I’m Linda Fink and this is 5 Days of Activated Charcoal. Hey guys! What’s up? Welcome back to our blog. If you haven’t commentd to us yet, please comment below. And if you’ve already commentd, welcome back! Before we dive in, give this post a thumbs up because this week… Muahaha. I’m going over to the dark side. Okay so I’m not really going over to the dark side, but things might get a little dark like stained a deep, deep black. Ever since I did 5 Days of Natural Remedies, I’ve wanted to explore more natural health and beauty products, which led me over to today’s post on activated charcoal. So what is activated charcoal? Lesson #1: it’s made from burning a natural source of carbon like wood, peat, or coconut shell. And unlike the type of charcoal that fuels our barbeque pits and cooks our burgers, activated charcoal is made with a bit of a different process. It’s slowly dried, heated, and oxidized with carbon dioxide or steam. This creates tons of tiny pores across its surface which can then trap toxins and chemicals.
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Personally I have friends and coworkers that use activated charcoal for a whole slew of reasons: digestive issues, teeth whitening, beauty care. But I’ve also read countless articles saying taking it every single day can lead to vitamin deficiencies and it can make any medications you’re taking such as birth control pills less effective. Eek. So this week I’m not going to be taking activated charcoal as a pill, but I’m going to play around with it and see how else I could use it. According to some bloggers on social media, the path to whiter teeth involves first turning your mouth pitch black. And apparently activated charcoal can remove stains from coffee, tea, and red wine. I started out with just the regular activated charcoal powder. I wet a brand new toothbrush and then I dipped it right into the powder and topped it with a little bit of baking soda. And then I just stuck it into my mouth and started brushing. Almost immediately my mouth was black. It looked like a Sharpie marker had exploded onto my teeth. But in terms of taste: zero. No taste. And I brushed for two whole minutes and then I rinsed it out. This was not a clean procedure and even though I didn’t know it at the time, I took a really big risk by wearing a white shirt to this party. But somehow, I made it out without a hitch.
Before I started using these products today, I took a before picture of my smile. But I didn’t think it’ll make sense to take the after picture until I’ve been using this toothpaste for a couple of months at least. So stay tuned for that on my Instagram account. Raise your hand if you do not drink enough water. Hey! I don’t. 5 Days of Hydration helped me out a lot because it really got me into the habit of carrying a water bottle with me everywhere. And drinking, drinking, drinking a lot during the course of the day. But truthfully something that I rarely think about is filtering my water. I drink straight from the tap in New York City. I really hope that’s fine. Enter activated charcoal, our new friend for the week. Activated charcoal filters water through a process called adsorption, not absorption. Adsorption. Time for a science lesson. When a material adsorbs something, it means that its adhering to it by way of a chemical attraction. And because of the large surface area on activated charcoal, there are a lot of bonding sites.
So certain impurities and chemicals, like chlorine attach to its surface and then get trapped. So today I wanted to try out a few different filtering methods. The first thing I did was try out these little bamboo activated charcoal sticks that I found online. I just dropped the stick into my cup and then drank straight out of the cup. These filters did not have a brand name and if I’m being completely honest with you, I don’t think I would recommend it. It looked like it was working in that the water was bubbling and it appeared as if some sort of adsorption chemical reaction was occurring. But some bits and pieces of black broke off the filter and started floating around in the cup. Egh! So to try something a little bit more legit, I ordered a very sleek and stylish water bottle from a U.K. based company called B.U. Here’s how these bamboo filters work: the bamboo stock is transformed into activated charcoal by being heated up in a kiln. The heating process opens up pores on the bamboo structure, creating those bonding sites. This product worked out much better for me than the activated charcoal sticks. No floaters came out in the water and it even had a little tiny additional filter at the very top that you snap in. So that if there happen to have been any floaters that broke off of the filter, they would not wind up in your mouth.
Happy Wednesday! So today is all about incorporating activated charcoal into my skin-care routine. You know that activated charcoal peel-off mask that a lot of people have been trying? You know the one that rips your skin off when you pull it off? Yeah. I didn’t want to try that. Instead, I started my day off with the Dr. Jart Pore Minimalist sheet mask. This is one of the few activated charcoal products that is black itself but doesn’t actually come off black on your skin. So it’s entirely mess-free. Applying it to my skin felt really cold and juicy. It was slimy and it definitely seem to slip around my face a little bit. But overall, it stayed in place and I left it for 15 to 20 minutes and then peeled it off. And I so badly wanted to wash my face afterwards because my face was still slimy. But you’re not supposed to do that, you’re just supposed to rub in the serum and then let it dry. And then once all that serum dried, my skin felt really soft. I also tried out a bamboo charcoal deodorant that I bought on Amazon. And it had a really good citrusy smell. Whoa! And thankfully, it was not black on my pits.
