7 Best Activated Charcoal Products 2020

To determine the best activated charcoal products for detoxification, we looked at the following core factors: type, quantity, and potency specifically for capsule form activated charcoal. We know that some people are solely focused on internal detoxing as opposed to creating topical recipes which is why we featured a range of charcoal options. But we want to give you the best value by focusing on quantity and potency.

After taking all of the above into account, we nominated the NaturaLife Labs Activated Charcoal as our Top Pick. This is an easy to use activated charcoal supplement in capsule form with 1,200 milligrams per serving with a vegan-friendly capsule. Keep reading to learn more about the rest of our top picks.

Top 7 Best Activated Charcoal Products for Detoxification

 #1  NaturaLife Labs Activated Charcoal

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: A higher potency capsule supplement that’s vegan-friendly and free from questionable ingredients makes this the best activated charcoal supplement.

Pros
  • A great single-ingredient supplement
  • 1200mg of activated charcoal per serving of 2 capsules
  • Vegan-friendly, non-GMO, with no artificial ingredients
Cons
  • Loose powder in the container can be messy

Not everyone wants to deal with mixing loose charcoal powder into pastes or drinks to kick off their detox journey — and we get it. If you’re short on time, this 100-capsule bottle of activated charcoal capsules is the perfect solution. With every serving (2 capsules), you’ll get 1,200 milligrams of activated charcoal.

Most importantly, these capsules are GMO-free and vegan-friendly — making them the best-activated charcoal supplement in our guide. We liked specifically that the only ingredient is the activated charcoal powder which is derived from coconut shells. And even the actual capsule is made from vegetable cellulose so you don’t have to compromise your diet just for a detox. And since these are loose powder capsules, if you prefer to use the powder for other treatments, you can open the capsules and create your DIY charcoal recipes. If you’re mixing this charcoal with water, you’ll also want one of the best water filter systems.

 #2  Zen Charcoal Hardwood Activated Charcoal Powder

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: A loose powder that’s been finely milled and is certified food-grade quality proves it’s the best activated charcoal powder for beginners.

Pros
  • A finely milled and certified food grade quality
  • Can be used for multiple detox and cleaning purposes
  • 8oz container of loose powder comes with a free scoop
Cons
  • Smaller pouch may not be ideal for frequent charcoal users
While capsules are great for people who are short on time, if you’re trying to make charcoal pastes, they’re not the most practical option. This is why we nominated this loose powder from Zen Charcoal as our Honorable Mention. While it is a smaller pouch at just eight ounces, we do like that it’s a great option for someone who’s graduated from capsules but isn’t sure if they’re fully committed to the idea of creating DIY recipes every time they want to use activated charcoal.

As is common, the only ingredient in this pouch is activated charcoal which is derived from Eastern American hardwood trees. We like that this is a food-grade charcoal option which is also vegan-friendly, and comes with a scoop to make using it easier — more proof that this is the best-activated charcoal powder in our guide for beginners. You’ll appreciate that the powder is finely milled so that if you’re ingesting it, you’ll experience less grit. Or you could mix it with water from the best refrigerator water filter.

 #3  Schizandu Organics Hardwood Activated Charcoal Powder

Award: BEST FOR DIY RECIPES

WHY WE LIKE IT: An organic activated charcoal powder that comes with a helpful eBook with tips on how to create safe and effective charcoal recipes, with charcoal sourced from fir trees.

Pros
  • Comes with a helpful 20-page eBook for usage tips
  • Made in the USA from fir trees
  • Large container featuring 32 oz of loose powder
Cons
  • Not finely milled, so may experience grit
When you’re frequently using charcoal for DIY recipes, you’ll find that a smaller pouch like our Honorable Mention isn’t going to cut it if you’re making daily concoctions. So, we nominated Schizandu Organics’ 32-ounce container of loose activated powder as our best pick for DIY uses. Not only do you get a large amount of powder, but you also get a 20-page ebook that gives you helpful tips and recipes for using the activated charcoal effectively.

Plus, this organic activated charcoal is also safe for vegans and those following a gluten-free diet. You’ll appreciate that the charcoal is ethically sourced from fir trees in the United States. The Schizandu activated charcoal powder is also food-grade quality meaning that it’s safe for ingestion if you want to perform a total detox experience. And if you need a frame of reference, this 32-ounce container of powder is the equivalent of 1,000 activated charcoal capsules. If you’re trying to detox your own body, try cleansing the air with the best cabin air filter.

