≡ Menu

Is the Remington Wet 2 Straight Iron good for hair?

Bluecatbaby asks…Last year I bought a Remington Wet 2 Straight iron. It is marketed as an iron that can be used on wet hair without causing the damage that other irons cause when used on wet hair. I actually have hardly used it because I am skeptical of its claims and I hate damaging my hair. Still, the user reviews for it are mostly raves. Can it really be used on wet hair without causing damage (beyond that which is caused by any flat iron)?

The Beauty Brains replyrarity__s_all_wet_by_tecknojock-d3hamzf

As astute reader AleV pointed out in our Forum: “I don’t think this iron causes less damage than any other flat iron. When you apply the kind of heat an iron produces over the wet hair surface the water in it will also reach high temperatures like boiling, this is going to result in some sort of blisters in the cuticle, that means a lot of damage, more than if you use it on dry hair. This damage will occur no matter if the iron is “special” or not, so you better use it on dry hair with a heat protection product or a silicon serum.”

We’ve seen electron micrographs of the kind of damage that this “blister” phenomena causes so we know that’s accurate. The big question we have is how is this iron different than others?

Here’s what Remington says:

“Steam hydration therapy protects your hair from over-drying during this process by keeping the right amount of moisture locked in, ensuring that your hair stays healthy and sleek. This not only saves you the time of having to blow-dry before straightening, but also is better for your hair.”

We don’t really know what this means because rapidly heating wet hair with an flat iron is still damaging. Unless Remington is forthcoming with additional information about how this technology works, we agree with AleV’s assessment above.

Image credit: http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2011/146/8/9/rarity__s_all_wet_by_tecknojock-d3hamzf.png

Do mild cleansers really get your hair clean? Episode 83

On this week’s podcast we talk about the effectiveness of mild hair cleaners and other interesting beauty science news. BeautyBrains_image_iTunes2

Should natural beauty products be patented?

We think one advantage of natural beauty products (and natural medicines for that matter) is that they are available to anyone to use without having to pay “Big Beauty” or Big Pharma in the case of drugs. That’s why I was surprised to see this story out of Australia that confirms that, as a type of intellectual property, natural ingredients and formulations are being granted more patents than any other segment of cosmetics. They say that “there is greater patent activity in the cosmetics sector than in either plant agriculture or herbal medicines. ” The attorney quoted in the article states that “a properly prepared formulation patent can provide very comprehensive protection for your valuable natural or organic cosmetic.”

Should you be concerned about this? Does this mean that someday a “Big Beauty” patent could make it illegal for you to mix your own baking soda and vinegar shampoo? Or prevent you from using the olive oil in your kitchen as a makeup remover? No, because that’s not how patents work. To obtain a patent you have to show that there’s no prior art which means that if a product or technology is already in the market place being used by people, then there’s no basis for exclusivity. You have to show something “non-obvious” to those skilled in the arts. This might however, impact future discoveries made regarding the benefits of natural raw materials. If someone figures out that sandalwood trees are a good natural sunscreen, then that could be patented.

Is the Precautionary Principle legit?

The precautionary principle is a philosophy about how chemicals in our environment are regulated. The idea is that if there is no scientific consensus on a compound then it should be banned until it can be proven safe. This is the philosophy they try to follow in the EU. It’s also the philosophy that some chemical fear mongering groups try to impose on us here in the US. And it sounds like a good idea but it can lead to some unintended consequences.

For example, are you familiar with Aloe Vera? Sure aloe vera has been used for hundreds of years and it’s a mainstay in most products. But according to a report in the journal Toxicology Sciences there is clear evidence of carcinogenic activity by a whole-leaf extract of Aloe. They fed Aloe Vera extract to rats and there saw a significant increase in cases of cancer.

Now if we were following the precautionary principle Aloe would be immediately banned from cosmetics. That doesn’t sound like such a good idea eh?

I just want to say that this is by no means a reason for you to avoid aloe vera containing products. The study was done on rats and it was a product that was ingested. Maybe it might give you pause from drinking aloe but there is no evidence to stop using it in topical products.

