If you have noticed, charcoal is a big thing right now in beauty products. You know it is a hot item when the commercial soap companies are now promoting it on tv commercials. I guess they are trying to get in on the natural ingredients bandwagon, which isn’t a bad thing for the little guys because then the price and availability of these ingredients go down and they are much easier to find. For instance, it is fairly easy to buy activated charcoal from many online soap supply companies. What I understand it is made from burning hardwoods at a very high temperature, creating a pure charcoal that can also be used for medicinal purposes.
I use activated charcoal not only because of its amazing skin care properties but because of the dramatic way it looks in a bar, especially set off against a dark red clay. Gorgeous.
Charcoal, believe it or not, it makes a nice face soap, it is good for lifting out impurities of the skin.
Sometimes at Christmas I have used it to make a lump of coal soap- very popular for those with naughty children( grown up or otherwise). And you would think that bars made with charcoal would feel very scratchy, but really I find it is very smooth in your finished product. The worst part for me is the clean up afterwards. It is really quite messy to work with. I usually have paper towels that I use to wipe up the inside of my swirling container- my trusty old rubber maid juice jug. The clean-up is when I notice the abrasiveness, oddly enough, but never in my soap bars.
I have also made a nice drawing salve- It is meant to pull out the sting of spider bites etc. My only problem with this product is that it is really messy and I am not really sure that it drew out the itchiness of my spider bite. I have noticed it used in detox deodorant recipes, but I would imagine that some black would stay on your armpits and then rub off on your clothes. I guess it would be okay if you aren’t fussy and only wear dark clothing.
Imagine this: you wake up-put on your charcoal deodorant, brush your teeth with charcoal paste, wash your face with a black charcoal bar and then rub a charcoal drawing salve on your mosquito bites. Perhaps you might go so far as to take a small dose of it to help with that hangover. I would say you were a wee bit nuts for activated charcoal. But who am I to judge? Use your charcoaly products as much as you like.
Really I prefer to use charcoal in soap. I recommend about 1 heaping tablespoon of charcoal per pound of soap, depending on how much of a dramatic colour contrast you are going for.
Try it with a swirl of carrot tissue in sunflower oil to create dramatic tiger stripes in your finished bars.
I know each bar of soap I make is an artistic expression that can be taken home to be enjoyed.
I believe there is a fine line between what is considered art and what is considered craft.
What do you think?