This is not your barbecue’s charcoal. Activated charcoal is carbon sourced from certain types of bamboo and wood. Known for its gentle but deep cleansing, this super-buzzy ingredient can be found in everything from toothpaste to deodorant and now hair care.
HOW IT WORKS
Activated charcoal acts like a magnet, gently pulling oil and dirt from surfaces so that they are washed away when rinsed. That’s why you’ll find charcoal in many of your favourite facial cleansers and exfoliators. What does this mean for hair? Well, skin and hair share many of the same genetic building blocks, so activated charcoal can help rid strands of impurities like product buildup, scalp oil and pollution—without damaging them. “It works along the surface of the hair, cleansing without disrupting the fibre,” says Dr. Jeni Thomas, Pantene principal scientist.
WHO CAN USE IT?
Anyone, really. But because charcoal is a deep cleanser, it’s a great option for women who go a few days between washes. (Guilty.) This is important not only for hair health— charcoal can help reset scalp’s oil balance—it can also make the difference between a good hair day and a bad hair day. Studies show that hair can take on weight from buildup in just three days, changing the way it behaves and the way it moves, according to Thomas.