If you are short of time, the answers to the following 4 questions should give you a great overview of Active Wow charcoal powder.
More detail is provided in our full Active Wow review further down this page.
Does it actually work?
Yes, for some users there will be a color improvement.
However, for many, particularly those who already have a strong oral healthcare routine prior to using Active Wow, you will see little or no difference.
If you have heavily stained teeth, from smoking, drinking coffee and consuming food and drink like red wine, then you will likely see the biggest enhancement in color.
Please be aware that charcoal works by removing what are known as ‘extrinsic’ stains from the teeth.
These are stains or discoloration on the outside surface of the tooth that comes from food, drink and lifestyle choices.
Many Americans have discolored teeth due to age, illness, or as a result of the internal structure of the tooth dying or being dead already. Active Wow, nor any other conventional whitening toothpaste or powder can whiten teeth ‘intrinsically’ (inside the tooth).
How much does it cost?
The suggested selling price is $19.99 US, approximately $26 Canadian.
The price you actually pay will depend a little on where you decide to purchase it from.
Buy direct from Active Wow and the price tends to be much closer to that recommended retail price.
Head to Amazon and the average price tends to be around $40 Canadian, much higher than buying directly from Active Wow.
For this price, you get 20 grams (40ml).
Please be aware that since the original launch the price has come down, but the amount of power in the package has dropped, from what used to be 2 Fl Oz/59ml.
This cost is roughly 4-5 times that of a regular tube of toothpaste.
Where can I buy it?
|Active Wow||20,574 Reviews||CDN$ 49.99||View on Amazon|
- Made in the USA
- Smart packaging
- Different flavors available
- It can improve teeth color and ‘whiten’ them
- Cheaper in comparison to some whitening products
- Can be messy and taste a bit dull
- Will not whiten teeth for all
- The true effects on the teeth are not known
- Relatively expensive
Would I recommend it?
The answer to this question is somewhat mixed.
To some degree, the answer is yes, but to a larger degree, my recommendation is no.
It might well be one of the most popular charcoal powders in the USA, but that doesn’t mean it is right for you or can achieve the results you want or expect.
I have tested several different charcoal products and my recommendations are consistent.
This is not a guaranteed whitening fix for your teeth. It will only remove the external stains on the teeth, that have dulled their natural white color. It does not nor cannot make them whiter than they are naturally.
Smokers and heavy coffee drinkers with a perhaps less than perfect brushing routine will likely see the biggest improvements and whitening effect. Thousands are reporting positive results through their online reviews.
Whilst manufacturers claim it’s safe, dentists have their concerns due to the lack of research into the effects of using charcoal as toothpaste.
Charcoal is known to be abrasive, so I would suggest considering more tried, tested and approved toothpaste over and above activated charcoal.
You can likely achieve similar results with less expensive toothpaste, and get the approval of your dentist.
Our article on the best charcoal toothpaste tells you all you need to know about charcoal toothpaste.
Who doesn’t like the idea of white teeth?
When we have lovely clean white teeth, we tend to feel better about ourselves, we smile more and whether you realize it or not, you will normally appear happier.
So, if your teeth are yellow or almost brown in color and you feel a little ashamed and really want to hide your teeth and smile, I wouldn’t blame you for looking at ways that you can restore some of that white color.
Look at social media, magazines, speak to friends and family and you will soon learn that activated charcoal is the wonderful new solution for getting rid of those stains and lifting your teeth back to their natural brighter and whiter color.
Active Wow teeth whitening charcoal powder is one of the best sellers on Amazon.com so I am testing it to let you know what it is really like to use.
I think you might be surprised to learn a few things about this product and whitening teeth with charcoal as things are not always as positive as they might seem.
How I tested the Active Wow
I have highlighted in this article how there is a lack of detailed study in the use of charcoal products
This review certainly does not qualify as a clinical study or scientific test to prove or disprove the merits of charcoal.
But, in the interest of trying to be fair, I have tried to test this under relatively strict conditions.
Active Wow Whitening Charcoal Powder was part of my routine for 3 weeks.
I made no changes to my brushing other than introducing activated charcoal alongside my regular brushing.
Active Wow suggests using twice daily.
Each clean lasted for 2 minutes with the powder, in addition to my normal 2 cleans a day with Oral-B Pro Expert toothpaste.
I used an Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 electric toothbrush with the powder.
I flossed once a day and made no other significant changes in my diet or habits.
