12 beauty myths that waste your time and money Episode 36

Is “kitchen chemistry” really good for your hair and skin? This week Perry and I bust a bunch of beauty myths about using ingredients from your kitchen in home made beauty treatments.  

Show notes

Randy’s Refinery29 Rant

We love the the website Refinery 29 but sometimes their advice isn’t based on science. As an example, I talk about their article on fixing dried out mascara with eye moistening drops.

Beauty Science or Bull Sh*t

A special animal themed version of the much beloved game where I challenge Perry and our listeners to guess which of the following 3 beauty science headlines are fake. (2 are real, one is made up.)

  1. A Philippines Zoo is offering ‘snake massages’ by 4 giant pythons.
  2. Chinese spas offer fish pedicures where tiny fish nibble off your dead skin.
  3. At an Arboretum in Thailand is you can get a butterfly facial which is said to soften skin and brighten and your complexion using butterfly wings.

Can you guess better than Perry?

Beauty Myth Busting

Today we’re introducing a new segment where we bust beauty myths. (I wanted to call this “The Beauty Brains Big Busts” but Perry didn’t like the name.)

1. Apple cider vinegar softens hair and reduces dandruff
Vinegar has a low pH but other than helping to remove mineral build-up on hair, it doesn’t do much. There is no evidence it helps with dandruff.

2. Tumeric paste gets rid of zits
There is some evidence that components of turmeric have antibacterial properties but it’s never been proven to be helpful for acne.

3. Oil-pulling whitens teeth and “detoxifies” your body
This may help reduce bacteria in your mouth but there is no reason to think it will whiten teeth (it won’t) or detoxify – it definitely won’t do this.

Oil pulling may however, improve the health of teeth and gums. One study shows swishing sesame oil in the mouth improves reduces gingivitis and plaque; there was a net decline in mean plaque scores.  Another study, as reported by the British Dental Association, shows that “pulling” with coconut oil can reduce cavities. They found that that “coconut oil strongly inhibited the growth of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria including Streptococcus mutans – a major cause of caries.” However, the coconut oil may need to be “pre-digested” with an enzyme to make it most effective.

4. Rice flour exfoliates your skin
Will rice flour help for exfoliation? Maybe as long as the starch capsules aren’t so hydrated that they’ll just smoosh into your face.

5. Petroleum jelly grows longer eyelashes
This ingredient will definitely help condition eyelashes but there is no evidence that it will improve hair growth.

6. Frozen aluminum foil soothes puffy skin
If you wrap your face in frozen foil the coldness could help reduce swelling.  But foil won’t cool as efficiently as something like a gel mask which you can buy in any drug store.

7. Ketchup fixes brassy hair
Ketchup is made of tomatoes and has a low pH so it could help remove minerals and the tomato may stain the hair. But it could give an uneven color. Better would be something like a henna rinse.

8. Honey cleans your face
While honey can help moisturize the skin and has some anti-bacterial effect, it does not have good cleansing properties. Better would be some type of oil that you can apply and wipe off. Honey would work better as a moisturizer/facial mask.

Honey appears to work against bacteria in two ways, depending on the type of honey. In most types, the bees add an enzyme that generates low levels of hydrogen peroxide, which is the active ingredient that kills bacteria. In a special honey, known as Manuka honey, the bees feed on nectar of the flowers of the manuka bush which imparts additional anti-bacterial properties. Both types of honey can be effective but (and this is VERY important) their efficacy can vary greatly from batch to batch. Any given jar of honey may or may not have a high enough antibacterial activity to really work. To ensure efficacy, each lot of honey must be tested for activity before you know it will really work.

9. Green tea gets rid of bags under your eyes
Green tea is filled with polyphenols which have an antioxidant effect however, there is no evidence that topical application would have any benefit.

10. Coconut oil plumps your face
There’s no evidence that this oil would help to plump your face (other than the normal plumping effect you get from moisturizing.) This would actually work better as an oil cleanser than a face plumper. Coconut oil also can help strengthen your hair so you might want to try that as a home remedy.

11. Blackstrap Molasses gets rid of gray hair
No, this won’t stop the appearance of gray hair. It’s caramelized sugar and carmel is a colorant so it MAY stain hair and cover gray.

12. Fabric softener sheets can replace your conditioner
Putting laundry products directly on your skin is not a good idea because they maybe irritating. Even if safety wasn’t an issue, why would you want to do this? Fabric softeners are are NOT optimized to condition hair. While they may help reduce static they certainly won’t improve the feel of your hair and they won’t give it more shine.

LIL buy it now button

Buy your copy of It’s OK to Have Lead in Your Lipstick to learn more about:

  • Clever lies that the beauty companies tell you.
  • The straight scoop of which beauty myths are true and which are just urban legends.
  • Which ingredients are really scary and which ones are just scaremongering by the media to incite an irrational fear of chemicals.
  • How to tell the difference between the products that are really green and the ones that are just trying to get more of your hard earned money by labeling them “natural” or “organic.

Click here for all the The Beauty Brains podcasts.