Move over coconut oil, there’s a hot new ingredient on the beauty scene—and it’s leaving all the other “it” elements behind in its dust—literally. Welcome to the vanity, activated charcoal. (No, it’s not just for barbecues!) So what’s all the hype about this sizzling powdery product? Well, charcoal is pretty much pure carbon—and, when heated, it expands to become extremely porous—taking on potent detoxifying powers. It draws out oil, dirt, and impurities like a Dyson—and, so, you’ll find this magical compound popping up in soap bars, facial cleansers, masks, exfoliators, balms and all sorts of illuminating lotions and purifying potions.
My complexion has been far from flawless with this summer’s harrowing heat and relentless humidity—we’re talking blackheads and clogged pores galore. Summer skin should be bronzed and glowing, not blotchy and oily. I needed a beautifying boost and some serious skin salvation. And so I’ve done my due diligence to seek out and sample a few of the most buzzy beauty brands on the market featuring activated charcoal. Nowadays, charcoal is all up in my grill—in more ways than one.
1. First Aid Beauty Cleansing Body Polish With Active Charcoal, $28
This clay-based body polish buffs away dry patches and refines the skin’s texture., while a blend of argan oil, honey, and vitamin E hydrate and soften.
2. Herbivore Bamboo Charcoal Detoxifying Soap Bar, $12
This gentle, but still mighty, soap bar draws out toxins and thoroughly cleans the skin like no other. It’s love at first wash.
3. Glam Glow Supermud, $69
With activated-X charcoal, this super-formula helps clear breakouts, improve discoloration, and boost the overall complexion.
4. Orange Thyme Lip Coal Balm, $14
A unique blend of bamboo charcoal, organic cocoa butter, candelilla wax, avocado butter, and Vitamin E hydrate lips and leave a lasting shine.
5. Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Wipes, $6
A deep clean on the go—these wipes instantly remove makeup and rid the skin of impurities. It’s as easy as that.
6. Dr. Jart Pore Minimalist Black Charcoal Sheet Mask, $35
Infused with activated Korean charcoal and extracts of spearmint, this super soothing black-sheet mask detoxifies skin, purifies pores, and improves your complexions overall tone and look.
7. Bioré Charcoal Strips, $6
The next generation of Bioré strips, this product takes pore refining to the next level. Ripping something off your face has never felt so satisfying.
8. Kuro Shampoo, $38
This unique black shampoo, made with active White Charcoal powder from juvenile Korean Red Pine needles, deeply cleans normal-to-oily hair, resulting in a lustrous mane. BTW, it’s great for dandruff too.
9. Lush Cosmetics Coalface Cleanser, $14
The powdered charcoal in this bar absorbs excess sebum, while rosewood and sandalwood oils reduce redness and clear up blemishes.
10. Boscia Konjac Cleansing Sponge With Bamboo Charcoal, $15
This super-soft pillow sponge with bamboo charcoal, cleanses and exfoliates, while konjac root absorbs dirt and impurities.