Was charcoal 2017's biggest beauty trend?


Looking back on a year of beauty trends, ranging from the uber-natural and healthy superfoods like coconut oil, avocado and oats, to the high tech devices like acne-treating lights, ultrasound technology, and hair removal lasers, to scientific ingredients like like hyaluronic acid, retinoids and antioxidants. But nothing was more popular than activated charcoal, which invaded every beauty addict's Instagram feed during 2017.


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So what is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is completely different from the charcoal you might use to grill meat on the barbecue. It is a fine black powder made from bone char, coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, coal, olive pits or sawdust. The charcoal is "activated" by processing it at very high temperatures. The high temperatures change its internal structure, reducing the size of its pores and increasing its surface area. This results in an extremely porous charcoal that absorbs 100-200x its weight in impurities, making it an excellent natural ingredient to help purify and deep-clean skin, and remove stains from teeth.

And what do people use it for? Here are just a few

  • Teeth Whitening

  • Water Filtering

  • Face masks

  • Food and drink (yup, charcoal lattes are officially a thing...)

  • Capsules and supplements

  • Mascara and eyeliner

Find out more about this so called magical ingredients in this fab little video by Refinery29, where lifestyle host Lucie Fink tries out 5 days of using 5 different activated charcoal methods. Enjoy!



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Ruth MacGilp is an Edinburgh based blogger, and an activist for all things ethical in the fashion industry, as well as supporting the #shopsmall and #shoplocal movements through her work.
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