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You may have seen people online getting really excited about activated charcoal beauty products. They tout activated charcoal as a miracle skin product, while smearing a weird black gel, soap or paste on their face. So is it all it’s cracked up to be? Short answer: yes.

If you haven’t heard, what makes activated charcoal so amazing is that it purifies the skin. Think of it like a detox for your outer layers (though activated charcoal is used as an internal detox, as well). Activated charcoal is a carbon product that has been made to be more absorbent. That mean it sucks up toxins, oil and grime, in beauty uses often drawing it right out of the pores. Then all that nastiness washes away with the charcoal.

But what products should you even look into? Below is your guide to the major activated charcoal products on the market.

Face mask

Activated charcoal makes one of the most effective face masks around. The longer it stays on the skin, the more it will come into contact with and soak up impurities. One popular face mask product is Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask. Kaolin and bentonite in the product also help soak up oil.

You could also go with a scrub or face mask product like Freeman Facial Polishing Mask Charcoal and Black Sugar, since a scrubbing motion will help get the charcoal deeper into pores.

Soap

One of the most popular activated charcoal products out there right now is Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Activated Charcoal Bar Soap. It’s a deep black soap bar that pulls impurities and oil right out of pores. It also has salicylic acid, the ever-popular chemical exfoliator that helps keep skin clear. The company also has a gel version of the product.

Other products

Face masks, soaps and scrubs are the most popular ways to use activated charcoal, but there are a host of other oddball ways companies are putting this wonder ingredient to use. Some examples include:

As you can see, there are tons of products out there capitalizing on the popularity of activated charcoal. Yet sometimes it may be best to go back to the basics.

Basic activated charcoal powder

If you’re a DIY sort of person, using straight activated charcoal may be more up your alley. If you find you like it, you might also be able to buy it wholesale online for cheaper. Mixed with water to form a paste, you can use it as a DIY face mask (leave on until it dries, then rinse), or brush your teeth with it a couple times a week.

Michelle Lovrine Honeyager is a freelance writer living in Southeastern Wisconsin. You can find out more about her at https://www.clippings.me/michellelovrine.