Morihata Binchotan Charcoal


You might be familiar with charcoal as a water- or air-purifying agent (i.e., your Brita and those little black specks that accumulate at the bottom of the tank but are harmless? That's charcoal.). But you probably haven't heard about burnt Japanese oak branches and their knack for absorbing impurities, odors, and preventing bacterial growth, or the use of said oven-fired wood (a.k.a. coal) in the personal-hygiene arena. All is forgiven. See: Morihata's Japanese-designed bath and body range, which uses extra-fine charcoal powder (made by grinding up Binchotan, or Japanese white charcoal) in its eye mask, facial soap, facial sponge, body-scrub towel, pumice stone, and even an obsidian toothbrush.

In all of the products, the Binchotan sets to work to draw dirt out of pores, absorb odors and excess oil, and improve blood circulation. The vegetable-fiber facial sponge, for example, is one of the softest and most effective exfoliators we’ve come across—it feels like it’s smoothing, not tearing your face off. And, because of the charcoal's purifying powers, no additional cleanser necessary. The wash cloth, the design of which mimics Turkish hamam towels (no complaints here), does the same, buffing the skin with its thick, knitted ribs, while simultaneously deodorizing your body. The Alex-Wang-esque black toothbrush kills bad breath while it cleans, and the eye mask does more than make you feel like Holly Golightly—an embedded layer of Binchotan charcoal emits infrared rays to relieve eye pressure and swelling, and boost circulation (meaning, come morning, you’ll look even better-rested than you feel). The entire line works overtime on your health and your bathroom—stash the products in full view to seem like the kind of neat, sophisticated person who buys their personal effects at a design store. Because who doesn't want to seem like that kind of a person? (And a deodorized, more alert, and generally cleaner one at that.)

Photos by Elizabeth Brockway.

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  • Jody

    In yet another edition of "ITG reads my mind", you bring me The Aesthetically Pleasing Toothbrush. If there's one thing I'm OCD about, it's maintaining my bathroom to photo shoot-ready standards AT ALL TIMES. In my mind, you guys are moments away from surprising me with a "Top Shelf: Girl Next Door" special.

    My Colgate cross-action bristled number has been salting my game for the longest time. Marvis toothpaste doesn't look right next to a pink/blue/white/ergonomic-handled/comfort-grip/dentist-recommended toothbrush. This is the final piece of the puzzle.

    • sashi

      see, I have been asking them to do a "Reader Top Shelf" too! Great idea. For another good looking toothbrush option, try the ones made from recycled plastic at Trader Joe's/Whole Foods. They have a sleek curve and come in plain white, and are beyound soft as well. I don't understand why toothbrushes from major brands resemble cross trainer shoes....

      • Jody

        I'm glad I'm not alone. I don't want tiny shoes in my mouth or my beauty cabinet, dammit!

        Thankfully C.O. Bigelow ship to Australia (hello, source of Oribe, Tracie Martyn and Philip B. Hallelujah!)

        I must now begin campaigning for Aussie Whole Foods.

        • babs

          Another vote for an Aussie Whole Foods!

          • Jelly

            And a third!

  • Anna Raponi

    Do you think cleansing with the Binchotan products would work even on acne-prone, oily skin?

    • freudianslippers

      charcoal tends to be pretty awesome for acne-prone skin!

    • Loni

      Yes they are great! I have super acne prone skin and use another charcoal product thats similar but more affordable. More here:

      The charcoal does an excellent job of deep cleaning and exfoliating without over stripping skin or leaving it tight!

  • Tina@OurWonderLust

    I've been using charcoal skincare products for sometime now and love them. They really work in refining your pores and making them look cleaner and smaller. I've tried ones from LUSH and Black Paint. Both awesome. Some formulas are more drying than others, so you have to find one that doesn't strip your skin, but does the job. I will give this line a try!


  • melissa

    sounds great! and the prices are reasonable! must try!

  • Lana

    this may sound silly, but, are the infrared rays the eye mask emit dangerous in any way?

    • C

      No, everything around us emits infrared rays. They are what makes you feel warm when you are directly under the sun. Even you emit them! :)

      In sunlight though, they are accompanied by visible light, and other higher frequency radiation which can be dangerous (i.e. UV rays. X-rays and gamma rays are also produced, but don't really make it all the way to us, thank god!)

      • lana

        Thank you! You're explanation was very helpful! That is great news.:) :)

  • MoseyM

    An embedded layer of charcoal emits infrared rays? How? Why (chemically, not cosmetically speaking) does this happen?

    • C

      Every single object around us is constantly emitting electromagnetic radiation, in fact, so are we! This happens because we have some thermal energy (due to the movement of the molecules that make us up, which is related to our temperature) which is constantly being converted to electromagnetic radiation. Charcoal (which is mostly carbon) emits this radiation in a way very close to what we physicists call a "black body", which has a very particular spectrum. At room temperature, most of the radiation it emits is infrared. As you raise the temperature, it begins to emit visible light, like the resistance in your oven when it turns red.

      I don't really know how this benefits our eye area though :)

      • MoseyM

        Interesting!! Thanks so much for the explanation!

  • Loni

    Charcoal products are great for skin, especially acne prone, they exfoliate without being harsh, I've been using mine for months and love it! But the products mentioned here are a bit expensive. The DEW PUFF (which is the same thing essentially) works great and is only $8 bucks. More info HERE:

  • Lola Jane

    I've been using Origin's charcoal mask for at least the last 7 years - a great favorite of mine!!

  • ni ni

    I just got eau good water bottle by black + blum last week and now I find more charcoal delights here. This is super. So happy with the water bottle.


Morihata Binchotan Pumice Stone
Morihata Binchotan Scrub Towel
Morihata Binchotan Facial Puff
Morihata Binchotan Facial Soap
Morihata Binchotan Charcoal Eye Mask
Morihata Binchotan Toothbrush