Charcoal is not an easy ingredient to work into soap, but when done right, it’s powerfully cleansing and leaves behind a subtle woodsy scent. So if you’re on the market for the best charcoal bar soap for men, you’re going to need a guide to the charcoal brands for men.
Looking across the board at men’s product companies, we’ve compiled a list of the brands we trust to “get it right” when it comes to charcoal bar soap.
I’m a huge fan of Viking Revolution products in general because they’ve carved out a solid place for themselves in the world of men’s care. They’re relatively new to the game, but their “viking oath” is quickly gaining traction, and the quality of their products speak for themselves. From the scent, to the skin and health benefits, their charcoal soap is no exception to that.
You’ll notice immediately how good the lather feels against your skin. I like to think of a soap’s lather as the foreplay – Viking Revolution has their game down when it comes to soap suds worth getting sensually excited about. I wouldn’t describe the smell as subtle, but it’s definitely a “manly” scent, so no need to worry about going wrong in that regard.
Lots of guys also like the “hokey puck” look of the bar. It’s almost a shower novelty if you’ve never rinsed with a thick circular soap bar.
The downside to this brand? Viking Revolution is known for its beard products, not its soap. So it scores slightly lower for me in reliability. I don’t have a beard to try it out on, but plenty of happy Amazon reviewers said that it left their skin and facial hair feeling soft.
• It has a rich lather! That’s hard to find in charcoal soap.
• 10/10 in the manly scent department. Clean but woodsy.
• The shape is just so appealing. The bar is also hefty and long-lasting.
• It passes the sensitive skin test.
• The scent is pretty prominent. If you decide you’re not a fan, it’s not a mild enough smell to ignore.
• It’s comparable to grocery store soap in the longevity and moisturizing department.
Let me say right off the bat, Keika Naturals has a really exciting ingredient list here. Besides the active charcoal, those crafty soapmakers managed to pack this bar with some of my favorite skin-friendly essential oils (lemongrass, eucalyptus, and tea tree) and himalayan pink salt for some light exfoliation.
With all its solid ingredients, lots of users swear that this is one charcoal soap you can use everyday. Youtuber Audrey Victoria, known for her skincare content, used it twice daily for a week and saw immediate acne reduction. That’s impressive for a charcoal soap, considering most will leave you with flaky skin when used too frequently.
Part of the reason why this particular bar is just so well made might be the fact that Keika Naturals specializes in charcoal soap. That gets them bonus points in my book, since they have the charcoal game mastered.
The one irony of this soap: it’s not for my oily-skinned friends. I know, I know, you’re probably researching charcoal soap specifically because you need help in the oil department. Keika Naturals packed this bar with so many natural butters and oils that it just won’t do a good job of dissolving the oils on your skin. That’s something Audrey Victoria warned her fans about: she rarely has problems with oily skin…until she started using Keika Naturals’ charcoal soap.
• It’s GENTLE, which is hard to get in a charcoal soap.
• You’ll see quick results when it comes to reducing acne and soothing dryness.
• It’s long-lasting, especially if you cut the soap into a few pieces and use them over time.
• It might feel “weaker” than your usual soaps. It doesn’t lather thickly, and it’s not a heavy-duty type of skincare product.
• As a long-term soap, it’s iffy. Different skin types will have wildly different reactions to more than a week of use.
• It’s not great for oily skin, which contradicts the basic function of charcoal soap.
Renowned for their workout-proof products, Art of Sport is a solid choice if you need a charcoal soap that’s going to hold its own on the court or the field. Plus, as a brand, they have an impressive list of athlete endorsements. Kobe Bryant helped found the company, and since then athletes like James Harden, Sage Erickson, and Abby Dahlkemper have helped test, improve, and sponsor the products.
But what impresses me most about Art of Sport is how they use all-natural ingredients, and athlete data to constantly improve their products. I have mixed feelings about their charcoal bar, but a year from now it could be an entirely new and improved soap.
