Charcoal seems to be having a moment. The West is catching on to the benefits of natural products that have been used in other parts of the world for eons. The latest charcoal mask to launch is Dermalogica’s Charcoal Rescue Masque designed to detox and brighten skin.
So firstly what’s the deal with charcoal? Well this isn’t any old barbecue charcoal. It’s Binchotan activated charcoal made from Japanese Ubame Oak wood. The same good stuff is used in charcoal toothpastes, air and water purifiers.
The science behind it all is that activated charcoal adsorbs. ‘Activating’ increases its ability to adsorb by creating more holes.Yes that is adsorb (substance sticks to surface) not absorb (substance dissolves). Dirt sticks to the charcoal surface which is then washed away. Other ingredients in the mask include sulphur which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and boosts cell turnover, volcanic ash, sea silt and bamboo extract to smooth skin, fruit acids, and Chilean wild mint to clarify skin and refine pores.
The double whammy of physical (volcanic ash, sea silt, bamboo stem) and chemical (phytic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid) exfoliation really packs a punch to remove dead skin and smoothen.
When applied there was a second of tingling, tightening and a cooling sensation so I did worry my my sensitive skin would react however I’ve used the mask numerous times with no irritation. There is a definite sulphur whiff especially when the mask is wet so be warned. If you’re got inflamed or extremely sensitive skin, I don’t think this mask is for you.
The instructions state that the mask can be used up to four times a week. I think that would be far too much for my dry, sensitive skin. I use it once a week or whenever I feel my skin particularly needs a pick-me-up. I do want to moisturise the hell out of my face afterwards and usually follow it up with a hydrating mask. After using my skin feels soft, smooth as glass and looks brighter.
We live in polluted times and especially those of us in cities are exposed to extra environmental pollution. All of which can stick to our skin, potentially leading to congestion. Notice how fresh faced country dwellers look in comparison to city folk? The Dermalogica charcoal mask is in my arsenal to help to battle the grey. Bye bye dull skin, hello glowing skin.
Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque, 75ml, £38 www.dermalogica.co.uk