Activated charcoal is trending with beauty experts and DIYers alike. Some are going dark to save money; others like the idea of adding this multipurpose, additive-free powerhouse to their daily routine. We’ve curated a selection of ‘recipes’ for skincare, makeup, and oral care that are sure to boost your beauty IQ.
How activated charcoal works
According to Dr. Axe, activated charcoal works “works by trapping toxins and chemicals in its millions of tiny pores. Typically, however, it’s not used when petroleum, alcohol, lye, acids or other corrosive poisons are ingested.” He goes on to say: “It doesn’t absorb the toxins, however. Instead it works through the chemical process of adsorption. In the body, absorption is the reaction of elements, including nutrients, chemicals and toxins, soaked up and assimilated into the blood stream. Adsorption is the chemical reaction where elements bind to a surface.”
Physicians weigh in on the trend
When taking activated charcoal, Dr. Axe advises readers to drink 12-16 glasses of water per day to avoid dehydration. He concurs with beauty bloggers who tout its benefits for the uses we’re discussing in this article (tooth whitening, skin care, and hair care).
Some bloggers recommend using activated charcoal and bentonite clay to unclog pores, thereby minimizing the appearance of large pores and helping to clear blackheads. Click here for more info.
To combat cystic acne, add tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar to the basic recipe. (This can also help with especially stubborn blackheads.) Mix the ingredients in a non-metal bowl and don’t use metal utensils; “metal makes [bentonite clay] lose its potency.” Click here for specifics.
Lighten discolored underarms
Mix the contents of 3 capsules (or 1 1/2 teaspoons charcoal) with 1 tablespoon of honey. Click here for timing and reapplication details.
Add a teaspoon of the powder to a palm-sized dollop of creamy facial cleanser. Voila – you’ve got a skin-pampering exfoliant. If you want to feel smooth all over, try adding 3 tablespoons of powder to 8 ounces of body wash.
Hair- and scalp care
Activated charcoal can help reduce excess oil and/or dandruff; no ‘recipe’ required. This isn’t recommended if dandruff is caused by dry scalp. Just be careful and first do a strand test if you have light (blonde, white or gray) hair. Either rub the contents of one capsule into your scalp or add a capsule of charcoal to your regular shampoo.
Purchase a jar of the (unscented) powder and use a couple of teaspoons as a dry shampoo. Again, light-haired ladies should be careful to test on a few strands before treating the whole head.
In addition to being an effective tooth whitener, Dr. Axe reports that activated charcoal changes “the pH balance in the mouth, helping prevent cavities, bad breath and gum disease. It works to whiten teeth by adsorbing plaque and microscopic tidbits that stain ]teeth.”
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Intrigued? Follow trendsetter Kathryn Kellogg.
CharcoCaps® is the #1 Activated Charcoal Brand. Available at Walmart, CVS and Walgreens.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.