Starting a few years back, the presence of activated charcoal in the beauty and health realm has sky rocketed! Recently I feel like I keep seeing charcoal as an ingredient in all of the new beauty products as well as in drinks and some food. There are a good amount of articles out there that either argue the benefits or harms of using activate charcoal. In summary, it sounds like there is just not enough proof to support either of those theories. Back in the day, activated charcoal was used like a sponge to remove unwanted substances from the body in the case of drug poisoning and overdose. With this ability, it is no wonder that the idea of it absorbing other things like oils and bodily toxins is appealing.
Out of the many charcoal products out there, it can be hard to know which one to get and almost impossible to try them all out! Below I have listed my favorite charcoal products that I have tried so far:
1. Lush Dark Angels Face and Body Cleanser $13.95 - $33.95
Currently this is my absolute favorite charcoal product! I first read about this in an article and since I work so close to a Lush store I went in one day and decided I had to try it! In the store the sales associate demonstrated how to use it and not only is it really fun to use, it also smells great. This cleanser is almost the consistency of cookie dough and comes in a chunk that you can easily pinch pieces off of. Since you have to break off a piece to use it, you can decide how much you want each time which is nice.
So far I have only used it on my face although they technically classify it as a body cleanser as well. This cleanser has black sugar in it which acts as a very light and pleasant exfoliant. It also has organic avocado oil in it to leave your skin not too dried out (I would still recommend using a moisturizer afterwards though).
To use it, I first wet my face and then break off a bit and mix it with water in the palm of one of my hands. Part of what makes this so fun to use it that you get to decide the consistency of it. All you do is add water and so the less water you add, the thicker the paste is. It does definitely dry quickly so I often end up having to add a bit more water to my hand as i scrub the cleanser over my face. Activated charcoal does need some time to do its thing so after exfoliating, I usually let it sit for around 20 seconds before washing it off. I love the way it makes my skin feel fresh and rejuvenated. This cleanser is not going to magically remove your blackheads. In fact I've noticed that it almost makes them more visible become it helps bring them closer to the surface. This can be great as long as you follow up with either a pore strip or a peel off mask.
-Try using it in the shower. The warm steam helps open up your pores making this cleanser even more effective
-Since this cleanser is made fresh, you can choose what size you want to get. Get a smaller size if you do not plan on using it every day since each batch does have an expiration date
-Apply this cleanser with your fingers versus a washcloth/Clarisonic and you will have much better results!
-Since the cleanser is black, do not wear white or clothing you really care about when using it just in case! I would also recommend using a dark colored washcloth when you are washing it off
2. Freeman Feeling Beautiful Charcoal & Black Sugar Polishing Mask $4.29
My second favorite charcoal product right now is this dual face mask and scrub. Although I have always liked the idea of face masks, I have never used them very often. This is because I never liked how when it dried, it felt like you could not move your face without it cracking. I know that some people like the feeling of their skin tightening but I just can't stand it! Therefore I was super pleased to come across this mask which is not over drying and does not leave your face feeling like it is covered in plaster. In addition to the activated charcoal, this mask also contains black sugar which gives it a similar consistency to honey and makes it a sticky like honey as well. The piece of black sugar in this mask are bigger than in the Dark Angels face scrub so it is a more harsh exfoliation in comparison.
To use, first wet your face. It says to do this on the instructions as well but when I first used it, I forgot and it made it a lot more difficult to apply. First squeeze some onto your fingers and start applying it by moving from one side of your face to another and squeezing more onto your fingers as you go. This mask definitely likes sticking to itself and so it took me a few uses before I figured out how to best apply it evenly. I usually will leave this on for around 10 minutes during which you will feel the mask warm slightly which helps it melt onto your face. Since this mask does not dry, you can also leave it on for longer as well. When it comes time to wash it off, I wet my fingers and then start to gently scrub. A lot of clumps will fall into the sink as you do so and you might need to keep rinsing off and wetting your fingers. After you do this, you should have a very light layer left on which is easier to scrub your face with. I then use a washcloth to gently wash the remaining mask off. Although I have not really noticed any long term effects, I like how refreshed my skin feels after each use.
- Securely pull your hair back prior to use otherwise your hair will get stuck to your face
-Gently scrub your face in circular motions with your fingers for best results
- After washing off the mask, apply a hot wash cloth over your face for a few seconds for a more refreshed feeling
- Read the instructions and wet your face first before applying!
- Make sure the cap is completely close after each use so that it does not dry out
3. Tea Bar Dirty Detox $6.00
Unfortunately, in order to enjoy this next charcoal product, you do need to be in the Portland area. The dirty detox is one of the signature drinks at the Tea Bar locations in Portland, Oregon. When I first saw a pictures of this drink a little over a year ago I was intrigued by its appearance. Don't be turned off though! The actual drink tastes like lemonade with a pleasant hint of lavender. There are little flecks of charcoal that float around n the drink which I personally enjoy since it gives it texture. This drink is brewed with activated charcoal and also includes lavender petals, raw honey and cold pressed lemon juice.
The drink claims to help rid your body of unwanted toxins and act as a detox although personally I have not noticed any differences. I really just enjoy this drink for its taste and cool color. It is only served cold making it the perfect beverage during warmer weather!
Next Charcoal Product:
The newest charcoal product I am trying out is the "Lush BOOM! Toothy Tabs" $9.99 I had read several positive reviews claiming that these help naturally whiten teeth and won't cause teeth sensitivity which I have had problems with in the past. I had these on my list of products to try for weeks but unfortunately all of the Lush stores in the Portland area were sold out. Earlier this month I finally got a call letting me know that more bottles had arrived. So far I have been trying to use a tab every day after my normal tooth paste. I plan on writing a review after I have used them for longer so stay tuned!
Thank you for reading! I have loved discovering and trying out new charcoal products so if please let me know any other ones I should try in the comments below. Also, if you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear them :)