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DIY Charcoal Mask

This DIY charcoal mask will leave your skin feeling clean and clear! Try this easy homemade activated charcoal mask today.

Today we’re using activated charcoal to make a simple, but very effective face mask. This charcoal face mask helps clear black heads, even the appearance of your skin, and it leaves you skin feeling soft.

diy charcoal face mask

Although this face mask is fantastic for oily, acne-prone skin, it’s gentle enough to use on drier, sensitive skin, too. Hooray!

Charcoal face mask ingredients

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People frequently ask about substitutions, so let’s take a look at the ingredients in this face mask so you know why each one is important, what it does, and what substitutions might make sense for you.

The best clay for face masks

People always want to know what the best clay is for a face mask and if they can make swaps.

I used kaolin clay in this activated charcoal mask. Kaolin is the most gentle cosmetic clay and it’s suitable for all skin types. I have very sensitive skin, so I almost always use kaolin clay.

There are several types of cosmetic clay you could use. Here’s some information about cosmetic clays to help you make an informed decision!

Rose clay is commonly considered a type of kaolin clay, which means it’s also a good choice for sensitive skin.

Bentonite clay and French green clay are good choice for normal/combination skin. French green clay is a bit more ‘powerful’ than kaolin clay, so you might want to avoid it if you have sensitive skin. I’ve seen other charcoal mask recipes recommend using bentonite clay, but it’s not as gentle as kaolin.

Rhassoul clay (also called Ghassoul clay) can be more difficult to find and a little more expensive, but it’s great stuff. Rhassoul clay is a great choice for people who have been left too dry feeling after other clay facial masks.

Rhassoul clay has a high mineral content, including magnesium and silica (which helps your body produce collagen) and comes from Morocco. It is known for providing gentle exfoliation while soothing and hydrating skin and reducing dryness/flakiness.

If you aren’t sure what type of clay you like, get a sample pack and try several!

Sale
Bentonite (Indian Healing), Moroccan (Red Rhassoul), and Green (French-Sea)...
  • 3 pack/set of clay powders- 8 oz each of Sodium Bentonite (Indian Healing), Moroccan (Red, Ghassoul/Rhassoul), and European (French Sea Green) Clays
  • 100% all-natural clay powder for making mud masks for skin, face, hair and body. No chemicals, no preservatives
  • Great for all skin and hair types- normally, oily, mature, sensitive, dry, combination, acne prone. Detoxifies and exfoliates, leaves skin and hair...
rhassoul, green, and kaolin cosmetic clays

Activated charcoal skin benefits

Activated charcoal is incredibly popular in bath and body products. It’s one everything from toothpaste to bath bombs and soap! (I personally use activated charcoal toothpaste and charcoal deodorant.)

Activated charcoal is not the same thing as the charcoal you put on your grill. It’s charcoal that’s been superheated. It becomes incredibly absorbent and can bind to toxins, which is why it’s used in emergency rooms to treat overdoses and poisonings (source).

Although activated charcoal’s benefits for skin have not been studied extensively (yet), researchers in the European Journal of Pharmaceutical and Medical Research suggest it may draw micro-partials out of the skin. This is the “detoxing” effect of activated charcoal everyone talks about. It helps clean your skin and clear your complexion.

Sale
Viva Doria Virgin Activated Charcoal Powder - Food Grade (1.2 Oz Glass Jar)
  • Activated charcoal is excellent for digestive cleansing, teeth whitening, face mask.
  • It is also effective for absorbing poisons and other toxins ingested accidentally.
  • Virgin Activated Charcoal Powder (Derived from selected natural hardwood)
activated charcoal

Honey’s benefits for skin

Honey is a fantastic, natural ingredient to have on hand for your homemade skincare products! (It’s also great for your kitchen – learn how to substitute honey for sugar in recipes).

Honey is beneficial for your skin for several reasons. It is full of antioxidants and is a humectant, which means it draws water to your skin to keep it hydrated. 

Honey helps even skin tone and can reduce irritation, which makes it great for both dry skin and acne-prone skin

Raw honey is also a gentle, natural exfoliant. 

If you don’t have real honey, you can omit it from the recipe. I’ve seen cheap “honey” for sale that was actually mostly corn syrup – yikes! Add a bit more water or ACV, as needed, if you leave the honey out of this face mask.

Honey is truly amazing stuff. If you want to know more, read about the benefits of honey on Healthline.

jar of honey

Apple cider vinegar for skin

I used apple cider vinegar in this mask instead of water. You can use water, if you’d prefer. Raw apple cider vinegar, or ACV, has many benefits for your skin.

ACV contains acetic acid, which can help clear up acne-prone skin. ACV also has malic acid, which is a chemical exfoliator. Exfoliating clears away dry, dead skin and leaves your skin soft and fresh!

Apple cider vinegar is also an astringent, which is why it’s used as a facial toner. It may help tighten your skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and even skin tone (source).

Apple cider vinegar can cause skin irritation. If you have sensitive skin, dilute. Use 1 teaspoon of ACV and 1 teaspoon of water, or even just 1/2 a teaspoon of ACV.

If I use undiluted ACV in this face mask, my skin gets a bit red for 10-20 minutes after I wash it off. As I’ve mentioned before, I have very sensitive skin. My husband can use the mask without diluting the ACV and has no reaction.

Essential oils for healthy skin

I added a single drop of essential oil to the face mask. This isn’t mandatory, but it can bring additional benefits to your face mask.

Not all essential oils are suitable for delicate facial skin. Make sure to pick an oil that is safe for facial skin and that makes sense for you personally. Don’t use something just because it ‘smells nice.’ Make sure you understand it’s properties, too!