It will likely be listed on Prop 65 in california so it’s possible that people will have to start labeling that there is a carcinogen in their products if they use it in california. I doubt that will happen but it’s possible.

This just shows you that the precautionary principle is not a good way to regulate our cosmetics. You have to use your brains. Think things through, do studies and leave it to expert toxicologists to make the call about product safety.

Do mild cleansers really get your hair clean?
There’s a bit of a natural theme to today’s stories, not on purpose, so here’s another one. Are you familiar with “The Natural Haven” blog? The name sounds like it’s about natural products but it’s really about the the science of natural hair, in other words hair that hasn’t been chemically processed. It’s written by a scientist who goes by the name of “JC” and she posted a very interesting piece on evaluating different types of mild cleansers.

She did an experiment where she collected her own shed hair which she divided into several groups: a negative control group that was left dirty and oily. A positive control that was washed with regular shampoo, and several test groups which she washed with different types of cleansers. then, and here’s the cool part, she took micrographs of group to determine how well the test products cleaned.

Check out her website for pictures of the results but here’s what she found:

  • Best cleansers (all of the oil removal): Shampoo, Oat water (oats boiled in water to release natural saponins), natural soap bar.
  • Good cleanser (most of the oil removed): Hair conditioner (cowash), liquid castle soap, Clay
  • Poor cleanser (little to no oil removal): Baking soda, Shikaki (crushed acacia pods) and the worst of all Apple Cider Vinegar.

The reason I mention this story is that It’s refreshing to see someone look for evidence rather than just say “ baking soda and ACV are best for cleansing your hair.” So kudos to you JC of The Natural Haven! The Beauty Brains salute you!

Nano-particle tooth paste rebuilds enamel
Every time we find a news story on “nano-particles” it seems to be bad news but here’s a good news story: Here’s an article from the ACS Nano Journal titled “A Mesoporous Silica Biomaterial for Dental Biomimetic Crystallization.” Which is a fancy way of saying that that Taiwan researchers have developed a new nanoparticle that essentially restores lost tooth enamel. This could be huge since loss of enamel is a real problem for teeth. It certainly makes them more sensitive to hot and cold because the enamel wears off it exposes the nerve channels. Most sensitive teeth toothpastes work by adding a type of salt that blocks the nerve channel so the pain impulse isn’t transferred. But this new nanoparticle method involves recovering the tooth with calcium and phosphorous. They describe this method as “fast-reacting, more reliable and biocompatible.…”

A week or two ago we talked about the fact that we don’t always use the products we write about but I DO use toothpaste for sensitive teeth so I’m especially interested to see if this technology actually makes its way into commercial products.

Google device which will make you smell better
Google may get into the digital fragrance business. At least that is the implication of the new patent they just received on a device that is designed to make you smell better. They have been granted a patent for a device that has a wearable sensor that detects physical movements to automatically emit a pleasant fragrance. According to the patent the device has a built in fan which would emit an odor whenever it senses that you don’t smell just right. Of course the user will be able to stop the odor if they don’t feel like they need a blast of freshness. While this may be a product that Google launches it’s possible they don’t have plans to market the technology any time soon. However, another company has a Kickstarter campagin going on to fund a device that does the same type of thing but it uses the technology in your smart phone to work. The Smart Spray accessory is a case that goes on your phone which holds a small vial of whatever liquid the user wants. perfume, fresh breath spray or maybe even vodka. This could be the future of fragrance or deodorant.

Things in your home that are dirtier than your toilet
According to this story, facial hair can contain as much bacteria as an average toilet seat. This story was all over the inter webs but it came from Microbiologists with Quest Diagnostics in Albuquerque, N.M. who swabbed a group of bearded men and found bacteria that you would commonly find in a toilet. My favorite quote was the microbiologist was “There would be a degree of uncleanliness that would be somewhat disturbing.” The article then went on to list a bunch of other things in your home that are dirtier than toilet seats: But beards aren’t the only thing found to be as dirty as a public restroom.

