You can use it to paint your face, clean your teeth, eat and even drink it in a juice – activated charcoal is the new kid on the natural health block

Move over avocados, top of the selfie-shot list is a new wonder ingredient which has got our Insta feeds buzzing. Activated charcoal is everywhere and, despite the initial eye-widening effect that its name has, once you move your mind past the charcoal briquettes we put on a BBQ and understand that the high-quality ingredient is more likely to be made from coconut shells, the incredible benefits are worth a second look.

Social media darlings around the globe have snapped themselves with charcoal face masks, and the ingredient’s impurity-zapping abilities make it a heavyweight challenger to traditional clay masks for deep cleansing.

Many acne sufferers report that activated charcoal’s antibacterial qualities produce amazing results without the chemicals found in most harsh treatments. Used once or twice a week, so as not to over-dry the skin, an activated charcoal mask absorbs toxins, mops up excess sebum, reduces the appearance of blackheads and can help to prevent new spots forming.

Those absorption powers can work just as well inside our bodies, attracting and binding toxins to its surface when consumed, and allowing these to be passed through the body naturally. For years, activated charcoal has been used to treat poisoning, and it’s reported to help prevent hangovers if taken before a night out, binding the chemicals in alcoholic drinks, although it doesn’t bind the alcohol itself.

While curious shots of black burger buns and ice cream have been popping up on social feeds, it isn’t difficult to add the superstar ingredient to your diet. Available in tablet and powder form, celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian and Sarah Harding are big fans. Used as part of a detox programme, it cleanses the gut, alleviating gas and bloating. Drinking plenty of water after taking activated charcoal tablets helps to flush the system, but a more effective method is to add the powder to your daily juice or blend. Easily consumed alongside your regular nutritional hit of fruit and vegetables, this powerful ingredient can create karma in your colon.

Cheeky Charcoal Super Shot

  • 1/2 Apple
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • Coconut Water 25ml
  • 1 level tsp Activated Charcoal Powder

Juice the apple and lemon. Pour the freshly extracted juice into a blender followed by the coconut water and active charcoal powder. Blitz for 10 seconds. Pour into a glass and down it in one!