Summary How I tested Active Wow
- The test lasted for 3 weeks
- Used Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 electric toothbrush
- Brushed twice a day for 2 minutes with Active Wow
- Brushed twice a day for 2 minutes with regular Oral-B Pro-Expert toothpaste
- Brushed for 8 minutes a day in total
- Flossed once a day
- No changes in diet
The 2 fluid ounces (59ml) of Active Wow charcoal powder comes in a small plastic pot. (Revised packaging now 20 grams/40ml)
When first received, it was wrapped in an anti-tamper plastic to keep the lid securely on and the powder out. It was also easy to tell that this was a new tub of the powder.
Remove the screw top lid and on first use and you will find another seal over the contents of the pot.
Peel it away gently to break the seal and reveal the jet black activated charcoal powder that sits below it
Little room is wasted in this tub, it is full and ready to use.
The seals on the packaging are for good reason, this stuff is messy. You only have to tap the pot and you get a small plume of black powder.
Whilst the powder does rinse or wipe off of tiles and your bathroom sink, generally speaking, it can stain, so really do be as careful as possible.
Do expect it to stain the bristles and brush head of your toothbrush, particularly if you use everyday as Active Wow suggests.
Perhaps best to avoid wiping your mouth post clean with a clean white towel, residue around the mouth may get on the towel.
Active Wow have produced a short video that shows you how to use it.
The key steps are:
- Wet the bristles of the brush.
- Remove excess water from the brush – a quick shake works.
- Dip the bristles of the brush into the charcoal powder.
- Dab off excess powder, a light tap on the edge of the pot works well.
- Brush teeth like normal, for 1-2 minutes.
- Rinse mouth thoroughly to remove the charcoal. Spit directly into the sink and use water to keep the sink clean.
Their advice is to use the powder twice a day for up to up to 2 minutes and continue for 3 weeks for maximum effect.
In addition, it is advised you continue with your regular brushing and flossing routine.
This is exactly what I did.
What this ultimately means is that you will be brushing your teeth 4 times a day, a total of 8 minutes.
2 cleans in the morning, 1 with Active Wow, the other with your regular toothpaste. Then the same again in the evening.
Different activated charcoal manufacturers offer different suggestions and there is no set rule that I can see from how best to use charcoal.
Some brands suggest using just a couple of times a week whilst others say it is fine to use all the time in place of your regular toothpaste.
Others suggest brushing for a minute and then leaving on the teeth for 1-2 minutes to do its magic.
What I find interesting and perhaps more honest and upfront is that Active Wow essentially suggests that after 3 weeks there will unlikely be an additional improvement in color. They do not suggest you stop using it.
To gain maximum possible benefit I believe daily use is best, but would not advise long term use, I will explain why shortly.
I hope it is not just me being cynical, but the fact you use this Active Wow and then brush with your regular toothpaste is like double brushing.
Dentists recommend 2 cleans a day of 2 minutes in length, but during the 3 week period of using this, you are doubling that.
If you just brushed twice as long or 4 times a day with regular toothpaste, would you achieve whiter teeth?!
What if you used another whitening toothpaste, one that was more abrasive than regular paste, but cheaper than Active Wow…just a thought.
There are 5 different flavors available.
It is the natural product I am using.
The powder itself is really fine. It is not coarse or any really distinguishable texture.
Whilst there is mint flavor in this natural option, there is little or no taste to it. I certainly would not say minty, more tasteless.
If you are used to toothpaste it is a bit strange at first but actually aside from the dark grey/black color the power turns your teeth and mouth it’s not a big issue.
As per the directions above, you do need to rinse your mouth out once or twice to rid it of the grey/black residue that is left behind.
If you follow the directions to then brush with a normal toothpaste this will help clean off any residual buildup on the teeth and gums and rid the mouth of the grey aftertone that you often see.
The ingredients within Active Wow are:
- Organic coconut charcoal
- Orange Seed Oil
- Sodium Bicarbonate
- Coconut oil
- Mint flavor
Some charcoal powders contain nothing more than coconut charcoal, so there are a few extra in this variant.
According to Active Wow’s website, activated coconut charcoal is the purest form of food-grade charcoal.
The Bentonite is to help with remineralizing your teeth. The high mineral content is what helps with this. It is also said to absorb toxins naturally.
The addition of Orange Seed Oil is apparently because it helps smooth your teeth whitening experience as a natural teeth whitener. It too has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities.
