Need deep blackheads to be sucked the F out of your skin? Same. Charcoal has been around for millennia with its ingredients ‘clarifying’ the skin by pulling dirt from pores, thereby helping to eliminate blackheads; it’s also one of our top five satisfying feelings when you pull this mask off and see the wreckage you’ve extracted.

So why activated charcoal, and not regular fire pit remains?

Activated charcoal is similar to common charcoal, but is made specifically for medicinal use and to be very porous (so no, you can’t use the charcoal you saved after that BBQ). These pores allow activated charcoal to trap impurities (don’t ask us how, but it does). For this reason, activated charcoal is used to treat intestinal gas, poisonings, nausea, and bile flow issues (cholestasis) during pregnancy. But activated charcoal also works wonders for the skin when applied topically: it keeps skin clear by acting as a magnet to draw dirt out of pores.

Bentonite clay also acts as a magnet to draw dirt from the pores. High-quality bentonite clay can be ingested to pull toxins from the body. When applied topically, it absorbs toxins, draws out blackheads, and kills acne-causing bacteria. So you can use this in the recipe as well, if you like, it should peel off along with the rest. But we will leave it out this time to keep things simple.

Lets do this:


Charcoal in bowl - Sleep Pile
Image: Fotolia


  1. Mix* all of the ingredients together into a smooth paste, and spot test the mixture on your cheek, or somewhere inconspicuous, to avoid adverse reactions.
  2. Wash face clean with cleanser and keep it partially wet (pat it gently with a towel).
  3. Apply the mask evenly, avoiding the delicate skin around your eyes and lips, and let it sit until dry, about 7-15 minutes. As the mask dries, it feels tight on the skin, which can sometimes feel a little itchy (if it starts to feel uncomfortable, wash the mask off).
  4. After the mask dries completely, peel it off! It may feel mildly painful, but not enough to deter you. The results are gross and amazingly thorough!

*Stir this mixture with a plastic or wooden spoon, as both charcoal and clay pull toxins from metals. Also be sure to store your clay in a non-metal container, if you do get the clay.

You could do this a day after exfoliating with an all natural Almond Meal by earthsgarden, which may help open up and clear out your pores further.

Not into DIY? Try this pre-made bamboo charcoal mask:

Charcoal mask - Sleep Pile