Today, many people are drawn to the world of beauty. If you’re one those people, you’ve probably seen the popular black face masks and teeth whitening products emerging in all corners of the market. What do all these of these products have in common that make them so desirable to beauty and health fanatics all over the world? Their star component: active charcoal, which coincidingly gives all of these their striking black color.

Activated charcoal is a product that comes right out of nature. It has been utilized by human beings for a multitude purposes, but is recently triumphing the cosmetic sector. This is due to the magnificent properties that activated charcoal offers to our skin and for our health. If you’re curious about what these benefits are and want to know more, make sure to pay close attention to the information ahead.

Key Facts

  • Activated charcoal is a special kind of carbon created via certain processes of activation. Its action mechanism is based on its adsorption powers, meaning a compounds ability to capture and retain certain substances.
  • Traditionally, activated charcoal has been used in medicine as a detoxifier. Its uses have now spread and its benefits applied to a wide variety of products, especially cosmetics.
  • In cosmetology, activated charcoal is primarily being used as a part of face masks, shampoos, soaps and toothpastes. The success of activated charcoal at a cosmetic level is due to its great “detoxification” power. It has the ability to effectively eliminate toxins and impurities, with amazing results.

Ranking: The best active charcoal products on the market

In this section you will find a compilation of the 5 best active carbon-based products that are available on the market. We have included an explanation of each of them so that you can accurately compare and analyze them. We hope this information will be of assistance in helping you decided which product is right for you.

No. 1: AimNaturals, Teeth Whitening powder

This all natural charcoal by AimNaturals works to naturally whiten your teeth and maintain the health of your gums without the harmful enamel damaging effects of hardwood. This fine powder whitens the teeth over time, helping to remove stains created from coffee wine, cigarettes and more, all without bleach.. Alongside it’s whitening power, it also helps to eliminate bad breath.

This premium, raw 100% natural coconut charcoal powder is food grade, which means it is completely safe for oral use. Its free of harmful chemicals, 100% vegan and non-abrasive. Every purchase of this teeth whitening powder includes a toothbrush with black brittles, a tongue cleaner and an electronic book which outlines all the benefits and instructions on how to use it.

No. 2: Piero Lorenzo, Teeth Whitening Powder

Thanks to the activated charcoal, this teeth whitening powder by Piero Lorenzo provides a natural and non-abrasive way to eliminate the toughest stains caused by coffee, wine, smoke and other corrosives. The powder is an all natural product without artificial additives, colours or preservatives. The bleach present within this product to protect sensitive teeth and gums from irritation and damage.

Piero Lorenzo has included 100% compostable bamboo toothbrushes with every purchase of their teeth whitening charcoal. Simply moisten the toothbrush with water, dip into the charcoal, and brush your teeth as you normally would. The activated charcoal will not only brighten your teeth safely and effectively, but gets rid of bad breath, leaving the mouth feeling fresh and clean.

No. 3: AimNaturals, Face mask

The Dexe peel off mask by AimNaturals offers an easy solution to remove blackheads, fine hairs and other imperfections of the skin. Advanced hydrators within the mask help prevent water loss, providing immediate and long-term hydration for a fresh look and feel. Skin is left softer, firmer, and with a natural-looking glow.

Built from safe ingredients such as Vitamin E and glycerin, this face mask is a 100% safe to use that will give long lasting results. With it’s easy, peel off design, this mask will help improve blood circulation to promote the health and regeneration of skin cells. The manufacturer promises a full refund if there’s any dissatisfaction with their product.

No. 4: Beauty By Earth, Konjac Facial Sponge 2pack

The Konjac Facial Sponge is a product suitable for all skin types and ages from babies, all the way to adults. It is especially useful for oily skin. The white sponge provides a gentle exfoliation of the skin, removing impurities, dirt, dead cells and blackheads. It moisturizes the skin while balancing out its pH through its alkaline nature. Konjac Sponges are 100% eco-friendly, biodegradable and free of any parabens, sulphates or other chemicals.

