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How To Use Activated Charcoal for Hair Growth, Cleansing, and More

African American female with 4c hair treated with activated charcoal for hair growth and moisture.

The activated charcoal trend is taking over the hair care industry thanks to its numerous benefits. Activated charcoal (and activated charcoal powder) exfoliates and detoxifies the scalp by removing product buildup and toxins without adverse side effects.

The ingredient is suitable for all hair textures and works well to prevent dandruff and scalp irritation.

Most importantly, many women have started using activated charcoal for hair growth based on recent studies, making it a coveted product among people struggling with hair loss. This article will discuss how to use activated charcoal-induced products within your hair care routine.

If you’re in a hurry, we like the SoapBox brand of activated charcoal shampoos, conditioners, liquid hand soaps, bath bombs, bar soaps, and body washes.

These charcoal products are gentle and easy to incorporate into your beauty routine if you’re not interested in DIY recipes and treatments. Use this link to learn more about these products, read reviews, and check current pricing.

What Is Activated Charcoal?

Young black women with 4b hair strands after using a tea tree scalp treatment standing against a wall wearing red lipstick, earrings, a blue and white sweater, red belt, and black jeans.

Activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon, is an odorless fine black powder (i.e., activated charcoal powder) that’s made from coconut shells, bone char, peat, coal, sawdust, or petroleum coke.

It can be made by processing carbon-rich materials at very high temperatures to make common charcoal.

The charcoal is then activated using hot air, steam, or chemical method. The process changes the internal structure by increasing the porosity and surface area.

High porosity and surface area make activated charcoal more absorbent than ordinary charcoal. While you can break down common charcoal to increase the surface area, it won’t match activated charcoal.

Usually, good-quality activated charcoal can have a surface area of 800 M2 – 1200 M2 per gram. To illustrate, the surface area of 50 g of activated charcoal is similar to 7 football fields.

The porous structure has a negative charge and acts as a trap for positively charged molecules like bacteria, chemicals, and toxins.

Some medical studies have revealed that activated charcoal has antibacterial properties. Therefore, products with activated charcoal can eliminate bacteria that often cause scalp inflammation and infections.

How to Use Activated Charcoal for Hair Care

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There are multiple ways of using activated charcoal for your hair. The simplest way is by using charcoal-enhanced hair care products. You can also turn your usual non-sulfate shampoo into a deep cleanser by adding some activated charcoal.

If you are a fan of natural hair masks, adding activated charcoal to your favorite hair mask recipe can work wonders. You’ll not only reap the benefits of the already incredible hair care ingredients, but you’ll get more punch from activated charcoal.

Activated Charcoal Hair Benefits

Activated charcoal has been praised for numerous health benefits, including emergency poison treatment and lowering cholesterol.

This ingredient is used for detox, whitening teeth, and cleansing the skin in the beauty industry. For example, it’s common to see the ingredient within skin detoxifying face masks.

However, activated charcoal has multiple benefits when used on the scalp and hair. Besides helping clear scalp build-up, it protects your scalp and hair with its antibacterial properties.

This ingredient doesn’t directly boost hair growth, but that doesn’t mean it will not help your hair grow better! Considering its detoxifying and cleansing properties, activated charcoal ensures favorable conditions for optimum growth.

Here are some more benefits of using charcoal for hair care.

1. Hair and Scalp Detoxifier and Cleanser

Female with a naturally curly hair type standing against a green wall wearing red lipstick and pearl earrings.

Activated charcoal acts as a magnet by attracting and removing impurities in your hair like dirt, grime, toxins, and all the excess oil from product usage. According to scientific studies, activated charcoal can “absorb up to 1000 times its own weight in impurities,” making it among the most effective cleaning agents you can use on your hair.

Today, you’ll often see activated charcoal in detox beauty and hair care products. That’s because it helps the hair reset to a healthy state for optimum performance.

When used for hair care, activated charcoal works well to clear excess sebum from your scalp, paving the way for a balanced and healthy environment.

Sometimes, you might feel that your hair isn’t getting clean enough or is getting dirty too quickly. While most commercial shampoos are effective, they may not remove all the buildup on your hair.

