Activated Charcoal sounds like an odd ingredient at first to use on your skin, if anyone has ever had a bonfire on the beach you will know the smoky smell left in your hair and clothes and will probably associate charcoal with that, Activated Charcoal differs quite a bit, there is a process it is put through (see below if you really want to nerd out) which makes it ready for use in medicine, beauty and lifestyle products. It loses any “smoky” smell, becomes a really fine powder with a whole lot of other benefits, common uses today are to filter water, filter air and treat certain poisonings in hospitals! Keep reading to find out the incredible way it helps with skin problems and why we use it as the hero ingredient in our Good Vibes Only Detox Mask

Zen Activated Charcoal

How Activated Charcoal is made?

To make Activated Charcoal, the common process is to steam-activate the different types of common charcoal. The coal is heated, and then activated by putting it in a furnace at very high temperatures, normally between 600– 1,200 Degrees Celsius. This is done with steam and in the absence of any oxygen.

During the process all unstable compounds are eradicated, while layers of carbon atoms are stripped off creating a network of carbon pores.

What does that mean?

The Activated Charcoal is now so fine and porous that it can act like a magnet to capture and trap toxins and chemicals by adhering them to itself, pretty cool!

How Activated Charcoal Benefits your Skin

  • Activated Charcoal is an adsorbent, the charcoal grabs onto a toxin e.g the built up dirt and oil in the pores of skin, and attaches them to itself.
  • The charcoal is then removed with water taking the oil and dirt away with it.
  • Charcoal does not pass into our skin (absorption), creating no further blockages that most skin cleansers can create and no need to add additional chemical cleansers for that deep pore cleanse that you want. Bonus!
  • Because dirt and oils are what makes our pores appear larger, using charcoal applications a couple of  times a week will make your pores look smaller
  • You can use it as a spot treatment, by applying only to an area affected by acne it  will help adsorb the toxins and oils built up.
  • Charcoal can help prevent acne by cleansing the pores deeply and it will help by being slightly exfoliating (in mask form normally)
  • One downside to Activated Charcoal is that it is messy! It is a fine powder and can is easy to be get it everywhere, don’t worry though it doesn’t stain, if you happen to get it on any clothes just wash as normal.
  • We personally recommend doing an oil cleanse (instructions coming soon!) right after a charcoal mask, not only does this pick up the last of the micro fine charcoal that has adhered to your pores but it also gives a deep moisturising treatment that will not block your pores! (some oils do block your pores and we do not recommend using coconut oil as it is a high comodogenic meaning it will clog pores see our oil cleanse for info on what to use and why it’s best for your skin)
  • To try a genuine Activated Charcoal mask try our Good Vibes Only Detox Mask


The best activated charcoal for skin comes from specific types of wood, and has a few names,

  • Binchotan or otherwise know as white charcoal is a traditional charcoal of Japan, it has quite a big reputation, and a long history to go with it. Dating back to the Edo period (1603-1868), Binchotan was created during an era often referred to as the Golden Age, a time where the arts flourished. It was made from the raw material of oak, more specifically Ubame oak. The quality of Binchotan is attributed to steaming at high temperatures as described above. Now, Binchotan is sometimes made with a variety of hard woods. But it has a known reputation for being high quality.
  • Bamboo Charcoal has a long history of use as well, first documented in China in 1486 AD, during the Ming Dynasty.

As well as the extensive documented use, Bamboo also has a remarkable microstructure especially known for it’s high absorptive capacity once carbonized. It is commonly said that the surface area of bamboo charcoal pores is 2~3 two times that of other wood charcoals.

Thus making it even more effective after going through the activation process, bamboo is also sustainable, and can benefit protecting the environment from pollutant residue, Win-win.


Try our Good Vibes Only Detox Mask now to get your deep pore cleanse and charcoal detox!
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