Activated charcoal, anyone?

Activated charcoal, anyone? 1

We associate this gritty ingredient with our weekend braai, but the beauty world has diverted its attention to ‘activated charcoal’, and it could be exactly what you need to erm, ignite your routine.

So what makes it different from the stuff that’s left over in your Weber? Activated charcoal is carbon that has been treated with oxygen. The treatment results in a highly porous charcoal. These tiny holes give the charcoal a larger surface area which allows liquids or gases to pass through the charcoal and interact with the exposed carbon. The carbon absorbs a wide range of impurities and contaminants, including chlorine, odours and pigments.

And that, dear beauties is what makes it such an effective zit-zapper. The natural detoxifying ingredients work to clean pores, remove impurities, and re-energise the skin and hair – it also gives your pearly whites a colour-boost. Here are some of the pros of adding this unlikely ingredient to your routine – and some products to test out the theory for yourself.

Beauty benefits of charcoal

* Unclog your pores! Activated charcoal deeply cleans and makes pores less visible. The Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant comprises of ingredients that absorb pollutants to help preserve the skin’s youthful structure and offers exceptional resurfacing for softer, smoother skin.

* In soap form, activated charcoal works as a gentle exfoliator and removes toxins. Say goodbye to blackheads, and dirt. Hello fresh-faced beauty! Try the Lush CoalFace soap which counteracts the charcoal’s deep-cleansing action with soothing rosewood and sandalwood oils to reduce redness and keep your skin balanced.

* Minimise your acne the natural way. Activated charcoal is great for treating mild acne and it’s even better for your skin. It deeply cleanses and helps prevent breakouts.

* Farewell oily skin. The activated charcoal in facial cleansers and masks draws out excess oil and leaves your skin feeling healthy and clean. The L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox Mask works well, but it could be too strong for sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin and you’re keen to test the benefits of charcoal, try the Lush Dark Angels; a fresh cleanser which is locally made in the Lush Fresh Kitchen in Cape Town. The black sugar and charcoal exfoliate and absorb excess oils, leaving dull, oily or acne-prone skin feeling fresh and matte.

* Oily hair? Try some activated charcoal shampoo. It will strip your tresses of excess oils and even toxins. Not recommended for drier hair, but those battling with oily strands could stand to appreciate its cleansing qualities. Bonus? It also boosts volume after all the dirt and oil that’s weighing down your hair is removed.

* Treat dandruff, redness and itchy scalps with activated charcoal. It acts as a scalp treatment and works the same way as it does on your skin, drawing out toxins and purifying your hair.

* Whiten your teeth without using bleach and abrasive treatments. Most whitening toothpaste and products contain bleaching ingredients or abrasive particles like chalk, silicates, pumice or bentonite (a type of absorbent clay formed by the breakdown of volcanic ash). Activated charcoal will give you the benefits without all those negatives. Opt for a reputable brand that will be good for your teeth. A product like Curaprox Black is White toothpaste provides the deep-cleansing qualities and protects your enamel. I tried it and appreciated the fast-acting results. The toothpaste absorbs dirt and discoloration particles – and while it’s an acquired taste, it makes your mouth feel super clean and fresh.

* Activated charcoal powder has been used medicinally, as a way to clean the gut – and even works as an antidote to remove toxins and cleanse the body of venom and chemicals. It helps cleanse the digestive system and some believe it alleviates gas. It is also used in some air and water purifiers, so the seemingly dark ingredient has countless benefits all-round.

When used correctly, activated charcoal could be really beneficial to your beauty routine – as long as you use the correct doses and don’t confuse it with actual coal from your braai. Definitely not the same!

Some products to try

Activated charcoal, anyone? 2

Lush CoalFace, R95

L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox Mask, R150

Lush Dark Angels, R65

Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant, R1 180

Curaprox Black is White Toothpaste, R280

The Body Shop Himalayan Purifying Glow Mask, R300

Hask Charcoal Shampoo, R139,95

Hask Charcoal Conditioner, R139,95

The Body Shop Spa of the World Himalayan Charcoal, R235

Win with BSA and Dermalogica

Activated charcoal, anyone? 3

One lucky beauty will win Dermalogica’s new Daily Superfoliant, containing activated Binchotan charcoal. Drawing on the same innovative powder form that has made Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant, the Daily Superfoliant is gentle enough for daily use but powerful enough to give immediate results, valued at R1 180. We’re also giving away an Age Reversal Eye Complex from Dermalogica, which draws on microencapsulation technology and a unique firming complex to address multiple eye area concerns, including fine lines and wrinkles, puffiness, dark under eye circles, and dryness lines, valued at R990. Enter now to give your skin a much-deserved treat.

This competition has closed.

This competition is open to SA residents only and closes at 09:30am on 1 June 2017. You may enter as many times as you wish, if you would like to increase your chances of winning. The winners will be drawn from all the correct entrants and notified via email. This prize cannot be exchanged for cash.’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. We will not share your information with any third parties. If winners do not respond to email notification within three days, another winner will be drawn. will supply all hampers to the delivery company in good order, but will not be held liable for the condition of hampers arriving at the winners’ chosen delivery address. Please allow six to eight weeks for delivery. If you have won a prize on in the last two months, you are ineligible to win this competition.

Read the full terms and conditions of this competition here.


2 Responses

  1. I so want to try these activated charcoal products! I’ve heard lots of benefits of using them, but this is the first time I see shampoo.

  2. I have heard some disaster stories of charcoal masks sticking to people’s faces.

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