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Is Charlotte Tilbury Multi-Miracle cream really miraculous? Episode 149

Is Charlotte Tilbury Multi-miracle cream really worth it?2941691931_dbabec0f53_z

Jo asks…I love Charlotte Tilbury’s Multi-Miracle Glow product but I’m afraid I spent too much and I worry that it really provides any benefits. Can you tell me if it has any special properties and if not is there a more budget conscious version?

Thanks for the question, Jo. It sounds like you’re really torn about using this product so let’s see if we can help.

First of all, don’t be confused if you decide to look for this product because in addition to Mult-miracle glow she also sells a “Magic Cream.” Apparently Charlotte went to the “Harry Potter School of Cosmetic Marketing.” Harry Potter and the Sorcerous Skin Cream? By the way that brings to mind another beauty question, if you have a Harry Potter, do you shave it or pluck it? Wax it? Anyway…

Let’s begin by taking a look at exactly what this product claims to do. Here are some of the claims from the website:

  • The basic idea is that this is a 3 in 1 product: a deep cleansing face balm with anti-wrinkle benefits; a regenerating mask with an “overnight facial” finish; and a “SOS remedy that you can use on cuticles, elbows, heels and shins to cheat the body of an angel!”
  • It features ingredients like Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil and Cranberry Seed Oil that “are highly effective anti-oxidant pure oils that moisturise the skin & stimulate micro-circulation.” That’s a drug claim!
  • It also has “extracts of frangipani flower soothe and help purify dirt and makeup” Purified dirt?
  • Then there are Rose hip and camellia oil regenerate the skin to delay the signs of aging
  • Finally, our old friends Vitamins A, C and E to “smooth wrinkles and bring the skin’s complexion back to life.”
  • So as you can see, the anti-aging claims are pretty standard – lots of products make these kinds of claims. Unfortunately, it doesn’t contain any of the best anti-aging ingredients like retinol or niacinamide.

It does contain a functional version of Vit C (Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate) but since it appears on the ingredient list below fragrance we know it doesn’t contain a very high level. That means it probably isn’t very effective.

Maybe the most interesting aspect of the product is that can be used as a cleanser as well as a moisturizer. That’s because unlike most products it’s based on Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride which is a coconut oil derived material that can have both cleansing and moisturizing benefits.

Yea but as we’ve discussed before there are always trade offs when you combine functionality like this. That means it won’t be the best cleanser or the best moisturizer. Which brings us back to the question of product value.

Jo is right about the product being expensive. It’s costs $100 for 100 mls which is A LOT especially when you consider Charlotte’s telling you to use it on your elbows, shins, etc.

So it doesn’t have any special anti-aging benefits, it makes some compromises between being a great cleanser and a great moisturizer, and it’s really expensive. Sorry Jo but this doesn’t sound like the best way to spend your money.

Like we always tell people, if really love a product and you can afford it, then you should buy it. But don’t buy it because of the things that the company tells you. There are similar products that can save you a lot of money.

Yes, we found a couple of other products that are based on Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride. I’ll put links in the show notes but one is Credentials Collagen Elastin 14-1 Creme and it costs $14 for 2 ounces.

Another is Hyaluronic Acid Beauty Cream which costs about $24 for 2 ounces. We’re not saying these are identical to Charlottes product but they may have a similar feel and they cost a LOT less.

Charlotte Multi-miracle Glow ingredients: Glycerin, Water (Aqua), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride , Cyclopentasiloxane, Sucrose Stearate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Cellulose Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance (Parfum), Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, PEG-8, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Rubus Chamaemorus Seed Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Bht, Plumeria Rubra Flower Extract, Red 40 (CI 16035), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Benzoate

Replacement options:

Credentials Collagen Elastin 14-1 Creme

INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Methyl Gluceth-20, Stearic Acid, Polysorbate 60, Cetyl Alcohol, Soluable Collagen, Sorbitan Stearate, Hydrolyzed Elastin, Fragrance (Parfum), Sodium Dehydroacetate, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben

Hyaluronic Acid Beauty Cream

Ingredients: Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Emulsifying Wax NF, Glycerin, Isopropyl Myristate, Stearic Acid, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Butylene Glycol (and) Calluna Vulgaris Extract, Glyceryl Stearate, Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E), Phenoxyethanol (and) Chlorphenesin (and) Propylene Glycol (and) Sorbic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 80, Perfume, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, Sodium Magnesium Silicate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Bisabolol, Tocopherol (Vitamin E).