  • Cutting Boards: Up to 200 times more bacteria. (Infection Control Today)
  • Faucets: 21 times more bacteria. (Reader’s Digest)
  • Laundry: 100 times more E. Coli bacteria. (WCVB-TV)
  • Money: 6.4 times more bacteria. (Herald Sun)
  • Smartphones: 10 times more bacteria. (Yahoo)
  • Sponges: 456 times more bacteria. (Reader’s Digest)
  • Toothbrushes: Absorbs all sorts of nasty bacteria looming in your bathroom.

Self 2015 beauty product winners
Self magzine tested 4000 products and came up with some beauty product award winners.
Multi-tasking products – Blushes that can be put on wet or dry.

Highlighter, blush, lip product OPI nail polish – like a gel manicure. This is supposed to be longer lasting. Michael Kors lip balm.

Detox, depuffing eyes – supposed to remove puffy eyes.

Detoxifying mask – that gets rid of impurities in your skin.

Clarins multitasking SPF 50 product – They discovered a new particle in air that is damaging to skin? I wonder what this is. Anti-pollution is a new claim.

Onomie – a product that was created by a formulator for Kiehls. She was putting skin care ingredients in make up products. Interesting angle.


Is it okay to use soap on hair?

Bunny Lake asks…Chagrin Valley Shampoo Bars are really popular with a lot of the people on the Long Hair Community, and I’ve been trying some sample bars out myself. I love some, but others give me that waxy feeling. I have soft water where I live, also. Is Chagrin Valley Soap the kind of “soap” that is actually NOT good for your hair and skin? A lot of their complexion and body bars contain coconut oil which I have heard is good for hair but highly comedogenic (pore clogging). Thanks for any information you can give me!

The Beauty Brains replysoap-bubble-439103_640

It sounds like you’re already savvy to the main problem with washing your hair with bar soap: build up from hard water.

Is soap safe for hair?

This is what happens when the fatty acid salt that makes up soap reacts with the counter ions in hard water (like magnesium and calcium) to form an insoluble residue. This residue used to be known as “bathtub ring” because of the film left in the tub after bathing. Modern surfactants have eliminated this problem because they don’t react with hard water ions. Similarly, using softened water (as you are) also reduces the problem. Therefore, there’s no technical reason for not using Chagrin Valley Shampoo bars on your hair.

Does coconut oil clog pores?

Should you worry about coconut oil soap clogging your pores and giving you blackheads? It’s true that coconut oil is highly comedogenic. It’s usually rated a four or five on a five-point scale. This means it’s likely to contribute to pore clogging and acne. However in this case the risk is much lower. That’s because most of the oil in the soap has been reacted. Any residual oil will for the most part be rinsed out of your hair. If you were applying pure coconut oil to your skin there would be more chance of pore clogging than if you’re just using coconut oil soap. Still, there is some risk and you won’t know for sure until you try it.

Image credit:


Is red sandalwood an effective sunscreen?

Firoza asks…I often find producers of “herbal” or “ayurvedic” cosmetics selling sunscreens containing red sandalwood as the active ingredient. They rate these sunscreens as SPF 50 or higher. Does red sandalwood actually have any sun blocking properties?

The Beauty Brains respondSantalum_album_-_Köhler–s_Medizinal-Pflanzen-128

Red Sandalwood may have certain medicinal properties when applied topically (see link ) but it is not approved for use as a sunscreen. Any products using this as the “active” sunscreen ingredient would be illegal drugs in the U.S. (and several other countries.)

Red Sandalwood + Sunscreen

I did a quick check on this ingredient and found that it’s used in a brand called Biotique. I couldn’t find a complete ingredient list for this product but I did find this statement on a website selling the product:

“This nutrient-rich cream is blended with pure sandalwood, saffron, wheat germ, honey and bark of the arjun tree to keep skin soft, fair and moisturized. Protects skin with broad spectrum SPF 50 UVA/UVB sunscreen. Very water resistant, retains SPF after 80 minutes in the water.”

