By Robyn Munson
Ever since charcoal face masks and toothpastes first started flooding our Instagram feeds, we’ve been obsessing over the dirty detoxer.
Because despite looking alarmingly like the stuff you might find in a barbecue or on Santa’s naughty list, activated charcoal (which means it’s been treated with oxygen to make it more effective at drawing out impurities) has become a total beauty hero. And for good reason.
Acting like a magnet to attract and absorb dirt, oil and other nasties, charcoal is basically great news for skin, hair and teeth.
“For centuries, Asian civilisations have been using charcoal for its detoxifying powers, and it’s now cropping up in everything from skincare to health drinks,” says Jennifer Hirsch, beauty botanist for The Body Shop. “Bamboo charcoal in particular has become increasingly popular as bamboo is a sustainable plant source, meaning when you cut it down, it regrows very quickly from the same roots.”
Read on for five reasons to introduce charcoal into your beauty routine, ASAP.
- It’ll give you glowy skin
“Not only are the grime-purging benefits of charcoal impressive, but because of its unique ability to draw out impurities, it’s perfect for areas that are prone to oil and clogged pores,” Jennifer says. Reap the benefits with a purifying face mask like The Body Shop’s super popular Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask. This tingling ‘leave on’ vegan mask can be left on for up to ten minutes which means it has plenty of time to help revive skin. Rinse off to reveal a healthy-looking glow and pores that appear more refined. Apply with The Body Shop’s Facial Mask Brush if you’re feeling extra fancy.
- It’ll make your teeth whiter
It might seem counterproductive, but a sooty sink can actually bring you a whiter smile. Activated charcoal in toothpastes is nothing new, but they’re becoming an increasingly popular part of people’s brushing routines. The charcoal works by sticking itself to the plaque and grime on your teeth, lifting stains in the same way that it pulls impurities from your pores and making teeth appear whiter. You’ll still need to follow up with a regular toothpaste, though – charcoal isn’t a hygiene product, so don’t ditch the Colgate just yet.
- It’ll rid your hair of grease
If you’re looking for a squeaky clean scalp and shiny, bouncy strands (who isn’t?), then you might want to consider a charcoal shampoo. Activated charcoal is able to soak up more than 100 times its weight in impurities, so it makes an excellent hair cleanser. We’re fans of Oribe Clarifying Shampoo, which polishes away dirt, oil and scalp build-up by exfoliating and deep cleansing. Not only will your tresses feel as light as air, but your scalp will be healthier, meaning faster and stronger hair growth. Win.
- It’ll help your skin look clearer
Charcoal’s not only a winner in face masks, it’s also finding its way into face and hand soaps too. The Body Shop’s new Purifying Facial Soap works to cleanse, remove impurities and help reduce excess oils to achieve healthier, clearer looking skin – triple win! As well as farmed bamboo charcoal, it also contains tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil, both of which are known for their purifying properties. Oh, and it’s 100% vegan and every time you buy a bar, The Body Shop will donate* to the Red Panda Network to help save endangered red pandas in the Himalayas. A beauty product that helps you do good? We’re in.
- It’ll detoxify you
Hangovers mean dull, dehydrated skin and tired, puffy eyes – and nobody wants that. Now, we’re not saying that charcoal can cure it, but its activated form has been used as a way to rid the body of toxins for centuries. And now, the black stuff is being added to drinks to help carry out those hangover-inducing toxins quicker. Try sipping Botanic Lab Refuel+ to reboot your system when you’re feeling groggy and look forward to looking less zombie-like, sooner.
*Reap those charcoal beauty benefits and help save the endangered Himalayan red pandas; for every The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask or Purifying Facial Soap sold before April 30th 2018, The Body Shop will make a donation to the Red Panda Network. To find out more visit The Body Shop website.