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Is “Not Your Mother’s” shampoo” any good?

Brokensticker says…I bought this shampoo- “Not Your Mothers Way to Grow Shampoo” thinking the ingredients sounded good but I find it’s drying to my hair. Can you please explain what I’m finding to be drying? I can’t figure out why- all of the ingredients seem good to me.

You know what’s more confusing than the ingredients? The branding! It’s Not Your Mothers. Or is it Not your Mothers Way? Or Not your mothers way to grow…Long and strong shampoo.

I wasn’t familiar with the brand so I checked out their website. It looks like they’re all about creating what they call “the highest quality, salon comparable products at the most affordable prices.”

That sounds laudable, let’s take a look at the ingredients in this shampoo to see if they succeeded. The backbone of the formula consists of cocamidopropyl betaine, which is typically used as a secondary foam boosting surfactant, and a blend of sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate, sodium methyl oleoyl taurate, and sodium cocoyl isethionate. It also contains a conditioning polymer polyquaternium-7.

The isethionate/taurate combination does make for a mild system but it’s kind of unusual to use the betaine as the primary surfactant. I’m wouldn’t be surprised if the foam feels significantly different. In terms of what’s drying your hair, it could just be the lack of conditioning agents.

Yeah, the Polyquat-7 is the only thing that’s going to stay on your hair after rinsing to provide some slip. They don’t use any silicones or other two in one type conditioners like guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride.

In terms of value, this stuff sells for $6 for 8 ounces so as they promise it is more affordable than many salon products. And unlike many salon products, they are using premium cleansers. (You’d be surprised how many salon shampoos just use basic SLES based formulas.)

Brokensticker might be better off with one of the sulfate free shampoos from the L’Oreal line. They’re slightly cheaper, they use an even better surfactant mix and they contain more conditioning agents.

Ingredients: Water, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate, sodium methyl oleoyl taurate, acrylates copolymer, fragrance, sodium cocoyl isethionate, polyquaternium-7, polygonium multiflorum extract, aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) seed extract, retinyl palmitate, tocopherol, inositol, calcium pantothenate, linoleic acid, biotin, apigenin, oleanolic acid, biotinoyl tripeptide-1, alcohol, PEG-35 castor oil, polysorbate 20, butylene glycol, PPG-26-buteth-26, PEG-40 hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glycol Distearate, Laureth-4, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Citric Acid, Sodium Chloride, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

Does this eyelash growth product really work?

FLA Girl in NJ asks…Would you please analyze the ingredients of Shiseido’s Full Lash Serum and comment as to whether any of these ingredients are prostaglandins or prostaglandin derivatives, or whether it contains any other ingredient that could potentially change eye color?  Are there any other lash growth serums you could recommend that are proven 100% safe with regard to not changing eye color?

Remember the great: “Jan Marini Eyelash Growth Controversy?” back in the 2000s? Back in 2003, a group of dermatologist published a paper in the Dermatology Online Journal suggesting that a drug used for glaucoma (latanoprost) actually stimulated eyelash growth. This could be the basis for the Jan Marini eyelash product.

I was amazed that this could be true! It seems to me that this would’ve been HUGE news in the cosmetic business and the general public. But it went by without nearly a mention. Imagine the money this discovery could bring in!
 Then I dug a little deeper and found out why the discovery likely passed unnoticed. Subsequent studies were not able to repeat what the original scientists demonstrated. According to these scientists in an article published in 2005 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, topical application of latanoprost was NOT EFFECTIVE.

Not having seen the original papers, I can’t say which research study is more believable. However, in terms of credibility, the American Academy of Dermatology is one of the premiere organizations in the area of dermatology so they win out there. Additionally, amazing claims like “Renews hair growth” require amazing proof. One paper in an online journal that can’t be reproduced by peers is hardly amazing proof.

