The Purely Primal Skincare Blog

{Fix your skin. Naturally!}



Recently, my skincare routine has changed.

Where I used to have time to do a long, luxurious oil cleansing routine, I now am lucky if I get the chance to hang up my washcloth. (Being a frazzled first-time mom will do that to ya. Or, it’ll do that to me, anyway.)

So lately, I’ve had to trade giving my skin the royal treatment and LOTS of quality time each day for maximum efficiency for the minimum time investment.

This means I’m using all the charcoal.

Activated charcoal is a pretty amazing substance. It binds to toxins and impurities (and those aren’t buzzwords – that’s literally what it does via adsorption) and detoxifies those nasties from the skin.

Yet despite its amazing effectiveness, we don’t often hear about it.

Why? I’m guessing because it’s not patentable and it’s not proprietary and it doesn’t require a lab to synthesize it. Heck, you can even make it yourself if you’re feeling like doing a little home science experiment.

(After the baking soda & vinegar volcano fiasco of 1992, I’m not so sure I’ll take the challenge…)

Using products with activated charcoal – like my choices, which include

…has given me maximum cleansing power in the shortest amount of time. And that’s the name of the game these days.

I use the Cleansing Bar twice a day to fight blackheads and my post-partum oily skin, and I add a charcoal mask once each week in the shower (because, if I’m honest, I’m only getting around to that once a week at best) to really dig deep.

I use the Black Peppermint Tooth Powder a few times a week for its tooth-whitening power. (Because, coffee. All day. Mama needs it.)

Why I chose these specific products:

Because the amount of charcoal in a given product, along with its complementary ingredients, is pretty hard to get right.

I’ve used products that way overdid the charcoal, and completely sucked all the moisture from my face. Some of them were impossible to rinse away.

Others mis-managed the “weight” of the final product: when complementary ingredients in a loose charcoal-containing product (like a mask or tooth powder) aren’t chosen correctly, you’ll just get a big puff of black dust in the air.

The worst, though? When charcoal is over-used in tooth products and you get a big old mouthful of black teeth that you just. can’t. rinse. out. Not cute.

Don’t worry. These products won’t do that to ya.

Added benefits of my favorite charcoal products:

The Charcoal Cleansing Bar has majorly improved my blackheads without drying my skin, and the addition of witch hazel helps tone the skin while green tea calms inflammation.

This one nails it for daily use with the perfect amount of charcoal, emollients, and toning and soothing. This is THE SKINCARE PRODUCT that sold me on the entire brand (and, not surprisingly, it’s almost always sold out).

The Black Clay Mask from Fig & Yarrow is beautifully simple, and combines the perfect amount of Kaolin and Bentonite clay with activated charcoal to do a major deep clean. (I like using Rose, Calendula, or Lavender hydrosol with it, bought via Aromatics International.)

The Beautycounter Charcoal Mask is both soothing and exfoliating (a super hard balance to strike) and uses some of my favorite high-tech scienc-y actives like allantoin, lactic and salicylic acids, and green tea.

The Black Peppermint Tooth Powder from Primal Life Organics uses charcoal along with ingredients like baking soda for freshness and French green clay for added minerals.

And if you’re game for DIY, check out these options:

Here’s to really (REALLY) detoxing your skin with activated charcoal!