The 4 Types of Charcoal You’ll See in Beauty Products

There are a few natural ingredients that come to mind for truly being multi-purpose, and charcoal is most definitely one of them. It can do everything from whiten teeth to detox the body—and the skin and hair, too. Charcoal has become a staple in the beauty industry, specifically for (bi)weekly masks catered toward acne-prone and oily skin types.

Photo: Pixabay / Pexels


When investing in charcoal-infused products, what are we really putting in our skin and how does it work? While “charcoal” is the umbrella term, there are in fact various types created from different products to serve their own unique purposes. Here are the 4 types of charcoal used in beauty products to cleanse, purify, and detox skin and hair that you need to know about.


Coconut charcoal

It’s true—you can heat up coconut shells to create charcoal that works overtime to remove impurities from your skin and scalp. While its benefits are pretty similar to other forms of charcoal, it’s more effective in removing unpleasant odors, making it a great option for haircare.


Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal refers to any carbon-heavy substance, like coal, heated at high temperatures. The heat causes bubbles, creating a sort of sponge that literally pulls impurities out from the skin. It acts like a magnet, reaching deep into pores or the scalp to absorb oil and dirt and reveal fresh skin and hair.

While charcoal is ideal for oily skin and hair types, combination skin can also strategically apply it to specific oily areas—like the T-zone—or less frequently. Dry skin types may use it more sparingly and follow with nourishing ingredients to reap the benefits without any irritation.

Beautylish recommends Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Mask or IGK First Class Detox Dry Shampoo


Bamboo charcoal

Bamboo charcoal is made from—you guessed it—bamboo plants. The gentle-yet-effective form of charcoal is known to be very porous, letting it absorb more toxins and work well to clean and care for oily, combination, and blemish-prone skin types.

Beautylish recommends Herbivore Bamboo Charcoal Soap


Binchotan charcoal

AKA white charcoal, binchotan charcoal is made from Japanese oak trees that look like black wooden sticks. Similar to other forms of charcoal, it acts as a magnet to pull impurities, like dirt and oil—making the ideal ingredient to help detoxify the hair and scalp.

Beautylish recommends Briogeo Scalp Revival Collection

Shop Beautylish Best Sellers