I was standing in Nilgiris looking for a particular tube of toothpaste when I came across charcoal toothpaste... Wait, what?
My trusty sidekick (the internet) and I discovered that charcoal, in addition to its ability to clean teeth, is supposed to help clean clogged pores and absorbs impurities. There is a multitude of non-toothpaste products out there with charcoal in them, most of which have to do with body cleansing.
The products that can claim these benefits contain activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is very much like normal charcoal, except that it is extremely porous, meaning that just a tiny amount of charcoal is going to have a very large surface area. Picture a sponge, paint it black and miniaturize it - that’s (sort of) what activated charcoal looks like on a microscopic level. The large surface area and porous qualities of activated charcoal enable it ‘suck’ all kinds of dirt out of all kinds of places.
Some foods contain activated charcoal, but there haven’t been enough studies on the matter to say whether taking charcoal as a supplement benefits you in the long term. Some people try to make activated charcoal at home, but activated charcoal needs to be made without any oxygen present and at temperatures conventional ovens cannot provide. What these people are making is probably just plain old charcoal.
The Auroville made body scrubs, soaps and hair products I listed below contain activated charcoal. They can moisturize and nourish your skin and hair naturally, unlike some of the “chemical” body products out there.
Side note: On two separate occasions, I’ve used the charcoal hair conditioner as a face mask. It didn’t dry up like face masks are supposed to, but it felt really nice. I think I’ll try it again when the opportunity arises.