Charcoal Shampoo: The Under-the-Radar Secret for Clean, Bouncy Hair

Woman in shower

triocean / Getty Images

We already use charcoal to purify our skin, whiten our teeth, and abolish our hangovers, so what's stopping us from using it as a strategic clarifying treatment for our finicky scalps or day-five greasy strands? The answer: nothing. Since activated charcoal can soak up 100 to 200 times its weight in impurities, it's a helpful tool to eradicate dirt, flakes, and oil from our scalp and hair. Thus, we decided to round up the best charcoal shampoos promising shine, bounce, and, yes, freshly cleansed strands.

Keep reading for the benefits of using charcoal shampoo, plus our selection of the best charcoal shampoos, hands down.

Benefits of Using Charcoal Shampoo

  • Volumizing: Activated charcoal works to cleanse and remove impurities. Used on the hair, that means it helps remove excess oil and sebum, thereby making the hair appear fuller with more body and overall more volume.
  • Detoxifying: Activated charcoal works by binding to certain substances and removing them—so toxins, excess oil...those can all be removed from strands or other parts of the body with the use of charcoal.
  • Encourages hair growth: By removing impurities in the scalp and strands, charcoal shampoo helps to boost hair growth and leads to healthy, strong hair.
  • Cuts down on grease: Charcoal is highly effective at removing oil. One study found that charcoal had a removal efficiency of 99.67 percent when used to remove oil from seawater. Similarly, when applied to your strands, it binds to oil and removes it from the hair.
  • Helps to heal: Activated charcoal has a host of antibacterial and anti-fungal properties which, anecdotally, have been found to soothe symptoms of scalp conditions like dry skin, eczema, or psoriasis.
  • Eliminates dandruff: Charcoal is great for those suffering from dry skin or hair, as it removes impurities like the residue from dry skin, without drying out the skin further.

Our Favorite Charcoal Shampoos

Voodoo Activated Charcoal & Honey Shampoo Bar (Liquorice & Mint)

Activated Charcoal & Honey Shampoo Bar
Voodoo Activated Charcoal & Honey Shampoo Bar (Liquorice & Mint) $15.00
Shop

Voodoo's charcoal shampoo bar fills strands with bounce, shine, and superior health, in addition to enhancing the color of your tresses. If you're blonde, it'll help tone down brassiness, and if you have a darker shade, it'll look even richer. The formula includes pure ingredients like Tasmanian seaweed extract, bamboo charcoal, coconut, castor, and olive oils, plus a delightful dose of leatherwood beeswax and honey.

Pantene Pro-V Blends Charcoal Purifying Root Wash Shampoo

Pantene Pro-V Blends Charcoal Shampoo
Pantene Pro-V Blends Charcoal Purifying Root Wash Shampoo $22.00
Shop

Featuring charcoal powder as one of the main ingredients, Pantene's purifying shampoo lifts and removes buildup leaving the scalp feeling refreshed. The blend of nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants elevates the hair's natural volume and shine after each wash. Sold? We thought so.

Sexy Hair Style Detox Daily Clarifying Shampoo

Sexy Hair Detox Shampoo
Sexy Hair Style Detox Daily Clarifying Shampoo $29.00
Shop

Infused with activated black charcoal (but pleasingly free of sulfates), Sexy Hair's detoxifying shampoo eliminates scalp woes (like impurities, flakes, and product residues) while simultaneously conditioning strands for healthier hair in the long run.

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Bamboo Charcoal Deep Cleansing Shampoo

Shea Moisture Bamboo Charcoal Deep Cleansing Shampoo
SheaMoisture African Black Soap Bamboo Charcoal Deep Cleansing Shampoo $9.00
Shop

Fortified with the clarifying likes of African black soap, bamboo charcoal, willow bark, and tea tree oil, SheaMoisture's deep-cleansing shampoo also keeps moisture levels renewed and balanced thanks to a luxe blend of oils and butters. This one is especially great for thick, coarse, and curly hair.

