The only firsthand experience I have with charcoal is, I don’t know, using it to heat the grill in the summertime.
My friends and I grill outside a lot during the summer because here in the Midwest, we try to make the most of the precious few warmer months. And even then, my “experience” with charcoal is pretty much limited to me refusing to touch it. It’s dirty and it gets all over my hands and my clothes. I hate having to tear myself away from a barbeque and put down my seventh beer of the day to do a wardrobe change because I somehow managed to smear charcoal on my t-shirt, so I stay far away from the black, smudgy charcoal. God, I miss summer.
But, did you know that charcoal is great for your skin? Because of its natural detoxifying properties, it can be used to whiten teeth, remove poisons from your body, and cleanse! I’ve recently started trying out charcoal products and there are a few of them that I like so much that I’ve incorporated them into my normal skincare routine.
My biggest issue with my skin is that, if left unattended, my pores clog up easily. I’m obsessively opposed to blackheads and will do anything to get rid of them, and to prevent their return (and they always return). I had heard that charcoal helps actively yank dirt out of your pores, and after using these three products, I buy it.
I start every shower with this exfoliating scrub. It’s an extra step getting ready in the morning, but it’s so good that I never skip it (or forget it.) It’s a gel-based exfoliating cleanser that’s surprisingly thick when you rub it in between your fingers, and really clings to your face as you scrub, which makes me feel like the charcoal is really sucking the grime out of my pores. The exfoliators deeply clean your face without being too abrasive to use every day. Personally, I use it about every other day, but do your thing.
After I’ve exfoliated all of the crap that’s built up on my face, I hit it with another does of charcoal with Garnier’s Clean + Shine Control Cleansing Gel, $5.99.
Much like its exfoliating counterpart, this is also a gel cleanser. This one is different because unlike the exfoliator, this gel cleaner is thinner than I expected. I only use about a nickel-sized drop and the cleanser does all the heavy lifting for me, dissolving dirt and any excess makeup from the day. It also keeps its promise of preventing oil build up and shine throughout the day. I rub it onto my face and then hit it with my Clarisonic, but it's great used alone too. Trust.
Real talk: These two products have replaced all my other laughably expensive cleansers and exfoliators. I tried them out for the first time maybe a month ago and haven’t let anything else touch my precious face since. I feel like everyone is always looking for that drug store holy grail product, and y'all, this is it.
The first time I used these two products together and rinsed them off, my skin felt smooth and incredibly soft. I realize that changing cleansers always makes your skin feel a little different, but I’ve used a ton of shit and my skin has never felt like this. I leapt out of the shower and took a good look at my skin. Blackheads (I HAVE THEM, OKAY?) had been significantly diminished after one use, and throughout the week, my skin looked clearer and felt better with every shower.
Another way to take advantage of the detoxifying benefits of my new best friend, charcoal, is with the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, $24.
Origins combines the grime fighting properties of charcoal with white clay, which also works to absorb toxins from the skin. This mask works to draw out impurities from deep beneath the surface of your skin and dissolving dead skin cells, leaving your face looking clearer from the inside out. Simply apply a thin but solid layer to problem areas or your entire face, and let dry, which only takes about five minutes. You’ll know it’s ready to remove when you can touch your fingers to the mask without removing any reside. Then, softly scrub off with a warm cloth and admire your beautiful face.
A tube is 3.4 ounces, which would last you a while. I used only a nickel-sized drop of the mask and it more than covered my face, and I have a big face. Whenever people tell me they’re interested in trying a new type of skincare product, whether it’s an eye cream or a serum or whatever, I typically steer them toward Origins because their products are dependable and more than worth the small investment. This mask is no different.
Are you guys into charcoal? Should I have known about this before? Am I late to the game? What ingredients do you swear by when it comes to skincare? Let's talk in the comments, lovelies.
Tynan is covered in charcoal on Twitter @TynanBuck.