If you’ve spent any time recently exploring the skincare TikTok (AKA SkinTok) world, you’ve probably come across creators singing the praises of green tea mask sticks. But are they actually as miraculous as people make them out to be?
To get to the bottom of this viral trend, our team analyzed the different products on the market and tried several different green tea mask sticks to give our honest thoughts. Here is our comprehensive guide to the now famous green tea cleansing mask stick.
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What is The TikTok Green Mask Stick?
On TikTok, users claim that the green tea mask stick is a highly effective solution against blackheads. Countless videos show people applying the mask, and then later showing that the formula appears to have drawn blackheads to the surface of the skin. They wipe off the mask to reveal clear and smooth skin with refined pores.
Beyond that, people claim that the formula is great for calming inflammation and redness, unclogging pores to prevent other forms of acne, and brightening the complexion.
Unfortunately, while some of these masks can undoubtedly improve the skin, many of the TikTok videos appear to exaggerate the benefits – particularly when it comes to immediately banishing blackheads. Put simply, no matter what someone on TikTok claims, these masks aren’t able to completely get rid of all blackheads. A lot of these videos are just made to trick people into thinking the mask can solve problems that it can’t.
There are also a ton of different green tea masks sticks available on the market, which means the quality of formulas can vary greatly. We’ll dive into more detail below.
How Does The Green Tea Mask Stick Work
Using the green tea mask stick is fairly simple, and is similar to using other clay or mud-based masks. You apply the mask, either by swiping the stick directly on the skin or by using your fingers or a brush. The mask is then left on the skin for approximately 10 to 15 minutes (but this time can vary based on which mask you’re using). After the time is up, you wash off the mask, then continue with your usual skincare routine.
What are the Ingredients in the Green Tea Mask Stick?
As mentioned, there are a lot of different green tea mask sticks on the market, and each is going to have its own unique list of ingredients. That said, there are some key ingredients that you’ll find in most products on the market.
Of course, green tea is the center of these formulas. This typically comes in the form of an extract or powder derived from camellia sinensis leaves. Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it an effective solution against irritation and redness. It’s also rich in a polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which may improve breakouts and reduce excess sebum. Green tea is also known for being packed with other antioxidants that can further protect the skin against damaging free radicals.
In addition to green tea, many of these masks are also formulated with kaolin clay. Kaolin clay is a popular ingredient that’s frequently featured in masks made for oily and acne-prone skin. It’s a fairly gentle clay that is able to draw impurities and excess sebum out of the pores to decongest the skin and reduce shine.
Additionally, you’ll often find glycerin added to these formulas. While it doesn’t have a role in fighting acne, it does boost the skin’s hydration levels for a softer and more comfortable complexion and does so without clogging the pores.
Is Green Tea Good For Acne?
When applied topically, green tea is a suitable ingredient for minimizing breakouts. While it’s not as potent as other commonly used acne-fighting ingredients (such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid), it can reduce redness and irritation related to breakouts. As noted above, the EGCG content may also play a role in decreasing blemishes.
It’s also worth mentioning that applying green tea topically isn’t the only way to go. There are many tea varieties that may help minimize breakouts when consumed consistently, but green tea is often touted as one of the best.
Best Green Tea Mask Sticks
The most popular green tea mask brand you’ll see on TikTok is Meidián. The reviews for the stick skew negative, largely because people think it’s a decent formula that performs well but is wildly overhyped. The manufacturer also isn’t well-known outside of this mask, which makes the legitimacy of the product questionable.
Beyond Meidián, there are a ton of other manufacturers (largely based in China) selling their own version. The problem with many of these brands is that they choose not to disclose the full list of ingredients. I highly recommend avoiding any skincare products that don’t list all ingredients, as the formula may have allergens or irritants that can ultimately do more harm than good.
While Meidian does list the ingredients – which includes green tea leaf extract, glycerin, and kaolin – there are other formulas that are crafted with additional ingredients that lead to better results. After sorting through plenty of questionable formulas, I selected a few different options for the GoodGlow team to try, and one in particular stood out as the clear best. Here’s my Airroye green mask stick review.
Best Green Tea Mask Stick:
Airroye – Green Tea Mask Stick
The Airroye Green Tea Stick Mask is formulated to unclog pores and control sebum while brightening and hydrating the skin.