2. Enhance Scalp and Hair Health

A constant buildup of dead, dry skin cells, excess oils, dirt, and sweat, can clog your hair follicles and, in turn, hinder optimal hair growth. Additionally, clogged follicles often lead to inflammations and infections that are associated with hair loss (i.e., hair fall in some cultures).

Activated charcoal helps cleanse impurities, toxins, and oil buildup from the scalp leaving it clean and healthy. Toxins and free radicals can compromise the health of your scalp in the same magnitude they affect your skin.

Typically, free radicals can exert significant oxidative stress on the scalp and compromise its health, leading to accelerated hair loss.

3. Promotes Hair Growth for Voluminous Shiny Hair

A healthy scalp with a correct oil balance is essential for optimum hair growth. Although, the buildup of excess oil on the scalp will clog the pores and hair follicles, limiting your hair’s growth potential.

One of the downsides of using commercial shampoos is the potential presence of harmful chemicals. Typically, they rob your scalp of its natural oils, leaving it dry and unhealthy.

The worst thing is that some chemicals have a detrimental effect on the oil glands in the scalp, affecting the ability to produce oil naturally.

On the other hand, activated charcoal can absorb excess scalp oils without damaging the oil glands. With its high absorption of unhealthy toxins and dirt, it ensures a clean, healthy, and balanced scalp to enhance the growth of beautiful hair.

4. Soothe Irritation, Itchy Scalp, and Dryness

Dryness is a prevalent hair problem that impacts many people. While there are multiple reasons behind scalp dryness, regular use of harsh hair care products tends to be the most common culprit.

Scalp dryness has no direct link with hair loss, but it impacts the health of your scalp. On the contrary, a dry scalp often leads to itchiness and over-manipulation, which can lead to hair damage.

Activated charcoal gets rid of all impurities and toxins that cause scalp itching and irritation. Besides, studies have shown that activated charcoal contains antibacterial properties that fight against microorganisms that cause scalp itchiness and irritations.

Sweat, pollutants, oils, and product buildup can clog the pores on the scalp and lead to irritations.

Often, using commercial shampoos may not be enough for unclogging the pores and removing the buildup, causing scalp irritation. With activated charcoal’s highly absorbent properties, you can be sure of a cleaner and healthier scalp.

Activated Charcoal for Hair Growth and the Best Way to Use It

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Activated charcoal is often used in growth-boosting hair care products due to its ability to absorb and eliminate impurities from the scalp.

Basically, a regular scalp detox that also cleanses your hair strands makes your scalp healthier and promotes hair growth. There are several methods of using activated charcoal for hair growth.

The first method is to put one tablespoon of activated charcoal in regular sulfate-free shampoo. Then wash your hair with the charcoal-shampoo blend as usual.

However, always remember that charcoal is likely to stain your hair and can be stubborn to clean. Therefore, if your hair is light or blond, it is best to avoid using charcoal in this manner.

DIY Activated Charcoal Hair Mask

How to Grow Hair Fast with Activated Charcoal Mask Rapid Hair Growth | Natural Hair

While still potent when used on its own, combining activated charcoal with other natural ingredients can give you better results. This charcoal mask is a blend of coconut oil and activated charcoal.

Coconut oil has numerous hair care benefits, including promoting hair growth.

Ingredients, Preparation, and Usage Directions

  • 2 tablespoons of pure coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of activated charcoal

Heat the coconut oil to melt it, add the activated charcoal, and stir thoroughly to make a thick paste. Using your palm, apply the paste on your scalp and massage thoroughly in circular patterns.

This will not only facilitate exfoliation but will also enhance blood circulation. Leave the mask on for about 30 minutes before rinsing off with water and a mild shampoo.

DIY Activated Charcoal Recipes

While you can buy a shampoo infused with activated charcoal, you can also make your own. Most charcoal shampoos can be used on any natural hair type. Over the years, dry shampoos have become popular for their multiple benefits.