I am not a medical professional nor scientist to be able to confirm or deny the science and effectiveness of each. However, I can say this is not the first time I have seen such ingredients in similar products.
When brushing, I certainly felt the powder dull any strong tastes that I had in my mouth after eating.
I was not left with the minty freshness as I would get with a regular toothpaste, but this is the natural variant after all, so that is to be expected.
I do not suffer with sensitivity or allergies if you do, be aware of the ingredients or stop using it should you experience any side effects.
Made in the USA, this tub of powder should last 3 months, maybe a little longer subject to how much you use each time. You only need a thin coating on the bristles.
There is nothing to suggest what the shelf life is once opened. Given its a natural product, it should last a long time. Many other products like this have a shelf life of 6-12 months. However, typically they have been used within that time period.
The pot has a retail price of $19.99 US ($26 Canadian).
There are similar products that sell for around about $13-15 a tub.
It makes this a slightly more premium option.
When a tube of regular toothpaste is about $5, this is 4-5 times more expensive.
Getting a bit technical for a moment, you can rate toothpastes on a scale. This scale known as the Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) ranks how abrasive a toothpaste is.
The scale runs from 0-250 and is categorized as follows:
- 0-70 – Low abrasive
- 71-100 Medium abrasive
- 101-150 Highly abrasive
- 151-250 Regarded as harmful limit
Anything under 250 is considered safe in the eyes of the American Dental Association.
A large proportion of popular pastes come in under 150.
Charcoal is often considered abrasive, so I reached out to Active Wow to see where their product ranked on the scale.
“We don’t have the exact RDA value, but we do know that it is within the limits of the FDA.
Our charcoal is a very fine powder that has been used by many customers for months and most have no issues with it. Charcoal in general is safe to use on your teeth. We recommend that you brush gently with the charcoal to avoid any damage.
We always recommend that you check with your dentist first if you have any concerns.”
Honest, they have been, but it would be nice to know where on the scale the powder sat for peace of mind, I am sure you would agree with me that you would rather use a product at the lower end of the scale than the higher, providing it worked.
You might just want to consider this when making your purchasing decision.
This leads to another point.
I am all for new products to help us achieve better oral health and confidence to smile, but there are a lot of questions over the safety of activated charcoal as a replacement to or an addition to your brushing routine.
Our article on charcoal toothpaste takes a very detailed look at the subject but concludes that charcoal can work to whiten teeth but potential risks are attached, namely the unknown damage charcoal really does too the teeth and gums.
There has been too little study to date on the effects of charcoal when used for brushing teeth and dentists are skeptical about it until they see evidence from propper trials; not just before and after photos from Margo and Jenny who happen to have tried it at home.
Naturally, a dentist is always going to advise caution and ultimately a little common sense comes into play.
As long as you are aware that consistent or long term use could do damage, it can be worth trying to get the whitening results.
I want to be really clear about how Active Wow actually whitens the teeth.
Although the ingredients, may well contain what are considered to be natural teeth whiteners, the product will at best lift and remove surface stains on the teeth. This is called ‘extrinsic’ whitening.
It is removing the buildup of bacteria and molecules that stain the teeth, to restore teeth to their prior, more natural white color. It is not bleaching the teeth white or actively adding a lighter shade to the outside of the teeth.
It won’t make your teeth whiter than they are naturally.
Therefore if your teeth are stain free, you will not see an improvement, because there are no stains to remove.
If your teeth are yellow or discolored due to age, medication or poor tooth health, then this powder can’t help whiten those teeth.
The best analogy I can give is imaging cleaning a white car covered in mud and years of road dirt.
Even after several washes, a wax and polish, the car will be clean and white, but it will never be cleaner or whiter than the day it was manufactured unless new paint is added.
Therefore the best results come with professional cosmetic treatments that can actually change the color of your teeth, to be whiter.
The negative here is that these proven cosmetic whitening treatments are more expensive. Several hundred dollars rather than $20.
Although I can’t say I noticed improvements in the color of my teeth, I have used many products over the years and am aware of how best to care for my teeth, thus I am not the typical customer.
I cannot disagree with the thousands, in fact, over 15,000 have ranked this as 4 or 5 out of 5.
If Amazon’s ratings are to be believed 85% of users have seen positive results.
Before and after photos do show improvements for many people, but in most cases the color improvement is slight.
