Does Charcoal Actually Work? 5 Ways You Should Be Using It

I first heard about the magical benefits of charcoal last year as a potential hangover cure. And, as a post-grad about to embark on my mid-life crisis, I was overly excited to try it out. I tested out charcoal’s supposed powers in the enchanting city of South Beach where I truly had an opportunity to put it to the test. The result? Well, I was definitely a lot less hungover but at the cost benefit of definitely being a lot less drunk. This is due to the fact that consuming activated charcoal before drinking can apparently help reduce blood alcohol levels. Sure, it made going to Liv a little less rowdy, but it was totally worth not feeling like I was going to vomit on the plane home the next day. Besides preventing me from getting on top of the bar at Señor Frogs, activated charcoal has other wellness benefits as well. Here are five ways charcoal is having a moment right now.

1. Teeth Whitening

Charcoal toothpaste has become a trend over recent years, and it’s actually for a good reason. It works by lifting surface stains and therefore “brightening” the teeth. Essentially, charcoal does not actually whiten the teeth, but it does brighten them by helping to remove surface stains. We’ll take it.

My Magic Mud Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

2. Skin Care

If you step into a Sephora, you’ll see that every other skin care product boasts charcoal as the main ingredient for removing skin impurities. Charcoal acts as a magnet for dirt and oils in pores and actually pulls them out. This results in a cleaner, clearer complexion and smaller looking pores.

Charcoal Pore Pudding Intensive Wash-Off Treatment

3. Hangovers

There’s still limited evidence that charcoal can actually prevent hangovers. But, if there’s any chance that it could help, I’m on board. Post-college hangovers are no joke, let me be the first to tell you. The idea is that charcoal can help eliminate the toxins in alcohol, particularly by removing all the other impurities in the alcohol. It can also potentially help reduce blood alcohol levels, which means you’ll basically just get less drunk. Which, in the long game of not seeming like a psycho stage-5 clinger by preventing some of those embarrassing blackout texts, seems beneficial.

Activated Charcoal Capsules

4. Gas And Bloating

PSA, activated charcoal can help with gas and bloating. Uh, why has this info been under the radar for so long??? Charcoal can help absorb gas, leading to a flatter tummy. Andddd I’m down for anything that leads to a flatter tummy.

Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal

5. Better Hair

Just like its effect on skincare, charcoal works on hair by removing build-up and impurities. It can help purify your scalp, which will ultimately lead to healthier hair. It can also create more volume by eliminating all that excess product and oil that’s weighing the hair down.

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Trea Scalp Treatment

Basically, if you haven’t gotten on the charcoal train yet, it’s time. Sure, it won’t fix all your problems. Like, it won’t fix the fact that your boss doesn’t believe in summer Fridays, sorry. But hey, I’m also not saying that it won’t help either. *Shrugs*.

Images: @chrisknight / unsplash; Sephora (2); Amazon (2); Thrive Market;

Shannon McCormick
Shannon McCormick
Shannon McCormick (previously under the alias of 'Betch Dressed') is a self-proclaimed fashion expert with a sick obsession for all things Bravo. She primarily writes about everything fashion, but also dabbles in other areas because she's a talented overachieving Virgo. Follow her on Insta (@shanmccormick) and comment/DM topics you want to hear her incredible take on next!