Here are a few charcoal shampoos you can make at home:

Activated Charcoal Dry Shampoo

This charcoal-infused shampoo is meant for darker hair and enhances the tone and appearance of your hair. Besides ensuring a thorough cleansing effect, this shampoo leaves your hair and scalp hydrated thanks to the essential oils.


  • 1 tablespoon of activated charcoal powder
  • ½ a cup of cornstarch
  • ¼ a cup of cacao powder (you can increase or reduce depending on the color shade of your hair)
  • 2 tablespoons of kaolin clay or bentonite clay
  • 30 drops of lemongrass essential oil or lavender oil

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk well to make an even mixture. Using a funnel or spoon, put the mixture into a shaker with a tight lid.

To use the dry shampoo, sprinkle on the scalp and hair follicles as necessary. You can use your palm to rub the mixture and help spread it on the scalp.

Activated Charcoal Shampoo for Deep Cleansing

Charcoal shampoos remove accumulated oils, dead cells, dirt, and grime on the scalp. It also detoxifies the scalp to promote the growth of healthy, beautiful hair.


  • Two tablespoons activated charcoal
  • One cup castile soap
  • ¼ cup distilled water
  • 3-4 drops of tea tree oil

In a clean bowl, add all ingredients and whisk continuously to get a thorough blend without lumps.

Using a funnel, transfer the mixture into a shampoo bottle. You can replace your usual shampoo with this charcoal shampoo for regular use.

Activated Charcoal Detoxifying Hair Mask

As a natural detoxifying agent, activated charcoal can absorb toxins, oil, and surface dirt. When used on an oily scalp, charcoal can regulate excess sebum production and helps balance PH on the scalp.

Baking soda is excellent for exfoliating the scalp thanks to its natural cleansing properties. It removes dead skin cell buildup and opens the pores to facilitate the growth of healthy hair.


  • ¼ cup quality aloe vera gel
  • ½ cup activated charcoal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Preparation and Directions of Use

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk continuously until you get a thick, evenly mixed paste. Depending on your preferences, you may add more aloe vera gel, but you may use distilled water to balance the viscosity if the paste seems too thick.

For easier application, divide your hair into smaller portions and use your palm to coat your scalp and hair with the mask ensuring generous coverage.

Cover with a shower cap and leave the paste on for at least 20 minutes before washing off with warm water. Use this mask twice a week for maximum scalp detox, repair damaged hair, and promote healthy, shiny hair.

Is Activated Charcoal Good For Your Hair?

Cute black girl standing outside wearing a green sweater and gold earrings with curly hair.

We haven’t found any evidence pointing towards the dangers of using activated charcoal for hair care. Nevertheless, people are different, and there is always a possibility of allergic reactions from nonprescription beauty products.

Some people have highly sensitive skin and scalps that react with most products. If it is your first time using activated charcoal hair products, it is prudent to do a patch test before using it on your scalp.

As with most hair masks, it is recommended to use activated charcoal mask one or two times per week. If you realize that your scalp and hair are getting dry after using activated charcoal, you can lower the usage frequency.

For people with darker brown and black hair shades, activated charcoal is an excellent ingredient that can enhance the color tone.

On the other hand, if you have blond, light-colored or bleached hair, you might need to wash off the charcoal multiple times.

Otherwise, the first rinse may not clear all the particles; thus, a dark color might show in your hair. You’ll also want to be careful if you have color-treated hair, as the charcoal may alter your hair color.

The Takeaway

Over time, your scalp can accumulate hair product residue, dirt, natural sebum, toxins, and chemicals. Mostly, this buildup leads to clogged hair follicles and scalp problems.

If you want to restore your scalp to a healthy status, it is necessary to use a cleaning agent that can detoxify and cleanse the buildup without damaging the scalp’s natural structure.

Activated charcoal (and activated charcoal powder) shows multiple benefits for your hair, making it a perfect option for your hair care routine. While it helps with hair growth, activated charcoal achieves this by ensuring your scalp and hair follicles are strong and healthy.

To reap the benefits, try incorporating activated charcoal into your hair care routine with one of the hair masks discussed within this article. Alternatively, you can add activated charcoal to your regular shampoo.