Beauty Trend: Charcoal

When a lump of coal is a good thing.

charcoal beauty trend

The beauty trend a lot of my girlfriends seem to be buzzing about right now? Charcoal. Activated charcoal has been a go-to in the natural beauty and wellness communities for a while. I first heard about it when Kathy wrote this guest post for me ages ago, recommending it as a natural tooth whitener (note: some dentists advise against this, for whatever that’s worth). And you might remember when I shared this article; despite activated charcoal’s reputation as an excellent detoxification agent, results can be, shall we say, mixed. But recently, a lot of New Yorkers have been raving about activated charcoal juices (people seem to love Juice Generation’s Activated Lemonade; I’m curious to give it a taste).

While I’m intrigued to try activated charcoal as a toothpaste or as a hangover cure, there are so many charcoal masks currently out there that this seems a more reasonable place to start! It’s interesting how charcoal has gone mainstream, since it’s roots are much more home remedy/kitchen beauty (I like that you can find great, affordable all-natural charcoal masks on Etsy, or at clean-beauty retailers like this). Nevertheless, a few tried and true mostly-natural brands have also come out with masks worthy of a home spa night (this one from Origins has great reviews online, and Boscia also makes a gel mask that sounds like it would be really refreshing). If I were splurging? May Lindstrom is an amazing all-natural brand who makes the most gorgeous facial oils (I LOVE her Youth Dew oil), so I’m sure her ‘problem solver’ mask would be no different. Spirit Beauty Lounge actually lets you order sample packs of all their products, which I’ve done a few times to test out pricier brands before fully committing, and I think my next sample pack will include a pot of this mask for sure!

And in between trying charcoal masks, I’ll let you know if I snag a charcoal juice at the grocery store one of these days. What about you? Have you tried any charcoal-related beauty products or regimens? I’m especially curious if anyone uses it regularly for teeth whitening or for digestive detox! Definitely share your results below, if you feel like it.

Beauty and health trends are such interesting and funny things, no? But I can say I discovered one I will NOT be trying…camel milk.


Background image by Folkert Gorter for Super Famous, with graphics added by Victoria McGinley. Image used under CC 3.0.


  1. 2.3.15
    Noor said:

    I love activated charcoal and all these natural beauty treatments. I have been using them for years and love it. They work so much better.

  2. 2.3.15
    Janel said:

    I used activated charcoal as a teeth whitener for a few months, and saw a very slight difference after a few times! However, I know the results were imperceptible to anyone else, so it was more something I did just to make myself feel better

  3. 2.3.15

    I love Origins´ Clear Improvement mask – it really takes care of all the gunk! I never heard of actually drinking activated charcoal but being fearless when it comes to health trends would totally get me into that store and guzzle up on some of that juice. Can´t be that bad!!

    For teeth whitening, I think oil pulling is still the no.1

    Funny you mentioned camel milk – I just saw a documentary that claimed the health benefits of camel – wait for it – urine…. There are companies in the UAE that actually sell camel urine pills for health crazy folks to swallow. ´Nuff said.

  4. 2.3.15

    May Lindstrom’s problem solver is AMAZING! So good at shrinking pores and generally detoxing. It’s pricey but lasts a long time… I use it almost weekly a container lasted about a year!

  5. 2.3.15
    Moira said:

    I used the Biore charcoal cleanser and really like it! It makes my face feel really smooth!

  6. 2.3.15
    Shae said:

    I’m fascinated by this charcoal trend too. I’ve only tried one charcoal product and it was the Origins face mask. It was ok, but not my favorite.

    S. Roderick

  7. 2.4.15

    I’ve seen this trend but have not tried anything myself. Maybe I’ll try a face mask to start?

  8. 2.4.15

    I love the Origins mask! It’s the one I use regularly, you can’t beat the price. I love GlamGlow for a bit of a splurge — though for some reason you can get it for $25 cheaper on Amazon, so it’s really not too bad.

    I haven’t tried the Boscia gel mask, but I was a long-time user of their luminizing black mask before I switched to Origins. Mostly that one’s just fun because it peels off, so it’s like a giant Biore strip for your entire face.

  9. 2.5.15
    Kimberly said:

    I swear by the Origins mask and have for years! I have problem skin and after using, I can really notice results by the next morning. Your skin is a little red immediately after so it is best to do right before bedtime (unless you want to scare your hubby/neighbors/roommate!). Trying activated charcoal for hangovers is on my list, but it does scare me a little bit! Let us know if you try it!

    • 2.5.15

      This makes me sound like a lush, but I need an occasion in which I think I’ll also NEED the charcoal the next morning, if you know what I mean. Haha! National Margarita Day is coming up… I’ll let you know if I try it! :)

  10. 2.8.15
    Jasmin said:

    Very interesting that activated charcoal is becoming trendy for digestive purposes. It’s used in medicine in certain cases of overdose or poisoning. It works by binding to the ingested substance to prevent it from being absorbed. I’m not sure what the ramifications of taking it as a “juice” would be for the average person – could it prevent the nutrients we need from being absorbed? Of course, the dosing would be different than in the case of poisoning/overdose. Just thought it was interesting!

  11. 1.18.16
    Dominque said:

    I am hooked on the charcoal trend too. I tried NANI BOTANICALS and I love their sea salt body scrub. It has charcoal in it for a good price too. They have other products but I have tried this one personally. I think that this is their site.

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