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Charcoal masks and mud scrubs are a skin-care game changer

Sick of spending money and time on skin care products only to feel more clogged — or even greasy — after you use them? The problem just might be that you’re not getting dirty enough. Hear us out.

Stephania Stanley for TODAY.com / @stephania_photography

There's no need to clean your ears out (you heard us correctly)! Read on for seven products that boast the beautifying, pore-vacuuming, exfoliating, acne-clearing benefits of "dirty" ingredients like charcoal and mud.

1. Boscia Pore Purifying Black Strips

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The activated charcoal in these sleek Boscia Pore Purifying Black Strips ($28 at boscia.com) works as a super magnet for getting to the root of gunk. The super-portable strips also contain witch hazel and peony root extracts for killing bacteria and keeping future blackheads at bay.

2. Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

Stephania Stanley for TODAY.com / @stephania_photography

This beloved Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask ($25 at origins.com) can be used once a week (or more as needed) to draw out buildup from skin and reveal a smoother surface. It’s also formulated with lecithin for helping to better break down impurities and china clay for absorbing environmental toxins. In short, we love its pore-clearing abilities.

3. Sephora Collection Bamboo Charcoal Exfoliating Body Sponge

Stephania Stanley for TODAY.com / @stephania_photography

If you want to use the benefits of charcoal, but aren’t quite ready to give up some of your favorite products (or want to get a double-duty clean), opt for this Sephora Collection Bamboo Charcoal Exfoliating Body Sponge ($14 at sephora.com), complete with an attached rope for easy handling. Simply soak the sponge in water and feel how soft your skin is after showering.

4. Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask

Stephania Stanley for TODAY.com / @stephania_photography

This activated Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask ($58 at peterthomasroth.com), one of the skin-care expert’s latest innovations, is jam-packed with nutrients, antioxidants, essential minerals and even seaweed to squeaky clean skin from over-drying. We love the smooth texture of the formula and the surprisingly nice smell.

5. Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar

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The Dead Sea mud in this 97 percent all-natural cleansing bar from Erno Laszlo ($45 at ernolaszlo.com) exfoliates while it cleanses for a more stimulating scrub. It comes with a travel dish for taking your spa experience on the go!

6. GlamGlow YouthCleanse Daily Exfoliating Cleanser

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The French sea clay in this complex cleanser from GlamGlow ($39 at sephora.com), combines the forces of mud and foam to deliver tough love to dirt found trapped on and within the skin. Then antioxidants and omegas 3, 6 and 9 work to smooth things over for a softer, more protected surface.

7. Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics Dark Angels Cleanser

Stephania Stanley for TODAY.com / @stephania_photography

Recommended for oily or blemish-prone skin, this mysterious concoction from Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics ($12.95 at lushusa.com) is made with a rhassoul mud base to clean deep and prevent breakouts. Ingredients like black sugar and charcoal offer exfoliating properties while organic avocado oil keeps skin from getting irritated. We love the unique, dirt-like texture of this product, which softens and soothes once mixed with water.

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