In recent years, Activated charcoal has exploded into the health & beauty
industry as a natural detoxifier, this extremely effective ingredient is now being
used in a wide range of personal care products. The primary use for activated
charcoal in the health and beauty industry started off with tooth whitening, with
the help of relentless adverts on social media platforms we saw a huge trend of
people using charcoal to remove tough stains from the teeth, resulting in a
brighter smile, almost instantly without the need for the peroxide based
bleaching systems we are all so used to.
The tooth whitening industry worldwide is worth around $1.4 billion and growing year on year, so it was no shock that a
new, natural product unleashed onto the market was going to be successful. This
also led to saturation in the market, with new brands arriving daily, many of
which disappearing just as quickly as they arrived!
In terms of longevity, is charcoal a quick fad that will fade away and make way for the next new shortlived
online fascination? Or is it here to stay? A good indication is that the worlds
biggest cosmetics brand, Loreal, has recently launched multiple skincare
products with activated charcoal being the main ingredient, along with a full
scale marketing campaign featuring television adverts solely based around their
activated charcoal products, this is a very good sign. You can now go into any
high street cosmetics retailer and find a number of charcoal based products from
a number of different brands, big and small. The majority of the products on offer
are found in the skincare department, so what makes charcoal so good for the
The super adsorbent properties of activated charcoal make it an ideal ingredient
for cleansing the skin and gently removing toxins and oils, leaving the skin
feeling smooth and detoxified without the use of any chemicals. In todays world,
consumers are becoming ever more conscious of what they are putting in, and
on, their bodies, which is fuelling an exponential growth in the demand for
natural products free from a number of potentially harmful chemicals.
All of our cosmetics grade charcoal derives from coconut shells, which are burnt
into a char, crushed into a fine powder then activated using high temperature
steam in an oxygen free furnace, reaching temperatures of over 1700 degrees.
This process is what gives the charcoal its ability to adsorb a huge amount of
impurities, attracting harmful organic substances, which remain bonded to the
surface of the charcoal.
When sourcing our charcoal, we focus on two major factors, the first is
effectiveness, the question we ask is ‘does it work?, because its fantastic to have a
natural alternative to what’s currently available on the market, but does it work
as good? Does it serve its purpose? Because ultimately, that’s what matters to
customers and that’s what will bring them back for more.
The second major factor is quality, there are many Chinese suppliers who sell activated charcoal for
very competitive prices, it looks and feels great, but the majority of these cheap
grades coming in from China are of extremely low quality and contain a very
high ash content, thus heavily diminishing the effectiveness of the overall
product. This would potentially cause declines in repeat business and low
customer satisfaction due to the product not being very effective. Analysis
conduced on Chinese grades of charcoal have also found high concentrations of
heavy metals such as mercury and lead, which combined with a high ash content
actually could be worse for the body than the chemical laden formulations many
people are consciously trying to avoid.
Did you know?
The surface area of activated charcoal is actually quite remarkable, a single gram
has a surface area of over 3000m2, which is about half the
size of a football pitch! It’s hard to imagine how such a small amount of black
powder can have such a large surface area. This allows a massive amount of
impurities to be collected and removed from whatever it comes into contact
Going forward, we anticipate charcoal being more widely used and becoming the
obvious choice for cleansing and detoxifying the skin naturally.