Hey you, dirty bird. Let’s talk activated charcoal – and my two current favorite uses for it.
A few months ago, a friend of mine was talking about brushing your teeth with activated charcoal.
Upon immediate Googling, I found more than a dozen bloggers who swore by the fine, jet black powder for safe and effective teeth whitening.
I found some on Amazon for $12 via one user’s recommendation and clicked ‘Buy Now’.
Those whitening strips are effective – but expensive and often painful. The idea of an effective, less irritating and much cheaper alternative piqued my interest.
When it arrived, the packaging was wrapped in tissue paper as if it was glass. I opened it up and unsealed it, shocked by just how fine the powder was. When I looked inside the bag, I couldn’t tell where it ended or began – like staring into a black hole.
I grabbed a mason jar (go ahead, pretend to be surprised) and slowly (VERY SLOWLY) poured some of it into a mason jar. I filled it about 2/3 of the way, capped it and added it to my medicine cabinet. Then I zip-sealed the package – there was plenty left in it – and ever so gently placed it in a drawer in my bathroom.
I cannot stress enough to be super careful with this stuff – not for fear of it being harmful, but for fear of it going everywhere. If you breathe, sneeze or knock it over, you are going to seriously regret it.
Luckily, it wipes right off kitchen sinks and floors – but use a paper towel. One of my cream-colored ‘decorative’ towels still has a spot on it from when I absentmindedly used it to clean off my counters.
My two favorite ways to use activated charcoal thus far have been as a whitening agent and as an additive to the body scrubs that I love to make.
I do not use this as toothpaste. A friend of mine uses it that way in conjunction with her toothpaste, but I prefer to brush my teeth with toothpaste and then the activated charcoal or add a little activated charcoal to my toothpaste.
I found it worked out best when I put a little bit into the cap of the mason jar, wet my toothbrush (or put toothpaste on it) and dip my toothbrush in the cap or use the cap to ‘pour’ some charcoal on my toothbrush.
Personally, I found timing it doesn’t matter – just brush until the charcoal is gone. This can take from 3-5 minutes. The charcoal doesn’t taste like much of anything and though I don’t recommend you eat it, it’s not going to kill you. The texture is dry and gritty and a bit reminiscent of baking soda.
Once you’re finished, smile brightly in the mirror and continue on your merry – and now brighter – way.
2. Face Scrub
I love to make body scrubs. They’re my go-to gift to give because they’re so easy to make but are so luxurious. I love them. My favorite is a chocolate sugar scrub that makes my entire body smell like heaven. It doesn’t hurt that it leaves my skin smooth and moisturized even before slathering myself with my dry body oil.
In this instance, I wanted to make a face scrub. I recently had a bout with Perioral Dermatitis, at which point my doctor told me to get rid of any products in my beauty routine that included Sodium Laureth Sulfate.
That was everything in my beauty routine. My shampoo. My conditioner. My body wash. My face wash. My face scrub. My face lotion. My body lotion. My beauty routine has barely changed since I was 16. I occasionally add in a fun new shampoo. I’m still sad about it.
I went to Whole Foods with her recommendation and spent $70 on new products, which was soul-crushing. However, within two days my skin was free and clear again and to be fair – the shampoo and conditioner I bought have worked miracles on my distressed locks.
Anyway, I don’t love the face wash and lotion I ended up buying so I’ve been looking for other alternatives. The creamy face wash just doesn’t do the job that my old one did and the lotion doesn’t give my skin quite what it needs. I decided to do a little research on using the activated charcoal in face scrubs. I wasn’t sure how it would react or if it would store well premixed in the cupboard. Luckily, I found someone else who had done just that and I modified it a bit to suit my needs.
I have yet to use this as the only source to wash my face, even though the post I found appeared to be for just that – an activated charcoal face wash. My face scrub is just that – a scrub. I added brown sugar to make it grittier, so I first wash my face with a cream cleanser and then I use the scrub.
You’ll need the following tools & ingredients to make this scrub:
- Mason Jar (I used two of these 5 oz jars.)
- Measuring Spoons
- Measuring Cup
- 1 cup Coconut Oil
- 4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Activated Charcoal
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
- Again, careful with that activated charcoal. Gingerly add the charcoal to the bowl. Then the baking soda. Then the brown sugar.
- Now, you are going to carefully, carefully add the coconut oil on top. I like to make sure the coconut oil goes across all the ingredients like a lid, otherwise that charcoal will puff up all over the place.
- Once you’ve done that, start slowly mixing the ingredients. It will eventually turn to a steel grey color.
- Once it’s thoroughly mixed, pour it in your mason jar(s), seal them tight and store in a dry cool place.
I think that the next time I make this, I will add more activated charcoal and brown sugar. It was still a bit more creamy than I wanted, but it certainly did the trick. Feel free to add more or less to your liking!
- Wash Face. Rinse well.
- Wet face with lukewarm water.
- Use about a teaspoon (or more, your call) and scrub face in circular motion, focusing on your trouble zones.
- Rinse well. It may take a few rinses, but get all of that stuff off and then pat your face dry with a (preferably dark-colored) towel. If you see streaks of grey, keep rinsing.
I use this when I’m heading to bed and I did not need to add a moisturizer on top of it. You’ll notice the coconut oil hangs out. That coconut oil was enough for me. If it’s not for you, wait about ten minutes and then apply your moisturizer.