Home Projects

This Super Simple 2-Ingredient Charcoal Face Mask is a Skin Saver

updated Oct 15, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Marla Christiansen)

Activated charcoal and aloe are the two darlings of the beauty world right now, showing up in drugstore products, high-end cleansers and DIY recipes alike. This homemade face mask recipe combines the two star ingredients into the simplest skin detox around. Remember those blackhead-removing strips that were so fun as a teen? Consider this their trendy, grown-up cousin.

So, what is activated charcoal, anyway?

Not to be confused with the charcoal used for grilling (please don’t put that on your face), activated charcoal is prepared specifically for use in medicine and beauty products. It’s made by heating up ordinary charcoal (often made of wood, coconut shell) in the presence of a gas that increases its surface area by creating “pores” that absorb chemicals and toxins. Typically used to filter water (it’s those tiny black specks in your Brita) and to treat poisoning, activated charcoal is now hitting the beauty scene and showing its less serious side. Here’s how to turn the purifying ingredient into a simple face mask.

Activated Charcoal Cleansing Face Mask

What You’ll Need

  • 1 tablespoon food-grade activated charcoal (we found ours at Whole Foods, or you can order online)
  • 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin coconut oil, melted (optional)
  • Wooden dowel or chopstick


(Image credit: Marla Christiansen)

1. In a glass bowl, mix together the charcoal and aloe vera until smooth. Avoid using any metal or plastic spoons (wooden works best) when mixing, as activated charcoal will try to draw out the metals and toxins.

2. To prevent the face mask from attaching a little too securely to your skin (like those face-mask fails we’re seeing on YouTube), spread a thin layer of coconut oil onto your clean, makeup-free face. You can also skip the coconut oil and simply dampen your face with water. Apply the mask and allow to dry about 20 minutes. Splash your face with lukewarm water to remove the mask, then go show off that fresh-faced glow.

(Image credit: Marla Christiansen)

Want more ideas for detoxing with activated charcoal? Check out our tutorials for cleansing charcoal bath bombs and marbled charcoal soaps.