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I Went On A Charcoal Cleanse For A Week

Beauty
Photographed by Ricky Michiels

and this is what happened

Ever since I switched over to natural deodorants, I have been trying to figure out what other alternative products I can implement into my everyday life. My main intention for the new year is to build myself up, taking self-care to the next level by focusing on my mental, physical, and emotional health. About a month ago, I went to a coffee shop after work. While I was waiting for a friend to arrive, I noticed a bottle of LuliTonix's Black Magic charcoal lemonade. I was intrigued by the idea of the citrus classic infused with "activated charcoal," so I decided to give it a try. To my surprise, it actually tasted good—like really, really, really good.  

As the weeks went by, I couldn't stop thinking about the drink. I wondered if there were any other products on the market made out of charcoal that I wasn't aware of. I decided to investigate. When I typed "charcoal" into the search engine of a site, I didn't expect anything to pop up—to my surprise, there was an entire page worth of charcoal products. I checked a few other stores that I regularly shop at and, sure enough, they too were stocked with items made from activated charcoal. I was stunned that I had never noticed this before. Upon more research, I found a whole hidden market for this substance: toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, cleansers, masks... The list goes on.

According to Dr. Scott Schreiber, a chiropractic physician based in Delaware, activated charcoal has most recently been used for the purpose of "teeth whitening, alleviating gas and bloating, treating alcohol poisoning and preventing hangovers, filtering water, detoxification, and for skin health." It also fights bacteria that causes acne. Inna Topiler Mooney, a clinical nutritionist and the owner of Complete Nutrition and Wellness, said that charcoal also helps to relieve headaches, sinus issues, allergies, and digestive issues caused by elevated levels of ammonia. She further explained that activated charcoal acts as a sponge by absorbing unwanted toxins, chemicals, and other debris such as "overgrowth of bad bacteria, yeast, parasites, and other 'unwanted friends.'" In short, think of activated charcoal as a magnet for all things bad.

One of the biggest misconceptions about activated charcoal is that it can absorb toxins inside the body. Dr. Roshini Raj, a gastroenterologist, celebrity medical expert, and founder of TULA, said that "while charcoal has been shown to have great absorbing properties, there hasn’t been enough research on it yet to support this claim." In 2013, the New York Times reported that activated charcoal was being used in beauty products to "naturally draw impurities and excess oil out of the skin." Functioning as a detoxifier, activated charcoal increases the pores "which improve filtration." It made me wonder why these items weren't being marketed as heavily—if activated charcoal is so good for you, why don't we hear more about it?

That's when I had the idea to go on a charcoal cleanse. For seven days straight, I only used activated charcoal products for the essentials in my daily routine. Some of these items are on the pricier side, but I tested all of them out so you don't have to! (Not everyone gets the chance to try before they buy.)

Read about my experience in the gallery, below.

Photographed by Ricky Michiels

Keep In Mind:

1. Daily bowel movements are necessary
Dr. Mooney said that because charcoal acts as a sponge and absorbs toxins, "if you do not eliminate them, they can get reabsorbed back in." The only way to get things out of your body is... Well, to poop. Oh, and don't be surprised when your bowel movements turn black. Dr. Raj says that side effects include bowel obstruction and black stool, but that's just what happens when you consume charcoal and is completely normal.
 
2. Drink plenty of water
Dr. Raj says that when ingested, activated charcoal can cause dehydration, vomiting, and constipation. (This won't happen if you're putting on a face mask, obviously.) Stop using the products if such reactions occur.
 
3. You probably won't overdose
Since I was testing so many different activated charcoal products at once, I was worried that it might negatively affect my health. Dr. Laurie Brodsky, a naturopathic doctor and expert for Dirty Lemon, assured me that I would be fine. "It is certainly possible to overdose on anything you consume too much of, but in high-quality products containing charcoal, the reality is that the dosage should be just enough to provide therapeutic benefit without causing damage." Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, a dermatologist and founder of Capital Laser & Skin Care Center, recommends starting slow so you can check yourself for any signs of irritation.
 
4. Don't confuse with BBQ charcoal
That, on the other hand, is loaded with toxins. It is very important to know the difference!
Photo courtesy of Balenciaga / Photo via @McDonaldsSverige Instagram

I'm cackling

Last year, Balenciaga released bright red square-toed mules which bore a striking resemblance to McDonald's french fry cartons. Now, the chain has fired back at the designer, threatening to release its own version of the shoes.

McDonald's Sweden posted a photo to its Instagram of a person wearing actual McDonald's fry cartons as shoes, and honestly, if there weren't yellow M's printed onto them, I'd have a hard time distinguishing them from the Balenciagas from a distance. Though the post doesn't directly reference the Balenciaga shoes, one can only assume that's who they are trolling.

McDonald's version actually makes for some pretty fly slip-ons, if you ask me. Good thing the Swedish branch of Mickey D's seems to be considering releasing the shoes if the post receives enough attention. The caption of the Instagram post translates to, "If we get 103042 likes we release these for real," though it only has about 17,000 as of publish time. These would likely cost much less than the Balenciaga shoes, which cost $545.

Internet, do your thing. I want a pair.

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB

Photo by Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images.

It marks her third duet with Nas

Here are some words that I never expected to read or hear again: There is a new song with Amy Winehouse. But here we are in 2019, and Salaam Remi has granted me a wish. On Valentine's Day, the Grammy-nominated producer and frequent Winehouse collaborator (also responsible for hits like Miguel's "Come Through & Chill") released "Find My Love" which features rapper Nas and that powerful and haunting voice that I have come to love and cherish so dearly.

Representatives for Remi said that the Winehouse vocals were from an old jam session the two had. Remi was a producer on both of Winehouse's albums, Frank and Back to Black. "Find My Love" marks the third time Winehouse and Nas have done duets under the direction of Remi. They were previously heard together on "Like Smoke," a single from her 2011 posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, and "Cherry Wine" from Nas' 2012 album Life Is Good. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, before they could complete production on her third album. My heart is still broken about it as she is by far my favorite artist.

"Find My Love" is set to appear on Remi's Do It for the Culture 2, a collection of songs curated by him. Check it out, below.

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