Activated Charcoal Beauty Products: The New Skincare Cure-All
When we say activated charcoal beauty products are the latest trend in beauty, we’re not talking about that sooty stuff that you put on the grill to char your burgers. We’re talking about the ingredient that has been turning up in a variety of beauty products like tooth whiteners, face masks, moisturizers and shampoos.
If you’re unfamiliar with activated charcoal beauty products, then you can easily find skincare gurus and influencers testing out similar merchandise on YouTube or Instagram. Women of all ages can be seen coating their faces with the gray-colored cream then peeling it off minutes later to find all their impurities have vanished. Who would have thought that activated charcoal would be the secret miracle for younger, fresher-looking skin.
But What Is It?
Now, you may be asking what exactly are activated charcoal beauty products and are they safe to use? Activated charcoal is simply a black powder made of coconut shells, peat, coal, olive pits, and other non-toxic organic material. After being activated (heated at high temperatures) the charcoal becomes more porous so it can absorb toxins and carry them out of the body. It is completely safe to use, whether you purchase the powder form on its own or in products like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, and many more.
Activated charcoal beauty products are popular as exfoliants and face masks because of the ingredient’s antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It’s the perfect tool for eliminating blemishes when you’re facing a breakout.
The History of Activated Charcoal
If you’ve ever noticed the small black granules that sometimes emerge from a new Brita® filter, then you’ve seen one modern-day use for activated charcoal in action. Toxins such as chlorine, copper, cadmium, and mercury in our drinking water cling to the surface of the charcoal and are thus filtered out.
It may seem like something new, but the therapeutic use of charcoal goes back centuries. Ancient Egyptians used charcoal in their embalming rituals, Native Americans would ingest small amounts to combat the gas-inducing properties of legumes, and during the Industrial Revolution, charcoal was used as a poultice for wounds. But it was the Japanese who first began using activated charcoal beauty products to cleanse their skin and teeth.
Just to be clear, the charcoal on your grill is NOT the same as the charcoal used in toothpastes and soaps. Briquettes can include anthracite coal, limestone, borax, sodium nitrate, and sawdust – none of which we recommend smearing on your face. But if you do want to try a product made with highly refined charcoal, we’ve selected some of the best:
Activated Charcoal Face Masks
As the best pore cleansing ingredient, activated charcoal comes in a variety of skin care products. The Nordstrom charcoal clay mask is made of bamboo charcoal and kaolin clay to help remove pollution and impurities, combined with silica beads to soften the skin texture. The purifying peel-off mask is another popular product that exfoliates the skin, prevents acne, and provides an overall glowing complexion.
If you’re looking for a product that works with sensitive skin, then Harvey Nichols’ Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque might be the right move for you. The cream can be gently washed off after drying and it uses activated binchotan charcoal with sulfur to promote cellular turnover for brighter skin. MAC’s Revival Mask also works to treat sensitive skin and is infused with mineral-rich white clay to wash away excess oil.
Activated Charcoal Hair Products
The activated charcoal ingredient in dry shampoo is formulated to reduce oily hair and eliminate odors. The powder-based hair product revitalizes the roots of your hair for a refreshed and voluminous finish.
Briogeo Scalp Revival is infused with binchotan charcoal that cleanses hair follicles by removing dead skin cells and product build-up from the scalp. It also includes a blend of peppermint and spearmint oils to reduce scalp itchiness, as well as tea tree oil to prevent the risk of inflammation. The addition of coconut oil helps moisturize the scalp and roots of the hair to prevent dryness and irritation.
Activated Charcoal Dental Care Products
The anti-fungal properties in activated charcoal are especially useful for whitening your teeth. The negative ionic charges in activated charcoal are able to bind to plaque, tarter, and bacteria to remove stains from your teeth. This organic toothpaste is also preferable for those with sensitive gums and teeth, since it does not contain any fluoride, SLS, peroxides, or triclosan.
The activated charcoal is mildly abrasive, making it easier to scrub off coffee stains, wine stains, and whatever else has been building up on your teeth. Although it does not clean below the tooth’s enamel, charcoal still acts as a wonderful tooth whitener. You can buy the ready-made charcoal toothpaste product, or simply purchase charcoal powder and mix it with water to brush your teeth. Just be careful because charcoal can easily stain clothes and furniture!
Activated Charcoal Body Wash & Skin Care Products
Charcoal infused body wash is able to simultaneously cleanse and exfoliate the skin. The Black Jack Charcoal Body Bar comes with short nubs on one side for easy, self-administered massages so you can relax your muscles and relieve tension while the activated charcoal absorbs odors and wash away impurities.
This product is especially helpful if you are struggling with body or facial acne. This body bar is dermatologist recommended and scientifically proven to remove toxins from the skin.
Activated Charcoal Makeup Cleansers
Not only does activated charcoal serve as an excellent skin care product, it is also a superb makeup cleanser. The ingredient’s ability to absorb excess dirt, oil, bacteria, and other toxins makes it perfect for cleaning your makeup brushes.
If you have been struggling to find the cause of your breakouts — changing your diet, exercise, and sleeping habits only to find no improvements on your skin — then your makeup brushes could be the culprit. After only a few months, brushes can accumulate lots of bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells, causing major acne breakouts. When brushes aren’t cleaned, the bacteria can clog your pores and dull out your skin. Luckily, activated charcoal can easily remove all this excess product and provide a much cleaner application.
Activated Charcoal Mouthwash
Keeko’s activated charcoal mouthwash was inspired by Ayurvedic medicine – one of the most ancient holistic healing systems in the world. The coconut oil compounded with the activated charcoal whitens teeth while detoxifying the mouth for a dazzlingly fresh looking – and smelling – smile.
With an easy-to-carry container that you can bring with you on-the-go wherever you are, this activated charcoal beauty product is perfect for any jet-setting fashionista who wants her smile to leave a good first impression.
From erasing acne to brightening smiles, it’s no wonder why activated charcoal beauty products are on everyone’s wish lists this holiday season.
Written by Katie Jensen