Coconut Activated Charcoal Review
Ever noticed the black grit left at the bottom of a Brita water filter pitcher? That’s activated charcoal!
Gold Mountain Beauty Essentials – new and blooming out of Calgary, AB introduced me to one of their products and asked if I would test it and provide some feedback. I was really happy to do so because while I had certainly heard of Activated Charcoal, I was not familiar with one made from coconut shells and truly wasn’t aware of all of its possible natural beauty uses. And y’all know how much I like to play “kitchen beautician”!
So I started doing some digging and here’s what I unearthed…
Activation is Key
First, this product is activated, and not to be confused with, or used interchangeably with regular charcoal from the bbq, camp fire or your fire place! It’s similar to common charcoal, but made specifically for medicinal use. Manufacturers heat common charcoal in the presence of a gas that causes the charcoal to become very porous or “activated”. The porous surface has a negative electric charge that attracts positively charged unwanted toxins and gases [source].
From The Chalkboard Mag:
“Activated charcoal is a carbon-rich material and natural binding agent derived from peat, coal, wood and coconut shell. Once activated, lots of internal spaces or “pores” are created (e.g. a 50 gram dose has the surface area of ten football fields!) to help the charcoal “trap” chemicals. It does this through a process called adsorption, where the charcoal binds to toxins. This differs from absorption, which is where a substance absorbs toxins. Due to charcoal’s unique properties, it is widely used in the medical community for treating poisonings and drug overdoses, and in holistic practices for cleansing.”
How is Coconut Activated Charcoal different from other food-grade charcoal products?
Well, you see, it’s made from coconuts…as you may have guessed!
What’s the advantage?
Because common charcoal products often come in ineffectively small doses (capsules/tablets) or are typically made from cheap, low quality (often unidentified) materials – this product is ultra fine and highly purified, resulting in a charcoal with increased surface area for maximum adsorption. [source]
What are its everyday uses for the DIY-natural-health individual?
*Teeth whitening, especially for sensitive teeth – traditional societies have been using charcoal for dental hygiene for centuries! It’s use dates back as far as 1550 BC [source]
*Natural face & skin care, especially for acne-prone skin
*DIY cosmetics like gel eyeliner & mascara
*Detox/internal cleansing/gas & bloating relief – see notes below
*It’s main medical use: toxin/poison-binding, e.g. food poisoning, spider bites, chemical or drug overdose, such as acetaminophen. It has been used in hospital emergency rooms for years!
*It is also safe & effective for kids & pets so may be a good idea to always have some on hand in case of accidental poisoning or overdose at home. In this case, be sure to call 911 along with taking a dose of activated charcoal 🙂
What Did I Use It For?
TEETH WHITENING – here’s how:
For 5 nights in a row, after brushing my teeth with my regular natural toothpaste, I placed a small amount in a little non-reactive dish, dipped in a soft bristled wet toothbrush and brushed for 1-2 minutes. Then I swished the gritty liquid around in my mouth for a few seconds and expelled it carefully down the drain. Then I rinsed my mouth and my sink!
I also brushed in the shower a few times for easier clean up.
You will want to dedicate a toothbrush just for this purpose as it turns the brush black. Trust me! I now have an Oral B electric toothbrush head that looks mighty grungy now.
Umm, helloooo pearly whites and smooth, clean teeth!! I was quite amazed at what soot in your mouth could accomplish. No more morning breath either – BONUS!
I have always prided myself on gleaming white teeth but had let mine go lately because I had stopped buying those expensive, chemical-laden whitening strips – so this was the perfect solution for me. My teeth are also VERY sensitive and it really worked well, with no tooth or gum irritation like you might expect.
Now that I have my “base colour”, I plan to brush 2x/week for maintenance. However, rather than brush with my regular toothpaste first, I’ll just add a drop of peppermint essential oil to the activated charcoal on those days.
NATURAL SKIN CARE – here’s how:
I used a DIY beauty mask applied over the whole face, using this dark & brooding recipe:
Mix up ingredients, apply to face using an old blush brush or the back of a teaspoon (do not use fingers as its very messy) and leave on for 5-7 minutes or until dry. Then rinse off completely – I did this in the shower for easier clean up, patting face dry with a dark towel.
This is especially good for sensitive, acne-prone skin due to the toxin-binding properties of the activated charcoal, the anti-bacterial nature of the lavender oil & honey, and the skin-soothing properties of the aloe gel.
Baby soft skin, and brighter complexion after just one application. However, I think you do need to try these things repeatedly to get a better feel for its effects. So I tried it on my husband and kids. They thought it was hilarious. I told them it was how Batman kept his skin so nice! No wonder they were so willing to assist me in product testing 😀
Good to know before you try…
As you can imagine, activated charcoal is black and it’s messy because it’s such a finely ground powder. However, it does clean up nicely – but just be mindful of getting it on your clothes or porous surfaces like grout. Baby wipes are handy for the job. If they’re good enough for a dirty butt, they’re good enough for my counters!
Also, please be advised that charcoal may interfere with the absorption of medications (even birth control) as well as nutrients such as some vitamins and minerals. If choosing to consume as an “internal cleanser”, drink two hours after meals and medications. You may want to consult a health care practitioner if you’re concerned about interactions with medications.
Activated charcoal does not bind to sodium, iron, lead, arsenic, iodine, fluorine and boric acid or alcohol [source].
Rocky Mountain Essentials advises: Activated charcoal is safe to be consumed by most individuals, but if you have any pre-existing conditions such as intestinal bleeding or blockages, chronic dehydration, slow digestion or have had recent abdominal surgery it’s always advisable to speak to your health care provider before taking an activated charcoal supplement.
*I personally chose NOT to use it as a detoxifier because I recently transitioned from using Bentonite Clay to Diatomaceous Earth for “deep cleansing” purposes (that’s another blog post!) and didn’t want to add a third one to the mix. However, I did give some activated charcoal to one of my friends willing to try it and will update you when I’ve heard the verdict!
What’s the final dirt on Coconut Activated Charcoal?
It’s definitely worth a try! It has so many different uses (my fave being the spectacular tooth whitening ability), you get a lot of product for your buck and because you only have to use such a small amount for any given purpose, it’s really great value!
Sources & Credits