Every so often, when I visit my mom in the north burbs, I stop by at the TJ Maxx in Evanston to scope it out. They have an “Off the Runway” department where I’ve come across killer finds in the past, but it’s very hit or miss. The last time I went, I perused the designer department and wasn’t impressed, so I ventured over to the beauty section. It’s not a section of the store I’m familiar with, but after examining the products for a minute or two, it captured my attention.

One of the products I was particularly interested in was this Charcoal facial detox cleanser. I (of course) immediately looked it up online to see if I could find reviews…and I found PLENTY on Amazon, mostly positive. I’ve tried the Boscia charcoal cleanser in the past, but felt it was too pricey for what it was so I stopped buying it. This one seemed like it was similar enough and 1/3 of the cost. I bought it with low expectations and started using it daily. After about 3 weeks of using it, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results. My face feels crisp and clean after cleansing, and the cleanser is able to take off most of my makeup (which is a HUGE for me, mainly because I’m lazy). I like that it doesn’t have a fragrance as I’ve been so against fragranced skincare products lately – there’s no way that stuff is good for your skin!

Activated Charcoal beauty benefitsI then started wondering…what exactly is charcoal doing for my skin? Why am I liking this cleanser so much?! Turns out, there are quite a few beauty benefits charcoal provides (specifically activated charcoal):

Cleans out & shrinks pores: I’m not crazy for feeling like my skin is extra clean! The scientific explanation – charcoal acts as a magnet for dirt & toxins, so when you rinse your face, you wash out the dirt too. My guess is that the pore shrinking capabilities have lead to my brighter, more even complexion.

Fights acne: Charcoal’s ability to pick up dirt from pores makes it an acne fighting agent. Luckily, at this point in my life I don’t have issues with acne (I did have cystic acne in my early 20’s – that’s a story for another post!), but if I did, this would work wonders.

Soothes and heals insect bites or other skin irritations: Activated charcoal can help speed up the healing process when it comes to insect bites and certain skin conditions!

Whitens teeth: This one was the most surprising to me – there are charcoal toothpaste products out there. Does this mean I can get rid of the whitestrips?!

Removes toxins from hair & adds volume: Yes, charcoal shampoo exists too. The same way it removes dirt from your skin applies to hair follicles as well. The dirt & toxins are also responsible for weighing down your hair – that means when they’re out, your hair is more voluminous.

Now I’m looking for other ways to incorporate charcoal into my beauty routine. I actually bought this facial sponge with added bamboo charcoal over a year ago  – I need to start using it again! Below are other products I’ve had my eye on. Have you tried any of these? Would love to hear your thoughts!