This charcoal face mask has a secret weapon with the catchiest name.

By Claudia Fisher
Updated May 30, 2018
A Woman Uses a Charcoal Face Mask in Her Skin-Care Routine
Credit: Generation Clay

Charcoal face masks are touted for their pore-clearing strengths and exfoliating properties, but an Australian company launching a line of multi-functional masks in the US today is making its charcoal face masks stand out with an ingredient that sounds more like an urban legend than a mainstream skin-care staple.

When I first read through the ingredients on Generation Clay's three debut face masks dropping today, I was doing more of a quick scan of recognizable terms—until I spotted three words I'd never seen or expected on a face mask's label: "Old Man Weed."


I immediately e-mailed the company and asked them to please elaborate.

New Charcoal Face Mask
Credit: Generation Clay

A rep for the company excitedly shared that Old Man Weed is rooted in the country's history, long used by Australian Aboriginals for medicinal purposes as the plant's oils get absorbed right into the skin.

"For modern skincare, Generation Clay harnesses Old Man Weed for its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and cell regeneration properties.Similar to tea tree oil and witch hazel, Old Man Weed is great for treating combo and acne-prone skin as it gently, yet effectively, staves off bacteria and reduces inflammation," she told me.

(Old Man Weed is also apparently known as "Common Sneezeweed," which I think is so cute I want to rename my cat Sneezeweed.)

Generation Clay features the skin-care superhero in its Detoxifying Charcoal Clay Mask, mixing it with activated charcoal, vitamin A, and witch hazel to create a detoxifying charcoal face mask that "works like a magnet to draw out dirt, toxins, and other environmental impurities" from your skin.

The two other brightly-hued clay face masks debuting today in the US are a healing purple bentonite clay mask and an impurity-purging white activated charcoal mask, each for $39. The Ultra Violet Brightening Purple Clay Mask uses another skin-care superhero indigenous to Australia, the super fruit Davidson Plum, which is a naturally-sourced alpha-hydroxy acid.

The brand advocates a skin-care practice called "multi-masking," or wearing two to three different face masks at the same time to target specific skin concerns, which the rep explained to me is already a big trend in Australia.

And may I add, makes for an eye-catching Instagram post?

Charcoal Face Mask Used With Other Clay Face Masks
Credit: Generation Clay

Generation Clay embodies of-the-moment skin-care, prioritizing natural ingredients and appealing to a visually-driven demographic. The brand's powdery social media brings catch phrases alongside products—like "lit-from-within" and "slay with clay"—curating a pastel identity and girl-power vibe brands like Glossier helped to usher in. Generation Clay is proud to be girly, and it wants you to be too.

It's only funny in name that the path to reasserted girliness is through something called Old Man Weed.