Toxins are everywhere—from the air we breathe to household dust—and even if you’re vigilant about making changes where you can, daily exposure means your body is always working hard to process and eliminate what it absorbs. A few ways to avoid toxins include buying organic produce, replacing plastic food containers with glass, and using natural cleaning products. But we have another suggestion, too.
Activated charcoal! Typically found in powder (or capsule) form, it technically starts as the same stuff that you throw on the grill for a barbecue. But it goes through a special gas heating process (aka “activation”), which makes it more porous—and therefore an excellent detoxifier which has been historically regarded as a poison antidote. (The pores help trap chemicals and toxins, which eventually get flushed out of the system.)
In fact, activated charcoal has been used medicinally for decades to to treat drug and alcohol overdoses in hospitals. These days, it’s also used to purify water in some filtration systems, found in “hangover cure” concoctions, and championed by natural beauty experts as a natural teeth whitener!
Used topically—say, in soaps and facial masks—it gently exfoliates while removing dirt and makeup, and even helps deep-clean and detoxify the skin. Here’s an easy recipe for a bar soap to give it a try yourself. For the base, we used moisturizing shea butter and bentonite clay—a secret ingredient that ancient Aztecs used to draw dirt and impurities out from the complexion. Time to get scrubbing!
Activated Charcoal Soap
What You Need
Cut soap base into small chunks; melt over a double boiler. Remove a small amount of soap and transfer to a cup. Cool slightly, then mix in charcoal. Add back into the rest of the melted soap base. Add bentonite clay, tea tree oil, and peppermint oil and stir to combine. Pour into molds and let cool until firm.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont