Discover the transforming powers of this year’s unlikely hero beauty ingredient

Words Joy Montgomery 

WHAT IS IT?

Charcoal is a lightweight, black residue made up of carbon, typically used to barbecue chicken on a summer’s day, keep your house warm in winter or create smudged lines on a canvas. Beauty ingredient? Not so much.

But, believe it or not, charcoal’s absorbing abilities have been used for years to treat alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses. It’s this concept that has been harnessed by cosmetics brands, with ‘activated charcoal’ becoming one of this year’s must-have beauty ingredients.

WHAT DOES IT DO?

Incredibly porous, charcoal acts like a sponge for grease and impurities, thus allowing impurities to be drawn away from the skin. It is known to be particularly effective on oily skin and is often used in acne-targeted face masks. The result is less shine-prone complexion, clearer skin and tighter pores. Where do we sign up?

From cleansers to toothpaste – it’s no surprise that beauty brands have embraced the purifying powers of this super ingredient.

We’ve rounded up nine of the best to try today…

JORGOBE

JorgObe The Original Black Peel Off Mask, £26; jorgobe.co.uk

CLINIQUE

Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Masks, £23; clinique.co.uk

HASK

Hask Charcoal With Citrus Oil Purifying Shampoo 355ml, £6.99; superdrug.com

THE BODY SHOP

Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask, £16; thebodyshop.com

SORT OF COAL

Kuro Shampoo, £22; la-gent.com

L’OREAL

L’Oreal Paris Pure Clay Detox Face Mask 50ml, £5.99; boots.com

ORIGINS

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, £25; feelunique.com

YES TO TOMATOES

Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Paper Mask, £2.99; superdrug.com

ERNO LASZLO

ERNO LASZLO Detoxifying Double Cleanse Travel Set, £28; net-a-porter.com

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