When I think about charcoal, what immediately comes to mind, other than barbecuing, is secondary school art class. But let’s stop right there. The charcoal in your pencil set and bbq grill is not the same as activated charcoal — the health super product we’re going to talk about today.

Activated charcoal is pure charcoal — without any added chemicals — that is heated or otherwise treated to increase its adsorptive properties. It’s so adsorptive — not absorptive (substances bind to it, rather than are absorbed by it) — in fact, it has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, particularly in treating patients for poisoning and drug overdoses.

Today, because of its proven ability to trap toxins and other substances, you can find activated charcoal in a myriad of potions and lotions that claim to do everything from cleansing your colon to whitening your teeth.

Here, we’re going to look at four of the most surprising and effective uses of activated charcoal and explain why they most certainly deserve a place in your health and beauty regime.

To Clear and Freshen Your Face

As a substance that can often stain surfaces, the first place you may think of using activated charcoal probably won’t be your face. However, it’s one of the areas where it is most effective.

When mixed with other natural ingredients such as aloe vera juice, coconut oil, and cucumber, activated charcoal becomes a cleansing face scrub that retains its powerful exfoliating properties — without staining your cheeks.

And when mixed with china clay and echinacea, it becomes a mattifying and nutrient-rich face- mask that can remove dirt and oil and bring radiance to your skin. Activated charcoal is of particular benefit as a facial treatment as most of us spend our days in polluted, urban environments, accumulating oil and other impurities in our pores. Activated charcoal face products simply soak all this grime up and get rid of it without being too harsh.

To Cleanse and Liven Your Hair

The uses of activated charcoal for your hair are just as diverse and powerful as for your face.

First things first, activated charcoal shampoo can be used to rid your hair and scalp of oil and dirt. To ensure it’s as nourishing as it is cleansing, though, it should be infused with natural and organic ingredients such as grapefruit and aloe vera juice.
On to conditioning, and activated charcoal can help cleanse and replenish damaged hair without stripping it of vital oils and nutrients. In fact, when combined with ultra-moisturising ingredients like argan oil and aloe vera, it can strengthen and help bring life to dull, rough hair.

As it is a natural product — typically made from coconut husks — activated charcoal is also incredibly effective in treating dry, itchy scalps. Just like it does with toxins, it gently soaks up dandruff and sends it on its way.

To Bring Relief and Radiance to Your Skin

For your skin to look its best, your body needs to be able to effectively flush out toxins without reabsorbing them through the skin. This is where, once again, activated charcoal comes in.

Combined with many of the same ingredients as mentioned above, activated charcoal body wash is as purifying as it is nourishing. The super adsorptive substance is so good at cleansing the skin that it’s commonly used to treat body odor, insect bites, and rashes.

To Clean and Whiten Your Teeth

When used on its own, activated charcoal can be harsh and leave you with a grin (and worktop) that looks like you’ve got an out of control liquorice habit. But mixed with other ingredients in a natural, soothing toothpaste, it can be as powerful without any of the fuss.

Activated charcoal is specifically good for removing stains on your teeth from coffee, tea, and wine. And as it helps balance the pH level in your mouth, it can also be effective against bad breath and gum disease.

This concludes our list of the top four uses of activated charcoal! There are many more strings to its bow, though: check out the wide range of activated charcoal products over in our shop.