One of our amazing, multi-purpose and unique ingredients is Activated Charcoal. It is used more and more across the cosmetics industry and growing massively within the natural beauty market. We need to give this ingredient more recognition! The power of activated charcoal is widely discussed and not necessarily known. So we wanted to tell you all about it...
In recent years, Activated charcoal has exploded into the health & beauty industry as a natural detoxifier. Because it is an extremely effective ingredient and is now being used in a wide range of personal care products. The primary use for activated charcoal in the health and beauty industry started off with tooth whitening. With the help of relentless adverts on social media platforms, we saw a huge trend of people using charcoal to remove tough stains from the teeth. Resulting in a brighter smile, almost instantly! Without the need for the peroxide based bleaching systems we are all so used to.
The tooth whitening industry worldwide is worth around $1.4 billion and growing year on year. So it was no shock that a new, natural product unleashed onto the market was going to be successful. Leading to saturation in the market, with new brands arriving daily. Many of which disappear just as quickly as they arrived!
In terms of longevity, is charcoal a quick fad that will fade away? And make way for the next new shortlived online fascination? Or is it here to stay? A good indication is that the worlds biggest cosmetics brand, Loreal, has recently launched multiple skincare products. With activated charcoal being the main ingredient. Along with a full scale marketing campaign featuring television adverts. Solely based around their activated charcoal products, this is a very good sign. You can now go into any high street cosmetics retailer and find a number of charcoal based products. From a number of different brands, big and small. You can find the majority of the products on offer in the skincare department. So what makes charcoal so good for the skin?
The super adsorbent properties of activated charcoal make it an ideal ingredient for cleansing the skin and gently removing toxins and oils. Leaving the skin feeling smooth and detoxified without the use of any chemicals. In today's world, consumers are becoming ever more conscious of what they are putting in, and on, their bodies. Because of this it is fueling an exponential growth in the demand for natural products free from a number of potentially harmful chemicals. Our cosmetic grade charcoal derive from coconut shells. By burning into a char, then crushing into a fine powder and activating by using high temperature steam. Achieving this in an oxygen free furnace, reaching temperatures of over 1700 degrees. This process is what gives the charcoal it's ability to adsorb a huge amount of impurities. Attracting harmful organic substances, which remain bonded to the surface of the charcoal.
When sourcing our charcoal, we focus on two major factors, the first is effectiveness, the question we ask is ‘does it work?'. Because it's fantastic to have a natural alternative to what’s currently available on the market. But does it work as good? Does it serve its purpose? Because ultimately, that’s what matters to customers and that’s what will bring them back for more.
Secondly we have to consider quality. So there are many Chinese suppliers who sell activated charcoal for very competitive prices. It looks and feels great, but the majority of these cheap grades coming in from China are of extremely low quality. They also contain a very high ash content, thus heavily diminishing the effectiveness of the overall product. This would potentially cause declines in repeat business and low customer satisfaction due to the product not being very effective. Analysis conduced on Chinese grades of charcoal have also found high concentrations of heavy metals such as mercury and lead. Which combined with a high ash content actually could be worse for the body than the chemical laden formulations. Which many people are consciously trying to avoid.
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Finally, the surface area of activated charcoal is actually quite remarkable. A single gram has a surface area of over 3000m2, which is about half the size of a football pitch! It’s hard to imagine how such a small amount of black powder can have such a large surface area. Because of this it is allowing a massive collection of impurities and removing it from whatever it comes into contact with.
Going forward, we anticipate charcoal being more widely used and becoming the obvious choice. Especially to cleanse and detoxify your skin naturally.
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