  • Lavender is a gentle essential oil that smells fantastic. It is soothing and perfect for irritated, dry, or flaky skin.
  • Chamomile is a classic calming and soothing herb. The essential oil is perfect for dry, sensitive skin.
  • Geranium is another great balancing essential oil that can help sooth irritated, dry skin. It smells kind of like roses, so most people like its scent.
  • Ylang yang is another calming, soothing essential oil that can work well in this face mask.
  • Rose is a traditional oil for soothing dry or inflamed skin. 
  • Frankensense. Frankincense is my favorite essential oil for skin and what I personally used. 
  • Tea tree is an astringent essential oil that is good for oily, acne-prone skin.
essential oils

Charcoal face mask recipe

This face mask recipe makes enough for two masks. It doesn’t keep, so grab a friend and share the love! If you don’t have anyone to share the mask with, you can use it on your feet.

Ingredients and materials

materials for DIY activated charcoal mask

How to make an activated charcoal face mask

Watch the video face mask tutorial or scroll down to read the step by step instructions! Keep scrolling to the end of the tutorial and FAQs about the mask for a printable recipe card.

Measure apple cider vinegar and/or water into a small, clean bowl.

Add one drop of essential oil.

add one drop of essential oil to apple cider vinegar

Add honey and stir to combine. The pointy tip on this small spatula is perfect for scraping honey out of measuring spoons!

Sprinkle cosmetic clay over the liquid mixture and allow it to sit for 8-10 seconds, then stir to combine.

add kaolin clay to face mask

Add the activated charcoal and stir carefully to combine. It’s a very fine powder that wants to poof and get everywhere! Stir until everything is fully combined. This may take a minute or two. The final texture is a thick liquid, not a paste. If you want a thicker face mask, add more clay a little at a time.

stir activated charcoal into face mask to combine

Using your nitrile glove or a brush to apply your face mask, avoiding your eyes and mouth. (Oh, the front facing camera on my phone! Why do front facing pictures look so bad?)

Allow the mask to harden on your face for about 10 minutes, then wash off carefully. Follow up with your favorite oil or moisturizer.

Important notes and FAQs about the face mask:

The charcoal mask may stain, so take care to avoid getting it on your clothing. If it does get on your clothes, wash promptly.

If you leave the mask on for a long time, it may temporarily stain your skin. Neither I nor my other tester experienced this, but it is a possibility. I like to rinse my face without a cloth because rubbing the charcoal into your skin makes it more likely the mask will stain.

If you do experience staining, or residual activated charcoal in any fine lines, use your favorite makeup remover or cleansing oil.

This face mask does not keep. It makes enough for two masks, so invite a friend over or use the rest on your feet!

You can use this activated charcoal mask once or twice a week.

You may experience more breakouts a day or two after using the mask. If you’ve used cleansing products before, you know this is completely normal and because of the detox/cleansing action of the clay and activated charcoal.

Don’t lose track of this DIY charcoal mask for blackheads! Pin the recipe now!

I truly hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to make this activated charcoal mask. You can print the recipe below for handy reference! Keep scrolling down for even more DIY body and natural skincare recipes and please let me know if there’s any natural skincare product you’d like to see a tutorial for!

DIY Charcoal Face Mask

DIY Charcoal Face Mask

This charcoal face mask leaves your skin feeling soft and clear! Grab a freind becuase this recipe makes enough for two masks.

Active Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Materials

  • 2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • Dilute if you have sensitive skin or just use water
  • 1 drop essential oil
  • I recommend lavender, frankincense, or tea tree
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw local honey
  • 1 teaspoon kaolin clay
  • 1 teaspoon activated charcoal

Tools

  • Measuring spoons
  • Small bowl
  • Small spatula or spoon for stirring
  • A latex or nitrile glove, optional but recommended. You could also use a cosmetic brush for applying face masks.

Instructions

    1. Measure apple cider vinegar and/or water into a small, clean bowl.
    2. Add one drop of essential oil.
    3. Add honey and stir to combine.
    4. Sprinkle cosmetic clay over the liquid mixture and allow it to sit for 8-10 seconds, then stir to combine.
    5. Add the activated charcoal and stir carefully to combine. It’s a very fine powder that wants to poof and get everywhere!
    6. Stir until everything is fully combined. This may take a minute or two. The final texture is a thick liquid, not a paste. If you want a thicker face mask, add more clay a little at a time.
    7. Using your nitrile glove or a brush to apply your face mask, avoiding your eyes and mouth.
    8. Allow the mask to harden for about 10 minutes, then wash off carefully. Follow up with your favorite oil or moisturizer.

Notes

This face mask may (temporarily) stain your skin if you leave it on too long. Wash it off at 10 minutes and follow up with a makeup remover or cleansing oil if you have any charcoal left on your skin. (Staining did not happen for me or my other tester.)

DIY body products on The Artisan Life

Take the guesswork out of creating safe, healthy, homemade body products for your family with these tutorials!

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Chelsea Duffy November 27, 2019, 08:48

    This sounds like an amazing mask. I am pinning it so I can make it after Thanksgiving. I love the breakdown of the different types of clays too. So helpful! Thank you!

  • Vladka November 26, 2019, 10:47

    I love this recipe, great combination of ingredients beneficial for the skin. I would love to see the mask on the skin. Is it black or rather grey when it is dry?

    • Natasha November 27, 2019, 10:59

      I don’t have any pictures of the mask totally dry, but you can see it fully applied and wet at the end of the video. It was a very dark grey when dry. I really like how supple it still was when dry – it’s not a super tight mask that feels like your skin is being vacuumed to your face!

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