Charcoal: How to use this hot new beauty ingredient
Though it's been used for centuries for both medicinal and aesthetic purposes, charcoal is now being heralded as the latest buzz-worthy beauty ingredient, popping up in acne-fighting face washes and masks, cleansing sponges, body bars, scalp-soothing shampoos, and cream eye liners. But don't go raiding your husband's BBQ stash in hopes of turning that unused charcoal into an at-home remedy!
What these products contain is activated coal, a form of carbon that's been processed and treated with oxygen at high temperatures to increase its adsorption. What the heck does that mean ayways?
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Well, charcoal is an excellent adsorbent, which means that it has the ability to lure tons of stuff to it's own surface, thereby removing these substances from their original location. Basically, it can draw oil, dirt, and bacteria out of pores and away from the skin, making it an ideal ingredient in pore-minimizing and acne-fighting treatments. It's also an effective teeth whitener since it adsorbs the tannins found in coffee, tea, wine, and many foods that wind up staining our teeth by stubbornly sticking to their enamel.
Nowadays, a host of toxin-removing products on the market contain activated charcoal--but if you want to experiment with your making your own skin-clearing facial mask, you can buy activated charcoal capsules or tablets online at retailers like Vitacost. I love this DIY mask from Wellness Awake because it's incredibly simple to make!
DIY CHARCOAL FACE MASK
What you need:
1 Teaspoon Activated Charcoal
2 Tablespoon Aloe Vera Juice or Gel
2 Tablespoons Rose Water (Use Regular Water If No Rose Water is on hand)
1 Drop of Tea Trea or Lavender Oil
Mix all the ingredients together until you see a paste-like substance then apply a thin layer to skin, avoiding the eye and mouth area. Leave on for 10 minutes and rinse thoroughly with water.
Pretty simple, right?
Image via Corbis