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Charcoal Becoming Hot New Commodity In Beauty, Health Products

LOS ANGELES ( — There's a new trend that's turning up in scrubs, in salons and even juice bars.

Activated charcoal is no longer a summer staple for barbecues; beauty and health product manufacturers are touting it as a way to purify the body inside and out.

It comes as an ultra-fine powder made from charred coconut shells.

Los Angeles trendsetter and beauty guru Susan Yara calls it "black magic."

"It gets really messy. I will warn you of that," Yara told CBS2 reporter Lisa Sigell.

Juice Served Here in Venice offers a charcoal lemonade whose color "turns some people off," manager Jeff Conroy said: "Its appearance comes from the activated charcoal settled at the bottom. Once shaken and sipped."

Yara say charcoal's detoxifying properties more than make up for its appearance. "Anything that isn't supposed to be in your system connects to the charcoal, and then you eventually let it out a little later."

Doctors warn that drinking activated charcoal can also sap the body of good nutrients as easily as it does toxins.

When it comes to cleansing the outside of the body, Beverly Hills-based aesthetician Vanessa Hernandez mixes up a custom-blended charcoal mask for clients.

"It feels good; it's cold and smooth," a client named Missy told Sigell.

Yara said: "As it's sitting on your skin and drying, it pulls out the impurities from your pores."

As Missy's mask was removed, she said she could practically feel the glow take hold: "I lost like 10 years."

For those who like to DIY, activated charcoal powder is sold for approximately $50.

Or indulge in one of dozens of products with the ingredient already mixed in, some even selling for as little as $6.

"The old-school Bioré strips have activated charcoal in them now," Yara said.

For more on Susan Yara go to her website

You can find aesthetician Vanessa Hernandez at

Produced by Gerri Shaftel Constant, CBS2 Medical Producer.

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