DIY Orange and Rosemary Activated Charcoal Soap

When you purchase run-of-the-mill soap, are you aware of what's in it? Not only is conventional soap full of potentially harmful additives, but commercial manufacturers actually remove the beneficial, nourishing components, including the soap's moisturizing glycerin content.

DIY Orange Activated Charcoal Soap

When you make your own soap, your skin benefits from all the good stuff, especially when you incorporate ingredients that enhance skin health. Say goodbye to synthetic lathering agents, fake colors, chemically-laced fragrances, and toxins you can't pronounce — hello, cold pressed activated charcoal soap.

Your Skin Will Love This Soap – Here's What You'll Need and Why 

  • Organic Coconut Oil – Coconut oil has been deemed a miracle oil within recent trends, and for good reason. When used topically, your skin benefits from its antibacterial, antioxidant, and moisturizing properties. It also adds to the soap's hardness and natural scent.
  • Organic Olive Oil – Olive oil helps clean your skin, without removing its natural oils. It's also great for those who are hypoallergenic, as this oil is gentle on sensitive skin.
  • Organic Shea Butter – Once again, this helps produce a harder bar of soap because it's solid at room temperature. This butter cleanses and disinfects, but also promotes moisture, ensuring that your skin does not dry out.
  • Organic Castor Oil – Caster oil promotes a bubbly lather, while offering deep moisturizing properties. Whenever you're developing a recipe and using castor oil, it should account for approximately 5 to 10 percent of the total oil used.
  • Activated Charcoal – Known as a natural detoxifying agent, activated charcoal promotes healing and produces a beautiful bar of soap. Naturally, soap is off-white, however, this ingredient creates a beautiful gray tone while boosting its beneficial properties.
  • Lye – It's important to mention lye, as some beginners are wary of this ingredient. Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide, is required to make ALL soap — even the most beneficial, organic recipes. When lye mixes with water, it creates a chemical reaction known as saponification. Once this process is complete, no lye exists within the finished product. When you use a fully cured bar of soap, it is not only safe, but beneficial. 

Recipe: Sweet Orange and Rosemary Activated Charcoal Soap 

DIY Activated Charcoal Soap

Soap Making Mold Ideas

For this specific recipe, we used a mini muffin pan, creating the perfect batch of soap for when you're travelling or for guests. You can build your own biodegradable soap mold, source silicon molds, or even use an empty milk carton.

This is also a great DIY PVC pipe mold.

How To Quickly Determine How Much Volume Your Mold Holds

Find out how much your mold holds by placing it on a digital kitchen scale, press zero, then fill with water. Multiply that number by 1.8, then multiply the total by 0.4 – resulting in the amount of base oil you need.

In our example, it held 7.5 ounces of water, so — 7.5 ounces of water x 1.8 x 0.4 = 5.4 ounces. Decide on the oils and butters you'd like to use, then plug them into a lye calculator online.

The recipe is as follows: 

  • 2 ounces of organic coconut oil
  • 2 ounces of organic olive oil
  • 5 ounces of castor oil
  • 5 ounces of Shea butter
  • 8 ounces of distilled water (always use distilled water, as tap water can contain impurities)
  • 7 ounces of lye
  • 25 ounces of activated charcoal
  • 10 drops of organic orange essential oil
  • 10 drops of organic rosemary essential oil


  1. Wear gloves and proper eyewear for added safety, adding the lye to the water. NEVER add water to lye. This mixture will become extremely hot, so make sure it's sitting in a bowl that can stand high temperatures. 
  1. Using a double boiler, melt the coconut oil and Shea butter, then add your olive and castor oil. Using a candy thermometer, check to see that the temperature of the water-lye mixture is similar to your heated oils.
  1. Add the lye-water mixture to your oils and begin to stir. If you use an electric hand blender, this process will be much faster. You can also use a wooden spoon, stirring until the mixture becomes thick, also known as reaching 'trace.' This essentially means that the oils and water combination have emulsified.
  1. At this point, stir in your essential oils and activated charcoal. Pour into your mold, cover with plastic wrap and place somewhere safe. Wrap with towels to properly insulate and leave it be for around 48 hours. 
  1. Depending on the mold you used, you may want to leave your soap within the container for one to two weeks. After this time period, either pop them out (if using muffin pans) or cut off the outer layer of cardboard (if using a milk carton or something similar) – in this case, you'd also need to cut them into bars.
  1. Leave them somewhere safe, out of the sun for 4-6 weeks - allowing the bars to fully cure.

Coconut Activated Charcoal Soap for Acne

It's important to note, that if you use a non-stick mini muffin pan like us, once the soap is hard and ready to pop-out, it helps to place the whole tray in the freezer for around 20 minutes. Turn the tray upside down on a towel and there you have it – your very own organic soap. 

Sara Rogers
Sara Rogers


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