Washing your face with clay and charcoal seems weird, right? But together they create a gentle homemade facial cleanser that gently exfoliates the surface of your skin to remove makeup and dead skin cells and also detoxify your pores.
We’ve talked about face scrubs before and how to manually exfoliate. But cleansing grains are different in that they contain no water or other fresh ingredients that would cause the mixture to spoil. So the cleanser will stay good for 6 months or more – as long as you’re careful to avoid introducing water.
The ingredients in this cleanser are gentle enough for all skin types, but it works especially well for oily skin. Your skin gets smooth from gentle buffing on the surface while the clay and charcoal suck up excess oil, dirt and impurities from your pores. Avoid aggressive exfoliation as this may worsen or trigger acne breakouts.
Great for fighting acne, oats are soothing and work as great skin cleansers, thanks to saponins, which remove dirt and oil. Oats have great soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that make them a great choice for treating dry skin and conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Most often recommended for balancing oily skin, white kaolin clay (China clay) is used in scrubs and deodorants because of its drying effects. It may function as a natural exfoliator, reduce skin redness and inflammation, and help tone your skin.
Bentonite clay reduces inflammation and absorbs and removes toxins by binding with them to remove them from your body. It is rich in minerals and nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, silica, copper, iron and potassium which collectively help maintain and strengthen the integrity of the protective layer of the skin.
Charcoal is not just for whitening your teeth. It acts like a vacuum to absorb excess oil and clear dirt and pollution out of clogged pores. To work best, charcoal needs to sit on the skin for at least a minute.
I keep my grains by the skin and just pour a small amount into the palm of my hand. Then add a bit of water to moisten and apply to your face, massaging it into your skin. If you want to up the cleansing power – or use the mixture as a face mask – you can experiment with other skin-loving liquids.
Milk or citrus juice add additional natural acids to help exfoliate. For aging skin, rose water and green tea are two of my favorites. If your skin is super dry you can use an oil to cleanse.
DIY detox cleansing grains + mask
- Grind oats in a coffee grinder to get a fine powder.
- Combine with the two clays in a glass mixing bowl. Be sure to measure the clay with non metal measuring cups.
- Add the activated charcoal and essential oils.
- Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
- Transfer to a container with a lid.
- To use, dispense a small amount (about a teaspoon) of grains into your hand. Add a few drops of water to get a wet paste.
- Gently massage into skin, making small circles with your fingers.
- Rinse with warm water and follow with toner and moisturizer.
- You can also leave the grains on your face for 10-15 for a deep cleansing face mask.
- Keep in an airtight container with a lid and be careful to not introduce water. Will keep for at least 6 months.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Rina Mary Allawh, M.D., a dermatologist who performs adult and pediatric medical dermatology, skin cancer treatment and cosmetic dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Photos by Susan Hudson
Not in the mood to DIY it? Here are some of our favorite charcoal beauty products: