6 DIY Charcoal Face Masks For Radiant Skin

Written by Annie Jangam

Hectic work routines and excess exposure to sun and pollution can make your skin dull and lifeless. Applying a nourishing and detoxifying face mask every week enhances your complexion and keeps your skin supple and hydrated.

While you can easily purchase several kinds of face masks off the shelves of your local supermarket, nothing can beat making your own DIY face mask with natural, non-toxic ingredients.

The activated charcoal used in these masks is suitable for detoxifying all skin types. Here, we discuss the benefits of such masks and 6 DIY recipes you can choose from. Keep reading.

Benefits Of Activated Charcoal For Skin

Activated charcoal is gaining popularity as a skincare ingredient and is often found in soaps, body washes, face washes, and shampoos (1).

While its efficacy as a treatment for poisoning has been proven, there is still insufficient scientific evidence to affirm its effects on the human complexion. However, if anecdotes by beauty bloggers are to be believed, activated charcoal does a lot of good to your face in the following ways:

  • The powder is believed to be one of the best natural pore cleansing ingredients.
  • It binds with the impurities, dead skin cells, and toxins in your face and draws them out.
  • It enhances the efficacy of other ingredients like clay and aloe vera gel when used together.
  • It does not cause allergic reactions and is suitable for all skin types.
  • Regular use of activated charcoal helps tighten your pores and gives you a youthful appearance.
  • It absorbs excess oil and is great for removing greasiness from oily skin.
  • With potential antibacterial properties, activated charcoal may help prevent acne breakouts by drawing out the pimple-causing bacteria.

With many beneficial properties, activated charcoal could indeed be a great addition to your skincare regimen. Read on to know the DIY face mask recipes with activated charcoal.

6 Easy DIY Activated Charcoal Face Mask Recipes

While you can find many commercial face masks with activated charcoal, making your own face mask at home is a great way to care for your skin.

1. Exfoliating Activated Charcoal Face Mask

If you have oily skin and need to get rid of the greasiness, this face mask can be useful. Use it once a week to revive and rejuvenate your complexion.

You Will Need

  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons of activated charcoal powder
  • ½ a teaspoon of baking soda

How To Make

  • Mix the ingredients till well combined.
  • Store in an airtight glass jar.

2. Basic Activated Charcoal Face Mask With Bentonite Clay

Natural clays like bentonite are known for their antibacterial properties (2). This recipe combines the goodness of bentonite with activated charcoal to make a face mask that draws out excess oil and toxins. This mask is excellent for oily skin prone to acne breakouts.

You Will Need

  • 1 teaspoon of bentonite clay
  • 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons of water

How To Make

  • Combine all the ingredients to make a smooth paste.
  • Store in an airtight glass jar.

3. Blackhead-Busting Activated Charcoal Face Mask

Many beauty bloggers swear on the efficacy of activated charcoal to draw out the blackhead-causing impurities and bacteria from your skin. If you suffer from blackheads and are looking for an effective remedy, look no further.

You Will Need 

  • 1 tablespoon of finely ground rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon of activated charcoal powder
  • 1 tablespoon of jojoba or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of water

How To Make

  • Mix the rice flour and charcoal powder.
  • Add the oil and water.
  • Combine to make a smooth paste.
  • Add a spoon of water if the paste is too dry.
  • Store in an airtight glass jar.

4. Nourishing Aloe Vera And Activated Charcoal Face Mask

For those interested in trying out simple homemade face masks, this recipe is a good starting point. Aloe vera is rich in vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, and E, and certain enzymes that help boost skin health (3). This mask detoxifies and nourishes your face.

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel
  • 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder

How To Make

  • Blend the aloe vera gel with the powder until smooth.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight glass jar.

5. Anti-Acne Activated Charcoal Mask

While the activated charcoal powder in this face mask gently draws out the excess oil and impurities from your face, the antibacterial properties of tea tree essential oil prevent acne breakouts (4). This face mask is suitable for normal to oily skin.

You Will Need 

  • 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel
  • 1 teaspoon of bentonite clay
  • 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder
  • 2 to 3 drops of tea tree essential oil

How To Make

  • Blend all the ingredients to get a smooth paste.
  • Transfer into an airtight glass jar and store in the refrigerator.