Licorice root and morus alba root bark extracts promote a brighter, more even skin tone
Glycerin and aloe add lightweight hydrating benefits
Green tea soothes irritation and redness while kaolin clay unclogs pores to prevent future breakouts
Suitable for all skin types, but especially good for oily and acne-prone skin
The GoodGlow team agreed that the best option on the market is the Airroye Green Tea Stick Mask. This formula features the key ingredients found in many other stick masks, including camellia sinensis leaf extract and powder, kaolin clay, and glycerin. These ingredients soothe and hydrate the skin while refining pores and unclogging excess oil and debris. However, what makes this formula stand out is the addition of other ingredients that brighten and further calm the complexion.
Two particularly beneficial ingredients are licorice root extract and morus alba root bark extract. These natural extracts both have brightening properties, and can help diminish the appearance of discoloration for a more even skin tone. They also both have antioxidant effects, and play a role in calming the skin. Another excellent addition to the formula is aloe leaf extract, which further soothes while lightly hydrating.
One major thing to note is that this mask isn’t going to immediately draw out all blackheads like you see on those viral TikTok videos (and to be fair, the company doesn’t claim that it will). It can, however, help unclog pores while promoting a calmer, more radiant complexion.
Alternatives to Green Tea Mask Stick
Ultimately, the green tea mask stick isn’t as miraculous as creators on TikTok claim it to be. While it may offer some visible results, there are more effective skincare solutions out there, particularly when it comes to blackheads.
If blackheads are your concern, I suggest implementing one (or all) of the following skincare products into your routine. All of these products are made with quality ingredients that are known to treat blackheads and fight inflammation for a clearer and more comfortable complexion. Better yet, they don’t use gimmicky marketing tricks to try to lure in customers.
You could choose to also use a green tea mask in your routine, but you’ll likely see the most visible results from the above treatments.
Best Blackhead Treatment:
CLEARSTEM – Clearity “The Blackhead Dissolver”
This Clearstem serum strikes the perfect balance of being both effective yet gentle. It fights blackheads while boosting radiance and promoting a more even complexion.
Smooths, Unclogs, Brightens
Unclogs pores and dissolve excess oil while stimulating collagen
Effective Exfoliating Formula
Perfect acid blend, specific pH, and stabilized Vitamin C bioflavonoids, for brighter, healthier, and free of blackheads skin
Must sit alone on bare skin for at least 10 minutes to do its job. Failure to leave it alone will neutralize it and you will not see the desired effect
No hormone disruptors, no toxins, cruelty free, gluten free, vegan, and silicon free
One of my all-time favorite blackhead-busting treatments is the Clearstem CLEARITY Serum – AKA “The Blackhead Dissolver.” What makes this serum really stand out to me (besides the expertly developed formula) is the fact that it’s made with science-backed acne-fighting ingredients that are highly effective but gentler than other commonly used anti-acne ingredients. This means it can help promote a clearer complexion without causing irritation.
The star ingredient of the CLEARITY Serum is mandelic acid, which is a chemical exfoliant. This alpha hydroxy acid unclogs pores and dissolves excess oil while also fading hyperpigmentation and fighting visible signs of aging. The mandelic acid is joined by turmeric, which has powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it an excellent ingredient for treating and preventing blemishes while also soothing irritation and redness.
Additionally, the CLEARITY Serum is formulated with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory vitamin C, which calms redness and promotes a more even skin tone. It also contains camellia sinensis (AKA green tea) leaf extract, which as we’ve discussed offers plenty of benefits for acneic skin.
The Clearstem CLEARITY Serum is vegan and cruelty-free, and made without gluten, silicones, toxins, or hormone disruptors.
CLEARSTEM – HYDRAGLOW Stem Cell Moisturizer
Clearstem’s lightweight and non-greasy moisturizer is made with a blend of acneic skin-friendly ingredients that hydrate, minimize blemishes, promote a more even skin tone, and boost radiance.
With Bakuchiol (a natural alternative to retinol), plant stem cells, and olive squalane.
Effective Plant Stem Cells
Bakuchiol in your moisturizer is your secret weapon for collagen production as it trains your skin to look younger while you sleep.
No hormone disruptors, no toxins, cruelty free, gluten free, vegan, and silicon free
Zero pore-cloggers and zero toxins
Regardless of skin type, moisturizing daily is an absolute must to maintain healthy, adequately hydrated skin. The Clearstem HYDRAGLOW Stem Cell Moisturizer is one of my top picks for those prone to blackheads and other forms of acne. This formula is non-comedogenic (meaning it doesn’t contain pore-clogging ingredients), and was made to give acne-prone skin the support that it needs.
