Activated charcoal has been used for centuries in purifying water, treating upset stomach and eliminating toxins from the body.
Emergency rooms use activated charcoal drinks to treat overdose, food poisoning and other toxins ingestions.
When we talk about activated charcoal, we do not talk about charcoal that you use for barbecue.
“Activated charcoal is a fine black powder made from bone char, coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, coal, olive pits or sawdust.
The charcoal is “activated” by processing it at very high temperatures. The high temperatures change its internal structure, reducing the size of its pores and increasing its surface area.
This results in a charcoal that is more porous than regular charcoal.” (Healthline)
Because activated charcoal is very porous and does not contain water, it works as a “sponge” which attracts all the toxins, poisonous substances and food, and gases.
Lately activated charcoal made its way into cosmetic industry and became a very popular ingredient for skin, hair and health care.
Charcoal Benefits for Skin
- Clears out skin from impurities, dead cells and dirt
Because of its “spongy” and binding properties, activated charcoal is able to clear skin and hair impurities, dirt, skin oil, dead cells and transform your appearance into clear and glowing one.
If you include a cleanser with activated charcoal in the composition, you will notice how your skin will become pure and brightened.
- Clears out clogged pores
Again, due to its ability to absorb impurities, charcoal assists in clearing clogged dirty pores.
- Treats acne and prevents acne and pimples from further forming
Acne has many possible causes. Excessive skin oil production combined with dirt and dead skin cells on the surface of the skin cause clogged pores. Acne causing bacteria thrives in clogged pores. Your body’s immune system sends white blood cells to get rid of bacteria. Pus, which you usually see in acne and pimples, is an ends product of a fight between bacteria and your white blood cells.
So, if we go to the cause of this fight, and clear dead cells, dirt and unhealthy buildup of skin oil, we will be able to either minimize or completely avoid clogged pores. As a result, bacteria does not have friendly environment for it to grow. And as a result there will be less or no acne and pimples.
- Treats minor skin infection
Charcoal has anti-bacterial properties meaning that it can kill bacteria and prevent infection from spreading.
- Minimizes appearance of large pores
Because charcoal clear out dirt out of your pores, they appear smaller in size.
- Controls and balances skin oil production
Charcoal pulls unwanted excess oils from your skin without damaging and drying skin surface. Keep in mind that charcoal in skin care is preferable for people with oily to combination skin because of charcoal’s ability to remove oils. If you have dry and sensitive skin, consider other skin care products.
- Brightens up dull skin tone
Our skin cells renew every 21 days. That means that old cells die and supposedly shed off the skin surface. However, skin oil, dirt, environmental factor could slow down this process; which causes dead skin cells to build up on top you’re the surface. This causes many problems including dull, tired skin tone.
Due to its ability to remove toxins and absorb impurities, skin care products with activated charcoal in them will be able to give your skin glowing complexion.
- Anti-inflammatory properties heal blemishes, sun and age spots
What about skin type?
If you browsed my blog, you probably saw a post about different skin types and why it is important to know your skin type. You can review this information HERE
Not every product on the market is good for your skin type; in fact wrong product can cause way more damage regardless of claimed benefits.
Always start with skin patch test first and consider products with mild concentration of the ingredient.
Benefits of Charcoal for Hair
- Can relief and even treat dandruff, scalp dryness and minor infections
Charcoal pulls out toxins and bacteria, which can relieve some scalp skin problems.
- Gently detox hair by attracting dirt and oil
- Improves and speeds up hair growth
Charcoal unclogs hair follicles which promotes oxygen and nutrient delivery to a hair root.
- Adds volume to your hair
Because charcoal removes all oil and dirt from your hair (sometimes your regular shampoo is unable to do so), your hair look fuller and thicker.
- Improves overall hair health
Well, this is kind of obvious lol. If your hair is clear from toxins, dirt and oil build it – it will look healthy and shiny.
There is one point I would like to address here in this post. You’ve probably seen so many times throughout internet the advice to charcoal to whiten your teeth. Supposedly, rubbing charcoal on your teeth will make them white.
