For the longest time, most people probably only connected charcoal with cooking hotdogs on the grill at BBQs during the summertime. But recently, it seems as if more and more beauty brands are beginning to incorporate activated charcoal (not the kind you use for the grill) into their products with promises of cleansing, detoxifying, and drawing out impurities to the surface without dehydrating. Activated charcoal is also known as activated carbon and carbon makes up practically any living thing in the world, so activated charcoal is the ash of materials with a high carbon content, (i.e., coconuts, nutshells, wood, etc.). And now, from toothpaste to hair products to skincare products, the beauty industry has definitely caught on to the benefits of using the black residue as a beauty ingredient. So we decided to test out 17 products that contain activated charcoal to see what all of the hype is about.
The shock factor of this very dark black toothpaste wears off as soon as you finish brushing. The toothpaste contains activated charcoal that safely AND immediately absorbs dirt and discoloration particles – making it perfect for coffee, wine and tea drinkers. After just one use, my teeth were visibly whiter and the best part is that BIW doesn’t contain any bleaching agents or abrasive ingredients that can wear down your enamel so it’s safe to use every day. The Switzerland-based Curaprox also offers a White Is Black toothpaste. The main difference? The flavor is a bit more mild than BIW’s tangy lime taste.
Hask’s new Charcoal Dry Shampoo is one of the most fitting uses for charcoal. The added charcoal acts quickly to soak up oil and odor without leaving a white film like a lot of other dry shampoos often can. The result is lightweight that cleans second-day hair to feel like first-day hair.
Hask’s Charcoal Shampoo and Conditioner work together to use the activated charcoal to thoroughly cleanse and clarify the hair while still detangling and locking in moisture, making it the clean, shiny and manageable hair of your dreams
-Hask, Charcoal with Citrus Oil Shampoo and Conditioner, ($5.99 each):
The use of activated charcoal in Hair Chemist’s shampoo certainly cleanses and detoxifies the hair of impurities without leaving the strands dry and brittle. My hair felt clean, looked shiny, and left a refreshed citrusy scent. Unlike a lot of cleansing shampoos that contain harsh chemicals, this shampoo proved to be safe to use on color-treated hair and did not show signs of fading or discoloration. When the Hair Chemist’s Charcoal Detoxifying Conditioner is paired with the detoxifying shampoo, it is a great way to replenish moisture while still absorbing toxins and impurities.
When your hair needs a little more TLC, this treatment mask works as a great detangler and leaves hair extremely hydrated and healthier than it was pre-wash.
Hair Chemist, Charcoal with Citrus Oil Detoxifying Hair Treatment Mask, ($11.99):
The founders of PiperWai, who pitched the idea for their deodorant during Shark Tank’s Season seven, have created a natural, activated charcoal-based deodorant that is available as a stick or a jar. The deodorant has a refreshing scent that is part minty, part citrusy. Since the main benefit of charcoal is that is absorbs toxins, PiperWai does a great job of absorbing sweat, even during a workout. When it came to choosing to use the deodorant as a stick or in a jar, we surprisingly preferred the jar. The creamy texture was easy to scoop, rub smooth in our hands then apply to our armpits – pretty similar to how one would apply a lotion or cream to any other part of their bod. The best part was that we couldn’t help but to feel really good about using the all-natural antiperspirant that is free of parabens and synthetic fragrances.
One of our favorite parts about using the Boscia cleansing wipes is that we feel really chic using solid black face wipes. The charcoal powder used in the wipes helps to remove makeup, buildup, excess oils and impurities, leaving the skin refined and mattified after use. We preferred to use them to prep the face for the use of Boscia’s Makeup Melt.
Boscia’s Makeup Melter works as a magic eraser for all makeup, specifically hard-to-remove waterproof mascara. You use the spatula provided to scoop the melt and apply directly to your skin then massage. Let it sit and wash it away. After use, our skin was left hydrated with no signs of any makeup left behind, and this is probably because the makeup melt uses two different types of charcoal: Binchotan White Charcoal, which hydrates and Activated Bamboo Charcoal, which acts as a cleansing agent.
Boscia, Charcoal MakeUp Melter , ($32):
That’s right, this is the black face mask that’s been featured in those addictively mesmerizing videos on your Facebook feeds where the user applies the mask and then gives you a look at what they were able to pull off. So it goes without saying that the Boscia mask works; it extracts impurities and then some. After use, skin is left soft and refined. Plus, after three consecutive uses, thanks to the Rosemary Leaf Extract in the mask, pores were visibly smaller. Our tips for best results: avoid eyebrows, hairline, and start pulling from the bottom of the face for easy removal after 30 minutes when the mask becomes shiny,
Boscia, Luminizing Black Mask, ($35):
The Supermud clearing treatment effectively uses its activated charcoal to first (visibly) bring toxins to the surface and then banish them from the skin completely. The Supermud Clearing Treatment is just that — a clearing treatment, that is a process to fix your skin for the long-run, not just a quick, overnight fix to the surface of your skin. After using the treatment for almost two weeks, pores were vastly smaller and skin was extremely clear on skin that is prone to mild acne.
Miss Spa’s charcoal sheet mask is a hydrating yet detoxifying sheet mask that left skin refreshed and refined. The best results were found when using the mask between cleansing and moisturizing.
Dermactin’s charcoal sheet mask comes with two parts: a sheet for the top of your face and a sheet for the bottom, ensuring complete, even coverage of the whole face. After about 20 minutes, skin was left purified, soft and revitalized.
This detoxifying cleanser has exfoliant beads that aid the activated charcoal in removing toxins from the skin by lightly exfoliating without drying. After using twice daily for five days in a row, skin that is prone to mild acne was visibly clearer.
This DIY mask comes with a bag of powder charcoal that you can use to create your own face mask by coupling the black residue with your choice of water, plain yogurt or honey. The perfect option for the beauty lovers who like to try out different at-home, DIY masks. Results were evident after one use and for best results, we suggest keeping the mask away from the eyes, eyebrows, and hairline. For deeper, more effective results, you can let the mask sit for a max of 20 minutes.
Written by Kelsi Zimmerman
Feature image via Pinterest/BeautyBlackBook