So, it looks like the product contains red sandalwood but actually protects skin using a broad spectrum SPF 50 UVA/UVB sunscreen. I think this is a classic case of the company implying that the product works because of the natural ingredient but it actually contains chemical sunscreens like most other products.

If anyone can find a complete list of ingredients for this, or similar, products let me know and I’ll review it to determine exactly what chemical is providing the sunscreen efficacy.


Does Bio Oil really work? Episode 82

This week we answer listener questions about Bio Oil and other products. But first, another game of Improbable Products…

Improbable Productswitches_tools___magic_stock_by_sassy_stock-d10mf82

Which of these bad body odor products is not real:

  • The iPhone bad breathalyzer that tells you if you have halitosis.
  • Odor detecting gym socks that change color when you feet start to smell.
  • The Smart Deodorant stick that automatically dispenses just the right amount of deodorant so your arm pits don’t smell.

Listen to the show for the answer!

Does Bio Oil work?

Bio Oil consists of mineral oil, triisononanoin, cetearyl ethylhexanoate, isopropyl myristate, retinyl palmitate, chamomile oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil, calendula flower extract, sunflower Seed oil, soybean oil, bisabolol.  According to our buddy Colin “The results of a clinincal trial are reported on the website. The term clinical trial is stretching it a bit as there were only 12 people involved, and there is no indication that a placebo was used. Only 50% of users saw an improvement after 4 weeks. There isn’t any indication of how much of an improvement they had. I don’t think this trial on its own is particularly strong evidence, but when you put it into the context that a lot of people who have used the product speak highly of it I am prepared to believe it is doing something. At the end of the day, Bio-Oil is a good moisturizer that may have some anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Are trade journals dirty rotten liars?

Chris asks…You guys mention that ‘Tetra-C’ reduces pigmentation according to a trade journal. Is there reason to be skeptical of trade journals? Yes. Trade journals usually feature articles written by the companies that sell the ingredients and the articles are not peer reviewed. This doesn’t automatically mean the research is bad it just means that it may be biased and hence you should be skeptical.

Trade journals include:

  • C&T
  • GCI
  • Spray Technology

It’s better than nothing as long as you read the research carefully and keep a skeptical eye on the claims.

What’s up with vegetable collagen?

Lauren asks…Algenist brand “Genius” products use “vegetable collagen” as an ingredient and claim that it “reinforces skin structure and supports natural skin matrix.” What are your thoughts on this? And I know you said there are no vegetable sources for collagen…so are they flat out lying?

Yes, we talked about collagen back in Episode 73. And we did say there’s no such thing. We looked at the ingredient list for this Algenist product and saw that, among other things, it does indeed contain something called “Vegetable Collagen.” So what is this?

I found an article looked about “vegetable collagen” in HAPPI which says that the company DKHS sells an ingredient known as ”Plant Collagen.” It’s official INCI is “Water, butylene glycol, collagen extract.” They describe it as an amino acid complex derived from plant protein which is similar to animal collagen. Plant collagen is high in oxyproline, proline, glutamic acid and glycine amino acids and is easily re-synthesized as collagen when it is absorbed into the body.”

So, first of all, it’s NOT real collagen but a plant protein that is similar. Second of all, it appears that Algenist is NOT using the official INCI name. HOWEVER, I also found this article in Pubmed that talks about genetically engineering tobacco plants to grow “human” collagen. Hmmmm. Could Algenist be using this? Seems unlikely.

Is Hexiplex the same as Helioplex?

Rachael asks…Hi Beauty Brains. I was at Walgreens yesterday and saw a new sunscreen product I’m curious about – “Hexiplex” on some L’Oreal bottles. From what I’ve read, Neutrogena’s Helioplex or L’Oreal’s Mexoryl are the best sunscreens to use. Is Hexiplex identical to Helioplex? Is it a new name for Mexoryl (which is legal here but not still widely available, as I understand it)? My kids have an insane family history of skin cancer on their father’s side and I don’t take chances; I recently asked a Canadian friend to mail me some Mexoryl sunscreen!

