The Latest Wellness Drink Is Only Available Through Text Message

Activated charcoal and fish collagen are the main ingredients.

The original Dirty Lemon charcoal detox drink(Photo: Dirty Lemon Instagram).
The original Dirty Lemon charcoal detox drink

Dirty Lemon is currently the drink to try (and Instagram) for the fitness-crazed, made even more so by its exclusivity, as it’s only available by text message. The original concoction is made of cold-pressed lemon juice, dandelion extract, ginger root…and activated charcoal.

Dirty Lemon‘s Instagram page regularly posts model-types chowing down on pizza, all with the photo-ready striped bottle. The charcoal might sound intimidating, especially since it’s traditionally used for poison control, but it’s wildly popular for detoxing (even if its effects are questionable).

The company’s Dirty Lemon Raw Detox label warns, “Activated charcoal can bind to and render medication less effective…This product is not intended as a poison control remedy,” which is a bit frightening for a drink. It tastes like water with lemon juice, which it basically is, only it’s black and promises a host of health benefits. It is refreshing, especially for a mid-day pick-me-up. The issue with charcoal is that it’s a magnet for toxins in the body, but it might also be a magnet for nutrients. Unfortunately, if one is experiencing a hangover (which it aims to help), sipping on black lemon juice might be difficult, even if it’s supposed to be beneficial.

The Dirty Lemon skin + hair drink contains water, lemon juice, cayenne extract, red clover extract, horsetail extract and marine collagen, meaning it’s not vegetarian-friendly. One taster described it as “fishy,” but that might have just been because she knew the secret ingredient.

If you’re already on that green juice, protein powder grind, Dirty Lemon will be a welcome enhancement to an already ultra-healthy lifestyle. If you’re still wondering exactly how to pronounce “quinoa” (no, it’s not kee-noah), it might be more intimidating. The Observer spoke to Dirty Lemon founder Zak Normandin, who previously founded an organic startup, called Little Duck Organics, providing healthy snacks for kids, to find out why we should be detoxing daily.

Dirty Lemon promises an easy detox after a night of drinking(Photo: Dirty Lemon Instagram).
Dirty Lemon promises an easy detox after a night of drinking

Why do people need to text for the drink? Before Dirty Lemon, I started a brand which was primarily sold in grocery stores. One of my biggest challenges was maintaining a consistent experience for customers no matter where they were purchasing the product. With mobile devices being such a relevant part of our daily lives, it seemed only natural to explore this as the primary method of engagement. We developed a proprietary SMS-based portal which allows users to place orders, ask questions and provide general feedback through SMS, no downloads required. We now have phone numbers in 4 countries, and receive and respond to thousands of text messages monthly.

Did you originally experiment with different ingredients? Each product contains cold-pressed lemon juice and a blend of herbal extracts and natural compounds which have specific, relatable functional benefits. Our new skin+hair beverage, for example, contains Marine Collagen. Collagen is a powerful ingredient which has been proven to support bone health, increase skin elasticity and improve hair and nail strength.

The original Dirty Lemon charcoal detox (Photo: Dirty Lemon).
The original Dirty Lemon charcoal detox

What exactly is marine collagen? The ingredient is extracted from the scales of the fish and hydrolyzed to ensure that the molecules are small enough to be effectively absorbed into the body’s bloodstream. In addition to collagen, the product features Red Clover, Horsetail and Cayenne which all contribute to improved skin and hair health.

What role does charcoal play in the drink? Activated Charcoal is one of the ingredients in our detox beverage. It has been used for hundreds of years, and in medical settings daily, to treat stomach issues and detoxify the body; it’s an extremely powerful ingredient. 

Dirty Lemon models (Photo: Dirty Lemon Instagram).
Dirty Lemon models

Do you find that people are intimidated to try the drink because of the charcoal? I think there is a natural curiosity around the idea of drinking charcoal, but that is usually alleviated once people try the product. Our detox tastes like an unsweetened lemonade, the charcoal has no flavor.

How often should people drink Dirty Lemon to really see the benefits? Each product is designed to be consumed daily. skin+hair begins working the first time you drink it, by replenishing your body’s natural supply of collagen and encouraging the production of silica by way of the herbal extracts. We recommend drinking detox after a meal and before bed. Results vary, but most customers report results in around a week. 

The Latest Wellness Drink Is Only Available Through Text Message