Best Charcoal Soaps

Updated June 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
12 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
160 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best charcoal soap

Charcoal has the incredible ability to absorb oils, toxins, and odors. As such, charcoal soap’s many benefits should come as no surprise, nor should its rising popularity. Combined with other natural ingredients, the charcoal in charcoal soap treats acne, eczema, and other skin conditions. It can even reduce signs of aging.

Before you go ahead and add charcoal soap to your shopping cart, here are some things to think about. What type of skin do you have? Those with oily skin may experience better results since charcoal can be drying. Do you want other natural ingredients in your soap, such as essential oils or shea butter? Be sure and consider the scent and purity of ingredients.

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For acne treatment, consistency in your skincare routine is key to getting results. Staying hydrated and eating a healthy diet can also go a long way.

Key considerations

Benefits of charcoal

For centuries, charcoal has been used to treat ailments. Because of charcoal’s absorptive properties, it easily absorbs toxins in the body. Charcoal works like a magnet, bringing impurities and toxins to the surface. By the 1800s, charcoal became commonly used in Western medicine. Today, you can find activated charcoal in emergency rooms (usually to remove toxic substances that were injected) and in everyday products such as water filters and air filters. 

Because charcoal is so great at removing excess oil from skin, it's popular in scrubs, face washes, and masks. Some charcoal soaps contain activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is processed in such a way that its porosity increases, making it more effective at removing oils. This is done by processing the charcoal at an extremely high temperature, changing the internal structure of the charcoal while also increasing the size of its surface area.

Charcoal soap is used in the same way as conventional soap. For a deep cleanse, simply wet your face, then work the soap into a lather with your hands. Rub the lather onto your face for 30 seconds, then rinse. Gently pat dry with a soft cloth and moisturize your face immediately.

The great thing about charcoal soap is that it’s useful for all skin types — oily, dry, or anything in between. After repeated use, you may notice a brighter and tighter face, a reduction in blemishes, and smaller pores.

Moisturizing ingredients

Since charcoal soap draws so many toxins out of the skin, it can dry your skin excessively, particularly if you have dry skin. In this case, try a charcoal soap that includes moisturizing elements. Shea butter, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and hemp oil are common additives to charcoal soaps.

Following your charcoal soap routine, a mild facial moisturizer can relieve excess dryness.

Paraben- and GMO-free

You may have come across the “paraben-free” label on other soaps and shampoos. Parabens are a synthetic preservative meant to extend the shelf life of various food products. Some studies have linked parabens to the growth of certain types of breast cancer, hence the interest in removing them from shampoos. Keep an eye out for a “paraben-free” label on charcoal soap bars.



Charcoal soap on its own is scentless, but it’s not uncommon to see the addition of essential oils like peppermint, tea tree, lemongrass, or peppermint. While essential oils contain antibacterial properties, they also add a pleasant scent to your soap. You may find yourself feeling extra refreshed after cleansing with peppermint charcoal soap. Those with sensitive skin may prefer unscented soap. Keep in mind, ingredients like tea tree oil can further irritate sensitive skin.


Some charcoal soap users integrate their soap into a multistep skincare routine. Once your face is washed, here are some other products to use.

Washcloth: Polyte Microfiber Makeup Remover and Cleansing Cloth
Gently dab a washcloth on your face to remove excess water after washing it. Look for a washcloth with gentle fibers. Polyte’s wipes are soft enough to use regularly on your face, and they’re an eco-friendly alternative to disposable wipes. You can use half the set for makeup removal and the other half for your skincare routine.

Toner: Neutrogena Oil-Free, Alcohol-Free Toner
Toner comes after cleansing and before moisturizing. Toner removes any excess dirt you may have missed during cleansing and can minimize the appearance of your pores. Neutrogena is gentle enough for sensitive skin, leaving your skin soft and moisturized. All it takes is a few drops of product.

Moisturizer: CeraVe Face Moisturizer
After using toner, lock in moisture with the lotion or cream of your choice. CeraVe’s formula is surprisingly lightweight, even with SPF. It seeps into skin smoothly and works great as a daily moisturizer.

Face oil: Burt’s Bees Complete Nourishment Facial Oil
Face oil can be used as a final moisturizing step. These oils vary depending on whether they’re treating oily, aging, or dry skin. All you need is a few drops. Gently dab it into the skin; don’t rub. Burt’s Bees’ oil seals in moisture while reducing redness and combating acne, too.

Charcoal soap prices

For a single bar of charcoal soap, expect to pay between $5 and $15. Pricing largely depends on the quality of ingredients, organic certification, and presence of additional ingredients such as butters and essential oils.

$5 to $10 is plenty for a high-quality soap bar. On the lower side of the price range, you may find charcoal soaps that lack organic certification. They may also lack extra moisturizing qualities, causing them to dry out skin. On the medium to high side of this price range, there are quite a few soaps with shea butter and essential oils, which can add a pleasant aroma and moisturizing properties.

Over $10 might seem like a splurge for a single soap bar. These charcoal soaps are marketed as “premium” with locally grown ingredients and organic certification, or they come from luxury manufacturers. Smaller charcoal soap makers may create smaller batches of their charcoal soaps, hence the price. For a number of brands, $15 is enough to buy soap bars in bulk — two or three bars.


  • When washing and rinsing off charcoal soap, take care to avoid the area around your eyes. The charcoal may contain contaminants that cause infection.
  • If you’ve never ingested charcoal before or used it on your skin, do an allergy test by dabbing the soap on a small patch of skin first.
  • Have doubts about the benefits of charcoal? You can try a charcoal mask first to see how you like it, then go for a whole soap bar.
  • Charcoal soap can be suitable for kids, so long as all other ingredients are mild and soap doesn’t enter their eyes.
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As long as there's no charcoal allergy, those with sensitive skin can also reap the benefits of charcoal. Look for a soap with all-natural ingredients and minimal to no scent.


Q. Is charcoal soap suitable for daily use?
This depends on your skin type. Those with oily skin may have no trouble with daily use, while those with dry or combination skin may want to stick with three to four times a week. We recommend the latter for everyone when you’re first starting to use the soap. If needed, you can make adjustments after a week or so of use.

Q. Will charcoal soap lighten my skin color?
Charcoal’s exfoliating properties lighten your skin enough to remove dark marks, old acne scars, and hyperpigmentation.

Q. Will charcoal soap stain my sink or tub?
Charcoal soap should not stain your sink or tub permanently. It may darken clothes and light-colored washcloths. Any soap residue should be rinsed from bathroom fixtures as soon as possible.

Q. How much charcoal is in a bar of charcoal soap?
A charcoal soap bar may contain anywhere from a teaspoon to half a tablespoon of charcoal powder.

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