Thanks so much for your insight. I tell all my friends they NEED to follow you blog!

Hexiplex is a magic spell that protects your skin from…just kidding. It’s actually a trademark assigned to L’Oreal for “A combination of ingredients used as an integral component of non-medicated sun care and sunscreen preparations.”

I found it this product: L’Oreal Paris Advanced Suncare Silky Sheer BB lotion from 2014.

Here are the ingredients:

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (10.72%), Octisalate (3.21%), Octocrylene (6%), Oxybenzone (3.86%)

Inactive Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Alcohol Denat., Silica, Dicaprylyl Ether, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, PEG 30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Nylon 12, PEG 8 Laurate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Dodecene, Sodium Chloride, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Aluminum Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Iron Oxides, P Anisic Acid, Tocopherol, Disodium EDTA, Poloxamer 407, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Lauryl PEG/PPG 18/18 Methicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Isostearyl Alcohol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Poly C10 30 Alkyl Acrylate.

As you can see it does NOT contain ecamsule which is the name for Mexoryl SX. Seems to be they trademarked hexiplex because it looks and sounds a little bit like Helioplex.

Nail polish questions

Little Tabby has a three part question about nail polish separation and quality:

1. Is a layer of oil/clear substance on top of the pigment a sign that the nail polish is old ?
2. When you add thinner too many times, what signs of poor quality should I look out for (I did have a nail polish which even though it had been thinned too many times did not dry properly on my nails – I disposed of that one).
3. Is nail polish chipping after 1 or 2 days also a sign of deteriorating quality ?

1. This is not necessarily sign of age it could just be the quality of the formulation. If you shake the product and it stays together then it’s probably fine. If it separates quickly that’s not a good thing. In general, separation is a sign of poor quality or a good product that’s gone bad.
2. Adding too much thinner can make a product dry more slowly. (Depending of course on which thinner you use.) Too much thinner can also interfere with the ability of the nail polish to form a hard film on your nails to it might not adhere well, or it might crack more easily.
3. Maybe. It could also be a sign of poor application.

Image credit: http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs18/i/2012/057/2/b/witches_tools___magic_stock_by_sassy_stock-d10mf82.jpg

How can I tell if my shampoo is really natural?

Uma asks…I actually bought a Rustic Art shampoo that claims to be all natural , does not test on animals , is pH balanced, no sulphates, great for the environment and all those good things. I was skeptical as I thought since its so good it wont lather and might just clean my hair and wont be like using silicones and stuff…I didn’t mind as I wanted a natural shampoo. To my surprise, it lathered really well…just needed a small amount too for the lather! Also my hair felt real soft by the end of the wash which I never felt from other shampoos till I used a conditioner…I am really hooked to this and now I am skeptical if this is really using all natural ingredients….sorry I am being skeptical but your inputs would help! I probably should just be happy with the find and stay quiet.

The Beauty Brains respondearth-159131_640

No need to apologize, Uma, we’re all about healthy skepticism here at the Beauty Brains! The trouble with answering a question such as this one, though, is that there is no standard definition of a natural for beauty products. But we’ll see what we can do based on looking at the ingredients.

Rustic Art shampoo ingredients

Demineralized water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine (coconut oil extract), Ascorbic acid, Disodium cocoamphodiacetate, Hydrolised Wheat protein, Aloe Vera Juice, Sodium Cocoyl (?) essential oil Blend/Herbal oil blend, and AOS, a plant derivative used as surfactant.

Note: the ingredient list we were provided is not complete as it uses partial names and abbreviations.

To make our point of how confusing the question of “natural” is, let’s look at this through the lens of two different definitions and see how the answer changes.

Definition #1: A product is “all natural” if all ingredients are from renewable, non-petroleum resources.

