I've been wanting to share this for a while but I wanted to take enough time to form a long term decision on this since sometimes skincare product reviews can be too hasty when you're excited about something new but it ends up not working out in the long run. This is going to be my fumbling review of activated charcoal soap.
I was first turned on to the idea when I was looking for oily skin remedies as I am wont to do when I'm feeling particularly insecure about my skin. When I am considering something new, I like to research as much as I possibly can about it before scrubbing it into my face. Activated charcoal/active charcoal/active carbon is carbon processed to have low-volume pores that increase the surface area. It comes in powder form and is very absorbent.
I have oily skin so this idea got me interested. Maybe I don't need fancy expensive face washes, maybe all I need is a bar of soap with an extra absorbent kick. Surprisingly, charcoal soap can be found very affordable online. There are plenty of artisanal soap shops on Etsy with their own version. I settled on this one because it is vegan and I thought maybe non glycerin soap might be worth a try, it also contains bentonite clay, which is another absorbent ingredient and it has tea tree, which is also good.
They've got different sizes on their site too, so you can try a sample before you commit to it, which I thought was nice. Compared to what I've paid for face washes in the past, this seemed like a really affordable option and I liked that I was getting this from a small business as opposed to perpetuating the skincare industry that clearly has not worked out for me in the past.
My consensus after a few months using charcoal soap is that I think I like it. It is certainly not working miracles (is anything out there actually going to work miracles? No) but I've noticed my skin feels a lot better throughout the day. I don't feel like I need to put on a ton of powder or wipe off my face halfway through the work day. And it also doesn't feel too dry when I use it. It does give a weird texture to the skin which I think is caused by the very small carbon particles that stay behind (which I don't mind because they're absorbent) or it could be a texture from the clay, I'm not sure which. It's also not fragrant. It has a bit of an earthy smell, but not a strong smell and thankfully not a tea tree smell, I'm not a fan of the tea tree smell.
So I guess my consensus is I like it. If you also have oily skin I recommend it. It's affordable and mostly natural. If the oil cleansing method didn't work out for you this is a decent option to try.