Charcoal Is the New Black

We may think of charcoal as the messy ingredient responsible for giving BBQ its smoky flavor, but charcoal could be the next great skincare miracle ingredient. A slew of new beauty and skin care products have put charcoal on the map as the latest cleansing trend. Rubbing the chalky substance all over your face to improve cleanliness may sound like a dubious suggestion, but charcoal contains a number of properties that actual make it superior at purifying your face.

When placed on the skin, charcoal acts like a magnet for dirt, grime, and oil. In its activated form, charcoal can be used to extract detrimental substances from your skin without any invasive poking or prodding. The incredibly large surface area of a piece of charcoal (about 10,000 square feet per teaspoon) helps the substance adsorb 100 times its weight in grime, good news for those of us who feel like our skin is constantly battling pollution.

So what does this mean for the future of skincare products and their loyal consumers? Charcoal rids skin of all sorts of toxins, but those with oily and combination skin may be especially pleased with the ingredient's adsorption properties. When used in a skin mask or wash, charcoal amps up a product's ability to give skin a deep cleanse. Don't be deterred by the dark shade of the products; quite frankly, facial masks look a bit odd no matter what color they are anyway.

Origins' Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, $26, Sephora

Boscia's line of charcoal products, including the Konjac Cleansing Sponge with Bamboo Charcoal and the Luminizing Black Mask have received rave reviews, and Origins' Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask is a miracle in a tube in our opinion. For a less expensive fix, Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser and Garnier Clean + Shine Control Cleansing Gel provide the same charcoal-activated benefits without the hefty price tag.

Boscia Luminizing Black Mask, $34, Boscia

The next time you're in breakout city, the solution is clear: just rub some charcoal on it.