It might seem to be yet another beauty buzzword, but charcoal has been used medicinally for centuries due to its powerful cleansing abilities. The modern spin (and unique selling point that makes this trend worth embracing) is that the charcoal used in beauty products is no ordinary charcoal. Known as ‘activated’ charcoal, regular charcoal is heated up to the point where it expands and becomes more porous. This process gives it a negative charge which improves its ability to trap toxins and gases and purge them from your body when absorbed, and on a surface level acts like a magnet to attract and absorb dirt and oil.
You’ll no doubt have spotted charcoal in your favourite cleansers, scrubs, and masks, but why stop at facial skincare? Charcoal can be found in everything from body scrubs to toothpastes, too. Scroll down to meet our favourite charcoal-based body care products and learn about the ingredient’s benefits.
It's an effective exfoliant
Charcoal powder’s grainy texture makes it an amazing exfoliating agent. Sunday Rain’s Charcoal + Bamboo Purifying Body Wash combines the known benefits of activated charcoal with the moisturising qualities of shea butter and coconut oil, while ground charcoal powder buffs away dirt and grime, and cucumber oil provides a therapeutic hit – simultaneously smoothing and deodorising your body.
It balances oil production
Yes To Activated Charcoal Soap Bar lathers into a creamy substance that combines activated charcoal with tomato extract and salicylic acid to deeply cleanse pores on both face and body. While the charcoal works to get cleanse skin and balance sebum production, salicylic acid clears deep-rooted congestion, and sunflower seed oil provides nourishment to your skin. It’s particularly beneficial if you suffer from persistent spots on your back, providing a mild way to get rid of acne without stripping your skin of moisture.
Charcoal has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties, extracting these organisms in the same way it withdraws and eliminates toxins. Whilst it won’t fill your tub with frothy, fragrant bubbles, Sunday Rain’s Charcoal Bath Crystals lifts dirt, toxins, and makeup way more effectively than your standard soak – making them ideal for post-workout bathing. Yes, there’s something a little weird about sprinkling crystals into your bath tub, but these are so so worth it.
It detoxifies skin
When applied topically, charcoal absorbs toxins (making it particularly effective if you live in a city – where skin is constantly bombarded with pollutants) and preps the skin for the absorption of products. But while it’s renowned for its purification properties, charcoal needs to come into contact with impurities to soak them up, so the longer a product sits on your skin, the better. For that reason, the most effective way to give your skin its charcoal fix is with a mask. Revolution Skincare’s Charcoal Purifying Mask works brilliantly as a clarifying treatment anywhere on the body – the potent combination of charcoal and kaolin clay works to extract impurities and quell existing blemishes, resulting in skin that’s smooth, toned, and soft.
It whitens teeth
If you think you’ve tried every tooth-whitening product on the market, think again. A black toothpaste takes some getting used to – aren’t we trying to lighten teeth? But a few brushings with this blend of activated charcoal and peppermint will make you (and your newly brilliantly white teeth) total believers. Moon Activated Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste will turn your mouth black as you use it, but in doing so it works to remove surface stains left by tea, wine, and coffee, balances the pH of the mouth (helping to prevent cavities and decay), and puts an end to bad breath by preventing bacteria from growing.