This is another one of those things that’s been on my to-do list for ages. Ever since I read that activated charcoal is a fantastic detox/drawing-out ingredient, and then happened to see it as an ingredient in some fancy face mask I’ve almost entirely forgotten about, I knew I had to make a spot treatment with it (and clay, of course, because clay is like an awesome little pore vacuum).


When I say spot treatment, I mean this is a heavy-duty quasi facial mask, designed for those irksome under-the-skin lurkers. The lurkers that tend to sit there (they love my chin), doing the zit equivalent of a deep, maniacal laugh, just begging you to try and do something about their presence. “Just one squeeze…”, they beg. “It can’t hurt…”, they fib. Lies! All lies! And you know better, but something about their call is just so alluring… argh. And sure enough, you cave, and you seriously regret it for the next week. Ugh.


But no more! (I hope… my willpower may have other ideas.) For clays I chose French Green (my perennial favourite) and Australian Olive Green, which New Directions Aromatics says “is the strongest of all clays for detoxification and is beneficial for use on acne-prone and oily skin.” Then I added two tablets of aspirin, another natural beauty favourite for zapping zits due to its anti-inflammatory properties.


After blending it all up in my DIY-only coffee grinder, I added a few drops of each petitgrain, benzoin, and niaouli essential oils. All three are said to be great for acne, and as a plus, they smell great. If you don’t have them, feel free to just use tea tree and lavender instead.


And, best of all, I am thrilled to report that this works. I’m sure part of its effectiveness is how it allows you to feel like you are doing something productive (that isn’t squeezing and picking) while preventing you from picking and squeezing. Anyhow, I proudly did not end up with a narsty scab living on my chin for 10 days after using this spot treatment a few times, and I am pretty happy about that.


Activated Charcoal & Clay Spot Treatment

2 tbsp French green clay (USA / Canada)
2 tbsp Australian olive green clay
2 tbsp activated charcoal
2 tablets aspirin
6 drops petitgrain essential oil
4 drops benzoin essential oil
5 drops niaouli essential oil

Blend the clays, activated charcoal, and asprin together in a coffee grinder. Blend in the essential oils.

To use, combine a small amount of the powder (~1/8 tsp) with a drop of water. Mix to form a paste. Spread on the spot that is threatening to rear its ugly head and let dry. Rinse off and finish with argan oil or a bit of sea buckthorn acne serum.