Through this lens this product would be rated very natural because all of the ingredients can be derived from non-petroleum sources. For example the surfactants are coconut-based can be derived from coconut oil. Ascorbic acid can be derived from fruit. The wheat derivative obviously comes from wheat, and so on. Based on this definition this product does seem “all natural.” So, if you like the answer from this definition, you should just stop reading here.

Definition # 2: A product is “all natural” if all ingredients are from renewable, non-petroleum resources AND all chemicals used in the processing of the main ingredients follow the same rule.

Hmmm. This is where it gets tricky. Let’s look at the main ingredient in the formula, cocoamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) as an example. While coconut oil is a nice natural source for the backbone of this ingredient, several “non-natural” chemicals like chloroacetic acid must be used to transform the nutty oil into CAPB.

So you see, you kind of jump down the rabbit hole when trying to pin down the definition of natural. Is it okay if there is only one non-natural ingredient is used to form the product? What about two or three ingredients? What if one of those “unnatural ingredients” is very toxic or damaging to the environment – does that count against the natural-ness of the product? Or does it not matter since the backbone is coconut oil? There is no single right answer for these questions so everyone is left to fend for themselves when it comes to natural definitions. Therefore, using Definition #2 one would be hard-pressed to describe this product as all natural. It gets even more complicated when you start to layer in other factors such as animal testing, biodegradability of ingredients, waste water management, sustainability (remember palm oil) and so on. So now you see how this works. Depending on the parameters of your natural definition you can declare that everything is all natural, nothing is all natural, or it’s somewhere in between.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Is this product all natural? If you’re cool with Definition #1 and you like the way this makes your hair feel, then I’d say yes.

Image credit: pixabay


Can emulsifying agents wear away fat?

Taffi asks…Polyethylene glycol is listed as an ingredient in my vitamin. Does this mean it is pegylated? are pegylated ingredients harmful when ingested? I know ethoxylates can be toxic, but that might be minute exposure. Also, can emulsifying agents wear away fats/water from the body?

The Beauty Brains respondfat_chart_by_brokencassette-d33iqs5

I think this Wikipedia article on ethoxylation does a nice job of addressing your questions your first question. The bottom line is these materials are not toxic. The potential danger of ethoxylated materials comes from contamination with a chemical called 1,4 dioxane. Most companies ensure their surfactants contain levels of 1,4 dioxane that are below the legal limit.

Will emulsifiers “wear away” fat when you ingest them? No, for emulsifiers to work they must come into direct contact with the fat globules and surround them so they can be suspended in water. This surfactant-coated fat glob is called a “micelle.” When you ingest emulsifiers they break down so they do not reach body fat the same way they reach fats and oils when mixed into products.

Image credit: http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/328/c/6/fat_chart_by_brokencassette-d33iqs5.png

In case you haven’t heard there is proposed legislation in the US that could change the way the cosmetic industry is governed. A lot of people have asked us what all this and I did a short interview with Self magazine on what this means for consumers and the industry. So, since this is a hot topic it’s the subject of our opening segment today.Law3

The bill is officially called “Personal Care Product Safety Act” and some say that it will greatly expand FDA authority over cosmetics. BTW, we’re using the term “cosmetic” as short hand for all personal care products. It’s a bipartisan bill, proposed by two senators: Dianne Feinstein (D) of California and Susan Collins (R) of Maine. The bill has 5 or 6 major provisions:

Provisions of the act

Adverse incident reporting
“Adverse incident” is legal speak for any time a cosmetic negatively impacts a cosumer’s health. Includes things like: chemical burns, allergic reactions, accidental poisoning, and so forth. Currently, must companies voluntarily report adverse incidents. Under this new Act, they would be required to report them within 15 business days. They must also report all nonserious events — like rashes — annually.

Product recalls
The new Act would also give the FDA the authority to order recalls of cosmetics if they are a threat to consumer safety. This seems a little academic to me because if I understand the current law correctly, the FDA can “ask” a company to do a recall. You don’t have to comply but there are consequences so this doesn’t seem like much of a change.

