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Why we won't complain if Santa leaves us lumps of coal this year...

From treating acne to whitening teeth, you’d have to be living under a rock (or piece of coal) to not be aware of the lauded beauty benefits of activated charcoal. If we aren’t being told what a brilliant skin cleanser it makes, we’re seeing it added to our smoothies and clogging up our Insta feed (there seem to be a LOT of celebs using charcoal toothpaste these days.) So should we believe the hype? Well, in a word, yes. Activated charcoal, which is carbon that's been treated to increase its absorbency, isn't new. It's been used in A&E for years to treat alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses. It works by attaching itself to toxins in the stomach and absorbing them before the bloodstream can. So, to translate that in to beauty products, it means that in theory, by including activated charcoal in cosmetics, it does something similar, acting like a magnet to attract and absorb dirt and oil. And it would seem the theory works just as well in practice: we’ve found a fair few products that contain activated charcoal, that are really bloody good. Coincidence? We think not. So here’s our edit of the top charcoal-enriched beauty products on the market right now. They make it worth being on Santa's naughty list.

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Primer

This lightweight matte primer, which is made with Moroccan clay and purifying charcoal, doesn’t actually shrink your pores (that just isn’t possible) but it does make for an effective base for foundation, leaving skin looking pore-less and clear.

Julep Konjac Sponge

Made from the fibrous root of the konjac plant and infused with activated-charcoal powder, this packs one mighty deep-cleansing punch. Soften it with water before gently rubbing it over clean, damp skin, in a circular motion, then rinse. Use to double up the benefits of your cleanser or on skin that doesn’t seem to benefit from a standard single cleanse.

Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Sheet Mask*

Charcoal works wonders on acne-prone skin, by fighting acne-causing germs, sucking out impurities, reducing inflammation and keeping your pores clean. So, what happens when you add the detoxifying quality of charcoal to the spot-busting benefits of salicylic acid? You get a sheet mask that will transform flagging, blemished, irritated skin overnight.

Erborian Black Scrub

The Koreans were on to charcoal powder already- it’s been known in Korea for its mattifying properties for a while. Add cotton micro fibers and you have this triple-action exfoliating scrub mask, which will rid skin of impurities, eliminate dead cells and absorb excess sebum, for a mattifying effect.

Raw Coconut & Activated Charcoal Tooth Whitening Polish

If you can get your head around rubbing black charcoal on your teeth to WHITEN them then go right ahead. A great alternative for anyone who suffers from sensitive teeth when using traditional whitening products.

*included in your December Roccabox

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