Update: More people are turning to activated charcoal to help clear their skin. In light of the conversation surrounding this trend, we decided to put this story about the best activated charcoal products on your radar again.
Originally published on January 24:
January may be nearly over, but that doesn't mean everyone isn't still talking about detoxing. However, laying off the vodka martinis isn't the only way to clean up your act. Add a little activated charcoal to your beauty routine, and the results may amaze you. Why? This buzzy ingredient draws impurities, chemicals, dirt, and other such micro-particles to the surface of the skin in a more effective manner than your traditional face cleanser ever could.
So, why stop there, right? The beauty world's version of black magic can be found in everything from shampoo to bath salts, too. And, just in case you need more proof that this stuff kicks ass, AC powder can absorb thousands of times its own mass in icky dirt and grime, which is why it's becoming a super-popular ingredient in facial masks. "There has been a trend in the beauty industry geared toward a metaphysical element of treatment," says Jim Wetzel, co-owner of space519 in Chicago. "With the rise in popularity of yoga, chakra and energy healing, meditation and holistic remedies, a spa-orientated moment in skin care has risen.”
But, activated charcoal isn't exactly a newfound discovery. Long before its incorporation into beauty products, the substance was widely used in the medical world. Geraldine Macenski — R.N., aesthetician, and licensed massage therapist at NoMI Spa at the Park Hyatt Chicago — says she used to use AC for medication and poison overdoses when she worked as a registered nurse in the emergency room. "Charcoal is the purest form of carbon readily available to us," says Macenski. "It excels in absorbing properties, particularly organic compounds, odors, toxins, and gases." So, whether you live in a polluted city, perpetually fall asleep with your makeup on, or you simply want to try something new, we've rounded up 26 activated charcoal products that are guaranteed to take clean to an entirely new level. Because, you've got nothing to lose but some extra gunk and grime.