We’re often told that there’s one ingredient above all others that is ‘on trend’ and ‘of the moment’, but mostly it’s an excuse to get us to buy more things we don’t really need. However, when that ingredient has genuine skincare benefits and has been used for generations to help clear and refine problematic skin, it’s worth ignoring the hype and trying to get to the bottom of why it’s deemed so newsworthy. Charcoal is an ingredient that has long been used in skin care treatments, thanks to its
chemical properties that allow the substances to draw out impurities. Although it’s no glamorous superfood or deliciously scented fruity boost, it’s definitely having a moment and popping up in all kinds of skin treatments and face masks. So is it really a new must-have skincare ingredient that helps achieve clear and healthy skin, and what products should you be giving a whirl to see if it works for you?
Charcoal is known to chemically bind other substances to its surface and can absorb
thousands of times its own weight; it’s been used in hospitals for decades to treat alcohol and drug abuse, as it’s able to attach itself to toxins in the stomach before they’re absorbed into the bloodstream. When used in beauty it works like a magnet to attract dirt and oil, making it perfect for use in
cleansers and masks that work by purifying the skin. If you suffer with breakouts, have a tendency to shine or simply need to detox after a hardcore few days, then a product containing charcoal could be your new best friend. Although the ingredient can be drying and is not necessarily for those of you with dry or sensitive skin, it’s a great one to have in your portfolio. The great news is that there are loads of affordable options available that don’t leave you feeling like you’ve been down a coal pit. Here are just some of a few I’ve been giving a whirl…
1. Sanctuary Spa Warming Detox Charcoal Wash (£9.00) & 5 Minute Charcoal Detox Mask (£10.00)
These two complement eachother perfectly, providing a little daily boost via the warming cleanser and a more intense treatment via the mask. The formulas are light and pleasant to use, helping to draw out impurities and leave skin feeling refreshed – without any tightness or dryness that can often be the result of ‘detoxing formulas’. I love the gentle warming sensation too, making these perfect to use on cold mornings when your senses need a treat.
2. Masque Bar Luminizing Charcoal Peel Off Mask (£9.99 for three)
Each mask comes in its own individual sachet, meaning you don’t overload the skin with too much product; simply apply over the surface until it’s dry (usually about twenty minutes) and then peel off gently in a downward motion. Not only will the charcoal powder enriched formula draw out impurities, but thanks to the peel-off formula there’s no chance that they’re hanging around on the surface of skin either.
3. Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask (£23.00)
This mattifying mask practically instantly absorbs oil, impurities and environmental pollutants to help detoxify skin and rid pores of potentially irritating debris. Having been designed for combntaion or oily skin types specifically, the inclusion of mineral clay also helps to soak up excess oil to leave skin feeling fresh and smooth. If you have dry skin you may feel that you need to follow with a hydration mask or intense moisturiser, but it definitely helps to refine the look of pores.
Have you tried any charcoal enriched face masks or washes? Did they work for you?
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