The skin is rejuvenated by the presence of enriching proteins, carbohydrates and a multitude of vitamins and minerals including iron, phosphorus, copper, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin C and more. This sponge can be used on the face, body and is even suitable for the most delicate areas under the eyes.

No. 5: Piero Lorenzo, Blackhead Remover Charcoal Mask

This Blackhead Remover Charcoal Mask is specially designed to reach the bottom of pores to absorb and pull out dirt and blackheads. The levels of water and oil in the skin are balanced out as the pores shrink and the skin begins to firm. Vitamins and plant extracts work to soften the skin and restore a youthful glow.

Before applying the mask, the creators suggest cleaning the face with a cleanser and placing a warm towel over the face for 3-5 minutes to dilate the pores. The face should be quite warm before applying the mask in layers. Don’t apply too thick of a layer, as this will be too difficult and possibly painful to remove. Wait a full 10-15 minutes before gently peeling off the mask.

Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about activated charcoal

It’s important that before purchasing any cosmetic based of active charcoal, you know the main characteristics of this product. Below, we have laid out the most relevant information regarding activated charcoal. This information will help you make an informed decision. In this section, we’ve also addressed the most frequently asked questions among it’s users.

Activated charcoal1

Active charcoal is the main component in the facial masks known as “black masks”. (Source: Latsenko: 47767020/

What is activated charcoal exactly?

Activated charcoal is a plant-based product that has undergone various activation processes. This healing and natural element is extracted from coconut shells, beech wood, eucalyptus, pine and willow trees, amongst other natural materials. Keep in mind this is not the same coal we have used for decades to produce energy at home and other places.

Once the product is extracted from the earth, it must undergo different activation processes in laboratories to give it all the health benefits that we desire. This procedure serves to increase the properties of carbon. It consists of an oxidation process that increases its porosity and strengthens its adsorption powers.

In other words, it improves the ability of carbon to capture toxins. The result activated charcoal, a natural product capable of removing impurities up to 200 times its own mass.

How does activated charcoal work exactly?

The main characteristic of activated charcoal is its adsorption capacity. No, not absorption, adsorption. This term refers to the ability to hold and retain various substances, such as toxins, pathogens or chemicals. This is made possible by the energetic attraction between toxins and carbon particles.

When activated carbon comes into contact with a toxin or harmful substance, it attracts and retains it. On a cosmetology level, activated charcoal attracts, and binds to impurities and toxins, facilitating their elimination from our bodies. This characteristic property can also be useful in other more serious situations, such as being poisoned or suffering an overdose.

What is activated charcoal used for?

Active charcoal can be used topically or orally. On a topical level, it is used in the world of cosmetics as a cleansing and purifying agent. Its ability to adsorb impurities makes it ideal for removing blackheads, pimples or other skin imperfections. It’s most often found in the form of face masks.

By ingestion, it has been used in medicine as a detoxifier. In case of intoxication, activated charcoal is administered orally. It’s atoms chemically bind to the toxins preventing their adsorption by our bodies and facilitating their elimination from organism. It’s also useful for stomach bloating, as it eliminates gas and has astringent properties.

The following table shows the uses of activated charcoal in cosmetics, in the home and other applications:

Cosmetics and health Household Other
Purifying and detoxifying masks Water and air purifier Metal extraction
Make-up Odour neutralizer Drinking water purification
Cleansing products Fruit preservation Medical detoxifier
Component in soaps and shampoos Gray water treatment
Bleaching toothpaste

What are the cosmetic properties of activated charcoal?

Active charcoal is has become the new star in cosmetic products. This is mainly due to the many uses in beauty routines. It has many benefits for our skin and teeth thanks to its effective chemical reactions. Alongside its ability to remove toxins, it easily absorbs excess oil away from the skin, making it the ideal ally in treating combination or oily skin.