In the case of this product, it appears that the active ingredient is arginine. There is some information that suggests that arginine can stimulate release of nitrous oxide which in turn stimulates increased blood flow to the follicle and therefore increases hair growth.

We couldn’t find any definitive studies which back this up although there are several patents along this line from Proctor, L’Oreal and others.

Just because something has a patent doesn’t mean it really works. The patent could be a method of composition or even something related to packaging.

Shiseido Full Lash Serum:
Water (Aqua/Eau), Dipropylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Sorbitol, Alcohol, Polyvinyl Acetate, Glycerin, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Methylparaben, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Potassium Hydroxide, Arginine, Xanthan Gum, Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, Simethicone, Trisodium Edta, Tocopherol.

Beauty Science News

Scorpion nail polish


Here’s a story about a weird beauty trend that is going on in Latin America. Women are getting scorpion manicures. That is, they get manicures and glue tiny scorpions to their nails.

According to the story published in the Daily Mail, it started out as a joke by one beauty parlor and just caught on from there. They were having a scorpion theme day at the salon and had the crazy idea to glue dead baby scorpions to people’s nails. They posted a video on their Facebook page and it went viral. This led to people from across North America to visit the salon to get a manicure with baby scorpions attached to their nails.

Before applying them they kill the tiny insects with bug spray but these things still have their stingers and venom. It’s highly unlikely that you would get them venom in your bloodstream but still, it seems pretty crazy. And I feel a bit bad for the scorpions.

Incidentally, I searched and didn’t find any comment about this from PETA. No one is looking out for the ethical treatment of scorpions.


Marvel for men


You know I’m always on the look out for stories that intersect two of my passions: beauty science and comic books. That’s why I was excited to hear that the brand Magic Shave has teamed up with Marvel Comics to create a media program around their shaving products using the hero Luke Cage. The storyline is titled “Luke Cage in a Close Shave!” Get it?
Hearing about this once again turned my mind to other Super hero themed personal care products. I have 3 suggestions, are you ready?

  • Stretch mark cream for Mr. Fantastic.
  • Some kind of eye drops for Daredevil.
  • And for Jessica Jones maybe a bourbon scented skin lotion.

Is flossing really just a waste of time?


This story reminded me of one of my goals from a couple years ago. My goal was to floss every single day. And I was successful. I guess once you get into the habit, it’s pretty easy to do.

Anyway, the next year I restarted the goal and was doing fine until I heard a dentist interviewed on The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast and this guy said that there was no scientific basis for the recommendation to floss. He claimed there were no peer reviewed studies to demonstrate flossing helps prevent gum disease or cavities. After that I sort of waned on flossing after I ran out of floss.

The thing is that no one believed me. I had a discussion with my dentists and neither he nor my hygienist thought what I was saying made sense. They told me they were taught in dental school that flossing was a good thing to do.

Well, according to Associate Press, they verified what the skeptical dentist on the show was saying. There is no scientific evidence that proves the benefits of flossing.

So, do you think that means people should stop flossing?

What it really means is that this is a subject that hasn’t really been studied very well. There are no groups who find it important enough to do a peer reviewed double blind study on the subject because everyone just assumes that there is benefits.

P&G who sells lots dental floss pointed to a two week study which “proved” that floss fights plaque but a scientific review of the study found that it was lacking (and only lasted 2 weeks). J&J declined to comment when presented evidence that flossing doesn’t reduce plaque.

So what do we make of this?

I don’t know. It seems obvious that there should be a benefit to flossing but there haven’t been good enough studies to show that it is. Maybe there just needs to be more studies.

I know I still floss just not as obsessively as I did that one year. And I don’t feel bad about it either.

This does go to show you that just because you do something and that experts recommend it, doesn’t mean that a scientific evaluation of the advice will show that their is any benefit.

