What is Japanese charcoal?
Japanese wood charcoal (aka binchotan or white charcoal) is the highest grade of activated charcoal available, and has long been used for cleansing and cooking purposes in Japan. It is derived from the Japanese oak tree ubame, which grows mainly in the Wakayama prefecture. Charcoal from this region is sourced sustainably from trimmed tree branches, so there is no logging involved in the production process. The charcoal is activated by first burning the tree branches at very high temperatures in a kiln, and then immediately cooling the burnt wood. This process creates microscopic pores in the charcoal that can easily absorb impurities and purify skin, air, water, and even household appliances.
What are the beauty benefits of Japanese charcoal?
1. Deep Cleansing
Charcoal masks have been popular for a while, and it’s not just because they’re totally Instagram-worthy (which, in fact, they are). Japanese charcoal can bind to dirt, toxins, and bacteria and effectively draw them out of the skin for a deeper pore cleanse. It is for this same reason that charcoal is a popular ingredient in Japanese foaming cleansers, this type of formula can help wash away impurities and makeup without drying out or overtightening the skin. You can also find Japanese charcoal peel off masks for blackheads.
If you’ve got skin that gets a little too shiny for your liking, you’ll love the way Japanese charcoal makes your skin look and feel. Since it mops up impurities like a magnet, it leaves your skin feeling matte and soft. This makes charcoal the best friend of oily skin types. Excess shine just isn’t for them!
3. Calms acne
Japanese charcoal is best at controlling sebum production, de-clogging pores, and reducing acne-causing bacteria, due to its ability to absorb toxins and unwanted buildup in the skin.
4. Suitable for face, body, and hair
You’ve probably seen your fair share of charcoal masks and cleansers, but you probably didn’t know that it could be used for some serious all-over body pampering. Charcoal bar soaps are particularly popular in Japan as an all-in-one, natural face and body cleanser, and some Japanese charcoal soap brands have even earned themselves cult followings. You can also find charcoal-infused body scrubbers that exfoliate and cleanse the skin while you bathe. If your hair runs on the oily side, you may want to give Japanese charcoal-infused shampoos a try. They work to unclog hair follicles and wash away excess sebum from the scalp.
5. Good for your teeth
The obsession with charcoal even extends to dental care. Japanese charcoal is prized for its teeth whitening and cleaning abilities. You can find toothpaste formulated with charcoal as well as toothbrushes designed with charcoal bristles that help extract bacteria.
Japanese charcoal is so effective at purification, that you’ll want to pace yourself if you’re trying it out for the first time. This is especially true for sensitive and dry skin types, who should take precautions to prevent irritating or drying out the skin. Nevertheless, when used in moderation, Japanese charcoal proves to be a simple, reliable, and timeless skin savior that leaves you feeling your freshest from head-to-toe!