True to its name, this charcoal soap has a long lasting but not overwhelming scent. It’s a solid choice for oily skin. Like most charcoal soaps, it’s not going to moisturize you, but it’s a really good cleanser.
My hesitation with this soap is that Art of Sport doesn’t really seem to “get” charcoal. They slapped the “intensely moisturizing” label on the box, but lots of dry-skinned Amazon reviewers just aren’t getting those moisturizing benefits. If Art of Sport really knew what charcoal is made to do, they would be marketing to oily-skinned people who need a drying soap.
• It’s all-natural.
• The fragrance is gender-neutral and light. A great choice if you’re looking for something subtle.
• It’s a lasts-all-day kind of soap. You won’t need to worry about rushing to the bathroom to re-apply deodorant halfway through the workday.
• It’s not a long-lasting bar. It’ll have the lifespan of your average grocery store soap, or shorter.
• Art Of Sport doesn’t seem to fully know what they’re doing when it comes to charcoal.
• Some reviewers report damage during the shipping process.
Masters of soap since 1965, you won’t go wrong with a Baxter of California charcoal soap bar. They’ve been on the market for so long, their reputation precedes them.
Their charcoal soap is distinctly good for its scent, but I’ve been particularly impressed with how effective it is as a 3-in-1 product. Charcoal isn’t known as a hair soap ingredient, but Baxter has somehow concocted a bar that works perfectly well on your body, face, beard, and scalp. It’s always just a bit nerve-wracking to use such a versatile product for the first time – you’ll psych yourself out wondering whether it’s actually good for both your skin and hair. But Baxter leaves it all feeling clean and soft.
I’m less impressed with this particular product’s popularity. As an established company and brand, I was expecting more excitement from Amazon and Website reviews, but it looks like Baxter has failed to drum up any conversation around their charcoal bar. I like to cross reference my personal soap opinions with other professional and amateur reviewers, but there’s just not enough content out there on Baxter’s charcoal soap.
That’s where it loses some of those reliability points for me. If you trust the six Amazon reviewers who had a good enough experience to leave five stars and a comment, then this soap is perfectly fine.
• Highly reliable; Baxter knows what it’s doing with soap and skincare.
• The scent is unmatched
• It’s 3-in-1 status makes it a great on-the-go soap if you’re traveling or need a gym soap.
• Baxter is starting to get a little full of itself, overcharging for its products.
• Takes some extra work to fully rinse off the soap suds
• It’s not all-natural, so if you’ve had weird reactions to artificial scents in the past, this is not a safe bet.
Erno Laszlo is known for its luxury skincare products, so you’re in good hands if you’re looking for a reliable, feel-good charcoal soap.
So why are they at the bottom of this list? Their sea mud and active charcoal soap is just so…bland.
Don’t get me wrong here, this particular bar is amazing when it comes to brightening skin, clearing up blemishes, dissolving oils, and doing everything that you’d want and expect a charcoal soap to do for your skin. In that regard, it’s a very safe bet.
What’s off-putting for me, besides the fact that they labeled it “sea mud” instead of “dead sea mud” (where are they getting this “mud” from??), is the fact that there’s just not a lot to get excited about here, compared to other Erno Laszlo products. As an established luxury brand, I was really looking for some sort of x-factor to set it apart from other charcoal soaps.
If you’re looking for an extremely standard, reliable charcoal soap experience Erno Laszlo is the way to go. But don’t hope for anything more.
Charcoal soap isn’t bad, but it’s really made for folks with oily skin. Dry skinned people tend to pick up some slight irritation if they use charcoal soap too often.
Active charcoal bonds to toxins and dirt, so when you use charcoal soap in the shower, it’s much more effective than other soaps at cleansing your skin. The catch here is that you have to rinse it off completely, or else the soap scum and debris will camp out on your skin, causing breakouts.
If you do find yourself suffering from breakouts or skin irritation with charcoal soap, you might need to ask yourself whether you’re using your bar soap correctly in the shower. Charcoal is a powerful ingredient for your skin, but only if you’re using it right.
