If you’ve flicked through the beauty pages of your favourite mag lately, you’ve probably noticed one weird-sounding ingredient jumping out at you. Charcoal, or, specifically, activated charcoal. Cropping up in masks, soaps and sponges, there are also charcoal toothpastes scattered among the Colgate, and some super healthy fitspo types are even sipping it in juices.
Which begs the question, what on earth is activated charcoal and why is everyone so obsessed with it?
In short, activated charcoal refers to carbon that’s been heated or treated to increase its absorbency. It is so effective at absorbing chemicals and toxins that its commonly used in hospitals for drug overdoses and alcohol poisoning, and in air and water purifiers. Apply that power to the world of beauty, and you have a natural ingredient that is a detoxing dream, absorbing oils, dirt and other impurities from deep down in the pores for a cleaner, clearer, brighter complexion.
Due to its oil-binding ability, activated charcoal products are especially beneficial for those with oilier skins, particularly those prone to acne. But products like Derma E’s Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask can also be used on combination or normal skins. The key is in its application. An all-over application once or twice weekly is ideal for oily or congested skins, or you might just choose to apply it to your troublesome t-zone to minimise pores, or directly to a juicy pre-menstrual pimple to shorten its lifespan. Good news for you bellas, EVERYONE will receive a sample of the Derma E Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal mask in their bellabox this month!
Derma E’s Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask has amped up the purification factor, with a formula that combines natural clay and activated charcoal to draw out bacteria, dirt and oil, marine algae to protect the skin from environmental pollutants like smoke and heavy metals, and apricot seed powder to manually exfoliate the skin’s surface. You can’t get a more thorough clean that that!
Simply apply the product to a cleansed skin either on a specific zone or as a spot treatmet and leave for five minutes, or until the mask is dry. The mask will tighten on your face as it dries, which feels kind of weird but not unpleasant. As you massage the product with damp fingers before rinsing away, the exfoliation occurs.
NB: If you are slightly pink afterwards, do not panic. This is completely normal and due to the highly active nature of the activated charcoal. As with any active product, you should do a patch test 24 hours prior. My skin is very sensitive and I went a little red, like a mild sunburn, but I could easily have covered this with makeup and headed out to dinner. All redness was gone within the hour. And boy oh boy, did my skin look fresh and healthy!
While my skin hasn’t misbehaved afterwards, you should probably use a week out from any big event as the mask can bring impending spots to the surface due to the drawing out of toxins (this is a good thing!)