tightening Mask Review

This is about how thick of a layer I like on my face. For some reason, this clay is making my hand look like hairy ape hands. I assure you that my hands are not hairy.

Missha Black Ghassoul Tightening Mask Review

This is how it looks after 15 minutes or so. It’s even drier after sleeping with it on overnight, as you might imagine. Also, look how NOT hairy my hands are!


+ Contains lots of oil absorbing clay
+ No fragrance
+ Easy to spread
+ Amazingly effective spot treatment

– Can be drying for dry skin types when used as an all-over face mask
– Contains Cetearyl Alcohol; those sensitive to this ingredient should be wary
– Tub packaging (Can be unhygienic, though I personally don’t mind this type of packaging)

Skin & Tonics Rating:

Performance: 4/5 – Even though it’s not my favorite face mask for my skin type, it performs amazingly as a spot treatment

Quality: 3/5 – I like that it contains so many clays, and many of the added ingredients help give this mask the smooth texture I enjoy so much, but it does contain potential acne triggers for those with certain sensitivities. Some may be turned off by the tub packaging

Value: 5/5 – This mask retails for $9, which is a bargain considering how much the jar contains and how effective this product is for spot treating acne

Overall: 4/5

Where to Buy

Missha Black Ghassoul Tightening Mask is available on the US Missha website, where it’s currently on sale for $6 (it normally retails for $9). It’s also available from the following Skin & Tonics approved sellers:

Sing Sing Girl (eBay seller, $10.50 + $2.50 shipping)
F2Plus1 (eBay seller, $12 + $2 shipping)


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15 comments onMissha Black Ghassoul Tightening Mask Review

  1. Amazing. I wouldn’t have thought to use a mask like this as an overnight treatment, but it seems like a great idea (assuming you don’t burrow your face hard into all the pillows). I’m amazed at how cheap it is too!

    • Kerry

      Yeah, I’m really happy with it! I think my other clay masks would perform just as well as spot treatments, but this one is slightly less drying because of the added ingredients. I still plan on trying my other clay masks this way in the future, though! Surprisingly, not a lot of the mask transferred onto the pillow as long as I let it dry before getting into bed.

  2. It’s great that this mask is so effective as spot treatment. I wouldn’t have expected such a dramatic effect. What a pity you didn’t take any before and after pictures, but I won’t wish you any further pimples to be able to take pictures XD

    • Kerry

      Next time I break out, I’m definitely taking before & after pictures to add to this post. I appreciate you not wishing any additional pimples on me! 🙂

  3. A while back at Sephora (and maybe even now) people were raving about the glamglow mud treatment. Glamglow is about 60$ here in canada so I’m wondering if this missha product is a cheaper alternative to glamglow. Specifically if it can remove all the gunk in pores. What’s your opinion on this? Is the clay the main ingredient that helps deep clean the pores or are their other ingredients I should be looking at.

    • Kerry

      Looks like the Glamglow contains:

      Water, Kaolin, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sodium Hydroxide, Eucalyptus Globulus, Mandelic Acid, Charcoal, Parfum [Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool], Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Azelaic Acid, Pyruvic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Maltodextrin, Iron Oxides, Peppermint Oil, Butylene Glycol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract, Glycerin, Chamoilla Recutita Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract, Hendera Helix Extract, Symphytum Officinale Leaf Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.

      You’re correct that the clay is the main ingredient (along with the charcoal), so I imagine the results would be similar. The Glamglow does contain a few AHAs and BHAs, which area good for fighting blemishes and exfoliating. I also like that the Glamglow doesn’t contain Cetearyl Alcohol. I may have to try it myself!

      EDIT: Looks like the ingredients above are for the the “Supermud Clearing Treatment” variety of Glamglow, hence all the AHA and BHA. This Missha Mask would probably be closer to the “Youthmud” Glamglow variety, which contains:

      Aqua (Water), Montmorillonite (Volcanic Minerals), Kaolin (French Sea Clay), Magnesium Aluminum Silicate (Purified Clay), Polyethylene, Pumice (Micro Volcanic Rock), Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea Leaf), Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract (Green Tea), Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract (Chamomile), Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract (Marigold), Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract (Cucumber), Hedara Helix Extract (Ivy), Symphytum Officinale Leaf Extract (Comfrey Herb), Lavandula Hybrida Oil (Lavender), Glycerin (Vegetable), Parfum, [Benzyl Benzoate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool], Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.

      Very similar active ingredients! I imagine the Missha would be a great alternative to the Youthmud Glamglow!

  4. Thanks for the lovely review! How do you manage to sleep with a clay mask on! Just curious, do you expect to change your covers in the morning or do you sleep straight on your back throughout the night? I would love to sleep at night with a clay mask on but I like sleeping on my face and also I do a lot of rolling!

    • Kerry

      It would be impossible for me to sleep if I did a full face mask, so I just put it on my trouble spots. I also make sure it’s dry before I put my head on my pillow, so it doesn’t get all over the sheets. There are some dry bits that flake off, but overall, not very messy! 🙂

  5. Not related to this product, but I was at CVS today and saw some interesting products from a Dr. Lin skincare line targeting acne. The ingredients reminded me more of an Asian skincare formulation because they contain whitening ingredients (arbutin & bearberry leaf extract). The 5% benzoyl peroxide spot treatment contains arbutin & kojic acid. I thought you might be interested to hear about these products. At least here, CVS has them for buy 1, get one half off this week so I might pick them up myself. xD

    • Kerry

      Thanks Diana! This is the first I’ve heard of this brand and you’ve piqued my interest. I will definitely check this out!

  6. I’ve been looking for a clay mask and this review certainly intrigued me! But now I don’t know whether to buy this missha mask or Innisfree’s super volcanic clay mask, lol. This one seems to have the additional unexpected zit zapping function, but the other one seems to be a favorite, and they’re such similar types of mask it seems I don’t know which one to get and try first.

    • Kerry

      Hey Belinda! I believe the zit zapping function is 100% a result of the clay ingredients – the clay’s ability to absorb oil and water is what caused the shrinkage. I haven’t tried the Innisfree mask, but since it’s a clay product, I imagine you’d get the same results from it. I hope that helps!

  7. I recently bought the Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque Mint Julep and I would say it’s working great at such a low price! I tried your method of sleeping with the a clay mask on and it flakes pretty bad cause I’m such a roller… But that thing sucks the oil out like no other, you can even see it when it’s dried! I use to use the Nexcare Care Acne Patch thing and it never worked as well as having the mask on. I’ve ordered my black ghassoul mask and have yet to tried it since my Mint mask arrived first, but can not wait to try it!

  8. omg i bought this on ebay from your recommendation because i was desperate to get rid of a few cystic big bumps AND IN TWO DAYS IT SHRANK TO THE SIZE OF A MOSQUITO BITE!!! holy shit i will never live without this again.

    i also noticed that on oily skin it doesn’t leave your skin flaky or dried out!…even if you accidentally fall asleep with it on ;v;

    • Kerry

      I’m so glad it worked for you, Miki! I had the same exact reaction when I saw it shrunk my own spots. 🙂 Clay is amazing!