Added CHARCOAL to your beauty routine yet?

How about this charcoal craze!?

I’m sure you’ve noticed the boom of activated charcoal products over the past couple of years. It’s interesting and quite funny to think it’s become such a trend! When I was growing up, “charcoal” was used for cooking steaks on the grill. Can you imagine the look on my father’s face had he found my sister and I using the charcoal from the barbecue to “purify” our skin? ME either!

Folks these days are using activated charcoal to wash their hair, whiten their teeth, alleviate hangovers, cleanse their digestive system, eliminate acne and the list goes on. So, what exactly is it and how can we use it to benefit our beauty routine?

Along with the rest of the mainstream world, I decided a few months ago to start trying out charcoal products with one goal in mind….clear up my adult acne/bacne. Why am I suffering from acne at this age? Your guess is as good as mine. Considering my teenage skin was flawless, I’ve eagerly been on the product-hunt in hopes of finding something reasonable in price that also WORKS.

There’s a science to it, ya know!? According to Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster, activated charcoal is charcoal that has been heated or otherwise treated to increase its adsorptive power. It’s a fine, black, odorless and tasteless powdered charcoal used in medicine especially as an antidote in many forms of poisoning. Also, has been used to lower cholesterol levels, treat snakes bites, overdoses, and aid in reducing intestinal gas.

All very interesting, but again, how can we use it to benefit our beauty routine?

Here are some of the charcoal products I found (and actually liked) throughout my journey to fighting acne!

EXFOLIATE/REMOVE DEAD SKIN PARTICLES

Dermalogica – Daily Superfoliant

YES TO TOMATOES – Detoxifying Charcoal Warming Facial Scrub

ELIMINATE ACNE

Dermalogica – Charcoal Rescue Masque

YES TO TOMATOES – Activated Charcoal Bar Soap

REMOVE TOXINS FROM YOUR HAIR

Apotheke – Charcoal Shampoo

*Neutrogena – T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

*This is a favorite (throwback) product of mine! FYI – the packaging isn’t very glamorous. BUT, containing coal tar, I find it most useful when the weather starts to change. After a couple of uses per weeks, my dandruff and dry scalp disappear!

What are your favorite charcoal products? Share with us on our Facebook and Google + pages!

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6 Steps to Getting a Clean Head Shave

Still making weekly trips to and from the barber shop?

Why not give shaving your own noggin a go? We reached out to ask Terrence Chew about the products  and process to getting the perfect head shave. Narrowing down these 6 Steps hasn’t been his easiest venture to date! Apparently, it took months of shaving 3 times a week and several brands of shaving cream to find the most successful routine. Let’s face it, men’s skin care can be just as difficult as women’s!

Before we get to the step-by-step process, the first (and what he believes most important) part of the process is to shave while you’re in the shower! The steam will open the pores on your head, which will assist in the razor gently cutting the hair from your scalp. Opening your pores will make for a cleaner, closer, and less irritating shave! This tactic would be particularly helpful for those with naturally thick and/or coarse hair.

Also, the shorter the strokes the better. The goal here is to lessen the amount of pressure applied to the blade handle. The longer the strokes, the more inclined you’ll be to accidentally applying unnecessary pressure in order to grab more hair. Terrence found rushing through the shave usually led to leaving a few stragglers behind. No one wants that!

BEFORE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP 1:   Apply shaving cream (never use soap!)
STEP 2:  Shave with the grain (1st pass)
STEP 3:  Reapply shaving cream
STEP 4:  Shave sideways of the grain (2nd pass)
STEP 5:  Rinse with cool water (closes pores)
STEP 6:  Apply after shave

AFTER:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE: For the closest shave possible, Terrence does recommend a 3rd pass going against the grain. However, those who have a sensitive scalp may want to refrain. For you, a 3rd pass is likely to cause irritation and razor bumps.

FAVORITE TOOLS/BRANDS:

  • Hand held mirror (to check for any missed spots)
  • Gillette Series 3x Action shaving gel
  • Schick Xtreme3 Razor
  • BULL DOG – Orignal Moisturiser (Aleo, Camelina, and Green Tea)
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Zit Attack and What Have I Done?

Yep! That’s me. Once again looking mortified and ashamed with the results of a near uncontrollable, compulsive habit of mine. If you didn’t notice right off the bat, those huge red spots on my forehead and chin are the result of attempting to POP zits. The painful, nodule kind that stick around forever and seem to cause the most damage.

They’re gross, serve no healthful purpose, and if big enough can’t truly be covered up by any makeup known to mankind. And why exactly am I experiencing this as a young adult anyway? We were told growing up that “only teenagers experience acne because they’re going through puberty”. Well, then why am I now on the WRONG side of 25 dealing with skin issues? Why has skin care become so much harder to control? 

After much consideration, I started to realize that although zits may not serve a healthful purpose – they could possibly be sending helpful messages (in their own disgusting kind of way). Instead of continuing to ask, “what have I done?” let’s start asking ourselves, “what am I NOT doing?”. If you can prevent getting acne in the first place, you’ll have less opportunity to pick, spread, and gain scars from acne. (As well as zero opportunity for embarrassing, zit-filled selfies.) 

 

 

ASK YOURSELF:

  • Am I maintaining a healthy diet?

Although Americans are notoriously known for using prescribed medication to solve their problems, it couldn’t hurt to first start with considering a natural fix! Maybe the zits on your face are actually your body trying to say, “hey, stop feeding me greasy food” or “I need more fruits and vegetables, please”. Try to be sure you’re maintaining a balanced diet.

  • Am I taking vitamins?

Not everyone has the time or means to prepare 3 nutritious meals every day. If you must cut corners, vitamins can be a great way to ensure your body has some intake of the basic nutrients it needs to function properly.

  • Am I still smoking and drinking heavily?

Our bodies are constantly changing over time. Consider how your 21-year-old self felt after a few glasses of wine versus now. Yeah…. The same difference can be said for the toll smoking and drinking takes on your skin and overall appearance (now versus then)! AWFUL. Both combined is a double whammy when it comes to dehydrating your skin – ie. could be the reason for breakouts.

  • Am I washing my face with the correct products for my skin type?

Like our bodies, our skin also changes over time. There’s a good chance the face wash that kept your skin “clean, clear, and under control” in your teens doesn’t work anymore. Unfortunately, this will have to be a trial and error process. To add insult to injury, you can probably expect to go through the same process years from now once your skin changes again. Yes, maintaining healthy skin IS a lot of work.

  • Am I practicing proper hygiene for my skin type?

There was a time when I could get away with only washing my face in the morning. Not anymore! Now, by the end of the day I can start to see my face getting greasy and needing to be washed again before bedtime. Everyone’s skin is different and like me, you may need to start new habits in order to ensure a healthy look.

  • Am I getting enough sleep and exercising regularly?

These factors can play a major role in controlling acne! Everyone knows the mental benefits of getting a sufficient amount of rest and exercise daily. If your body is lacking sleep and exercise it will not function properly – neither will your skin.   

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