Would you ever purposely put charcoal on your face? If you asked me that about a month ago, I’d probably laugh at the question, but just a few minutes ago I found myself doing just that. Actually, I put some in my mouth, too. I mean, it wasn’t the kind of charcoal you use to grill up a burger, but it was charcoal nonetheless. Super quick science lesson: Activated charcoal (AKA activated carbon) is carbon that has been treated with oxygen. What results is a fine black powder that contains millions of itty bitty pores, giving it a huge surface area. This allows the charcoal to soak up gases and other toxins that come in contact with it.
Have you ever noticed those tiny black particles that are used in water filters? Yup, that’s activated charcoal. It’s also used to treat poisonings, gastro-intestinal issues, and – oh my goodness – even hangovers. So what does this have to do with your beauty regimen, you might ask? I’ll tell you what. Here are two awesome ways to use activated charcoal to your beauty advantage!
Disclaimer: Activated charcoal is a fine black powder, making it extremely messy. It won’t ruin your sink, but you should be prepared to wipe down your bathroom after every use! Trust me, it’s worth it :)
1. As A Teeth Whitener
Using activated charcoal as a teeth whitener is my new favorite thing.
What you need:
A toothbrush (I used this Preserve toothbrush made from recycled yogurt cups – how cool?!), some toothpaste, and an activated charcoal capsule! I used Solaray Activated Charcoal. You can also get activated charcoal in tablet form, you’d just need to crush it up first.
What you do:
Carefully open one activated charcoal capsule, dumping its contents onto a paper towel.
Put some toothpaste onto your toothbrush as you would normally do. Dip your toothbrush into the activated charcoal, completely covering the toothpaste with the black powder. Then brush your teeth as usual! While you brush your teeth, your mouth will turn completely black (my favorite part – it looks so cool). Once you rinse, the color should disappear. If it doesn’t, rinse off your toothbrush and brush your teeth with water only.
Follow these steps and you’ll have a bright white smile in no time! I’ve been brushing my teeth with activated charcoal once or twice a day for the past week and I’m already starting to notice a difference – plus, my mouth just feels cleaner! I’m excited to see the transformation in weeks to come.
2. In A Face Mask
Activated charcoal is a star ingredient for a face mask. Not only does it remove unwanted toxins from your skin, it also removes ALL of your makeup! An activated charcoal face mask will leave your skin feeling clean and refreshed. It’ll feel as if your skin can breathe again.
What you need:
1 teaspoon activated charcoal (in powder form)
1 teaspoon water or rosewater
1 teaspoon aloe vera gel or juice
5 drops tea tree oil
1 pinch sea salt
What you do:
Mix all ingredients until you have one even color and consistency. Apply the mixture to your face in a thin, even coat. Allow the mask to dry and then wash off!
This mask is safe for most skin types, but you should first do a spot test to make sure this mask is right for you. Apply to a small patch of skin, let dry, wash off. Wait 24 hours to see how your skin reacts.
Photos by FP Brigette.
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