This creamy (yet lightweight and non-greasy) moisturizer is made with bakuchiol, which is considered to be a natural alternative to retinol. This ingredient not only fights signs of aging, but also diminishes blemishes and promotes a more even skin tone. It’s gentler on the skin than traditional retinol, so no need to worry about it causing irritation.
This moisturizer also contains stem cells that soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while improving uneven tone and texture. Squalane, hyaluronic acid, aloe leaf extract, and additional ingredients hydrate and calm the skin.
Just like the CLEARITY Serum, this moisturizer is vegan and cruelty-free, and made without silicones, gluten, toxins, or hormone disruptors.
Tata Harper – Regenerating Cleanser
provides gentle physical and chemical exfoliation with apricot microspheres and BHA from white willow bark to give you a healthy looking, radiant glow
16 High-performance botanical ingredients
polishes with 4 sources to dissolve buildup, 4 sources to refine pores, and 8 sources of plumping hydration
Exfoliating treatment that buffs and polishes for radiant, healthy looking skin
Nontoxic, and free from all fillers, synthetics, artificial colors and fragrances
The Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser is the GoodGlow team’s favorite cleanser for those prone to blackheads. It’s made with 16 botanical ingredients, each of which serves an important role in improving the complexion.
One of the best blackhead-fighting ingredients in this cleanser is willow bark extract, which has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe the skin while fighting breakouts. This extract is a rich source of salicin, which gently exfoliates the skin while unclogging pores.
Kaolin clay also works to draw out debris, refine the pores, and absorb excess oil, while apricot seed powder physically exfoliates to remove dead skin cells and other debris. Phytic acid salt and pomegranate enzymes further remove pore-clogging buildup from the skin, while aloe lightly hydrates and soothes.
This nature-powered cleanser is vegan and cruelty-free, and made without dyes, fragrances, or fillers.
Are Green Tea Masks Worth It for Acne & Blackheads?
In the end, one of the better formulated green tea mask sticks can be a beneficial tool to have in your routine if you’re looking to treat and prevent blackheads and other forms of acne. However, you shouldn’t expect a miracle – or anything close to it. A green tea mask stick also shouldn’t be the only product you rely on to fight acne.
Beyond green tea extract, many of the masks do contain ingredients that are known to help minimize breakouts, such as kaolin clay. However, while effective, these ingredients aren’t going to immediately remove all gunk from the skin to reveal refined pores and clear skin. Any TikTok video that claims such is wildly over exaggerating, and potentially using blurring filters or other tricks to make the product appear more effective than it actually is.
In fact, watchers found that some video creators stuck chia seeds (or other black particles) to the mask after it was applied to the skin to make it seem as though it drew out blackheads. The reality is that, while the formulas aren’t completely useless, video creators are leading people to believe that these masks do more than they actually can.
If you’re still curious to try one out for yourself, make sure you’re picking a formula from a company that actually lists the ingredients (like the one recommended above) to ensure you know exactly what is going on your skin. Of course, also be sure to keep your expectations in check.
Other Customer Reviews of Green Tea Mask Stick
Beyond trying out different green tea mask sticks ourselves, we wanted to look at what other skincare enthusiasts had to say about this viral skincare “hack.”
One reviewer of the Airroye Green Tea Stick Mask shared that they thought the formula worked well, but that it didn’t meet their expectations when it came to deep-cleaning pores (a sentiment shared by many other reviewers). Here’s what they said:
“It’s not a bad product, but definitely isn’t the dirt lifting/pore cleanser you see on the advertisements where “over time” dirt just magically appears over the applied surfaces. I’m still using it as an occasional mask, to avoid the hassle of a return. Not bad, just not a miracle face smoothing/cleanser it’s hyped up to be.” –Customer Review
Unsurprisingly, this viral product was also talked about a lot on Reddit. In r/AcneTreatments, a user asked about the effectiveness of these types of masks. Most were quick to point out that it seemed overhyped, but one user who actually used the product said the following:
“I’ve tried them, they do make your face feel clean and get rid of a little oil but nothing dramatic.” –Reddit User
Ultimately, the consensus amongst our team and within the larger skincare community is that these masks are too good to be true – particularly if you’re expecting your blackheads to disappear. While it’s not a bad mask, you’ll find better results using better formulated products.