 #4  WOW Activated Charcoal & Keratin Shampoo

Award: BEST FOR TROPICAL USE

WHY WE LIKE IT: A straightforward shampoo that works to detox and cleanse your scalp while gently washing your hair, with a recipe that is free from silicones, sulfates and parabens.

Pros
  • Pre-made option that’s easy to use
  • Designed specifically to detox the scalp and cleanse hair
  • Free of silicones, sulfates, and parabens
Cons
  • Activated charcoal is not the main ingredient in this shampoo

If time isn’t your friend, the last thing you have time to do is to create charcoal pastes, apply them to your scalp, and then spend an impossible amount of time washing it out — before you then have to clean your shower or tub because of the charcoal residue. This is why we added WOW’s Activated Charcoal and Keratin Shampoo as our Best Topical Pick.

Full disclosure, this specific product has the lowest charcoal content of all the picks in our guide since activated charcoal isn’t even in the top five ingredients in the shampoo. But we do like that this shampoo is rated safe for all hair types, and can be used on adults and children with no issues. More importantly, you can use it with peace of mind as it’s free of silicones, sulfates, and parabens.

 #5  Organic Activated Coconut Charcoal

Award: BEST PREBOOZE TO PREVENT HEADACHE

WHY WE LIKE IT: A large quantity of loose powder capsules that are a great option to avoid a hangover. They’re also safe for vegans, vegetarians, and people following gluten-free diets — which translates to fewer trips to the store to restock.

Pros
  • Ideal for people following gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan diets
  • Great monthly supply
  • Made at FDA inspected facilities
Cons
  • Can be difficult to separate multiple pills for DIY recipes

If you’re the type who’s focused on getting the biggest bang for your buck, then you’re not just focused on ingredients but the total pill count and how many servings that means. We included Purely Beneficial’s activated charcoal because they have the highest pill count of any of the supplements in our guide — 180 to be exact. And with a two-capsule serving per day, that comes out to 90 servings or a three month supply.

As is common with the other supplements featured in our guide, this is another vegan-friendly option that only contains coconut-derived activated charcoal and vegetable cellulose for the capsule. With every serving, you get 1,200 milligrams of charcoal. And you can rest assured that these capsules are free from fillers, artificial ingredients, harmful preservatives, or inferior ingredients. Stir this in with water from the best water filters and you’ll be hangover-free in no time.

 #6  Brittanie’s Thyme Organic Bulk Activated Charcoal Powder

Award: BEST QUALITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: A great two-pound bulk buy of USDA organic vegan-friendly activated charcoal that’s perfect for frequent users, with a formulation that excels with bug bites and wounds.

Pros
  • Ideal for bug bites and wounds
  • Certified USDA organic and safe for vegans
  • Large 2lb bag is more economical
Cons
  • Loose powder may be messy for some to use

If you use activated charcoal frequently in the loose powder form, you can’t go wrong with this two-pound bag from Smart Solutions. This certified USDA organic powder is non-GMO, vegan-friendly, and free from fillers.

We liked that this was another food-grade option that’s safe for detox ingestion. As compared to our Honorable Mention, this option offers four times as much power without breaking the bank. It is also rated for topical use, as it can easily be turned into a paste that can treat bug bites and wounds.

 #7  Swanson Activated Charcoal Capsules

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: A budget-friendly solution for a no-mess approach to activated charcoal that’s ideal for first-time users, with a recipe that includes activated charcoal as the only ingredient.

Pros
  • A great starter option for those beginning a regimen
  • 60 servings per bottle
  • Activated charcoal is the primary and only ingredient
Cons
  • Lowest potency of all the pill supplements in our guide
  • Not rated for vegans because of gelatin capsule content

If you’re familiar with activated charcoal, you know that there are potential side effects to ingesting it — specifically upset stomach, nausea, and diarrhea. And while all of our capsule-based picks are well within the safe range of the recommended amount of charcoal anyone should be ingesting, if you’re concerned about taking too much our Best on a Budget is a great starter option.

Whereas the other capsules in our guide feature 1,200 milligrams, this pick gives you 260 milligrams per capsule for a total of 520 milligrams per serving when you take the recommended two capsules every day. And with 120 capsules per bottle, that translates to 60 servings or a two-month supply in total. While this is an affordable option, it’s also important to keep in mind that this is the only supplement that isn’t safe for vegans to consume because of the capsule material which includes gelatin.

How We Decided

Activated charcoal is a great way to purify your body whether you take it internally or use it topically. We looked at the following factors to create this guide — type, quantity, and potency specifically for capsule form activated charcoal.