Even if it is the case (which has not been proven), please, DO NOT do it. Charcoal powder or a tablet is very harsh and abrasive to your teeth enamel. Just imagine you take sandpaper and start sanding your teeth. Nobody would think of doing that, right? Well, rubbing charcoal on your teeth would do just that: “sand off” your enamel, making your teeth thin and unhealthy.
Actually, the same goes for baking soda: you probably came across this “life hack to whiten your teeth”. In this case you are supposed to rub baking soda on your teeth. Please, please, please, DO NOT do that. Baking soda is also very abrasive and will take your teeth enamel off making them very fragile.
If you browsed a bit through my blog, you might’ve noticed that I try to provide you with 2 types of solutions for your skin transformation: I give you a list of commercial products that have good reviews by consumers. I also offer you are choice of homemade products, so you can create your own custom made skin care product.
However, in the case of activated charcoal I encourage you not to experiment with homemade products. It is easy to irritate and even burn your skin if you do not use right proportions of charcoal. I strongly recommend sticking with products that were specifically designed by professionals and all ingredients and proportions were carefully tested and balanced.
I honestly care about your skin, so please, try not to experiment with homemade charcoal products. Your skin is too valuable for uncertain experiments.
Consider looking at some of the products below. I did not try most of them; however, I did an extensive research and found products that have 4+ out 5 stars on Amazon, eBay or other sites.
(This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase, I might receive a small commission at no extra cost to you)
Cleansers and Soaps with Charcoal
Biore Pore Penetrating Charcoal Bar for Oily Skin – this soap bar is suitable for face and body. It also acts a gentle exfoliator which will help to clear our your pores and remove skin impurities.
Garnier SkinActive Clean Purifying oil-free Cleansing Towelettes for Oily Skin – soft, light, breathable cloths infused with charcoal. You can use them as makeup remover or just to refresh dirty skin. They draw out pore-clogging dirt, impurities, oil and makeup.
Konjac Sponge with Charcoal for Gentle Cleansing and Exfoliation – one of my favorite ways to clean the skin. Konjac sponge is very, very soft and yet it is very efficient in removing all the impurities, dirt and sweat from the skin. You just put a drop of your favorite cleanser, add some water and enjoy the transformation of your skin.
O Naturals Detoxifying Charcoal and Peppermint Soap – this soap has dual effect of cleaning and refreshing your skin due to its main ingredients. It clears your skin, brightens up its tone and helps to combat acne.
Awakiin Beauty Korean Skin Care Charcoal Face Wash – amazing activated charcoal face wash that will clear your pores and tighten them. Contains 300 mg of charcoal powder and lemon extract; both combined will give you clear and bright complexion.
Face Toners with Charcoal
It was very hard to find a toner that had good reviews. It is hard to figure out a perfect formula of a toner that is effective and save for people’s skin. I was not really surprised that there are not so many products out there that people actually like and recommend.
GLAMGLOW SUPERTONER Exfoliating Acid Solution Toner – this toner is excellent for very tired, dull skin with clogged pores – interesting shake-to-activate toner that contains clay, charcoal and six acids to exfoliate, purify and clarify the skin’s complexion. It helps to remove all impurities and balance skin oil production. I would not recommend it for dry and sensitive skin due to intense ingredients. However, it will be perfect for combination, oily and acne prone skin. (Sephora)
SheaMoisture African Black Soap and Bamboo Charcoal Detoxifying Toner – this product has 4.4 out of 5 stars on Influenster. This toner acts as a dual action astringent that removes impurities while helping address skin problems associated with acne. It also manages oil shine without clogging pores.
Body Scrub and Body Washes with Charcoal
There are few scrubs that claim to be suitable for a face. I personally do not trust manufacturer’s claim. From my own experience I find that any physical scrub is not safe for our outer layer of the skin. I have oily to combination skin and I found that over the time my skin became thin, even more oily and shiny when I was using facial scrubs for few months. You can read an amazing article by Paula’a Choice Skincare about face scrubs and their advantages and disadvantages.
However, having said that, I love using scrubs for my body, heels and hands. Our skin in those parts is not that fragile so we can do some rubbing there lol.
