About the Item
3.5 oz for $10.95
Available in any size 3.5 oz and up
The Official Lush website says that Coalface “removes impurities and tones” and is good for normal to oily skin types.
The soap contains: Liquorice Root Decoction (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Propylene Glycol, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Stearate, Rosewood Oil (Aniba rosaeordora), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Powdered Charcoal, Sandalwood Oil (Santalum album), Glycerine, Sodium Chloride, EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, *Linalool, Perfume, Silver Edible Lustre (Potassium aluminum silicate, Titanium dioxide, Iron oxides and hydroxides).
In a lot of ways, this soap is like Robert the Bruce’s victory over the English army at the Battle of Bannockburn: NO ONE saw that one coming. Which is actually the only way this soap is like the Battle of Bannockburn. The point is, I don’t think anyone would look at licorice –the jelly beans you always eat last because they taste like shoe polish – and charcoal – a cosmetic chiefly worn by English street urchins a’la Oliver Twist – and say, hey, that would make a sweet facial cleanser. But somehow, this soap manages to defy conventional wisdom and cleanse a dirty, greasy face like no other, while simultaneously upending all we have come to expect from charcoal and licorice in the past 10,000 years of human existence.
I was intrigued by this soap for many reasons, not the least of which being that many people swear by it for general skin care and acne relief. In fact, I’ve heard that a lot of people switched to Coalface from Proactiv Solution because they found that it worked better (also it’s cheaper and all-natural).
In addition to licorice and charcoal, this soap contains a fairly sturdy soap base derived from palm oil, and with a number of fragrances, some sandalwood oil and a little bit of edible silver. Yeah. That’s right. Silver. Weird huh? Anyway, licorice is a natural demulcent (soothing agent) and has restorative properties that help heal damaged skin.
Sounds like a good thing to put in soap to me, but what’s up with the charcoal? Well, as anyone who has ever swallowed bleach and made it to the emergency room knows, charcoal absorbs and neutralizes toxins (which is why you have to swallow activated charcoal after the stomach pump). The same principle works in cosmetic applications; the charcoal absorbs and neutralizes excess oils, dirt and grime from your skin, as well as adding a light exfoliant to the mixture. Think of the charcoal particles as little sponges that suck up all the nasty crap on your face and grind away dead skin cells. Pretty badass huh?
So I grabbed a sample of the stuff at the Lush store a few days ago and busted it out as soon as I hopped in the shower. The first thing I noticed as I lathered up was that it did not smell quite as pleasant as most Lush products. In fact, it smelled like Windex, which was a little unsettling. But the nice, gritty texture of the charcoal was pleasant enough, and when I rinsed it off, hot damn, did I feel clean. My face was tingly and literally ‘squeaked’. I’ve used a number of face washes before, and probably my biggest problem with them was that they either A: left my face too greasy or too dry, or B: were so harsh with their benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid that they actually triggered more breakouts. Coalface did neither and didn’t even leave my skin dry (though I still recommend you moisturize, lest your face flip out and overcompensate for the lost oils with gnarly nose grease).
Hate it or love it, the underdog’s on top, to quote 50 Cent. This is one of my favorite Lush products, and one of the few that I would consider my ‘staples.’ The only con I can think of is the smell, which you’ll get over quickly. It’s not like benzoyl peroxide or any of the other synthetic alternatives smell any better. I do wish that they had been a little more clever with the name (Bits of carbon + rough texture = Diamonds in the Rough is a way better name?), but I really can’t fault them on it.
Bang for your Buck Rating: $$$
Overall Rating: 4.5