6. Hydrating Banana And Activated Charcoal Mask

This face mask is specifically formulated for those who have dry skin and acne breakouts. Anecdotal evidence suggests that topically applying mashed ripe banana flesh helps hydrate your complexion. The addition of activated charcoal powder could make this mask an effective anti-acne treatment.

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of chopped ripe banana
  • 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder
  • 1 teaspoon of plant-based glycerine

How To Make

  • Blend all the ingredients to get a smooth paste.
  • Use immediately.

Now that you know how to make homemade activated charcoal face masks for different skin needs, let us understand how you can apply your face mask.

How To Apply An Activated Charcoal Face Mask

It is important to apply your activated charcoal face mask the right way to get the maximum benefits. Here is a mini-guide to help you:

  • Applying the face mask on clean skin helps in better penetration. Use a gentle facial cleanser before applying the mask and pat your face dry.
  • Spread the mask evenly over your face using your fingertips or a soft-bristled brush. Apply it to your forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. Avoid the areas near your eyes and mouth.
  • Keep the mask on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
  • Pat your face dry and gently spread some moisturizer afterward.

While this method works for many people, some may prefer alternative ways of using activated charcoal. If you are too busy to make your own activated charcoal face masks, you can buy commercially available face masks instead. Also, to give your entire body the benefits of activated charcoal, choose body washes and soaps enriched with this toxin-pulling ingredient. Face washes and overnight creams with activated charcoal are also available for those who do not want to use face masks.

While activated charcoal is generally considered a safe ingredient, you should be aware of its potential side-effects before using it.

Potential Side Effects Of Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal has numerous benefits. However, its oil-drawing properties tend to dry the skin out. Here are a few of its potential side-effects:

  • An activated charcoal peel-off mask may strip your skin’s natural oils and leave your face itchy, scaly, and dry.
  • Overuse of activated charcoal face masks may permanently harm your complexion in the long run.
  • These masks might not suit people of all ethnicities. It may cause permanent hypopigmentation in African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics.
  • Improper use of the ingredient can lead to infections and scarring.
  • Some brands of activated charcoal powder may not be regulated by the FDA.

Yes, activated charcoal may present some side-effects if not used properly. But do not let this deter you from trying it. The following tips will help reduce the risk of side effects and allow you to experience the benefits of face masks.

Tips For Using An Activated Charcoal Face Mask

Adding activated charcoal powder to your face mask provides you with numerous benefits. Here is how you can get the most out of the experience.

  • Do a patch test on the inside of your elbow before using an activated charcoal mask on your face.
  • Ensure that you buy only a reputed brand of activated charcoal powder from a trusted source.
  • Gently massage your face with facial oil before applying the mask to prevent over-drying.
  • Leave the mask on only for the recommended duration. Keeping it on for too long may dry your skin out.
  • Use the charcoal face mask once a week for sustainable results.
  • Stop using the mask if you develop an allergic reaction like burning, redness, or itching.
  • Never apply charcoal face masks on the sensitive skin near your eyes.
  • After washing off the mask, apply a moisturizer and hydrate your skin.
  • Besides treating acne, you can use these masks to soothe insect bites on your face.

We now know that using activated charcoal can give you many benefits. But what if you use regular charcoal on your face?

Can You Use Regular Charcoal On Your Face?

Regular charcoal is not suitable to be used on your face. Activated charcoal is made by processing regular charcoal. It is porous and is more effective at drawing out the toxins.

Besides, using regular charcoal might cause irritation, redness, and itchiness because of its impurities. Hence, stick to only high-grade activated charcoal.

Closing Thoughts

Activated charcoal is known for its efficacy in drawing out excess oils, toxins, and impurities from your face. It is a popular ingredient in DIY face mask recipes. It is a versatile ingredient and can be used to make many face masks for different skin types.

Experiment with the different recipes to understand which face mask suits you the most. Always follow up with a hydrating moisturizer for fresh-looking, acne-free, and soft skin.

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Annie Jangam is a Molecular Biologist with 7 years of research experience in Rice Functional Genomics and Nutrient Signalling with International Publications in Abiotic stress, Nitrogen, and G-protein signaling. She specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. She has been an avid reader since childhood and is passionate about stories that help decipher life and its meaning. She believes in Human Rights for all and that one should "love others like we love ourselves."