As we strive to discover the perfect daily routine that will meet our skincare needs, we try dozens and dozens of products (and, if you’re like us, plenty more). We all have the same ultimate goal: to be blemish-free and smooth, with a clear and glowing complexion and healthy and nourished skin. Now, however, as more chemical-laden options appear on the market each week, it’s more important than ever to look to natural, inexpensive products that can help us meet our skincare goals. One trend that continues to gain attention is the application of activated charcoal (also known as activated carbon) to skin, teeth and hair. While this idea naturally garners a surprised reaction, activated charcoal is becoming more and more respected as a natural, inexpensive and healthy alternative to traditional soaps and cleansers.
It is no secret that charcoal is an incredible, versatile substance that can effectively remove toxins from your body. It is not the same kind of charcoal that is used for smoking and cooking, though! Rather, it’s a treated, medically-approved version that is similar to the kind of charcoal found in air filtration systems. To create activated charcoal, regular charcoal is heated with a specific type of gas that causes the charcoal to expand. The surface of the charcoal, in consequence, develops a porous (meaning that it is covered by holes, like pores) surface that is ideal for absorbing and trapping toxins. It is able to absorb up to thousands of times its own weight, which is why a small amount works so well!
Charcoal is frequently distributed in hospitals as a detoxing agent, since it works to remove harmful toxins and chemicals from your bloodstream (without actually being absorbed by your blood). And, in the Second World War, activated charcoal was used in gas masks to prevent soldiers from being poisoned by chemical exposure, and it has been used to treat water (making it tasteless and odourless) since 1930.
Note: charcoal cannot remove all types of toxins from one’s body, such as alcohol. Therefore, it is not recommended as a hangover remedy.
Even though the idea of applying charcoal to your body might seem dirty or unhygienic, it’s neither. Rather, its incredible cleansing properties only remove dirt from your skin, rather than add anything else to it. There are so many ways you can apply charcoal to your body and use it to improve your external health, especially when used safely and properly. Here are some of our favourite methods:
1. Use it as a cleanser …
… for your face and body. You can purchase soap, scrubs, gels and exfoliating powders that utilize charcoal as their main ingredient. It works well to remove makeup and it is even reported to help with acne prevention, since it removes all traces of dirt and impurities from your pores.
2. Use it to whiten your teeth …
… as it’s odourless and tasteless, so you won’t have an unpleasant experience. Just add some charcoal powder to your toothbrush (we recommend purchasing a black toothbrush as well, because otherwise the charcoal will stain the bristles) and brushing for up to 2 minutes followed by a thorough rinse. You’ll notice a difference immediately, but for long term results, you’ll have to add charcoal to your daily brushing routine.
3. Use it as a mask …
… though maybe not all on its own. When used as a face mask, activated charcoal will remove all excess oils from your skin's surface, leaving it smooth and glowing. Since charcoal is a natural drying agent, it is best to avoid using it as a mask if you already have dry skin. Otherwise, we only recommend that you use it once or twice a week, maximum. There are so many different homemade recipes for charcoal face masks that you can try at home, but we recommend this one to start!
- Apply it to your hair …
… by adding one capsule of charcoal powder to your regular shampoo regimen. Since toxins are attracted to activated charcoal, it works well as a deep cleanser and detoxifier for your hair. If you add activated charcoal capsules to your regular shampoo routine, you’ll be able to experience an even deeper cleanse without leaving any additional residue.
- Drink it!
These days, people are have become fans of using activated charcoal to detox themselves from the inside as well, such as in supplements and juices. Since its tasteless, your drink will look black but will taste like the other (delicious) ingredients that are in your drink! This is our favourite!
Let us know about your experience with using charcoal as part of your beauty routine!