This post may contain affiliate links. Affiliate links come at no extra cost to you. These links allow me to share the products I authentically recommend (and use) and support Live Simply by receiving a small commission.
It’s time for another DIY beauty post which should really be titled, “How to make a beauty product that resembles dirt and will scare away your family.” But who would actually click on a post with that title? Maybe a few of us would be tempted, particularly at 4pm when a mom desperately needs a quiet bathroom break. Alone.
Once again, we’re going to play around with activated charcoal. Remember the black, scary-looking powder we used last month to make a skin-clarifying face mask? Well, it’s back, and this time we’re using it to exfoliate the skin. First, let’s recap the details about activated charcoal.
According to Dr. Axe (which many other sources confirm), “Activated charcoal is a potent natural treatment used to trap toxins and chemicals in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so the body doesn’t reabsorb them. It’s made from a variety of sources, but when used for natural healing, it’s important to select activated charcoal made from coconut shells or other natural sources.” As described in my story, activated charcoal is sometimes used to help treat (food) poisoning. Dr. Axe goes onto to share that activated charcoal works through a process called adsorption, which he describes as “the chemical reaction where elements bind to a surface.”
Thanks to its detoxifying properties, I’ve found that activated charcoal has been a great addition to my natural skincare routine, particularly as someone who is prone to breakouts. I’ve also started experimenting with adding a bit of charcoal powder and coconut oil to my toothbrush at night to help whiten my teeth. I’ll report more on this experiment at a later time, if it works ;).
Since I’ve been enjoying the activated charcoal face mask (posted last month), I wanted to experiment with a beauty product that I could mix together and let sit in my bathroom for a couple of weeks.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about a mask, but the act of having to get out the ingredients and mix it all up for a one-time use is a bit too much sometimes for a tired mom at 10pm. And since I don’t want to scare my family (well, most days), 10pm is the only time for such a scary-looking beauty product. My solution? A charcoal exfoliating facial scrub.
I’ve been using my Honey and Sugar Body Scrub for quite some time, and absolutely love the way it makes my skin feel. Based on my research, I use a scrub twice a week to help exfoliate my face. Anything more than that seems to be over-kill for my skin, and usually results in dry skin and breakouts. I decided to initially try using the base of my honey scrub, oil and sugar, and then simply add a bit of charcoal powder to the mix. The result was an oily and “dirty” product that was hard to apply to my skin. My conclusion? Way too much oil for a charcoal scrub.
After playing around with the concept a few more times, I found that less oil was needed for this scrub. The final product was a black, sandy-looking scrub that left my skin feeling clean and refreshed.
Before I share the recipe, let me just add one important note.
If you didn’t like playing in the dirt as a kid, you’re probably not going to like this exfoliating facial scrub. This scrub definitely reminds me of making mud pies as a child, but with a grainier feel. If dirt just wasn’t and still isn’t your thing, it’s okay, I’ve got you covered with a couple of other options. I recommend trying my Honey and Sugar Body Scrub or Green Tea Exfoliator.
Now, who is ready for a detoxifying mud pie spa experience?
Activated Charcoal Exfoliating Facial Scrub
Who is ready for a detoxifying mud pie spa experience?
Add the cane sugar and activated charcoal to a bowl or storage jar (pictured: Weck Jar). Shake the jar or whisk the ingredients together to combine the sugar and charcoal powder. Add the olive oil to the mixture, and stir to combine. The sugar and charcoal should look like wet, black sand. Seal the jar until use.
To Use: Apply a small amount of the scrub to the palm of your hand, then massage it over a clean face for about 30 seconds. Rinse the scrub off with a warm washcloth. I personally use a scrub on my face twice a week. I've found that over-exfoliating my skin leads to break-outs and dry skin. Twice a week is the magic number for me. After exfoliating, I use a rosewater toner and face oil for a moisturizer. When you introduce water into a product without a preservative you always run the risk of introducing bacteria, so I recommend using a spoon to scoop this scrub from the jar (water on hands = water in the jar).
I like to use frankincense essential oil for my skin-friendly essential oil. The smell is incredibly pleasant and uplifting for a facial scrub.
I think you could probably use another nourishing oil, like jojoba or sweet almond oil, in place of the olive oil.
It’s important that your sugar is soft, which is why I recommend using organic cane sugar or white sugar, versus something like coconut sugar or sucanat. I bet brown sugar would also work in this scrub, and it would probably pair nicely with the dirt look provided by the charcoal, lol.
From my experience, the black charcoal powder easily washes off cloth surfaces once they are washed in the washing machine with laundry soap. After rinsing your face, your washcloth will probably look like it visited your garden and played in the mud. That said, I don’t recommend using your favorite white Anthropologie washcloth to rinse off this mask.