Perhaps the strangest natural beauty trend yet, activated charcoal is showing up in everything from soaps to juices. While its dark, murky appearance can be a little off-putting, we assure you: charcoal is all it’s cracked up to be.This light, powdery substance is an antibacterial agent, and is highly absorbent, so acts as a detoxifier. Along with absorbing toxins, it’s also capable of neutralizing strong smells, hence its appearance in some natural deodorants.
Confused by the activated part? Regular bamboo charcoal has a surface area of 600:1; this means that every gram of bamboo is made up of roughly 600 square meters. When bamboo is “carbonized”, it’s exposed to extremely high temperatures, which double the ration to 1200:1. Effectively, activated charcoal is much, much lighter, and hence more absorbent.
Bamboo charcoal is an important distinction, too: bamboo is one of the most sustainable plants on the planet in terms of growth time, required growing resources, and space required for harvesting.