Can body wash fragrance be touch activated? Episode 76

 On this week’s show Perry and I explain how the new Caress Body Wash fragrance is “touch activated.” We also cover a handful of beauty science news stories. 

Claim to fame: Can body wash fragrance be “touch activated?”unnamed

This is the segment where we review popular beauty product claims and tell you what the claims really mean, how the company might support them, and if the claim is compelling enough to entice you to buy the product. Today we’re talking about the new Caress Fine Fragrance Body wash.

What is the claim and what does it mean?

Here are the claims featured on the package :

  • Up to 12 HR Fragrance Release
  • The World’s First Body Wash with Fragrance Release Pearls™
  • A touch-activated technology that releases a burst of perfume every time you touch your skin, all day long.

And there are some additional claims in their promotional materials which are interesting:

  • Fragrance Composed by the World’s Best Perfume Experts
  • Why shouldn’t your body wash have the same touch-activation as your mobile device? …now it does.
  • And my favorite…”It took 25 scientists across 4 continents to perfect the design of this collection.”

I think they did a great job making this product sound breakthrough, so kudos to them. But when it comes down to hard-core technical claims there are just a couple things to focus on:

  • The fragrance release lasts for 12 hours.
  • The fragrance release is touch activated.

Those are both pretty impressive claims so let’s take a look at how they might be delivered.

How could they support the claim?

The simplest approach would be to use some sort of consumer panel. You could have panelists wash one arm with this special body wash and the other with either a regular body wash or, ideally, some placebo version where it’s the body wash without any special fragrance technology.

Then you have other panelists smell that person’s arms without knowing which one was treated with which. You do this at some set interval probably every hour and ask them to rate the fragrance intensity. If panelists can still smell the fragrance after 12 hours you’ve supported the long lasting part of the claim.

But what about this idea of “touch activated?” They would need to build in some kind of “activation” step where the skin is touched or rubbed and then sniffed again to see if the fragrance intensity increases.

It’s also conceivable that instead of, or in addition to, just having people smell the skin they could use a gas chromatograph to actually detect and quantify the fragrance components that are remaining.

I’m pretty confident this technology really works because I did the sniff version of this test for myself. I washed one arm with the “Love” version in the other arm I watched with my usual body wash which happens to be a highly scented Axe product. The Axe product has so much fragrance in fact that I fully expected both arms to smell for several hours. Then I had people smell my arms and to my surprise not only did the Axe fragrance completely fade in the first few hours but the Caress fragrance really did remain throughout the full 12 hours and beyond.

But here’s the really amazing part. I rubbed the lower part of my arm and had panelists smell the difference between the lower part and upper part. It was actually very easy to notice that the fragrance intensity significantly increased after rubbing my skin. The fragrance character changed somewhat into a bit more of the green note but there was no question that rubbing did release additional fragrance.

Obviously this is not a scientific test but it certainly was eye-opening to me to see the magnitude of the difference. There really is something here. So let’s talk for a minute though this technology might possibly work. By the way I asked the company for a more detailed explanation on their technology and did not get a response.

How does this product work?

My guess would be that they use some sort of encapsulation technology with the capsules designed to be substantive to skin even after rinsing. This is consistent with their claim that describes the technology as “Fragrance Release Pearls.”

In principle this is similar to the scratch and sniff capsules that you see used on fragrance advertisements in the beauty magazines. Of course this is trickier because they need to be dispersed in a surfactant system that will not dissolve the capsules and the capsules need to stick around on the skin even after rinsing. I think that’s why they needed those 25 scientists on four continents to figure it out.

We get a hint of what it might be from looking at the ingredient statement. The only thing I see that is likely to be any sort of encapsulating agent is a polyurethane derivative. Polyurethane dispersions contain both hydrophilic and hydrophobic segments could help with this sustained fragrance release.We’ll put the ingredients in the show notes if you’re interested.

It’s hard to tell if this is some sort of stock technology from the fragrance house or something that was custom developed just for Unilever (but either way we may see this technology turn up in other Unilever products.) Regardless, it’s certainly interesting technology.

Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Fragrance, Acrylates Copolymer, Cocamide MEA, Sodium Chloride, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Polyurethane Crosspolymer-2, Citric Acid, PPG-9, Tetrasodium EDTA, Mica, Urea, Acrylamidopropyltrimonium Chloride/Acrylamide Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Red 33 (CI 17200), Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Blue 1 (CI 42090)

Should this claim persuade you to buy the product?

If this claim appeals to you then yes. This is true product differentiation. That’s not to say it’s for everyone but not every product will do this so I’d say this is a pretty compelling claim.

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Beauty Science News

Will aging be a thing of the past?
According to this story scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have discovered a new class of drugs called Senolytics. These are compounds that target old cells and kill them off. They found by killing off the older, non-dividing cells they can keep mice looking and feeling younger.

So in our bodies we have these stem cells which are highly resistant to dying off. That’s good because these are the cells that continually make new layers of skin for example. Well, most cells adhere to the Hayflick limit which is about 30 generations. That is they can divide about 30 to 50 times before they stop. Now, most of these cells will just die off but many of them can stick around and start causing diseases associated with people who are older.

Anyway, this new drug class finds those old cells and kills them off. This allows new, younger cells to take over their place and, theoretically, life would be extended. They’ve found in mice that on these drugs the animals have improved cardiovascular function, exercise endurance, and an extended health span. They say with just one treatment older mice had highly improved cardiovascular function. It sounds pretty exciting.

I could imagine this same thing going on for skin cells. One of the reasons people get wrinkles is that their cells stop producing collagen and elastin. So maybe a drug like this could help replenish the younger cells and aging skin might not be as problematic.

We’ll see. I bet it will be a long way off though. The researchers want to do more testing in mice before they do any human trials. That’s probably a good idea. Who knows what effect killing off all your old cells will have. I wonder how that would affect your memory.

Does water cause acne?
As a savvy Internet marketer you certainly know the power of a good headline. And I have to admit I have tweeted some articles just based on the headline alone. But you have to be careful because the headline doesn’t always tell the story accurately. Here’s an example of a story from the Gloss with the headline “Does your water cause acne?”

Reading the article I found that the Gloss was just quoting a story from another website called the Bustle that had the headline “Is water making you break out?” And, the Bustle was in turn just quoting something that appeared on Livestrong with the title “Is acne caused by water softeners?” (which is not the same!)

The LiveStrong article said that theoretically, the ions in hard water can react with soaps to form insoluble salts that can help plug your pores. BUT even the author acknowledged there no scientific study that establishes this.

So first of all it’s not really the water itself causing acne. And secondly this is really only an issue if you have hard water and you use true soap as opposed to synthetic soap bars or liquid soaps. And thirdly, there’s no proof that even if you do have that combination it will make you break out because acne isn’t caused by a chemical “plugging” your pores. It’s caused by the chemical having a hyperkeratotic effect. But after getting sucked in by that headline I had to read three articles to get to the bottom of it. It’s no wonder there’s so much misinformation out there – who has time to read all the references that you need to sift through to get to the truth.

Laser turns brown eyes blue

Did you know that there is no such thing as blue eyes? Let me rephrase that – there is no such thing as a pigment that makes your eyes blue. Instead the blue color is sort of an illusion that’s caused by the scattering of light as it passes through the iris of the eye. This is really just Rayleigh scattering which is the same principle that makes the sky blue.

So why are your /my eyes brown? Because of a thin layer of brown pigment that tints the iris – it sort of covers up the blue light or prevents it from scattering. But here’s the really interesting part…scientists at Stroma Medical have developed a laser that can burn off that thin layer of brown pigment so they can make brown eyes blue.  This is not as disturbing as that story we discussed about eyeball tattoos but as you can imagine it still is somewhat controversial. The researchers say it’s safe and that the procedure has been successfully completed on 17 patients in Mexico and 20 in Costa Rica. But critics, like some ophthalmologists, say that fragments of the lasered pigment could “clog up” the eye and lead to glaucoma.  Either way it’s just fascinating to me that people will go to such lengths to change their natural appearance.