Charcoal has been used in cooking, art and medicine but it has now found its way into beauty products.

For years the multi-purpose charcoal has been used in a variety of ways.

In cooking, frying your Hokkien noodles or barbequing your meats over charcoal beats cooking over a gas stove as it gives your food that special smoky flavour.

Anyone who has had to deal with odours in their refrigerator has probably tried banishing it by placing a piece of charcoal in the fridge.

And when you’re feeling bloated your doctor would have prescribed charcoal tablets to help eliminate a gassy tummy.

Charcoal has also been used to keep the water in your vase fresh and clear, tools free from rust and help orchids grow.

Now, activated charcoal is taking the beauty industry by storm and showing up in cosmetics and personal care products.

To compete with teeth whitening products that could be more abrasive on your enamels than necessary, charcoal toothbrushes and toothpastes were introduced. Not that this is completely innovative as people have been using charcoal bits to whiten their teeth for years.

In cosmetics, charcoal seems to be the new ingredient on the block. It is tapped by many beauty brands for its absorbent ability and used especially in face masks, shampoos, skin treatments and moisturisers.

According to EWG’s website, charcoal powder is a dried, carbonaceous material obtained from the heating of organic substances, and it functions as an absorbent, abrasive agent, colourant and opacifying agent.

MakingCosmetics Inc, an American company that specialises in ingredients for making personal care products and colour cosmetics, explains in its website that activated charcoal powder is prepared by distillation of natural materials.

It adds that charcoal is highly absorptive as it has numerous small pores allowing it to absorb chemical substances such as impurities and oil on the skin and hair.

This fine black powder is used in soaps, shampoos, body scrubs and wash, face masks, creams, cleansing products and colour cosmetic products.


The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask

This 100% vegan facial mask is a beautifying mud-textured exfoliating mask that deeply cleanses and purifies the skin. It cleans out clogged pores and releases toxins to reveal a youthful glow. Inspired by Ayurvedic traditions, this tingling clay mask is infused with bamboo charcoal, green tea leaves and organic tea tree oil. And it’s been formulated without parabens, paraffin, silicone or mineral oil. This invigorating charcoal face mask draws out impurities and refines the appearance of pores for healthy-looking skin.

Chaco Polish and Chaco Oil


This Malaysian brand describes Chaco Polish as a miracle black paste formula containing the highest quality bamboo charcoal and virgin coconut oil to clean, whiten and safely polish your teeth. Preservative-free and low in abrasion, it helps remove stains on surface of teeth caused by coffee, tea, wine, food colouring and tobacco without harming the enamel, resulting in whiter teeth. Chaco Oil is 100% natural dental detox that contains virgin coconut oil with a hint of mint to transform your oral health, whiten teeth and destroy bad breath. It’s also a tastier way for you to do the ancient tradition of oil pulling!

Hask Charcoal Purifying Shampoo

Purifying charcoal gently clarifies and removes build-up without stripping away natural nutrients. It helps absorb unwanted oil while adding moisture, shine and body. Charcoal, a champion ingredient derived from coconut shells in the Philippines, acts as a magnet and attracts and removes impurities. Charcoal has similar benefits on hair as it does on skin – it gently pulls out dirt, toxins and product build-up to help restore hair back to its natural radiance


L’Oreal Paris Skin Expert Detox & Brighten Pure-Clay Mask


This is a super charged Pure-Clay face mask with the power and benefits of Charcoal to detoxify and illuminate skin in just 10 minutes. This mask is made with three different clays and charcoal to remove dirt and oil while refreshing your skin for visibly vibrant results. Its formula provides a luxurious experience while potent pure clays and charcoal act like a magnet to clean out pores and draw out deep impurities such as dirt, oil and pollution. A creamy, non-drying formula it leaves skin feeling clean, velvety and rebalanced.

Boscia Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel


This is a cooling gel moisturiser that provides ultralight hydration as it refines skin texture, brightens skin clarity, and minimises the look of pores instantly and over time. Activated Charcoal absorbs excess oils and impurities, detoxifies, and exfoliates to refine the appearance of pores. Other ingredients include Artichoke Leaf Extract, which reduces the appearance of pore size and Pomegranate Enzyme, a superior antioxidant that provides free radical protection, while exfoliation properties reduce blackheads.

Glam Glow Supermud Clearing Treatment


As the brand’s most advanced clearing treatment developed for men and women, this Supermud treatment helps fight common skin concerns, leaving skin looking renewed and poreless with improved clarity. It’s Acnecidic-6 formulation delivers a blend of AHA and BHA acids for clearer-looking skin. Activated-X Charcoal attracts toxic substances into its mass up to 500 times its volume to benefit all skin types, while K17-Clay addresses excess oil, bacteria, and toxins.