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Beauty Ingredient to Try: Charcoal

Beauty Ingredient to Try: Charcoal(Source: Boscia, Sephora; Art by Tanya Leigh Washington)It might seem counterintuitive to rub something that resembles dirt all over your face, but as it turns out that's precisely what a number of beauty brands want you to do. Charcoal is now popping up as an active ingredient in several skincare products hitting the market.

When charcoal is pulverized and steamed, it becomes "activated." This process gives the carbon-based substance an even larger surface area, thus making it a highly effective filter. Think of it as a giant porous sponge that is able to draw out pollutants and impurities without being absorbed itself, which is precisely what many of us are looking for in a skincare product.

Now that you know some of the science behind it, are you persuaded to get a little dirty and give charcoal a try? In case you're ready to ease into the charcoal trend, check out three products that contain the pore-attacking ingredient.

Boscia Pore Purifying Black Strips, $28, at boscia.com
Beauty Ingredient to Try: Charcoal(Source: Boscia)This peel-off strip adheres to skin and attracts impurities via charcoal. Other active ingredients include silica to control oil and witch hazel extract to tighten pores.

Bioré Self Heating One Minute Mask, $7, at Ulta
Beauty Ingredient to Try: Charcoal(Source: Bioré)This face mask boasts pore purification in just one minute. The formula is designed to heat with water contact and thus open up pores. The natural charcoal then goes to town, drawing out dirt and oil.

Sephora Collection Bamboo Charcoal Blotting Papers, $10, at Sephora
Beauty Ingredient to Try: Charcoal(Source: Sephora)Not only do the pores of charcoal draw out oil and moisture, but bamboo charcoal particularly has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
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