What Are The Benefits Of Activated Charcoal For Your Hair?

Keep your locks clean, healthy, and dandruff-free with this powerful substance.

Reviewed by Madison Dufour, Barber & Cosmetologist Madison Dufour Madison DufourBarber & Cosmetologist facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MSc Annie Jangam MSc Experience: 11 years
Edited by , BA, MSc Eshna Das BA, MSc Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Monomita Chakraborty MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Experience: 4 years
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Using activated charcoal for your hair is the best and easiest way to give it a thorough cleansing. Moreover, it can also help transform your rough and dull hair. You might have noticed that charcoal face masks and charcoal-based detox drinks have been on the trend recently. The products containing activated charcoal exfoliate the scalp and remove the dirt build-up and the excess sebum without causing any side effects. This natural and nontoxic product is apt for all hair types, helps in reducing dandruff, and encourages hair growth. Want to know more benefits? Keep reading.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Activated Charcoal

What Is It?
It is porous charcoal created by treating charcoal with oxygen at very high temperatures.

What Are Its Benefits?
It contains pores that can remove dirt and excess sebum from the hair and exfoliate the scalp.

Who Can Use It?
Can be used on all hair types

How Often?
Can be used weekly as scrub or clarifying shampoo, and up to thrice weekly in case of extreme build up of pollutants

Caution
It is a natural ingredient and causes no side effects.

What Is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is made by processing carbon-rich materials such as coconut shells, coal, bone char, peat, sawdust, and fruit pits at very high temperatures to form a super adsorbent and fine powder.

It is different from the normal charcoal you get when you burn coal or other substances since it is usually prepared by the gas activation method and chemical activation. It is used for detoxification due to its porous nature and higher surface area (1). Thus, it is commonly used orally to absorb toxins from the stomach and kidney and topically used to cleanse your skin, teeth, and hair.

The detoxifying power of activated charcoal has made it a popular ingredient in the cosmetic industry. It is commonly used in face masks, face cleansers, and toothpaste. However, did you know that it can be used for cleansing hair, too? Find out the many benefits of using activated charcoal for your hair and scalp in the next section.

What Are The Benefits Of Charcoal For Your Hair?

There are many alleged benefits of activated charcoal on your hair. These include:

  • Cleanser: Charcoal is a safe and natural alternative to cleanse and remove toxins, dirt, and excess oils from your hair and scalp. It absorbs all the grime and grease from the scalp, thus leaving it squeaky clean.
  • Non-Toxic: It is free from harsh chemicals as it is made from organic substances.
  • Gentle: The fine texture of activated charcoal allows for gentle yet effective cleansing without stripping the hair of its natural oils.
  • Soothes The Scalp: Activated charcoal can be used by people with sensitive skin to treat various scalp conditions such as flakiness, irritation, and itchiness. Thus, it is recommended for good scalp health and as a popular home remedy for treating dandruff.
  • Detoxifier: It is used to remove toxins such as chemicals from your hair, especially due to pollution or swimming in chlorinated pools. It is safe to use on colored hair, but it can stain lighter hair colors.
  • Suits All hair types: Since activated charcoal is made with natural ingredients, it can be used safely by everyone. It does not dry out curly hair.
  • Volumizer: Activated charcoal removes product residue from your hair, thus boosting its volume. It is especially effective in removing the leftover dry shampoo from your hair.
  • Boosts Hair Growth: Anecdotal evidence suggests that activated charcoal unclogs the hair follicles to promote hair growth. Thus, it is a popular hair care ingredient used in shampoos for its cleansing and detoxifying properties.
  • Provides Relief From Itching: Activated charcoal may help soothe the scalp and provide a cooling effect. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it may help improve scalp health by effectively getting rid of excess oil and dirt and leaving your scalp squeaky clean. This also may reduce scalp itching. While research on topical use of activated charcoal is limited in this regard, its oral intake has been proven to relieve itching in people with kidney issues (2).

Maria, a lifestyle blogger, shares her insights on using activated charcoal in her skin and hair care routines. About using it for her hair, she says, “Charcoal (activated) is so much better to get rid of hair toxins, adds volume to your hair, and I even use it as a scalp conditioning remedy (i)!” She adds that whenever she uses bleach for hair color treatments, her roots get sensitized, become red, and turn into scabs, but activated charcoal remedies the redness and scabs in a matter of hours.

protip_icon Quick Tip

Activated charcoal works great on oily hair that tends to smell if not cleaned properly. Charcoal helps remove all impurities and the accompanying odor from your hair.