Also new is required labeling ingredients “not appropriate for children” and those that should be “professionally administered.” I’m not really sure what this means.

Online ingredient labeling
One aspect of the bill that I’m STRONGLY in favor of is the requirement for complete ingredient labeling online. BTW, approximately 40% of personal care products are purchased over the Internet.

Good Manufacturing Practices
In addition, the FDA would be directed to issue regulations on Good Manufacturing Practices for personal care products. All the big companies are already doing this so again not much of a change.

Mandatory ingredient review
The biggest change, I think is that the the F.D.A. will now be required to study five different chemicals for safety every year. First up would include propylparaben, methylene glycol (a formaldehyde-releasing chemical) and lead acetate which is used in some men’s hair dye.

Consequences of the new law

Here’s what the Personal Care Products Council had to say…

The Personal Care Products Council and its member companies have worked collaboratively with Members of Congress seeking to reform federal regulatory oversight for cosmetics and personal care products.  We support the creation of a national standard that maintains the continued safety of our products while providing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with additional regulatory authority over our industry. While we believe our products are the safest category that FDA regulates, we also believe well-crafted, science-based reforms will enhance industry’s ability to innovate and further strengthen consumer confidence in the products they trust and use every day.  The current patchwork regulatory approach with varying state bills does not achieve this goal.

Not surprisingly there’s a dollar impact. The bill authorizes the FDA to collect user-fees from manufacturers to cover the cost of this new red tape. That’s means it will cost the beauty companies more so expect price increases for consumers.

There will be a proportionally bigger cost impact on smaller companies (a win for “Big Beauty”)

The effect will also be greater for companies that haven’t already invested in a infrastructure to do extensive safety assessments (in other words that have a substantial Reg and Safety Department.)

There’s some concern that it could stifle innovation – red tape/paperwork for new stuff, slow approval for new ingredients etc.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Part of it simply mandates things that are already being done voluntarily (like 
Adverse incident reporting, 
Product recalls and 
Good Manufacturing Practices.)

It adds a couple new provisions: 
Online ingredient labeling
Annual review of 5 ingredients by the FDA (again, currently being done just not mandatory and not within the FDA.)

The good news is that all the big companies are already doing these things for the most part. The great news is that it will protect you from the any unscrupulous companies (usually the smaller ones). The bad news is that it could stifle innovation and could result in higher prices for consumers.

Beauty Science News

An unusual acne cure
If you had problem acne would you cure it by putting urine on your face? The answer is “probably not” but I read about this on R29 and they interviewed a dermatologist who, I’m surprised to say, just didn’t quite get it right. In this case the Derm talks about urea, which comprises about 5% of your urine being a humectant and it’s true it is part of the natural moisturizing factor in skin but that’s only when it’s left on the skin if you used it in a cream or lotion. It’s one thing to suggest you should dab some urine on your face and but I don’t think anyone’s suggesting to use a concentrated urine mask.

Secondly the derm says it can be an exfolliant, but in general you need a pretty low pH for an exfoliate to work and the pH of urine is on average about 7 (varies between 4.6 and eight). 
So should you use urine for acne? On the plus side it’s cheap and readily available. On the minus side it’s ineffective and disgusting. So the next time someone asks you if they can urinate on your face, you can give them a balanced perspective.

Cosmetic surgery makes women look more likable

Another questionable study…

Swimming pool and beauty products may not mix

A new study from a research team at Purdue University suggests that chemicals from both personal care products and pharmaceuticals could end up in swimming pools, causing undesirable byproducts. I don’t think there’s any need to panic but the researchers did find out that certain pool sanitizing agents (which are typically chlorine based) can react with things that they might come in contact with from your body. For example, previous studies if you pee in the pool these chemicals react with urine.
So, these scientists decided to look at OTHER chemicals that might be found in pools to see if they could be reactive. They assessed 32 common pharmaceutical and personal care chemicals and found that 3 were present at levels high enough to present a problem if they react with pool water:

  • DEET (N-diethyl-m-toluamide)
  • Caffeine
  • TCEP, a flame retardant. tri(2-chloroethyl)-phosphate

Nail polish for men?

