Charcoal Next Big Thing in Beauty

An ancient beauty secret is making a major comeback.

ByABC News
September 12, 2014, 3:16 PM

— -- An ancient beauty secret is making a major comeback. It’s charcoal, and it has made its way from your backyard grill all the way to your face.

From soap to juice cleanses to facials and even toothpaste, charcoal is the hottest beauty trend since . . . the last time charcoal was popular beauty trend.

“People have been using charcoal for centuries,” said Elisa Tallerico, the makeup half of the makeup-and-hair beauty duo Betsy Elisa Inc. in New York City. “They used charcoal on their eyes as liner and stained their lips with berries. That was the first makeup.”

Tallerico said charcoal-as-eye makeup is making a major comeback among the health-conscious set. “People don’t want to put toxins next to their eyes,” she said. “It’s cheaper, too.”

Tallerico mixes a bit of charcoal powder with coconut oil or water to make liner and shadow for smoky eyes. But the popularity of charcoal in the beauty world has expanded well beyond the eye.

Some beauty blogs claim brushing your teeth with black charcoal will actually make your teeth whiter. Just unscrew the charcoal capsule, dump some of the black powder on your toothbrush and run it under water before brushing. I tried it and was most surprised not by the black teeth looking at me in the mirror, but by the fact that it has virtually no taste.

At New York City’s Ling Spa, the 90-minute, $260 charcoal facial is one of the most-requested treatments. Spa owner Ling Chan said the charcoal absorbs toxins from your skin at the rate of 200 to 300 times other methods of pore extractions.

“It’s like an instant facelift,” she said.

I tried the facial and it was cool and refreshing. What’s a little unsettling is that the light is completely blocked out once the charcoal mixed with rice and mint goes over your eyes, to the point I thought the power had gone out.

The mask stays on for about 20 minutes and peels off in one piece. Someone did actually compliment my skin that evening.

Companies large and small are also using charcoal in their products. California-based company Juice Served Here sells a charcoal lemonade. It looks like black water and tastes like weak lemonade.

Biore makes a facial cleanser with charcoal and Origins has a charcoal mask.