It is important to note that all of these benefits of activated charcoal for hair are based on anecdotal evidence. There is no scientific evidence to prove the same.

Now, let’s check out how you can use activated charcoal on your hair!

How To Use Activated Charcoal For Hair Growth

There are two easy ways to use activated charcoal for hair growth.

I. Activated Charcoal With Shampoo

You can just add activated charcoal to your regular shampoo (make sure it is sulfate-free) in a 1: 4 ratio. Wash your hair as usual with this activated charcoal-infused shampoo.

Keep in mind that charcoal can stain your hair and is messy to clean. It is better to avoid this method if you have light or blonde hair.

II. Charcoal Hair Mask

You Will Need

  • 2 tablespoons of activated charcoal powder
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Process

  1. Heat up the coconut oil until it has melted completely.
  2. Mix the activated charcoal powder with the coconut oil.
  3. Apply this mixture to your scalp.
  4. Gently massage your scalp in circular motions. This will boost blood circulation and help in gentle exfoliation.
  5. Keep this hair mask on for about 20 minutes.
  6. Rinse it off with warm water and a mild shampoo.
protip_icon Quick Tip

Make sure that you use 100% pure activated charcoal that is free from sulfates, silicones, parabens, phthalates, and other preservatives.

If these DIYs are not your cup of tea, there are plenty of hair care products with activated charcoal that you can incorporate into your hair care routine. However, the results may vary based on your hair type and texture, and more so if you have dry hair. Learn more in the next section.

Is Activated Charcoal Good For Dry Hair?

Activated charcoal is not bad for dry hair. You can use it to deep-cleanse the scalp once a week. However, using it in excess can strip off the natural oils and dry your scalp out.

Infographic: Top Advantages Of Charcoal For Hair

Charcoal is not just for barbecues; it also offers a multitude of benefits for your hair. Charcoal has become a popular ingredient in hair care products and offers various benefits, from detoxifying the scalp to enhancing hair growth. Check out the infographic below to explore the top advantages of charcoal for hair to improve the health, appearance, and overall vitality of your locks.

top advantages of charcoal for hair (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Activated charcoal can be an effective ingredient to use for hair treatment. It helps exfoliate your scalp and removes excess sebum and dirt build-up. It is a natural and non-toxic product with several other benefits, including minimizing dandruff and improving hair growth, and further reducing hair loss. You may use activated charcoal for hair cleansing and remove toxins from your scalp. You can either use charcoal-infused hair products, add activated charcoal to your shampoo or prepare DIY hair masks and include it in your hair care routine. Since it is a natural remedy, it suits all skin types and causes no side effects. However, always do a patch test before using it for the first time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is charcoal harmful to hair?

No. Charcoal is a cleanser and detoxifier and may clarify the scalp. However, excessive use of charcoal may dry out your scalp and hair and may lead to flaking.

Can activated charcoal darken hair?

No. Charcoal can leave temporary stains but it can be dusted or washed away.

Can activated charcoal be used on all hair types, including color-treated or chemically-processed hair?

All hair types benefit from the use of activated charcoal, whether it be curly, straight, colored, or chemically treated.

Can activated charcoal be used as a natural alternative to traditional hair treatments like shampoos or conditioners?

Charcoal can be used along with shampoos and conditioners but not as an alternative to them. This is because charcoal only removes impurities but does not moisturize your scalp.

Key Takeaways

  • Charcoal is a natural and safe way to cleanse your hair and scalp of toxins, debris, and excess oils, and enhance the beauty of your tresses.
  • Activated charcoal’s fine texture provides gentle but effective cleansing without stripping your hair of its natural oils.
  • People with sensitive skin can use activated charcoal to treat various scalp issues such as flaking, inflammation, and itching.
Activated Charcoal For Your Hair

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

Learn how to grow your hair fast with an activated charcoal mask. Watch the easy-to-follow video tutorial to help you improve your hair growth and health.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Activated Charcoal: Preparation, characterization, and Applications: A review article,
    http://www.oxinchemistry.ir/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/ACTIVATED-CARBON.pdf
  2. Charcoal for the management of pruritus and uremic toxins in patients with chronic kidney disease
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31725009/
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