Despite this story I doubt this will EVER catch on.

Image credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b7/Law3.jpg

Dafne dares to ask…The other day I bought Luxurious Volume Thickening Blow Dry Lotion by John Frieda. It works, but it feels just like hair spray, looks just like hair spray, and makes your hair sticky like hair spray. Might it actually be hair spray? And if so, can I use just any type of hair spray for this purpose, or this one is actually better than a normal one if it’s used during blow drying?

The Beauty Brains respondEvil_spray_can_by_djunko

As Dafne pointed out in her original question in our Forum, the product contains the following ingredients:

Alcohol Denat., Aqua, PVP, VP/VA Copolymer, VP/DMAPA Acrylates Copolymer, PEG- 75 Lanolin, Polysorbate 20, Parfum, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Linalool.

(BTW, we LOVE when our readers do their own ingredient research!)

Blow dry lotion = hairspray

At its core, this is certainly a hairspray. The main ingredients, PVP, VP/VA Copolymer, and VP/DMAPA Acrylates Copolymer, are all hairspray ingredients used to hold the hair in place. But this is a hairspray that’s designed to be used during blow drying. It’s tough to say without seeing the concentration of each ingredient but it’s likely that that the water and alcohol levels (as well as the resins themselves) have been optimized to give you more “play time” during blow drying. You could certainly TRY any old hairspray and see if it works for you but you may find that regular hairspray dries to fast for this kind of application. The worst that can happen is that your hair will end up a tangled mess.

Image credit: http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs35/i/2008/303/e/b/Evil_spray_can_by_djunko.jpg

What’s the right order to apply a BHA serum?

Little Rhino asks…I would like to add a B5 Serum into my skincare routine. I use a BHA ( salycic acid 2% ) lotion in the am/pm. I works well with my skin and mild acne. However, I do need a little extra boost of hydration. So the B5 sounded like a great place to start. Can these two products work together.  If yes, serum first-then lotion or vice versa?

The Beauty Brains respondLautrec_woman_at_her_toilette_1889

Lil’ Rhino’s question is really a “two-for-one.” Let’s break it apart and try to answer them one at a time.

What’s the right order to apply products?

The quick answer is that you should apply the BHA product directly to your skin first so nothing interferes with its exfoliating action. Ideally you should let it work for 2 to 5 minutes before applying any other product.

Is Vitamin B5 good for skin?

Ok, now that we know to apply moisturizer after a BHA treatment we need to find out if vitamin B5 is worth using as a moisturizer. (Note: For the sake of accuracy we need to point out that Vitamin B5 is pantothenic acid. Panthenol, which is typically used in cosmetic products, is the alcohol version of B5. So it’s chemically close but strictly speaking it’s not the same. Okay, now back to the answer…) To be honest, the answer to this one surprised us a bit. As a whole, the use of vitamins is over-rated in skin care and we didn’t expect to find that the B5 provided any specific benefit when applied topically. Surely any moisturizing effect is the result of the other ingredients in the formula and not the vitamin itself, right?

Wrong! At least according to one study which showed that lotions with panthenol helps skin retain moisture. The researchers tested three versions of a moisturizing cream formula: a control version without panthenol and versions containing 1% and 5%. Their results showed that after using the creams for 30 days, both of the panthenol-containing versions reduced moisturize loss through the skin better than the control.

What does this mean?

We don’t think this means you need to run out and spend a lot of money on a Vitamin B5 lotion because this study wasn’t designed to show that it works better than other, less expensive, ingredients. It just shows that B5 does provide protection against moisture loss. Should you buy a B5 cream? IF you know the product contains at least 1% panthenol and IF that product is not too expensive, then it could be worth a try. Just be sure to use if AFTER your BHA treatment.

Image credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/Lautrec_woman_at_her_toilette_1889.jpg

Reference: J Cosmet Sci. 2011 Jul-Aug;62(4):361-70.