Recently a friend asked me my feelings on charcoal. That’s easy. Charcoal’s smell triggers cravings for hot dogs and watermelon and therefore is a lovely, lovely tease.

Apparently she meant charcoal as a beauty product.

I balked. Rubbing your body in charcoal? That seems as good an idea as bathing in mud. Which… while messy… and counterintuitive… happens to be a major luxury at spas worldwide. Interesting. Maybe gasoline fights really are next. 

Ooh… except somehow that movie (Zoolander) came out in 2001… HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE. I feel old.

Serendipitously, charcoal touts anti-aging benefits! (I didn’t even PLAN that segue. I think charcoal just gets me.)

Anti-aging, teeth whitening, and pore clarifying, are all merits ascribed to charcoal. And I guess that makes sense. Charcoal operates like a magnet, luring out opposing ions and swathing itself in them so that when the charcoal is removed, the offending ions go out with it.

Charcoal is like nature’s Pied Piper. It plays it’s siren song and gets all the rats to leave the village, wherein siren song = adsorptive properties (yes, with a D), rats = grime/toxins, and village = your visage/body.

Emergency medicine used to recommend infusing charcoal into the tummies of those who ingested something toxic so the offending agent could bind to the charcoal and be removed once the charcoal was removed. The toxins became a type of stowaway. This is no longer in favor due to the risk of aspirating (breathing something into your lungs other than air) the charcoal dust and causing lung injury.

This leads me to my next thought about charcoal – it’s dusty cling.

I used charcoal intermittently throughout grade school art classes. It’s messy. It was inevitable that you’d give yourself a Hitler-esque ‘stache before the bell rang. It was sticky and ubiquitous, kind of like glitter, but way less awesome.

Because of this, I don’t understand how using straight up charcoal dust on my person won’t just lend a patina of filth to everything I touch. Maybe that’s how it makes me look better? If everything around me is grungy, then I’ll appear younger and cleaner?

Well, apparently it should be easy to find out. Charcoal seems to be the new acai berry and is being flaunted on beauty shelves and in body care products everywhere. After my friend asked me about it I can’t stop seeing it. Charcoal infused this, charcoal formulated that.

Now if someone were to ask me my thoughts on charcoal, I think I’d tell them it’s kind of my Shake Weight for 2015. I’m intrigued, but still not wholly convinced.

Clearly this means some kind of product showdown… to be continued…

Have any of you tried products with charcoal? What about just straight up charcoal dust? Gross? Awesome? Let me know in the comments below what you think.