March 4, 2024

The weird hangover cure that will save your soul this weekend

Charcoal has been taking over social media with those infamous peel-off masks. But the benefits of the porous black solid go far beyond having a good laugh at someone’s failed beauty tutorial or the weird pleasure of watching a successful video of blackheads being peeled-off skin.

In fact, charcoal has been used for medicinal purposes and water treatment for centuries – and it can be extremely beneficial for not only your skin, but your hair, health and overall wellbeing (including as a cure for hangovers).

So let’s get to it, these are the coolest ways to use charcoal:

Use charcoal as… a teeth whitener

Might seem odd that such a dark substance can actually have a super teeth whitening effect, but this is one of the most common and well known uses of charcoal. DIY a whitening toothpaste by buying activated charcoal from your local health food store or pharmacy – as it is usually sold in tablets you can grind up one or two, and mix it with enough water to form a dense paste, which you will use to brush your teeth with for at least three minutes. Rinse profusely and then brush your teeth normally with your usual toothpaste.

Ain’t got time to DIY?

Try these: Teeth Whitening Activated Charcoal Powder 100% Natural, £9. 99, Pro Teeth Whitening Co; Ecodenta Extra Black Whitening Toothpaste with Black Charcoal Teavigo, £4. 49, Holland Barrett; Mr Blanc Bamboo Charcoal Polish, £8, Boots

Use charcoal as… a scrub

Charcoal is the natural cleanser for when your skin is in need of a heavy detox. Its gritty texture works as a great exfoliator, while drawing out excess oils from your skin and deeply cleansing pores. Once again you’ll have to mix activated charcoal with water to create a dense paste, we advise buying the powder version for this DIY, as you’ll be applying it all over your body.

Ain’t got time to DIY?

Try these: Origins Clear Improvement Detoxifying Charcoal Body Scrub, £25, Origins; Garnier Pure Active Intensive 3 in 1 Charcoal Anti-Blackhead Scrub, £4. 99, Superdrug

Use charcoal as… a detoxifying shampoo

Adding a bit of activated charcoal to your regular shampoo can do wonders for your hair. Just like in the scrub, the black powder will help draw out impurities from scalp and reduce oiliness – that’s why you can find activated charcoal in some dry shampoos.

Add one tablespoon or one tablet of activated charcoal to your shampoo and wash your hair normally, if you have light hair you might need to wash your hair a second time, with regular shampoo.

Ain’t got time to DIY?

Try these: Charles Worthington Radiance Restore Charcoal Shampoo, £6. 99, Boots; Sort of Coal Kuro Shampoo, £22, La Gent

Use charcoal as… a face mask

Worry not, this is nothing like the painful peel-off masks’ videos you might’ve seen. Peel-off masks are made to unclog pores in a harsh way that may not fit sensitive skin types. The super absorbent properties of charcoal have the same purpose – unclogging pores by drawing out impurities, without risk of scaring skin.

Use the same process as the body scrub, but add less water for a thicker mask-like paste; or go all out on the DIY and mix 2 teaspoons of bentonite clay with 1/2 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder, 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of water, for a pore-cleansing but glow boosting mask.

Ain’t got time to DIY?

Try these: GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment, £39, GlamGlow; Clinique City Block Purifying Charcoal Clay Mask Scrub, £29, Clinique; The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask, £16, The Body Shop

Use charcoal as… a blackhead-banisher

By now, you know the hype around charcoal is all about its absorbent superpowers. So it’s no wonder the ingredient is also amazing to banish blackheads. Although there are loads of DIY peel-off charcoal recipes online, most of them include glue – which, needless to say, it’s not ideal and might harm your skin.

Use the same recipe of the charcoal and bentonite clay face mask but include little to no water, to make it thicker. The results are very gentle, so if you want something a little more strong give one of these pharmacy products a go…

Ain’t got time to DIY?

Try these: Iroha Black Peel-off Charcoal Detox Mask, £4. 99, Boots; Masque Bar Luminizing Charcoal Peel Off Mask, £9. 99, Boots

Use charcoal as… a soap

Once again, put charcoal’s super cleansing properties to the test with an activated charcoal soap. If you have a full weekend and are feeling motivated, there are some really interesting recipes here and here. The process is rather long and can be a little complicated, but luckily there are great alternatives in the market, ready to buy.

Ain’t got time to DIY?

Try these: Yes To Tomatoes Activated Charcoal Bar Soap, £4. 99, Feel Unique; Bioré Pore Penetrating Charcoal Bar, £4. 99, Feel Unique

This might make you think twice about adding charcoal to your wellness regime…

Use charcoal as… a water filter

Detox all the way adding a couple of sticks of charcoal into your water bottle. The charcoal helps purify water by soaking in toxins and impurities. This is actually a big hack amongst health junkies and you can even buy water bottles with built in charcoal stick compartments, behold…

Ain’t got time to DIY?

Try these: Black Blum Eau Good Bottle, £20, Asos

Use charcoal as… a hangover cure

Yep, you’ve read that right. Some people swear by charcoal to restore their body’s energy to its normal state after a girl’s night out. The super detoxifying properties of the black ingredient promise to clean up your digestive tract, by (you know it…) drawing out toxins from your system. Although your headache won’t go way, it is definitely a big help for those that feel very sick after partying. Take activated charcoal pills as advised by the product’s bula, or try this delish smoothie.

Ain’t got time to DIY?

Try these: Charcoal Lemonade, £4. 50, Press London

Use charcoal as… a snack

Not really keen on trying the black smoothie? Give some cookies a go. They are another great alternative for the active charcoal pills, and have the same purpose as the drink, banish toxins from your system – detoxifying your body from the inside out.

Ain’t got time to DIY?

Try these: Waitrose Charcoal Sesame Biscuits, £2. 49, Ocado

And happy detox!

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