The tough thing about most soaps is that they can actually dry out your skin as they cleanse. Sure, you get a squeaky-clean feeling, but stripping your skin of all its natural (needed!) oils can do more harm than good. Think: flaky, peeling, or tight skin. As a natural moisturizer, vitamin E oil restores, protects and nourishes dry skin. Combined with a natural homemade charcoal soap recipe — it’s the dream combo to get you the cleanse you want, without over drying. (Plus, because of its antioxidant properties, vitamin E oil naturally prolongs the shelf life of oil based products, to make your at-home beauty projects last longer.)

Using activated charcoal soap is all the rage in the beauty community right now because it’s thought to absorb toxins and excess oil, and help better cleanse the skin. Some say it can even help minimize the appearance of pores. And adding just five drops of thick, sticky vitamin E oil to your favorite homemade charcoal soap recipe will bring nourishing antioxidant benefits to your cleansing routine. Vitamin E is fat soluble and therefore great for soaps, the idea being fat clings to, and removes, unwanted dirt and oils that you don’t want in your pores. We love this recipe for homemade charcoal soap from Things We’ll Make that (you guessed it!) incorporates a healthy dose of good ol’ vitamin E.

Activated Charcoal Face Soap Recipe

Prep time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6 bars

* 7.94 oz olive oil

* 4.41 oz coconut oil

* 3.53 oz grapeseed oil

* .88 oz castor oil

* .88 oz shea butter

* 3.53 oz distilled water

* 3.17 oz witch hazel (distilled, no alcohol)

* 2.40 oz lye

* 7.2 g activated charcoal

* 5 ml green tea extract

* 2.5 g citric acid * 5 drops vitamin E oil

* 20 drops rosemary essential oil (optional)

1. Pour water in a large glass bowl, and add lye to the water. Use gloves and a mask for this part of the process, and mix outside to avoid any fumes.

2. Carefully mix together the lye and water until the lye is completely dissolved. Leave the mixture alone to cool.

3. Measure and combine olive oil, rapeseed oil, coconut oil, castor oil, and shea butter in an empty bowl. (Hint: use a hand held blender.)

4. Add the witch hazel to the lye-water mixture and stir together.

5. Combine water-witch hazel-lye mixture with the oil mixture slowly, turning it with a metal spoon.

6. Blend until mixture thickens like a mayonnaise. Then start adding the rest of the ingredients — including 5 drops of vitamin E oil — combining them well.

From here, simply pour your soap in molds and let it harden, reaching proper consistency, over a period of 24 hours. (Things We’ll Make goes through this process in more detail.) The main highlight we love about this creamy, nourishing soap recipe is the vitamin E oil, which, combined with activated charcoal, cleanses and hydrates your skin without irritation. It’s gentle enough to use on your face and body, and takes soap to a whole new level. Enjoy!

BONUS TIP: If you’re on a budget, or feeling just plain crafty, wrap your soap in wax paper and tie with a cute ribbon to make thoughtful, homemade gifts for your friends and family.