Also this is one exception where you can actually make your own charcoal body scrub at home.
Shea Moisture African Black Soap Charcoal Body Scrub – This gentle body scrub buffs away dead skin cells while also helping to absorb excess oil and impurities. It deeply cleanses and exfoliates skin with a detoxifying cocktail of ingredients.
Premium Nature Activated Charcoal Scrub – a great cleanser and detoxifier for your skin. It draws out deep-settled debris to purify pores and restore skin’s natural glow.
Renpure Detoxifying Charcoal Body Wash – this body wash contains bamboo derived charcoal. It will clear and purify your skin. This plant based formula does not contain parabens, dyes, sulfates and other harmful chemicals.
Chic Republic Natural Body Wash with Activated Coconut Charcoal – this formula uses coconut charcoal to pull toxins for your skin, clear clogged pores, remove impurities and clear skin acne. This body wash also contains lava volcanic minerals that gently exfoliate your skin.
Face Masks with charcoal
I personally prefer sheet masks rather than washable masks: I like an idea that with sheet mask I do not have to extra cleanse my face. This way I can protect my outer layer of the skin. There are many, many types of face masks that are available for us. You can follow THIS LINK to read about different categories of masks and which one to choose for your skin.
Dr. Jart+ Demask Ultra Jet Porecting Solution Bubbling Charcoal Mask – I personally have this mask and use it once a month. Once you apply this sheet mask, its active ingredients start bubbling which enhances clearing and detoxifying effect. This mask helps to visibly minimize pores, soothes and purifies the skin.
Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb – this purifying charcoal mask does not contain any parabens. It will clear and purify your skin.
Bamboo Charcoal Face mask with Activated Charcoal, MSM, Aloe and Vitamin C – as you can see from the list of active ingredients, this mask will not only clear and detoxify your skin, but also will calm irritated skin and provide anti-aging effect. Bamboo charcoal has the added skin benefit of brightening age and sun spots.
Shampoos and Conditioners with Charcoal
Herbal Essences, Shampoo and Paraben Free Conditioner Kit, BioRenew Detox Charcoal – shampoo cleans hair while gently removing buildup. The shampoo detoxifies while infusing notes of lavender, juicy citrus and cocoa into your hair—leaving it balanced and beautiful. White Charcoal Conditioner hydrates hair while helping to protect from damage and breakage.
Pantene Pro-V Blends Charcoal Shampoo and Conditioner Renewing Cream Rinse – this kit will help your hair to get rid of oily buildup. Shampoo also contains vitamin B 5 and anti-oxidants to revitalize your hair. Conditioner will finish detoxifying process and will leave your hair smooth and silky.
Premium Nature Activated Charcoal Shampoo & Conditioner Sulfate Free – This sulfate free shampoo and conditioner contains all-natural ingredients and lots of wonderful oils such as Activated Charcoal, Argan Oil and Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil . It cleans your hair without drying! Both Charcoal Conditioner and Shampoo are gentle for all types of hair.
Hair Care Products with Activated Charcoal
Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment – this product contains two amazing ingredients tea tree oil and charcoal. You can read about benefits for tea tree oil for hair by following this link HERE. Shortly put, this scalp treatment will help you to get rid of scalp flaking, itchiness and irritation. It will also help you to treat dandruff.
Hair Chemist Charcoal with Citrus Oil Detoxifying Hair Treatment Mask Packette – This mask will detoxify your hair removing all oil, chemicals and pollution build up. It will also treat hair frizz and dryness.
Botanic Hearth Activated Charcoal hair Mask – this mask will deeply condition your tired, damaged hair restoring natural oil balance and shine. It is safe on colour treated hair.
I hope you were able to find some products to consider for your skin and hair transformation.
I would like to point out again that charcoal is suitable for oily, combination and acne prone skin. If you have dry and sensitive skin, I would suggest you look for other options that will benefit your skin type.
Same goes for hair care: if you have brittle, frizzy hair with split ends – look at the product label and explore what other ingredients this product has. Many times manufacturers include ingredients that will infuse your hair with moisture and repairing components.
Please, leave us a comment or share your experiences using products with charcoal.