If you missed the boat on trying out last year’s most-talked-about ingredient, fear not!
Now is as good a time as ever to dip your toe — or whole body, really — into the charcoal pond.
For a full rundown on the stuff, read this. For the TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) version, here’s what you need to know before you decide what charcoal-laced product you want to add to your repertoire: the activated charcoal found in self-care products is made from natural substances like bamboo, wood or coconut shells that result in a super porous material that attracts and binds to toxins before excavating itself from your body, taking the bad stuff with it. It’s a master detoxifier and deep cleaner, meaning nearly any part of your body can benefit from it.
As a body wash ingredient, charcoal works to extract pollutants from your skin — your body’s largest organ, and also a highly porous one. I bet you didn’t even realize you needed to detox any skin other than the stuff on your face, but add an ebony-hued soap like LINNÉ’s Activate Body Wash to your shower and you’ll give your body a leg up on the whole ridding-itself-of-toxins thing.
Speaking of skin, charcoal can work wonders on your face as well, thanks to its ability to reach deep down into pores and attract gunk and pollutants in hiding. Since charcoal is fairly gentle, it’s a great universal option for all skin types. But if you’re worried about the possibility of it drying you out, look for a charcoal mask that also packs a serious punch of moisture, like the Activated Charcoal Hydration Face Mask from Arlo Blak, to purify and hydrate.
Working our way down the body a bit, we find ourselves at the armpit, most wondrous and mysterious of places. If you’ve dabbled in the natural deodorant game, you know that the transition can be, well, rough. Your body needs time to adjust and purge itself of the chemicals in the conventional stuff you’ve been using for years before it can wholly embrace natural deodorant. If you want to speed up the process and prime your pits for the good stuff, consider armpit masking with the Underarm Detox Mask from Lavanila. Thanks to the activated charcoal in the mask, aluminum and impurities are easier drawn out of the skin, thereby shortening and easing your natural deodorant transition.
Not ready to paint your pits with the stuff? Consider it for your mouth as a healthier, albeit creepier-looking alternative to conventional tooth whitening products. Not only does charcoal toothpaste work to naturally remove surface stains from your teeth without any of the nasty hormone-disrupting, skin-irritating chemicals you’ll find in a standard tube, it’s also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal for the sake of your gums and oral health. I promise that once you get over the shock of a midnight-hued maw, you’ll dazzle at your pearly whites.