Why I’m Obsessed with Charcoal + How to Use It

the benefits of charcoal | sunday chapter

I feel as though “obsessed” isn’t even a strong enough word to describe my devotion to charcoal lately.

Like it’s really up there with coconut oil.

I heard of the benefits of charcoal a while back in regards to skincare, but passed it off as another latest beauty craze/trend. It’s safe to say I wouldn’t have thought a few months later I’d be sat writing a dedicated love story post about charcoal… but here we are.

Activated charcoal, carbon that’s been treated to increase its absorbency, isn’t new. It’s been used in hospital emergency rooms for years to treat alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses. It works by attaching to toxins in the stomach and absorbing them before the bloodstream can. The theory behind including activated charcoal in beauty products is similar: It’ll act like a magnet to attract and absorb dirt and oil. And the experts say that theory holds water. “When dirt and oil in your pores come in contact with the carbon, they stick to it and then get washed away when you rinse,” explains cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson. [source]

& the benefits…

1. For skin

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of charcoal is certainly not putting it onto my skin. However, charcoal is actually the most powerful and popular ingredient in facial masks, proving to absorb thousands of times its own mass in harmful substances. It’s not just masks though, it’s also used for cleansers, body washes, sponges and soaps to name a few. Here’s some of my favourites.

benefits of activated charcoal | sunday chapter

» Glam Glow Youthmud Mask

Honestly the holy grail of all facial masks. The only downside is that it is quite expensive, but you will get your moneys worth. It feels luxurious (ironically being charcoal and all) & leaves your skin looking radiant.

benefits of activated charcoal | sunday chapter

» Sanctuary Deep Cleanse Facial 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask

If you are looking for a more affordable alternative to the Glam Glow mask, I can’t recommend this one enough. It’s been a long time favourite of mine. I can immediately feel the benefits after using this mask and I love the way it heats up. It really does a great job at decongesting pores, as well as removing dirt and toxins from the skin. I would highly recommend if you’re not sure you want to splurge on the Glam Glow just yet!

benefits of activated charcoal | sunday chapter
benefits of activated charcoal | sunday chapter
» Derma-E Purifying Gel Cleanser with Activated Charcoal

I won’t lie, it’s slightly strange scrubbing a dark grey cleanser onto your skin, but trust me, your skin will be thanking you after. Although I have combination skin, it is ideal for oilier skin types but I find it works amazingly after I’ve done a workout. It’s specialty is lathering away sweat, oil and toxin build up leaving you feeling incredibly refreshed.

2. For teeth

You probably didn’t see this one coming because who in their right minds would wash their teeth with CHARCOAL, right?

As it turns out, charcoal powder is actually very effective for whitening your teeth & promoting oral hygiene – it removes stains, tartar, bacteria, & viruses. It also contains no synthetic additives, preservatives, foaming agents, fluoride, artificial colors or flavors, and no abrasive baking soda or salt.

After just a few uses, I have already noticed whiter teeth (!!) so I really cannot wait to see what a few months difference would be like.

charcoal toothpaste

Activated charcoal is odorless and tasteless, so aside from looking slightly crazy having temporarily black teeth, you won’t be able to tell you’ve got charcoal in your mouth. Promise. Just make sure you’re using an activated charcoal, as non-activated ones can be quite dangerous.

I’ve been loving this charcoal + peppermint toothpaste which is made with all natural ingredients. It’s a total game changer. There’s also this one if you’re looking for a more affordable option!

3. For hair

Activated charcoal, when used on your hair, can pull out oil, dirt and toxins just like it does for your skin. Regular shampoos remove surface dirt, but activated charcoal will pull out even more. The other difference is that activated charcoal isn’t going to leave the residue regular shampoos will, so your hair will feel lighter and have more volume.

I am completely obsessed with this charcoal shampoo & conditioner. I really do believe they’re the I’ve come across so far. The key ingredients include: activated charcoal powder water, aloe leaf juice, lavender oil, sweet orange oil, cedarwood oil, & frankincense oil. It’s super nourishing and gentle on your hair!

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, I’ve heard good things about this charcoal shampoo & conditioner too. They’re also free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, gluten, drying alcohol and artificial colors.

4. For well-being

If you didn’t know, charcoal pills do exist. But what are the benefits of ingesting charcoal?

+ Carries unwanted materials out of the digestive system
+ Provides fast detoxing for better digestion & rejuvenation
+ Prevents many cellular changes associated with aging, adrenal gland, and kidney function
+ Lowers cholesterol

It basically does the same to your body as it does to your skin. It holds onto harmful toxins and fat, & quickly detoxes it out of your system. I do think all brands are quite similiar, but I really like this one because it’s natural and very affordable.

Oh & best of all? They’re kind of the BEST hangover cure ever. Seriously, you’ll wake up feeling brand new.

Another way to ingest charcoal is to make a charcoal drink! They’re becoming so common I’m even starting to see them in juice shops & cafes. Here’s a quick little DIY.

· 1 glass filtered water
· Juice of half lemon
· 1 tsp. honey, coconut nectar, or maple syrup
· ½ – 1 tsp Activated Charcoal powder
· Plenty of ice

As always, consult your doctor before taking anything new or out of your comfort zone.

Have you heard of the benefits of charcoal before? Have you used it or are you intrigued?

  • Love love love charcoal! I’ve been using the Lush ‘Coal face’ which is a charcoal exfoliator that I swear by! I am really intrigued by both face masks and I reckon I’ll have to get my hands on them now! Love your posts as always!
    Oh So Maddie x

    • Ooh I’m surprised I haven’t tried that!! I’m obsessed with Lush products. Thanks so much Maddie!

  • I knew it was great for skin but I had no idea about the other uses, thanks for sharing x


    • It’s seriously amazing! Thanks for reading Lauren :)

  • I’ve heard a few celebrities love to use charcoal to whiten their teeth, I’ll have to give that a go! x


    • It’s SO good for teeth whitening – makes a huge difference!! :)

  • This has left me really intrigued about charcoal toothpaste! Never would I have imagined that black toothpaste could significantly help to whiten teeth – will definitely need to look into this! x


    • I know it’s very strange but I swear it works! :)

  • I never new you could use it for all of these, this was really interesting x

    Zoe Mountford x

    • There’s really so many ways you can use it! Thanks for reading Zoe :)

  • I didn’t know you could use charcoal on your teeth! I need to try it to see the benefits!

    Jodie // jodieloue.com

    • It’s incredible!! You MUST try it, it’s an amazing teeth whitener :)

  • leah rachel

    I love the charcoal face mask from sanctuary! It really does draw out any impurities. Loved reading this post! I’ve got to try charcoal more!


    • Certainly one of my favourites too! Thanks so much! :)

  • Jo

    Be careful ingesting too much charcoal too often as it can counteract with prescription medicines including birth control. But a couple pills really do help with a hangover!

    • Oh thank you for letting me know!! I think it’s important to consult your doctor before trying anything new. SO good for a hangover :)

  • Looks like I need to add charcoal to my beauty routine! :)

  • I will definitely be looking into adding charcoal into my beauty regime now! Such a great and unique post.