Beauty’s Latest Black Magic

Move over coconut oil, there’s a new buzzword in town – activated charcoal.  It’s being added to cleansers (see our post on konjac here), face masks, toothbrushes, supplements and even juices for its ability to absorb toxins. Its efficacy is the real deal – charcoal has been used in the medial field for decades to treat the effects of poisoning (it works by attaching to toxins in the stomach and absorbing them before the bloodstream can).   And it doesn’t hurt that the color is so edgy and chic!

What differentiates “activated” charcoal from the type you use in your bbq is that activated charcoal has been treated to open up millions of tiny pores between the carbon atoms, exponentially increasing its porosity and surface area.  As a result it acts like a super-charged magnet to attract impurities.  It can work wonders in a cleanser or mask – the dirt and oil stick to the carbon and get washed away when you rinse!   With regular use, your skin will look clearer, brighter and pores should appear smaller.

Carbon infused products are perfect for acne prone and oily skin types – especially heading into the humid summer months – as well as skin that is needs to detoxify from exposure to city pollutants.

Here are three favorites:

Lush Coalface $13.95I love this product name because it reminds me of the mining scene in Zoolander. When Derek jumps out with his face covered in coal, we should have known he was onto something!  Use this bar soap to help exfoliate and reduce redness and blemishes.

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask $25The effectiveness of carbon (charcoal) increases the longer a product sits on your skin. This mask also contains kaolin and bentonite clays for extra oil absorption.

Fig + Yarrow Clay Mask in Black $18 – This gets my vote for the most fun and customizable of the three.  You can mix the black powder with a variety of substances (try honey, yogurt, aloe water…) depending on your skin condition.

It’s always fun when a new functional ingredient enters the mix. I’m curious to see if this one will maintain the expected longevity.

Have you tried a product with activated charcoal?  Leave a comment and share your experience!

-CM

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