Call it black magic. Charcoal, the millennia-old wonder ingredient suddenly cropping up in everything from Danish shampoo and Japanese cleansing puffs to self-heating masks and even tooth brushes, has long been prized for its detoxifying powers.
Phoenician seafarers stored drinking water in charred barrels; scientists in nineteenth-century France proved charcoal's efficacy as a poison antidote in daredevil demonstrations.
Ac natural purifier, it can absorb as much as 800 times its weight in toxins and impurities. Typically made from Japanese bamboo or oak, finely powdered charcoal "is able to draw things out of the skin, almost like a magnet," says dermatologist Joely Kaufman, M.D.
At her Miami office, she recently debuted a pore-refining laser procedure featuring an ink-black carbon lotion, which leaves skin "really smooth afterward."
Consider it a deep, dark twist on spring cleaning.