I've discovered first hand that activated charcoal really is the magical beauty ingredient that people claim it is. It's rare to come across ingredients that truly surprise me in how useful they are. There are only a handful that I come back to time and time again because, number one, they work insanely well and secondly, I like to keep my beauty routine simple; honey to wash my face and to zap acne, coconut oil to remove eye makeup, and most recently argan oil mixed with aloe vera gel as my facial moisturizer.
And now I'm totally fascinated with activated charcoal.
And totally hooked as well. In one of my recent posts I wrote about using activated charcoal as a facial mask and I was literally blown away by the results. Face was lifted, pores were clear and my skin felt vibrant and glowing. To be honest, the results were better than any facial I've had.
I first bought activated charcoal to use while doing a cleanse I was testing out. The truth is I didn't actually notice anything while I was taking it internally. I've been hearing for awhile that it is great for removing impurities and toxins internally, which I'm sure it does, I just thing I need to test it out on a more consistent basis. I plan on doing this soon.
So What the Heck is Activated Charcoal?
I'm not a scientist or a science(y) person. I did horrible in chemistry back in my sophomore year of high school and I don't remember studying it any further than that. For me to try to explain activated charcoal is like me trying to explain black holes or calculus. I end up sounding like Spicoli from Fast Times.
So I came across this humorous yet alarmingly informative article Sable from xoVain where she explains what exactly activated charcoal is much better than I ever could. (Oh, and she shows you how to use it as an eye liner too!)
But in layman's terms, activated charcoal removes impurities from our bodies whether internally or externally because by the magic of science, toxins stick to the surfaces of the those teeny tiny charcoal particles. Then when we flush the charcoal away, it takes the toxins and bad stuff with it.
What Kind of Activated Charcoal to Buy
For now I can tell you that activated charcoal is not the kind you use to BBQ. You'll want to use a food-grade activated charcoal, like this one made from coconuts. Some activated charcoal is made from petroleum, which is made from crude oil.
Chances are if you're reading this blog, you like to lean on the more natural and sustainable side of things, so just beware when you're purchasing it what it's made out of. I also recommend buying a bag of loose activated charcoal rather than capsules when using it for beauty.
Using Activated Charcoal on Your Skin
While I had this huge bag of it at home, I thought I'd try the famous activated charcoal mask I kept hearing about on Pinterest and Instagram. I really wasn't expecting any major results. I've never been much of a consistent facial mask kind of gal because of varied results of other clay masks I've tried.
I was shocked at how firm my skin felt, like it had been lifted (apparently I found this very exciting!). It also felt tight, but not in a dried out way like other masks have. In fact my skin felt totally soft and looked bright and clear. Amen.
I cannot recommend using activated charcoal as a facial mask enough. It did absolute wonders. Absolute.
How Activated Charcoal Keeps Me Looking 10 Years Younger
I use an activated charcoal mask about two times a week to basically detox my skin. It's a welcome addition to my beauty routine and like I keep saying, I've noticed a noticeable difference.
So can activated charcoal keep you looking younger? In my experience, definitely.
Not only does it tighten and firm skin, it completely clears your skin removing all blackheads, dirt and dead skin buildup. I like to follow it with a scrub and honey face wash, which leaves my skin super soft and bright.
You may be wondering why I've claimed looking a whole 10 years younger. The truth is sometimes I wake up feeling gross, or am having a bad day where I don't feel great about myself or whatever. We all have days like that.
But more and more since using it, when I'm meeting new people and they don't know how old I am, they think I'm in my 20s. I'm almost 37. And I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, but heck, I'll take it! Why not? Especially since I grew up feeling not beautiful or pretty at all (I was an ugly duckling), I've learned the power of accepting compliments when they come my way. And I also know that looks don't last forever, so why not enjoy the compliments when they happen?
One thing I do know is that I owe the state of my skin to leading a healthy lifestyle and using a natural beauty routine over the last 10 years.
If you want to learn about my journey to health and wellness, be sure to sign up for my email list at the end of this post.
So let's recap on how activated charcoal can smooth out your skin and keep it looking younger. Be sure to check out my Activated Charcoal Firming Mask post to how to make and use activated charcoal on your skin. I would also recommend:
- Use a natural scrub or exfoliator to help remove mask (I like this one)
- Wash your face with raw honey afterwards
- I also like to use a mixture of aloe vera gel and argan oil to moisturize my face
All of this will leave you with youthful glowing skin.
What Else Can Activated Charcoal Do?
According to Alison Freer at xoJane, using activated charcoal soap cured her acne. I haven't been able to test out whether activated charcoal can actually cure acne, but it seems to make sense since it's known for drawing impurities out of skin.
(Side note about acne) If you're having issues with acne and can't solve the problem topically, I really recommend taking a strong look at your diet. I think there could be a number of different things that cause acne, but I truly believe that acne and diet are related. I had bad acne in high school when I ate horribly. Today I rarely if ever get a pimple.
If you do have acne and want to try activated charcoal, I say go for it. Personally, I would just make a paste out of it with (just add a bit of water to the loose charcoal powder) and dot it on the pimple and let it dry. I've also done this with honey and left it on over night and the pimple usually goes away within a day or two.
Can Activated Charcoal Whiten Teeth?
Although I haven't noticed a huge difference in the whiteness of my teeth, I still think it's beneficial to use activated charcoal as sort of a pre-brush step. Basically I just wet my toothbrush and dip it into loose activated charcoal powder. I lightly brush my teeth and tongue with it and let it swish around it my mouth for a couple of minutes before rinsing it out with water and then brush my teeth as normal.
I kind of think of this step like oil pulling, the point is to remove toxins from your mouth and gums. It's too early in the game for me to know if it's working or not (it doesn't have the instant gratification that the facial mask does), but I'm going to keep going and will post any updates.
I also recommend checking out Wellness Mama who has quite an in depth post on using activated charcoal to whiten teeth. She has a video on there that you can check out and she claims that it has definitely whitened hers.
The Bottom Line about Activated Charcoal
My humble opinion is that activated charcoal is one of those wonder ingredients.
When it comes to beauty, I think it lives up to its claims. I'm seriously so impressed with the results of the facial mask. If you're aim is to have clear, firm and glowing skin, I definitely recommend buying some and getting started, why wait?
I'm happy to say that I'm an affiliate Rocky Mountain Essentials Activated Charcoal after testing out their amazing product. Which means that when you purchase products through Rocky Mountain Essentials links in this article I will receive a small commission. There is no extra cost to you when purchasing through these links. And support through affiliate links helps to me to continue to run this blog and provide free content. I only recommend products or services I personally believe in. Any questions regarding affiliate links or anything else, please contact me using the contact link in the navigation menu. Thank you!
Disclaimer: All information on Salt and Ritual is based on my experience and is provided for educational and general informational purposes only. The topics discussed in this post may not be suitable for your particularly situation and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek professional medical advice before trying anything you read online. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and your individual results may vary.