Binchotan Charcoal & Activated Charcoal

When you think about charcoal, what do you think about? Do you think about weekend barbecues? Perhaps you think it is an archaic way of cooking. Some might even shudder at the thought of the black substance touching their skin, leaving behind black streaks. But, if you are someone who cherish your skin, maybe you should hear us out about this hidden gem, the Kishu Binchotan Charcoal.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal has been used as a universal antidote for over 150 years. It is deemed as a potent natural remedy for many health conditions as per the anecdotes. A few scientific studies have supported the anecdotal evidence as well.

This charcoal is not the ordinary substance present in the charcoal bricks. It is processed by heating natural carbon sources like wood at very high temperatures, which leads to change in structure, reduced pore size, and increased surface area. The way it is processed renders it exceptionally absorbent, because of which it binds atoms and molecules and thus removes them from different substances.

Benefits for the Skin

Among other things, activated charcoal offers many benefits for the skin as well. Here are a few of those:

1.      Cleanses the skin

Activated charcoal has deep cleansing properties, as it can bind and pull out the impurities—being significantly porous. It can absorb dirt, toxins and bacteria effectively. That is why it is a popular ingredient for face masks and cleansing products.

By removing the dirt, it de-clogs the pores and improves the skin’s health as well as complexion.

2.      Good for oily skin

Along with the impurities, activated charcoal can also pull out excessive oils from the pores.

3.      Alleviates acne

Some of the main causes of acne include clogged pores, build-up of dead skin cells, excessive sebum (oil) production, and bacterial activity. Activated charcoal can mitigate all of these issues due to its highly absorbent properties.

4.      Helps with insect bites

Insect stings and bites lead to itching and swelling on the skin. Anecdotes have it that activated charcoal can help pull out the sting and mitigate the effect of toxins in the venom. It can also help with small cuts and scrapes, as it is known to have healing properties. It can alleviate the swelling and reduce pain.

Many traditional practitioners also recommend activated charcoal to treat skin infections because of its antibacterial activity.

What is so special about Kishu Binchotan Charcoal?

Kishu Binchotan Charcoal’s porousness makes it renowned for its ability to absorb impurities with an effectiveness a class above other activated charcoal.

Charcoal used to purify a flask of water

Rarity of Kishu Binchotan Charcoal

Kishu Binchotan charcoal (紀州備長炭) is a product of one of the oldest living civilizations: the Japanese civilization. Spreading from Wakayama (和歌山), a small prefecture in Kishu (紀州) of Japan, to the entire world today.

Kishu Binchotan Charcoal

Binchotan charcoal is made from carbonized Ubame Oak (姥目樫), a highly-valued Japanese lumber prized for its ability to retain heat and burn for long periods of time. It grows only in the coastal region of Kishu (紀州), which has an ideally humid climate. It is also the same location where natural materials used in Binchotan charcoal firings, fire-resistant red clay and rocks, are found. These rare and unique clay and rocks are made into a special fig-shaped kiln known as a Bincho Kiln (備長炭窯). Made from such red clay harvested from the mountains of Kishu, Bincho Kilns can easily withstand temperatures above 1000 degrees Celsius, and conduct heat for up to a week. Binchotan craftsmen vertically line up branches inside the Bincho Kiln and supervise over the high heat firing, which can take up to a fortnight. Upon the coals turning red-hot, the craftsmen pull out the charcoal and quickly douse the flames with a mixture of ash, earth, and sand to cool and carbonize the wood. The resulting residue is a charcoal containing a blend of healthy minerals.

Ubame Oak turned into Binchotan Charcoal

It is a time-consuming process, and it is not within the capability of any ordinary person: Binchotan craftsmen hone their necessary skills for years to make the best possible natural product. Despite Japan producing an eye-watering amount of 1,800 tons of charcoal annually, only 3% of Japan’s charcoal production is made in Kishu. That speaks volumes of the high quality of charcoal that goes into making Kishu Binchotan charcoal.

Finished product of Binchotan Charcoal packed into sacks

The difference between Binchotan charcoal and normal charcoal is apparent by simply hitting two branches together: while normal charcoal makes a dry sound, Binchotan charcoal makes a metallic clank, not unlike porcelain. Interestingly enough, Binchotan Charcoal is almost as hard as steel and is an excellent electrical conductor.

You might be amazed now at how difficult it is to obtain this product and the rarity of its production, but the question dangling from your lips is:  What are the benefits of this amazing ingredient for skincare?

Benefits of Kishu Binchotan Charcoal

In the skin care industry, cosmetic chemists have found that activated charcoal can readily adsorb oils, toxins, and impurities from the skin’s surface, leaving it dirt-free and unblemished. Binchotan charcoal is gentle enough to be used on all skin types, so for those of you who feel that this charcoal is too strong for your skin, not to worry.

Girl with face tinted with a layer of black powder

Will it leave behind ugly spots?

Some of you might feel that the charcoal might smear your skin, or leave behind ugly black marks. Charcoal is not absorbed into the skin, but instead, it draws harmful impurities out to the surface of the skin, where they can be shed. This is known as adsorption (not absorption). This leaves your skin unclogged and allows it to glow healthily. Now isn’t that useful?

Kishu Binchotan charcoal is a time saver, as it detoxifies, exfoliates and purifies the skin all in one. Moreover, it even has an added bonus:  It has antibacterial properties. Hence, Kishu Binchotan charcoal is a premium grade of charcoal that we prefer to use for our products here at BLACK PAINT.

Black Paint Soap

Girl holding Black Paint soap in front of Kyoto bamboo forrest

At BLACK PAINT, we use only the highest-grade charcoal to manufacture our products. One such example is of our Black Paint Soap. A gentle pore cleansing hand-made face soap with Kishu Binchotan Charcoal, it cleans pores and removes oil and dirt thoroughly but gently without stripping away skin’s essential moisture, leaving skin fresh and silky smooth. Discovered long ago by women who visited hot springs called “Beauty Spring” (炭酸水素塩泉 aka 美人の湯 美肌の湯); when the alkaline water of the hot springs touched their skin, which is acidic, it triggered the skin to restore its normal balance by releasing more acid and this acid pushed out all the waste from within, leaving pores completely clean.That’s why Black Paint soap is made with a slightly alkaline pH level to simulate the effect of alkaline hot spring. It removes makeup in one wash without the need of makeup remover while nourishing your skin with 23 types of plant oils, amino acids, silk powder and vitamins in honey and brown sugar.

Such organic and natural oils improve skin immunity and reduce skin irritation. And the best part? There are no alcohol, fragrances, and artificial colorants used. There are no pungent odours or colorants that stick annoyingly to your skin. The absence of alcohol ensures that the moisture in your skin is retained, as it is gently exfoliated. To round off your beauty regime, the Black Konjac Sponge, a 100% natural facial sponge made from konjac fibers kneaded with Binchotan charcoal and various minerals, gently exfoliates any residual oil and dead skin cells. This leaves your face glowing, and your skin smooth and clean. You can look at yourself in the mirror, and admire the suppleness of your skin as it glows gently.

The beneficial properties of Kishu Binchotan charcoal are numerous. This wondrous natural product can be used in many different variations. When combined with the right ingredients, it can be used as part of a holistic regime to care for your skin. While normal charcoal does encompass a range of benefits, it is only through Kishu Binchotan charcoal that a wide range of holistic benefits are unlocked. We know you want the best for your skin, and we have it here at BLACK PAINT.