Lora has sampled, modified, and collected numerous DIY recipes involving activated charcoal. She shares her successes and failures.
What Is Activated Charcoal?
Activated charcoal beauty treatments have been around for centuries. The natural product is known for its ability to draw out and absorb toxins. Plus, it can be mixed with many other natural ingredients to make cosmetics, lotions, and washes. I have been sampling, modifying, and collecting these DIY charcoal recipes. I will share with you my success stories and my failures, and I'll discuss the treatments I will never do.
A Tip on Stains
Be warned; charcoal can stain, and this is why I haven’t tried some of the concoctions below. Read on to find out why. But for now, if the black powder gets onto something, shake off (outside) as much of the powder as you can. Online forums recommend vacuuming out the particles; I have never bothered to drag out my vacuum and do that, but that might be a good option for you. After getting off the particles, put watered-down dish soap on the stain. Wash it by itself. If sent through the washer with other clothes, it might dirty them.
Which Charcoal Powder I Use
Before we get started, I use this Food Grade activated charcoal powder because I put it on my face, head, and in my mouth, and it comes in a bulk container. I think it is easier than breaking open the capsules, and it’s easy to measure out a few teaspoons or however much you need.
All right, let’s get to these DIY beauty treatments. I’ll begin with the most common one and the easiest one, the teeth whitener.
1. Teeth Whitener
Use a separate toothbrush, wet it, and dip it into the charcoal. Brush with it once a week, then rinse.
I keep a small jar in the bathroom and refill. It makes a mess in the sink, so be prepared to clean it after brushing.
2. Facial Mask
The secret to this is the honey. It makes it easy to smooth on. I have only made this a few times.
- 1 teaspoon activated charcoal
- 1 teaspoon bentonite clay (follow manufacturer's guidelines)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon water
- Combine in a glass bowl. Glass bowls are easy to clean afterward.
- If the mixture is too thick, add a few more drops of water. Then apply to face and neck.
- Let dry; it takes about 15 minutes. The honey keeps the mask moist. It is still working even if it is not bone dry when you remove it.
- Wash off. It’s easiest to wash off in the shower; then it just whisks down the drain versus having to clean up the sink.
3. Spot Pimple Treatment
This one is super easy and works fast!
- In a glass bowl, mix ½ teaspoon powder with a few drops of water. It should be paste consistency.
- Apply to a pimple.
- Leave on as long as you can, at least half an hour. If you leave it on overnight, be sure to put a towel over your pillow, so it does not stain.
- Wash as normal.
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4. Gel Eyeliner and Eyebrow Filler
In a small container (something from the dollar store would be fine), add 2 teaspoons melted coconut oil to 1 teaspoons charcoal. You will paint it on with a makeup brush, so if it’s not sticking or too thin, add a touch more powder.
The only thing I did not like about my creation was it was a little too much for my eyebrows. But this makes great smokey eyes!
5. Powdered Eyeshadow
Mix equal parts (50/50) arrowroot and charcoal. You can vary the shade by adding more or less charcoal. You can adjust the shade by adding more charcoal to make it darker or more arrowroot to make it lighter. It is very customizable.
A second option that doesn't allow for as much customization is just using the charcoal powder straight. It's a great alternative for sensitive eyes.
6. Body Wash
This has a small dose of the charcoal, so it will not stain the tub. Combine the following ingredients:
- 1 Cup castile soap. Castile soap is a natural unscented soap. If you don’t have it, try substituting a mild baby soap.
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil. It is a great moisturizer but it can make the shower floor slippery, so be sure to use a shower mat.
- 2 Tablespoons activated charcoal.
The coconut oil makes it thick, so store it in a jar that you can scoop out a handful of. It will need to be mixed or shaken before every use.
7. Scalp Cleanser
I have dark hair, so I cannot say what happens if you put this on light-colored hair. It did make my scalp feel tighter. The claim is that it cleans clogged hair shafts so that new hair can grow.
- ¼ teaspoon charcoal
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups water
- Combine all ingredients.
- Wet your hair and scalp.
- Rub mixture into scalp.
- Wrap hair in an old towel, and leave on for a half hour or so, then wash hair as usual.
8. Bar Soap
I was given a beautiful homemade charcoal soap bar. I did not make it, but it was terrific. Here is her recipe.
- 2 teaspoon charcoal powder
- ½ pound soap base
- 15–20 drops essential oil
- Melt the soap base down as per manufactures recommendations.
- Add powder and oils and pour into molds.
- Cool and enjoy.
If you want a lighter colored soap, use one teaspoon charcoal. There are many great essential oil scents: lavender, lemon, peppermint, or tea tree oil.
9. Coffee Scrub
Most people have tons of coffee grounds. That is why I tried this. It’s easy, cheap, and feels nice on the skin.
There is no real measuring involved: Just put some used coffee grounds in a bowl, add a teaspoon or so of charcoal, and put in enough honey to make it a paste. Rub on your face, elbows, and body, and wash it off in the shower.
10. Lip Scrub
This is similar to the coffee scrub, except you substitute sugar for the coffee grounds. Because it’s for your lips, you’ll only want a tablespoon of sugar.
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- A dollop of honey
- 1/8 teaspoon charcoal
Mix paste and rub on lips. Rinse off. It softens chapped lips, and it’s sweet.
11. Activated Charcoal Leg and Stomach Body Wrap
This wrap is supposed to release cellulite, which stands to reason since charcoal is known for its drawing power. It is easy to make, but I can’t say that it worked any miracle. Maybe I didn’t use enough paste or use it long enough. It might take repeated using, also.
You will need the following:
- flaxseed meal
- charcoal powder
- old rags or towels (I used old cotton t-shirts. Afterward, wash the cloths and save them to reuse the next time.)
- plastic wrap
- Combine 2 cups each charcoal and flaxseed meal. Depending on the area, you may make a larger or smaller batch. Double it or cut it in half. Make sure to use flaxseed meal. If you have flaxseed at home, you can grind up your own, or it can be bought at most grocery or nutrition stores.
- Add water until it's smooth but not runny. It takes several cups. If the mixture gets too thin, just add a little more powder.
- Spoon on a thin layer of paste to the cloth and wrap around your thighs or stomach.
- Wrap with plastic wrap. You will get warm from the plastic wrap.
- Leave it on for an hour.
- Remove and wash off skin.
Concoctions I Have Never Tried and The Reasons Why
Black Hair Dye: I have seen many of these recipes, but I have not been brave enough to try one. I have brown hair, and I am not sure I want black hair!
Mascara: I have never tried.
Skin Lighteners: I have never tried. I am not confident the black charcoal would lighten anything other than my teeth.
Lotion: I have never wanted to try the lotions because I do not want charcoal all over my body and clothes. I prefer spot treatments.
Bath Bombs: Never tried because I was afraid they would stain the tub forever.
Cystic Acne Treatment: I am thankful I do not have it, so I have never made any treatments for it.
Deodorant: Because I think it will stain my shirts.
Peel-able Charcoal Mask: I have not bought the gelatin powder. Here are the ingredients you will need from the recipes I have been following. It does not sound too complicated. I might make in the future and add to this post. Stay tuned!
- 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin powder. Knox is a brand sold in most grocery stores.
- 1 teaspoon charcoal
- ½ teaspoon bentonite clay
- 2 tablespoon water
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.