Why swimming pools make your eyes red


For those of you listening to this in the summer of 2016, swimming pools have been in the news lately because of the Olympics. BTW I’m not saying Perry and I went to Rio on vacation…Anyway…Everyone knows that the chlorine compounds used to sanitize swimming pools are irritating and can make your eyes red. Right? WRONG! I just read an article that explains that the chlorine itself does NOT do that. But chorine reacts with nitrogen it can form a compound called chloramine that IS irritating. Chloramine can make your eyes string and look blood shot it can even irritate your lungs and make you cough. AND how do you think the nitrogen gets in the pool?

That’s right, mostly from poo and pee and sweat. A clean chlorinated pool will NOT cause you any irritation. Only ones full of dirty diapers, or whatever.

iTunes reviews

  • RachelMarie13 says…Randy and Perry give great unbiased information which is hard to find in beauty these days. Up there with Serial and this American Life. The best beauty podcast I have found.
  • Pam says…I am so excited to continue my journey learning from these wise scientists. Thank you for all that you do!!!
  • Bubafzhyvx says… informative, unbiased and funny, love it!
  • LaurisseRT has “Only one suggestion. The only way this show could get better is if they played airhorn sounds after the hosts burn each other with their witty quips.
    Eyelash growth product
  • FLA Girl in NJ asks…Would you please analyze the ingredients of Shiseido’s Full Lash Serum and comment as to whether any of these ingredients are prostaglandins or prostaglandin derivatives, or whether it contains any other ingredient that could potentially change eye color?  Are there any other lash growth serums you could recommend that are proven 100% safe with regard to not changing eye color?

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Grace September 7, 2016, 7:09 am

    Welcome back, you guys.

    Anecdata re flossing: my dental visits since I’ve been religious about flossing have been much better w/r/t scraping off the plaque. Seriously, I didn’t floss on the regular until about 3 years ago, and I clearly recall the discomfort from my pre-flossing dental visits.

    • Randy Schueller September 7, 2016, 7:12 am

      I believe that Perry was paid off by Big Dental to tell that news story to trick people into flossing less so they have to go to the dentist more often for teeth cleaning. That’s just how he rolls.

  • Eileen September 8, 2016, 11:43 am

    Welcome back! I’ve missed my weekly doses of tongue-in-cheek wit 🙂

    When I read your first bullet describing the uses for CT’s Multi-Miracle Cream, I immediately thought of Vaseline! LOL I’m sure CT’s cream is much more cosmetically elegant, but like her Miracle Cream, it does seem to be ridiculously over-priced for what it is. But, you know, if something works, makes you feel beautiful, and you can comfortably afford it, go for it. I think many of us have both budget-busting and budget-friendly products in our skin care arsenals. Hopes, dreams, and “miracles” sometimes come at a steep price.

    Flooding, earthquakes, fire storms, flossing! This is obviously a month of high drama 😉 As for flossing, at the very least it removes build up and food particles from in between the teeth. That gunk contributes to bad breath, so just keep on flossing, guys.

  • Kevin September 8, 2016, 9:04 pm

    The only magic is how Tillbury makes so much money on an ordinary cream.

    • Eileen September 9, 2016, 1:37 pm

      She must have an incredible marketing team. When she first launched her line, a very big deal was made about her association with Tom Ford and there was hope that her products might be a more affordable version of his eponymous line. That was not so and once the disconnect between her products and his became well known, her team went on to exploit her relationship with various super models who are known for being loud, publicity-seeking, party girls. She promises a glitterati dream and delivers a tarnish tinsel reality. Yes, she must have an incredible marketing team.

      • Randy Schueller September 9, 2016, 1:38 pm

        Wow, thanks for the background info – I had no idea.

      • Kevin September 10, 2016, 10:21 am

        Thanks Eileen, very interesting.

  • Christopher September 9, 2016, 2:38 pm

    Interesting to hear about flossing. I began flossing daily just as Perry did and my hygienist as well as my dentist were immediately able to tell at my next visit. The hygienist even commented on how I need to do a better job around the crowns in the back, which is telling because I purposely didn’t do as good of a job around them in fear of yanking them out. Also, I am a heavy coffee drinker so staining in-between the teeth has always been an issue, but flossing seems to help the cosmetic aspect. Obviously anecdotal evidence, but as Randy states the real fact is there hasn’t been many studies on the subject.

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