In some instances, I do believe there is a bit of a placebo effect. The black/grey powder play tricks on the mind, so when brushed, the teeth look whiter as just a few seconds ago they were black.
I say this because I have thought it myself. Only when analyzing before and after photos and getting other people’s opinions did I realize it was not the case.
I am no psychologist, but I do too think there is merit in saying that when we use a whitening product we clean our teeth better. More attention and time is spent brushing correctly, because we want the results and the powder to work. If this attention was taken when brushing normally, maybe the results would be equivalent?!
All things considered, my feelings and usage of this powder are mixed.
It requires more time each day to brush, more time than perhaps is necessary and I question whether just brushing this long with a regular (cheaper) paste might deliver the same results.
Nobody will get a Hollywood smile with this. A couple of shades lighter, maybe.
You will really only see the benefit if you have not f previously used any whitening products or have not done so for a long time. Those already brushing with a whitening paste, don’t swap for the sake of it, the odds of improvement are slim.
If you brush once a day, smoke 10 a day, drink plenty of coffee and like a glass of red wine, then you are a perfect candidate for the best chance of results.
Summary of Daily Usage
- The plastic tub contains 20 grams/40ml (previously 2 fl oz/59ml)
- Screw lid
- Black in color
- Fine texture
- No real taste
- Different flavors available
- Brush for 2 minutes, rinse and brush again with a normal toothpaste
- Use twice a day for 3 weeks.
- No known ranking on the RDA scale
- Whitens teeth by removing surface stains on teeth
- Can’t help intrinsic discoloration
- Can be an instant whitening effect or may have limited signs of improvement for some
- Can be messy and stain brush heads
- Cheaper than cosmetic whitening procedures
The Results: Active Wow Before & After
Having spent 3 weeks testing Active Wow, my teeth are no whiter in my opinion.
I am probably not the ideal candidate for the powder as I have identified earlier in the review.
I have seen before and after photos of other users where a difference is noticeable.
With over 15,000 positive reviews online, it clearly is making a difference for some.
Conclusion, is Active Wow Teeth Whitening Charcoal Powder any good?
User reviews would lead you to believe it was one of the best options for teeth whitening, just under 18,000 reviews on Amazon at the time of writing, 85% of which are rating it 4 or 5 stars.
With so many positives, it has to be delivering results.
Before and after shots do to some extent confirm this.
In my own hands-on testing, I did not notice any color change, but then again I have always taken good care of my teeth and tested many ‘whitening’ products so my teeth can’t get any whiter naturally.
Ultimately, I am not convinced that activated charcoal products like Active Wow are the answer.
I feel similar whitening results can be achieved at a lower cost and in a way that will come with a dentist’s seal of approval.
The lack of clinical evidence is somewhat concerning and with so many dentists suggesting to be cautious about charcoal, I would take note of such advice.
|Active Wow||20,574 Reviews||CDN$ 49.99||View on Amazon|
Electric Teeth Rating
- Where can I buy Active Wow Teeth Whitening Charcoal Powder?
- What are the ingredients in Active Wow Teeth Whitening Charcoal Powder?
- Organic coconut charcoal, Bentonite, Orange Seed Oil, Sodium Bicarbonate, Coconut oil and Mint flavor
- Does it contain peroxides?
- What does it taste like?
- No real taste to the powder. I would describe it as tasteless.
- How does it work?
- The principle behind how it works is that the powder dislodges and lifts the stain as you brush. The particles of charcoal then absorbs that bacteria before it is spat out of the mouth when brushing is complete.
- How much should I use?
- Just enough to coat the tips of the brush bristles.
- How long should I brush for?
- It is advised to brush for 2 minutes, twice a day like you would with a regular toothpaste.
- Does it actually work?
- Yes, it can do as explained above in the full review.
- Does it hurt?
- I had no sensitivity, pain or side affects from using this. Should you should gain additional sensitivity or side effects as a result of using it, stop doing so and consult a dentist.
- How long does it last?
- How long you will get from the tub of charcoal does depend a little on how much you use with each brushing. As a rough estimate you will get 3 months from a tub, maybe a little longer.
- Is it safe? / Does it damage the enamel on my teeth?
- The manufacturer suggests it is safe. Although dentists have concerns over the use of activated charcoal and the long term implications on the teeth and the enamel surfaces are unknown, but no dedicated studies exist to really prove either way.