This product reduces the size of the pores through the degradation and elimination of the dirt that clogs them. Moreover, it’s antibacterial and disinfectant properties work great to get rid of acne. Simply put, it purifies our skin, freeing it from impurities and toxins. With its use, our complexion will look cleaner, healthier and more refined.

Recently, the use of activated charcoal has spread significantly and is now a part of a number of different beauty products. It is increasingly being found in shampoos, especially for greasy hair.

It’s included in facial and dental brushes, and is used as a bleaching and purifying agent in toothpastes.

The following list summarizes the cosmetic benefits and uses of active charcoal:

  • Regulates sebum as it removes excess fat from the skin
  • Eliminates toxins and impurities
  • Reduces the size of pores
  • Antibacterial properties
  • Reduces acne and pimples
  • Used to treat greasy hair
  • Tooth whitener and mouth purifier

Who can benefit from using activated charcoal?

Given the multiple properties of activated charcoal at a cosmetic level, it has become a highly recommended product for pretty much anyone. Nonetheless, It’s especially recommended for people with oily skin, given the sebum-regulating properties of active charcoal. It’s also very useful to those who suffer from chronic acne.

Activated charcoal works great at opening pores and removing blackheads. It effectively cleans and restores the pore back to a healthy, unobstructed state. It’s use is not restricted to a particular demographic. It can be used by all of those who wish to purify and free their skin from all types of toxins.

Activated charcoal2

Active charcoal is recommended for people with oily or combination skin. (Source: Tudsamalee: 57803409/

How do I apply an active charcoal face mask?

Facial masks are the main products containing active charcoal. It’s important to familiarize yourself with how to properly apply a charcoal mask to reap all the possible benefits.

First, the face must be washed thoroughly to remove excess dirt. Next, a layer of the mask is applied on either the whole face or just the T zone, depending on the areas you wish to treat. Leave the mask on for 10-15 minutes before removing it completely.

Once the mask has fully set, soak a sponge or gauze with warm water and gently use it to remove the product from your skin. If cleaning the product off is difficult, DON’T force it or rub the skin, micellar water can be used to gently remove all remaining product.

This cleansing process can be repeated up to three times if you don’t get optimal results at first. However, if you have sensitive skin, it’s actually advisable to repeat the application after 1-2 days to give the skin a rest in between.

What harmful effects can activated charcoal cause?

Although the use of activated charcoal is generally safe, it’s not completely free from possible adverse effects. When used topically, there is the possibility of experiencing skin dryness and irritation. Some people have suffered burns, erosions and even the stripping of the first layers of skin. This occurs mainly when people attempt to make homemade masks or purchase knock off brands with poor quality ingredients.

When ingesting activated charcoal, we must be even more diligent about using it correctly. If not, it can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, black stool, and it can also have negative interactions with other drugs. The use of activated charcoal is not indicated in cases of hypersensitivity or before having an endoscopy.

The following list summarizes certain risks and precautions that must be taken into consideration when ingesting activated charcoal orally:

  • Altered state of consciousness.
  • Toxins that interfere with intestinal motility.
  • Risk of gastrointestinal obstruction, perforation or hemorrhage.
  • Recent surgery or negative drug interactions.
  • Electrolyte imbalance and/or loss of their volume in the body.
  • Administer through gastric tube if unconscious or having a seizure.
  • Not recommended after ingestion of corrosive products.
  • During pregnancy and lactation (safety not yet determined).

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using activated charcoal in cosmetology?

The following table summarises the advantages and disadvantages of activated charcoal in cosmetics:

  • Sebo-regulator
  • Antibacterial effect
  • Acne-fighting powers
  • Bleach
  • Purifier
  • Dry skin
  • Skin irritation
  • Erosions

Purchase Criteria

If you’re considering incorporating an active charcoal based product into your daily life, there are certain criteria you should keep in mind and pay close attention to. Below, we’ve included the most relevant characteristics you should consider before buying one of these products. This way, you can feel confident in your decision and choosing the one that best suits your needs

These aspects are:

  • Quality
  • Composition
  • Skin Type
  • Packaging
  • Concentration
  • Price


Making sure to consider the quality of the product is a fundamental step in choosing the best product. As with all cosmetic products, you will find a wide range of qualities and presentations on the market.

