This website has taught me to verify if the active ingredients touted in products are actually proven to address the claims that companies make for them. Active charcoal is everywhere in facial products right now - masks, face washes (I don't think I've seen an active charcoal face cream yet though). However, beyond this article
, I haven't found anything addressing whether or not it actually meets its claims to absorb purities.
To summarize, the article suggests that active charcoal's main allure is primarily in its marketing. It is pitch black and exotic looking, and appeals for some reason because of this distinctiveness. Otherwise, active charcoals are used to absorb impurities. Embarassingly quick online searches have shown me that this active charcoal can be used to absorb ingested poisons (how Early Modern!). Though this hasn't been tested on the skin, the idea is that its absorptive properties will somehow accomplish the same.
I've used the Origins active charcoal mask, which I do find tightens my pores (it has clay in it) but certainly doesn't draw anything visibly out of them. I've also used the Lush Coalface cleanser, but I think the graininess of the charcoal does more than anything. I'm wondering what all yalls think?