Then later today when I got home from work, I was inspired to do a DIY activated charcoal mask. So I found this this recipe on Pinterest and I would highly, highly recommend it. One teaspoon of bentonite clay, which removes impurities. One teaspoon of activated charcoal. Half a teaspoon of raw honey for soft skin. Two teaspoons of water. And one drop of of lavender essential oil for relaxation. Mix that all together. Next I spread it onto my face using the spoon because I didn’t want to get my hands all black. It felt cold and refreshing and smelled like a little hint of lavender. The mask hardens on your face in 10 minutes and when you’re done, just wash it off with water. Warning! Your sink will be a complete mess. Try to clean as much as you can by hand first before getting a towel involved because you may ruin your towels. You may. Even though I’m avoiding taking activated charcoal as a supplement this week, I did check in with a medical expert and received confirmation that although it’s not recommended to ingest on a daily basis, that it is in fact, safe. Whew! That made me feel a lot better because I’ve personally been seeing activated charcoal things pop up all over the place recently.
Ice creams. Pizzas. Lattes. Juices. It seems that everyone these days is jumping on the activated charcoal train, except for me. Because I have never had any of these. So I’ve been staring at this powder for days being like, “Can I swallow you?” I’ve seen charcoal lemonade being sold at tons of juice shops in New York City. But instead of going out and buying one, I decided to make my own DIY version at home following a recipe that I found on Pinterest. Five cups of filtered water. A half a cup of agave nectar. Three quarter cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice. And then five activated charcoal pills twisted to release the powder out of them. I stirred it up and then poured myself a glass. And to be honest, it was really good. If you had blindfolded me, I would never know that it was any different from regular lemonade. My only tweak is I would use more fresh lemon and less agave nectar.
Next I wanted to get out and about and try some of the activated charcoal treats that New York has to offer. I went to The Good Sort in Chinatown and started out with their activated charcoal and black sesame latte. Since the activated charcoal has no taste, they added the sesame for a little bit of flavor. And then I had mine made with oat milk and it was a delicious latte. As I was cruising the menu, I noticed that they sold a black waffle. Activated charcoal is mixed right into the waffle mix so you have this sort of grayish blackish batter. And then once the waffle is cooked, it’s topped with a berry salad, maple syrup, and fresh coconut. It was by far, the best waffle I’ve had in a long time. It’s officially the last day of my activated charcoal journey. And I really wanted to stretch the imagination and try something that’s a bit off the beaten path when it comes to how most people are using this product. After combing through the internet, I discovered that I can use activated charcoal to make my own eyeliner and mascara. Both of these were super easy to make and come from products that you might already have at home. Starting out with the eyeliner, I used half a teaspoon of activated charcoal, two teaspoons of coconut oil, and four teaspoons of aloe vera gel. Mix it all together and then pour it into an emptied out eyeliner pot. When I applied it, the texture was kind of juicy and it had a bit of a grayish hue. I think you can make this product come out darker by using more activated charcoal and less aloe.
And after I tried it out on my face, I had my friend Empress try it too because we wanted to see what it looked like on a darker skin tone. And it looked great. It was definitely liquid-y so I would recommend letting it dry first before you open up your eye. But if you’re not the type of person who’s into the jet black eyeliner look and you’d rather something grayish or a little more subtle, this look is for you. Next I tried the mascara. I heated up two teaspoons of coconut oil, four teaspoons of aloe vera gel, half a teaspoon of beeswax, and half a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder. Threw that all into a saucepan and then mixed it together. It was looking a little watery, so I sprinkled in some more beeswax to thicken it up. And once it was all mixed together and all of the lumps were out, I poured it into a ziplock bag, cut the tip off, and then carefully funneled it into an old lip gloss container. Once the whole container was filled, I tried it out. And I thought this mascara was awesome. It gave my lashes length and definition without giving them that globby and clumpy look. I had so much fun playing around with activated charcoal this week because it really felt like a deep dive into a topic that so many people are discussing, but something that I knew nothing about. Now I want to know if you use activated charcoal. And if so, comment below letting me know how. And as always, let me know in the comments what you want to see me try next time for five days at a time.
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