By far the majority of our picks are designed to be ingested as they were either pill form (Top Pick, #5, and Best on a Budget) or powder form (Honorable Mention, #3, and Best Quality). But our #4 pick is the only one designed solely for topical use as a charcoal-infused shampoo.

In terms of quantity, we approached this in two ways — pill count, and total weight. For the pill count, we didn’t just focus on the total number of pills in the bottle, but the suggested serving size and how that translated into a monthly supply. For the pills, our Top Pick had the smallest count, while our #5 pick had the largest with a three month supply of pills. When we focused on the total weight for loose powder, our #3 and Best Quality were both tied with two pounds of powder in their respective containers.

The potency is a factor specifically for activated charcoal capsules. All of the capsules pick in our guide offer potencies that are within safe recommended levels for activated charcoal. The most common potency was 1,200 milligrams per serving which is found in our Top Pick and #5 picks. In contrast, our Best on a Budget was another charcoal capsule but had a significantly lower potency at 560 milligrams. However, if you’re just beginning to take activated charcoal, it might be better to start with a lower potency and work up to a higher one once you know that you can tolerate ingesting charcoal.

Best Activated Charcoal Products for Detoxification Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Factors to Consider

  1. Uses
    Activated Charcoal is a potent detoxifying ingredient, but it can be used for a wide range of uses. Some people use it for stain removal on their teeth, others for a skin detox, and some people ingest activated charcoal as a literal detox method to rid their bodies of impurities or relieve bloating and gas discomfort. Whether you’re hoping to tackle one or all of these top methods, keep that in mind as you shop for activated charcoal.
  2. Type
    Activated charcoal can be found in a variety of formats. The most common options are pill, liquid, and raw powder form. Keep in mind that the bill form can range from tablets to capsules. However, many experts recommend that if you opt for the pill version, you should pick capsules over tablets since capsules contain loose powder so you can use that powder in other therapeutic ways as well.
  3. Ease of Use
    Depending on your comfort level with DIY type treatments, you’ll want to think about whether the activated charcoal product you’re picking is one that’s ready to use straight from the package or one that requires additional steps on your end to turn it from raw powder to something you can either ingest or apply topically. This choice is going to come down to a matter of preference and whether you’re comfortable with making your concoctions instead of buying a prepackaged ready-to-go item.
  4. Quantity
    Whether you’re buying activated charcoal in pill, liquid, or loose powder form, it’s always a good idea to look at the quantity and consider how frequently you plan to use it and how much you’ll use at a time. Activated charcoal can come in a range of sizes, so there’s no guideline as to what is considered a “standard” amount that you can purchase.
  5. Quality
    Activated charcoal is a powerful naturally derived product that can provide plenty of health benefits. Even though you should always check the ingredients list regardless of how you plan to use charcoal, this is especially important if you’re planning to ingest it. Especially if you plan on consuming charcoal — whether in powder or pill form —, you’ll want to look for brands where activated charcoal is the only ingredient aside from the capsule or any binders.

Activated Charcoal Products for Detoxification FAQs

Can activated charcoal detoxify the body?

While activated charcoal is a popular detox tool, the medical research surrounding it is still thin. So, while there are great benefits that can come from using activated charcoal, you should always speak to your physician first if you’re thinking of using it for a detox, and especially when trying to determine how much activated charcoal to drink. It’s also important to note that if you’re currently on prescription medications, activated charcoal could inactivate them if you’re ingesting charcoal. And pregnant or breastfeeding women are also discouraged from ingesting charcoal.

How often should I take activated charcoal?

It’s always best to start with lower doses and gently work your way up to a higher dosage over time. However, usually once or twice a day is sufficient. Keep in mind that activated charcoal shouldn’t be taken with food, supplements, or medications.

What toxins does activated charcoal remove?

Activated charcoal is a great way to remove a wide range of toxins from the body especially common ones like urea. The charcoal works to bind to any impurities found in the body and to pass those toxins out through your stool.

Is charcoal good for pimples?

Because charcoal is so great at pulling out toxins, you’ll find that many skin care products designed to target pimples or acne include activated charcoal as a key ingredient. The charcoal can work to draw out impurities so that the other active ingredients in your skincare products can treat the cause of your skin woes.

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Dorian Smith-Garcia

Dorian Smith-Garcia is a bridal and beauty expert/influencer and the creative director behind The Anti Bridezilla. She is a diverse writer across beauty, fashion, travel, consumer goods, and tech. She also writes for Inverse, Glowsly, and The Drive along with a variety of other publications. When Dorian's not writing she's collecting stamps in her passport, learning new languages, or spending time with her husband and daughter.

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