Charcoal Is The New Black.

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It’s black and white, well it’s actually just black. The writing is on the wall, well it’s actually on the packet.

I’m not sure who’s responsible for activating charcoal and convincing us to spike our drinks, brush our teeth and wash our cute faces with it, but my Lord is there a buzz about this black powdery stuff that gets everywhere if you’re not careful. So what’s all the fuss about? I thought the only thing you could activate was nuts, but no, you can activate all kinds of things, including some black gunk that you chuck on your face. And if you do get on board the activated charcoal trend, please make sure that you take a selfie and upload it to Instagram #immediately – and no this isn’t culturally insensitive post like Hilary Duff’s Halloween post from last year, this is just people rubbing charcoal on their faces, to get the freshest, cleanest skin possible.

Now I ain’t saying I’m a coal digger, but I thought I’d do some digging for you, so you know what you’re getting yourself into if you’re hotly following this beauty trend of dousing your bits in some magical dust and expecting miracles.

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Charcoal is actually carbon. Yeah. Carbon. Not cardboard. Not Bonbons. It’s carbon… what does that mean? Well I’m not Walter White, but the chemistry student in me thinks it’s the stuff your left with after a round of sing-alongs by the fire pit on a weekend away camping, or in my case, glamping. So how do you activate it? Press a button like it’s your Netflix account? Not quite.

You steam it. Like a dumpling at Yum Cha, well, it’s a bit more involved than I care to explain because you can just buy the good stuff from ARLO BLAK who’ve done all the hard work for you. Thanks guys! Activated charcoal isn’t new, just like chokers aren’t new but they are hot as hell right now and everyone wants to have one. So basically, the carbon has been treated to increase its absorbency – so it can suck all the baddies outta ya face, guts and teeth, and like Harry Potter, expellianis it out of your system. Fun fact, in the past, it has been used to treat drug overdoses and poisoning because it latches on to toxins in the stomach and absorbs them before the bloodstream can – so it was Berocca before Berocca was invented. (Or how ever else you get rid of your dirty Sunday hangover). It’s worth mentioning that activated charcoal is not charcoal used in your barbecue grill. So don’t go getting that charcoal up in your grill. Barbecue charcoal is loaded with toxins and chemicals, and should never be consumed or rubbed on your body, even if you feel sexy when you rub your body, do not, I repeat do not do it with ya BBQ junk. Ok.

Activated charcoal has now become a way of bypassing conventional products for alternative beauty benefits, but let’s just take a moment to remember that this magic dust can be used to get rid of POISON FROM YOUR STOMACH! So it’s powerful and potent, and like an Adam Sandler movie, great in small doses. Before you go cereal topping your paleo granola with some activated charcoal, this will get rid of any nasties in your system but be careful that you are not doing this everyday, remember it’s an apple a day. Maybe a sprinkling of activated charcoal once every two weeks in your water.

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So how does it actually work? Ok, It works like this: the surface of activated charcoal has a negative electric charge (negative ghost rider) that causes positively charged toxins and gas (haha) to bind to it. So it’s basically like a magnet for all the gross stuff trapped in ya skin and bits. The process is called adsorption. Not absorption. Not abduction. Adsorption, so it pulls everything to the surface without becoming one with it. Crazy right? The boring explanation is that adsorption is the chemical reaction where elements bind to a surface. The fun explanation is that it’s like Edward Cullen on Bella’s neck, sucking the bad stuff out of you.

Activated charcoal in beauty products works in a similar way. The magnet-like properties attract dirt and oil in your pores, which you then rinse off and it feels bloody awesome. Like how you feel after a good sweat session… at the gym! So what can you do with your new friend? Brush your teeth. It helps balance the pH in your mouth and boost whiteness by absorbing plaque and tiny food bits that can stain teeth. Remember to rinse well. Try this three times a week but steer clear if you have porcelain veneers because it may stain them, or if your teeth become sensitive.

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Mask your face. Mix a half a teaspoon of activated charcoal with half a teaspoon of coconut oil. Apply to skin, put your feet up and wait for it to dry. Remove with a wet face cloth and face wash or a face wipe.

The process also makes your pores smaller and cleaner to help prevent further breakouts. You can also use it with an exfoliator to scrub off any dry skin caused by the warmer weather.

Treat mozzie bites. Mix one capsule of activated charcoal with half a tablespoon of coconut oil and dab it on the bite. This stuff stains so pop a Band-Aid on top

Spot it. Combine half a teaspoon of aloe vera with half a teaspoon of activated charcoal to make a pimple paste. Dab a cotton bud in the paste and apply straight on the spot. Allow it to dry, then wash off. You can also leave it on for the night and wash off in the morning. Remove with a wet face cloth AND face wash OR a face wipe.

Do lines. Mush a teaspoon of activated charcoal with a teaspoon of coconut oil to make a gel eyeliner. Apply with liner brush.

Yours in health and beauty Maz

xoxo