Would you ever purposely put charcoal on your face? If you asked me that about a month ago, I’d probably laugh at the question, but just a few minutes ago I found myself doing just that. Actually, I put some in my mouth, too. I mean, it wasn’t the kind of charcoal you use to grill up a burger, but it was charcoal nonetheless. Super quick science lesson: Activated charcoal (AKA activated carbon) is carbon that has been treated with oxygen. What results is a fine black powder that contains millions of itty bitty pores, giving it a huge surface area. This allows the charcoal to soak up gases and other toxins that come in contact with it.
Have you ever noticed those tiny black particles that are used in water filters? Yup, that’s activated charcoal. It’s also used to treat poisonings, gastro-intestinal issues, and – oh my goodness – even hangovers. So what does this have to do with your beauty regimen, you might ask? I’ll tell you what. Here are two awesome ways to use activated charcoal to your beauty advantage!
Disclaimer: Activated charcoal is a fine black powder, making it extremely messy. It won’t ruin your sink, but you should be prepared to wipe down your bathroom after every use! Trust me, it’s worth it :)
1. As A Teeth Whitener
Using activated charcoal as a teeth whitener is my new favorite thing.
What you need:
A toothbrush (I used this Preserve toothbrush made from recycled yogurt cups – how cool?!), some toothpaste, and an activated charcoal capsule! I used Solaray Activated Charcoal. You can also get activated charcoal in tablet form, you’d just need to crush it up first.
What you do:
Carefully open one activated charcoal capsule, dumping its contents onto a paper towel.
Put some toothpaste onto your toothbrush as you would normally do. Dip your toothbrush into the activated charcoal, completely covering the toothpaste with the black powder. Then brush your teeth as usual! While you brush your teeth, your mouth will turn completely black (my favorite part – it looks so cool). Once you rinse, the color should disappear. If it doesn’t, rinse off your toothbrush and brush your teeth with water only.
Follow these steps and you’ll have a bright white smile in no time! I’ve been brushing my teeth with activated charcoal once or twice a day for the past week and I’m already starting to notice a difference – plus, my mouth just feels cleaner! I’m excited to see the transformation in weeks to come.
2. In A Face Mask
Activated charcoal is a star ingredient for a face mask. Not only does it remove unwanted toxins from your skin, it also removes ALL of your makeup! An activated charcoal face mask will leave your skin feeling clean and refreshed. It’ll feel as if your skin can breathe again.
What you need:
1 teaspoon activated charcoal (in powder form)
1 teaspoon water or rosewater
1 teaspoon aloe vera gel or juice
5 drops tea tree oil
1 pinch sea salt
What you do:
Mix all ingredients until you have one even color and consistency. Apply the mixture to your face in a thin, even coat. Allow the mask to dry and then wash off!
This mask is safe for most skin types, but you should first do a spot test to make sure this mask is right for you. Apply to a small patch of skin, let dry, wash off. Wait 24 hours to see how your skin reacts.
Photos by FP Brigette.
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Thinking about trying this. Will you do a before and after on the brightening of your teeth?
Do not do this to your teeth! I did it some time ago and my enamel is now much weaker. :( It is the thing I regret the most doing.
Kasia – thanks for the heads up! Most whitening methods can strip your enamel if used too often. If you’re finding that your teeth are sensitive to activated charcoal, it’s best to reduce use to 1-2 times a week.
When I went to Vietnam last year, I bought the “Ponds Pure White” with activated carbon and it’s actually pretty good.
Orgins makes an activated charcoal facial mask that is to die for!!! Love Love Love it!
I just used this mask, it is absolutely amazing! It makes your skin feel tingly when wet and then when it’s dry you take it off and your skin feels baby smooth! Absolutely recommend it! I had no bad reactions to it whatsoever
if you mix bentonite clay with raw apple cider vinegar (try Braggs) until it’s a paste and use that as a mask it’s amazing. then finish off with rose water or witch hazel as a toner and you’re set
Kasia is clearly a greedy dentist…
great stuff, add activated charcoalwith bentonite clay, and alittle apple cider vineger, make a paste, put on the skin and rinse off after 15 minutes,, use your favorite moisturiser. Thanks
To Kasia: I’m not sure if the carbon partcles are abrasive to your teeth, but how about rather than brushing with it, letting it sit on your teeth for a frw minutes like a paste then rinsing it off and brushing your teeth as usual.
Thanks the post and for the resultant feedback on these ideas. I’ve just tried holding a paste of activated charcoal in my mouth for whitening and now I’m doing the mask with ACV, bentonite and charcoal. I appreciate the ideas and opinions!
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I’m total agree witch you guys.
Keep in mind, however, that you should not do this more than recommended.
Most chemical teeth whitening products contain baking soda and peroxide, so it makes no sense to
pay extra for a product made with the same ingredients you can purchase for less than
a dollar each. Once the enamel is ruined, the tooth’s dentin will be revealed.
I LOVE charcoal<3 I normally just put a couple drops of water into my hand with the opened charcoal capsule, but I normally leave the mask on my face ALL NIGHT and the next morning….TADA! Breakouts and blemishes reduced! Never thought of adding other ingredients to it! Thanks!!!!!!
Has the charcoal ever stained your skin? It does on my hands and am concerned ill end up with a stained fave
While I don’t have a problem using it on my teeth, I did try the mask and it did stain my skin. I had to use a salt scrub to remove it. I do think it helped my skin though, pulling out the toxins and such.
Hi, I have just bought some activated charcoal capsules. I was thinking of using them only as a cleanser and not a mask. I have a cleanser that i like and i was wondering that if i opened a couple of capsules and added the powder to my cleanser to give me an added bonus of the charcoal. Would that be ok to do that? What does anyone think?
@Maria, I don’t think that adding charcoal to your facewash would work as well as just using it alone. My guess is (and it’s only a guess) that the charcoal would bind to the ingredients in your facewash and not bind to the impurities in your skin anymore. I don’t think it would hurt anything, but it won’t help either.
Thanks for this! The last time I was in ULTA I was asking about masks with charcoal and they looked at me like was off my rocker – so much fun.
If you’re worried about your enamel reacting poorly to the activated charcoal, add calcium magnesium powder to you toothpaste. You can also add blue green algae to your mouthwash. Both are full of strengthening components that are fantastic for weak teeth.
I use calcium bentonite clay in masks and tea, and use activated charcoal in my toothpaste, but I’m new to activated charcoal masks. I use the oil cleansing method and I’m excited to see how a charcoal/castor oil combo work (that’s what’s currently on my face)
l use vaseline for men.face wash with activated charcoal it wont work my skin changed from beter to worse . it burns my skin
@Ray well it isn’t the charcoal in the Vaseline wash!
Activated Charcoal is essentially inert and it is very rare to find anyone who would be allergic or even irritated by it, without having a serious medical condition such as a form of ichthyosis. I suggest, if you want to continue using AC in your regime, simply use it in its natural form with a little water and create a mask and leave on 30 minutes or more.
I believe that the Vaseline wash contains Potassium Hydroxide as one of the top 5 ingredients. That is what burned your skin, not the Charcoal. It my not have ”burned” your skin akin to say a fire but will produce heat and a tingling sensation. Which if you are sensitive can irritate you and cause breakouts.
You know you can buy activated charcoal in bulk and not have to open little capsules for your needs. My mom is an MD who has used activated charcoal my whole life for all kinds of treatments on me (to ease pain and itching of poison oak, to soothe eczema, to sooth bee stings, etc.) and buys the charcoal from natural food stores in big bottles (it’s cheaper than opening capsules).