Can I Use Charcoal Soap Everyday?
You should use charcoal soap regularly, but not every day.
Of course, that depends on the brand. We mentioned how Kieka Naturals is one big exception to the “charcoal dries out your skin” stereotype.
If it’s your first time using a charcoal soap, I recommend keeping a gentle backup bar of some sort (perhaps something moisturizing like the benefits of a good goat milk soap). That way you can rotate your soap out, only using the charcoal every other day. If you start feeling a bit dried out, use it less. If your facial oils are still holding strong, use your charcoal soap more.
The real trick is to figure out what feels right against your skin. Charcoal isn’t for everybody, but it works wonders for the right (usually oily) skin types.
Does Charcoal Soap Kill Bacteria?
Charcoal soap doesn’t kill bacteria, but there’s no soap on the market that does.
What all soaps do is, quite literally, wash bacteria from your hands. Both bar and liquid soaps dissolve the bonds that allow bacteria to hang out on your skin, so when you rinse with water, you’re washing suds and germs down the drain.
“Antibacterial” soaps take it a small step further, stopping bacteria from reproducing. But that’s harmful to the environment, and the added chemicals might make your skin feel tight and uncomfortable.
I always recommend sticking with a non-antibacterial bar soap, and charcoal soap is a good option in that sense.
How Often Should You Use Charcoal Soap? Can I Use Charcoal Soap Twice A Day?
That depends on your skin!
If you’re like me, and you suffer from skin so oily that it would be a biohazard if you brought it anywhere near the ocean, you can use charcoal soap frequently. I recommend starting out with an every-other-day routine, then using it more or less depending on your results. Some people use it up to twice a day with no issues.
For my dry skinned folks…this is a once-a-week soap for you. Charcoal bonds to the oils and dirt on your skin to help cleanse it all away, but that comes with a catch: it’ll leave you dry. That’s why oily-skinned people love it – and that’s why it’ll irritate your skin.
Does Charcoal Soap Remove Blackheads?
Yes! Charcoal is known for how well it removes blackheads and pimples.
As a soap, it’s a powerful detoxifier. It’ll help reduce the oil and dirt buildup that leads to breakouts. So not only can it help you with whatever breakout you’re currently dealing with, but it’ll also prevent future blackheads and pimples.
Really, you probably shouldn’t use any product on your face if it’s not specifically marketed as a facial product.
Because charcoal is so drying, soapmakers have to add in oils and butters to make it a proper facial soap. Otherwise, the charcoal can irritate the sensitive skin cells on your face. So before you go applying any old charcoal soap to your face, check the ingredient list for extra moisturizing ingredients.
Does Charcoal Soap Lighten Your Skin?
Charcoal soap shouldn’t lighten your skin, and if it does, throw it away. “Skin lightening” soaps contain bleaches that cause long term damage to your organs.
On the other hand, all-natural soaps (like several of the charcoal soaps here on our list), are excellent when it comes to fading blemishes, toning, and brightening your skin. You’ll notice a clearer complexion using all-natural soaps.
Is Charcoal Soap Antifungal?
Charcoal is not known for being antifungal. It’s reputation is more so in the antibacterial department.
Bathing in charcoal soap is actually a wonderful idea!
Charcoal is one of those ingredients that works best when you let it sit against your skin. So if you suds up in the bathtub, then relax in the soapy water for a while, that’ll give your charcoal soap time to work its magic.
Just remember to rinse off under the shower head after your bath. Leaving the suds on your skin will make you feel tight and itchy.
Does Charcoal Soap Really Work?
For lots of people, yes. Especially oily-skinned people.
Whether or not it will “really work” for you depends on your skin type, allergic history, and more. It’s always a good idea to patch test new soaps before you use them (I’ve heard more than my fair share of rashy horror stories). You’re also taking a great first step here by researching your soap options to make a good skin-decision for yourself!