Going Charcoal: 5 Things to Look for in a Charcoal Cleanser

  • 3 min read

Before charcoal hit the health care aisles, it was typically only thought of as a staple in the Household Department. So how is it that something that used to only accompany mosquito repellants and lighter fluid has turned up in our hygiene regimens? One word: detox.
Unlike the charcoal in your grill, the activated charcoal now found in an array of health and beauty products works by binding to and trapping toxins. This fine, odorless, black powder absorbs microparticles and odors to help cleanse and detoxify skin more thoroughly. It’s for this reason that Charcoal Deodorant is so effective as both a deodorizer and a sweat soaker-upper.

Activated charcoal helps draw out those itty, bitty particles that clog up our pores and often lead to acne, blemishes or breakouts.  

These qualities are also what makes charcoal cleansers such a great option for keeping skin clear and clean. Activated charcoal helps draw out those itty, bitty particles that clog up our pores and often lead to acne, blemishes or breakouts. From dirt and dust to toxins and bacteria, activated charcoal binds to these intruders and frees the skin of their potential havoc.
Pretty straightforward then, right? See charcoal on your face wash label, go on and grab it, no? No. When it comes to choosing the right charcoal products for your face and body, there are 5 key ingredients to look for (and avoid) before buying.

Prep U Charcoal Unscented Bar great for face

Activated charcoal

First thing’s first: your label should clearly state “activated” charcoal among the first couple ingredients listed. Prep U Charcoal Bar Soap and Face & Body Scrub  uses activated bamboo charcoal which is highly porous and has a surface area that’s larger than regular charcoal. Translation: this not only makes it highly effective at toxin absorption, but also an antibacterial agent.

Natural Oil

So as to avoid drying out your skin and actually delivering that soft, creamy lather you expect, look for organic oils on your soap label, like olive, coconut or palm.

Prep U No Harsh Chemicals

No sulfates, phthalates, parabens or chemicals

By now, you’re likely very familiar with the risks associated with chemically derived ingredients in your skincare, but just in case you missed our blog about that, we’ll give you the short version: these common ingredients (sodium laureth sulfate, parabens, sulfates, BPAs, etc.) found in everything from dish soap to detergent are harsh on skin and have been linked to causes of cancer. They’re not beneficial to skin whatsoever, rather an answer to our consumer culture where prolonged shelf life and a cartoonish level of suds and bubbles are often mistaken for efficacy. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

Vegan and Cruelty-Free

This isn’t just about having a soft spot for kittens and mice, though that’s nice, too. After all, if you’re shopping the all-natural section, whether for charcoal products or all of your lifestyle goods, then choosing a product that practices sustainability runs parallel with wanting a product that’s clean and pure. Aside from the environmental impact of animal testing, avoiding products who use this process also means avoiding any animal ingredients winding up in your soap. Yep, that’s a thing.

Prep U Charcoal Scrub Squirting


It may seem like a no-brainer, but there’s no reason to stick with any product if it’s not helping your skin improve. That’s the great thing about all-natural charcoal cleansers. Since there’s nothing artificial being scrubbed into your skin, its benefits usually exceed expectations and deliver a noticeable difference to any skin type. No over drying, no greasy residue, just pure, clean, toxin-free skin from head to toe.

From ourCharcoal Body Set to our award-winning Charcoal Deodorant, we’re totally complicit in the charcoal craze because we’ve seen the difference this detoxifier can make on all skin, but especially that of adolescent boys.