Activated charcoal—an ingredient perhaps best-known as those black specks in our Brita water filters—has recently been showing up in everything from trendy ice cream to skincare products. Beloved for its detoxing abilities, this it-ingredient is credited with cleansing skin, whitening teeth and treating acne. To get in on the skin-clearing natural wonder, we picked up some food-grade activated coconut charcoal and put it to work in marbled soap bars and bath bombs that mean business. Our skin has never felt cleaner—or our bathrooms more luxurious.
Activated Charcoal Bath Bombs
What You'll Need
- 1 tablespoon food-grade activated charcoal (we got ours at Whole Foods, or you can order online)
- 3/4 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons citric acid
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
- essential oils (optional)
- witch hazel
- bath bomb mold (like this set)
1. In a large glass bowl, mix the charcoal, baking soda and citric acid. Add the melted coconut oil, working it thoroughly into the dry ingredients. If you're using essential oils, mix in a few drops now.
2. The mixture should be close to the consistency of wet sand and should hold its shape when pressed together — if not, spritz the mixture with witch hazel and stir.
3. Begin filling half of the mold, packing gently with each addition. Fill the second side of the mold slightly higher than the top of the mold, forming a small dome. Firmly press the two halves together, wiping around the edges of the mold to make sure the two sides are sealed.
4. Take the bath bomb out of the mold and allow to dry for 24 hours. To use, toss 'em in your bathtub and enjoy!
Activated Charcoal & Rose Marbled Soap
What You'll Need
- Soap mold, or an empty 32-oz milk carton (like this one)
- Packing tape
- 32-oz white glycerin soap base (such as this one from Michaels)
- Small dowel or chopstick
- 1 tablespoon activated charcoal
- Rose essential oil (optional)
1. If you're using a recycled milk carton for your mold, cut the back off of the carton, following the seam. Clean the container and cover any holes or spouts with packing tape. Position your mold on a slant by resting one of the long edges on a cutting board.
2. Cut your soap base into chunks. Place one quarter of the soap into a microwave-safe glass bowl and heat in 30-second intervals until fully melted. If you're using essential oils, add a few drops now. Pour the melted soap into the tilted container and allow to cool for about 1 minute.
3. When you notice a film start to develop on the surface, sprinkle on about 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal, concentrating along the edge of the carton. Using the dowel, gently press the charcoal into the soap, creating a bumpy-looking surface. Let cool about 4 minutes before adding the next layer.
4. Continue to pour in layers, allowing each to cool slightly before adding the next. For a natural marbled look, vary the amount of soap and switch up the direction you tilt the mold, always sprinkling charcoal between each layer. For the final pour, set the mold down flat and fill the melted soap up to the top of the mold, creating a rectangular block of soap (Hint: Be sure to save enough soap base for this step).
5. Allow the soap to cool completely, about 1 hour, then slide the soap onto a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the soap into 1-inch-thick bars. Place one of these stone slabs in your shower for the most luxurious spa vibes.
To continue on the charcoal detox trend, try making this simple face mask that blends activated charcoal with soothing aloe.