I don’t know about you, but I want my skin toxin and dirt-free at ALL times! This fresh-smelling soap is formulated with activated charcoal to do just that, suck out any nasty toxins that leave our skin prone to acne, blackheads and other nasties we really don’t want. It’s one of my favourite homemade soap recipes!
Have you ever heard of activated charcoal being used in hospitals? Well, it’s because of how good it is at binding toxins that they give it to people who they suspect have been poisoned. While it does have quite a dark color and leaves this soap looking a little intimidating, the charcoal can do wonders for easing skin imperfections.
While this soap is great for pretty much any part of your skin, I like to use it just for my face, as this is obviously the most visible part of our bodies and, like anyone, always wants this skin looking its best.
One of my favourite things about this is that it’s totally vegan-friendly! I have a lot of vegetarian and vegan friends, and this is a great soap to use as a gift for anyone who takes animal rights seriously.
I’ve used a nice selection of essential oils in this recipe. While tea tree doesn’t smell all that good, the other EO’s I’ve chosen should mask any unpleasantness. You could consider leaving the tea tree out, but it’s absolutely fabulous for your skin and combined with the charcoal makes for a double-action, extra powerful soap to leave skin positively glowing!
Supplies For My Activated Charcoal Soap Recipe
- 126g Distilled Water (boiled tap or bottled water is fine)
- 63g Lye/Sodium Hydroxide Crystals
Essential oils, Botanicals and Extras
- This recipe makes around 6 individual bars which I find perfect for personal use. If you are considering gifting or selling it you may prefer to double up on the ingredient and use a loaf mould.
- If you are using the larger mould and working with a larger batch you won’t need to place the soap on to heat pad.
- This is a relatively soft soap, so sometimes it can be a little tricky getting it out of the mould. This doesn’t bother me as I like a rustic look to this soap and they’re simply for personal use.
- However, you can speed up the hardening of the soap by adding vegan-friendly sodium lactate. For this amount of batter, add 1tsp to the lye water once it has cooled (right before mixing into the oils). This will make the bars harder in general as well. The properties of the soap should remain unchanged.
If you are new to cold process soapmaking…
Watch this short video first or visit the full tutorial ‘Soap Making – A Guide For Beginners‘.
How To Make My Activated Charcoal Soap
Safety first! Apply your protective eye gear and gloves! Lye solution can cause some nasty burns!
Step 1: I like to start off by making sure my essential oils are weighed out and combined in a glass container. As it can take some time to get these measurements right, it’s easier to do it now so you just have to tip it in later when it counts.
Step 2: Weigh out your sodium hydroxide/lye crystals and your water in separate containers. I like to use a glass jug for the water. When ready, pour the crystals into the water and stir with a stainless steel spoon.
This will begin the chemical reaction, and the lye water rapidly increases in temperature. Avoid inhaling any fumes that release. Turn your head and lean away from the lye solution.
Now, place the jug aside to cool, preferably somewhere with good ventilation and move on.
Step 3: Weigh out the coconut oil and the shea butter. Then, melt together. You can use a water bath, although a series of 30-second bursts in the microwave works well for me.
Step 4: Weigh the olive, avocado and castor oils and add them to the melted coconut oil and shea butter.
Step 5: Now that we’re almost ready to mix, check the temperature of the oils and the lye water and compare them. We want them between 90F and 120F.
Once you’re satisfied that both fall within this range, pour your lye water into the oils and blend with a stick blender until you reach trace.
Not quite sure what trace is? Take a look at our basic cold process soap recipe for a more in-depth description of trace.
Step 6: Now that we’re at trace, go ahead and add the activated charcoal and essential oils (in that order), mixing thoroughly after.
Step 7: Now we’ve added our last ingredients, the batter will begin to harden. So, working quickly but carefully (as the batter is still caustic) pour or spoon your batter into your soap moulds.
Allow this to saponify for 24-48 hours before removing from the mould. If your soap is still spongy after the first 48 hours, leave it for another 24 hours before attempting to remove it. Or, when you come to make it again, try adding the sodium lactate.
While it saponifies, it’s important to keep it warm. I like to use a heating pad on a medium to the low setting for a few hours, but if you don’t have one just keep it well insulated with a piece of cardboard on top and an old towel that you’re not using anymore.
Step 8: Now that we have it out of the mould, we’ll need to let it cure for about 4 weeks in a cool and dry environment. Check with PH indicator strips to ensure that your soap is safe to use, especially before gifting or selling. fgrtd eryg eedtdd