Hask Charcoal Clarifying Shampoo

Hask Charcoal Shampoo
Hask Charcoal Clarifying Shampoo $12.00
Shop

Hask's charcoal shampoo is chock-full of detoxifying ingredients that will revive drab, lackluster strands with long-lost body and movement. The charcoal is derived from coconut shells and combined with lemon and grapefruit oils to thoroughly cleanse and rejuvenate. It's easy on color-treated strands and gentle enough for daily use, so it's a win-win.

Drybar On the Rocks Clarifying Charcoal Shampoo

Drybar On The Rocks Shampoo
Drybar On the Rocks Clarifying Charcoal Shampoo $26.00
Shop

On par with the rest of Drybar's heavenly products, the brand's On the Rocks shampoo is filled with activated charcoal and vegetable proteins for stronger, silkier hair and the rich scent of ginger, mint, and sandalwood also happens to be hair-raisingly addictive.

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Shampoo

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Shampoo $42.00
Shop

Hydrating, soothing, and detoxifying, Briogeo's charcoal and coconut oil shampoo balances an expert blend of binchotan charcoal, panthenol, and coconut oil to fortify hair with moisture while simultaneously nixing product residue and buildup. And thanks to a touch of peppermint, tea tree, and spearmint oils, that cool, clean feeling will last.

Soapbox Activated Charcoal Detoxify & Refresh Conditioner 

soapbox charcoal shampo
Soapbox Activated Charcoal Detoxify & Refresh Conditioner $10.00
Shop

Infused with jojoba, avocado, argan, and almond oils, you've never met a silkier mixture for hair health. Botanic Hearth's shampoo also features a touch of charcoal to help purify worn-out tresses for the ultimate detoxification.

Sort of Coal Kuro Charcoal Shampoo

kuro shampoo
Sort of Coal Kuro Charcoal Shampoo $49.00
Shop

Sort of Coal also offers Kuro charcoal shampoo, which is specifically formulated for normal to thick hair and strands with oily texture. Enriched with white charcoal powder and Korean red pine needles, your mane will look lustrous and healthy post-wash. 

OGX Purifying + Charcoal Detox Shampoo 

OGX charcoal shampo
OGX Purifying + Charcoal Detox Shampoo $9.00
Shop


This activated charcoal shampoo is infused with coconut charcoal and kaolin clay to cleanse fine to normal hair types. It also works to leave hair shiny, and not dull, despite being detoxifying.

Pelican Clay & Charcoal Shampoo 

Pelican clay and charcoal shampoo
Pelican Clay & Charcoal Shampoo $17.00
Shop

This activated charcoal- and seaweed-infused shampoo promises to clarify without stripping hair. Better yet, it's gentle enough for use on all hair types, from fine to curly.

Love Beauty and Planet Delightful Detox Charcoal Shampoo

Love Beauty and Planet Delightful Detox Charcoal Shampoo - 13.5 fl oz
Love Beauty and Planet Delightful Detox Charcoal Shampoo $7.00

This cleansing shampoo is infused with bamboo charcoal, so it works to remove oil and impurities, but it's safe enough for daily use. Coconut oil helps to keep hair hydrated, plus it's safe for color-treated hair.

FAQ
  • Can charcoal damage your hair?

    While it's not advisable to put just any form of charcoal on your locks, when charcoal is an ingredient within a hair product, it's perfectly healthy to apply to your hair.

  • Does charcoal help hair growth?

    There's no scientific evidence demonstrating that charcoal can help improve hair growth, though it can help rid the hair of toxins and buildup (and clean, healthy hair is more likely be grow and appear fuller than hair that isn't healthy).

  • Can you use charcoal shampoo every day?

    Charcoal-infused products are best for those struggling with scalp breakouts, or excessive oil (in other words, those looking to balance their scalps). As with any product, it's best to seek professional advice before committing to daily use—so start by using charcoal shampoo as a two- or three-times-per-week treatment.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. IOP Materials Science and Engineering. "Removal of oil from seawater using charcoal and rice hull." 2017

Related Stories