Beauty

This Powerhouse Beauty Ingredient Whitens Teeth, Boosts Hair Growth, and Soothes Skin

You'll wonder how you went so long without it!

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In need of a little head-to-toe refresh? We’ve got the perfect ingredient for you: Activated charcoal! Made from burnt remnants of coconut shells and bamboo, the ‘dirty’ compound’s properties actually beautify, clean, and detoxify skin, hair, and teeth! Here are six tips for using charcoal that will leave you looking gorgeous and feeling great!

Whiten Teeth with a Charcoal Toothpaste

Thanks to its mildly abrasive texture, charcoal buffs plaque right off of the tooth’s enamel while also removing surface stains. The result? A deep clean that reveals a brighter smile in a flash.

ONE TO TRY: Hello Activated Charcoal Epic Whitening Fluoride Free Toothpaste, $5.99, Ulta

Banish Bacne with Charcoal Soap

“Absorbent charcoal acts like a magnet to draw out and soak up the oil, dirt, and bacteria that cause breakouts, clearing up skin stat,” says New York City dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D. And using it in soap form makes it easy to treat both face and body blemishes.

ONE TO TRY: Carbon Theory. Breakout Control Exfoliating Body Bar, $12.49, Ulta

Boost Hair Growth with a Charcoal Scalp Scrub

The gritty compound gently removes follicle-clogging dead cells and product buildup on the scalp, clearing the path for healthy hair growth. Pairing with sugar (it exfoliates) and olive oil (its fatty acids “plump” strands) speeds results.

TRY IT! Mix two teaspoons of activated charcoal powder (like Solaray Activated Charcoal Powder, $16.49, iHerb), one tablespoon of sugar, and one tablespoon of olive oil. Rub on a damp scalp for one minute; let sit for five minutes before rinsing.

Smell Fresh with a Charcoal Deodorant

Charcoal binds to moisture and odor molecules under the arms, removing them before they leave you damp and stinky. Bonus: A charcoal-infused deodorant can be used on feet so they stay dry and odor-free, too.

ONE TO TRY: PiperWai Natural Deodorant Stick, $15, PiperWai

Soothe Rashy Skin with a Charcoal Mask

An anti-inflammatory, charcoal helps ease redness and irritation, says Dr. Zeichner. Combining with antioxidant-rich coconut oil heals skin faster.

TRY IT! Mix one teaspoon of activated charcoal powder and one tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply to irritated skin and let sit for 15 minutes; rinse.

The Charcoal Smoothie Dr. Oz Swears By

Activated charcoal has been used to rid the body of poison for years. And because it absorbs and removes toxins and gases that accumulate in the gut, drinking charcoal leads to other healthy results, like de-bloating the belly, increasing energy, and improving kidney function! Try this recipe to reap the rewards: Mix one teaspoon of chia seeds with 1 ⁄4 cup of water; cover and refrigerate for four hours. In a blender, purée soaked chia seeds, two cups of chilled almond milk, one cup of frozen blueberries, one cup of kale, one ripe banana, one tablespoon of peanut butter, one tablespoon of agave syrup, and 1⁄4 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder.*

*Note: Charcoal should not be consumed for more than three days in a row at a maximum of 500 milligrams per day. Charcoal should also not be mixed with medications, as it can render them less effective.

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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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