What’s The Deal With Charcoal Teeth Whitening?

Instagrammers and beauty bloggers everywhere are brushing their teeth with charcoal to get a brighter smile. We got the deets on this weird beauty trend.

Seen pics of your fave beauty bloggers rocking jet black smiles on Instagram recently? Nope, they haven’t bought some cheap nasty lippy. They’ve been brushing with charcoal, thanks to claims that it removes tooth stains, kills bacteria and naturally whitens teeth. But before you hit up your BBQ for some at-home whitening, not any old charcoal will do. No, to get the whitening benefits you’ll need the fancy, activated version of charcoal.

The science bit? Activated charcoal is highly absorbent and removes any toxins it comes into contact with. You’ll find it in mainstream medicine where it’s used to expel chemicals from the body, and also in water filters to remove impurities.

Leading the way in the activated charcoal market is Aussie brand Warpaint, who’ve a amassed a cult following and now ship to 40 countries around the world. “Warpaint was created out of my own frustrations,” explains the brand’s creator Peter Konig. “We have too many chemical-based teeth whitening products on the market. I wanted a natural product to clean, polish and whiten teeth.” Sounds good, no?

But Dr John Hagiliassis isn’t convinced. “Activated charcoal is attracted to tannins which are often found in many stain-inducing drinks like wine, coffee and herbal teas,” he explains to The Glow. “Theoretically this may be why activated charcoal also works as a stain remover, but there’s really no research to back up the claim.” Oh. And if you thought brushing with this chemical free product was safer? “Being natural doesn’t mean it will do what it claims to do and it doesn’t mean it’s good for you either,” he says. Guess we’ll be leaving this one on the shelf then.