Many people have suffered unnecessary, adverse reactions for using products of poor quality. Activated charcoal facial masks made with bad ingredients have the potential to cause superficial wounds or irritation. To prevent this from happening, you must ensure that the product you are about to purchase is of top quality.


This is a key factor to consider when it comes to any cosmetic product. The fact that they are intended to be applied on sensitive skins and surfaces, means we have to be especially vigilant about it’s ingredients. Activated charcoal products are not made solely of that main compound. They are also formulated with other excipients and added components with different properties.

Before buying activated charcoal products, it is advisable to take some time to read the ingredients that make up the rest of its composition. You must make sure that none of its ingredients have potentially harmful effects. Unfortunately, some cosmetics contain a large number of skin irritants, look out for them and avoid them as much as possible.

Activated charcoal3

Active carbon has a number of cosmetic properties. (Fuente: Petrenko: 46965186/

Skin Type

When purchasing a cosmetic with activated charcoal in it, it’s important that you consider the particular characteristics of your skin. Keeping in mind that this product is particularly beneficial to people with oily or combination skin. So, if you want to remove excess sebum from your face, these type of products can be very useful.

If you know you have sensitive skin or have a known skin disease, it’s advisable to check with your family doctor first before trying any new products. Dry skin and inflammation are often accentuated in those with sensitive skin. Conditions such as rosacea and other similar pathologies have been shown to worsen if not cared for properly.

Remember that the aim when using cosmetics is to obtain beautiful and above all, healthy skin. Awareness is of utmost importance – making sure to take into account one’s health and to know one’s limitations. And while it’s true that activated charcoal has multiple beneficial properties, these don’t apply to everyone.


Packaging is an extremely important aspect when purchasing a cosmetic product, mainly because it enables the use of the product. The packaging must have the appropriate features to ensure the optimum preservation and application of the product. It should be able conserve the compositional integrity of the formula throughout use, manipulation, storage and transport.

Another fundamental aspect to look for in terms of packaging is that it must contain the necessary product information. It should come with a full breakdown of its composition, ingredients and estimated expiration date. All of these facts are essential in preventing adverse reactions of cosmetics on our bodies.


Although you can find a multitude of cosmetics that contain activated charcoal, not all of them will have the same concentration of the active ingredient. Make sure to check out this factor in any product that interests you, it’s positively correlated to the its capability of achieving your desired effect.

Depending on the concentration level of the active ingredient, the effects of the cosmetic will be different. A tooth whitener with a very low concentration of activated charcoal would be less effective than one with a higher concentration.


Last but not least, it is important to evaluate and consider the price of the product before making the final purchase. Among all the different stores and markets, you will find a wide repertoire of products of varying qualities and prices. Again, keep in mind that price does not always go hand in hand with quality. You must choose the product that best suits your needs and budget.


This plant based compound has many applications that go beyond the medical and health fields. As you may have seen by now, activated charcoal has become the protagonist in cosmetics thanks to its many beneficial qualities. In this field, it has proven to be effective in caring for the skin, hair and even the whole mouth and teeth.

These products have become such a success, that they are backed and favorited by big celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Khloé Kardashian, Blanca Suárez and many others who consider activated charcoal indispensable in their beauty routine. As if that weren’t enough, reputable brands such as Clinique, Lush and The Body Shop already offer several products based on activated charcoal.

In short and without a doubt, activated charcoal is an amazing natural compound that can bring a great variety of benefits to your skin and your health. So, do you dare to join this activated charcoal movement? If you liked our guide on activated carbon cosmetics, don’t hesitate to share this article on social networks or leave us a comment with your thoughts.

(Featured image source: Tudsamalee: 57803110/

Rate this article

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
49 Vote, Average: 4.50 of 5