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Is DIY perfume a bad idea? Episode 89

Cosmetic science in colonial AmericaAn_Electronic_Nose_Estimates_Odor_Pleasantness

For those of you who are listening to this show in real time we’re only a couple of days away from the Fourth of July holiday weekend. If you’re interested in learning what life was like in colonial America, you can find an excellent summary at Fortklock.com; the details of how women made their own makeup were particularly fascinating. Believe me, they didn’t have much to work with! Here’s a quick comparison of colonial chemistry to our modern day magic.

Lip color
Then: Mix beet juice with lard.
Now: Something in a nice pinkish-taupe like NARS Turkish Delight!

Then: Either pinch your cheeks or, for the cultured sophisticate, mix beet juice with talc or cornstarch. (Jeez, those colonials were really big on beets!)
Now: Unfortunately, natural minerals hadn’t been invented yet back in 1776 or else they could have worn Laura Mercier Mineral Cheek Powder.

Then: Moisten eyelashes with your fingers. (Mmmm, saliva-scented eyelashes!)
Now: Today we have the incredible tubing technology of Blinc Kiss Me Mascara.

Anti-aging skin creams
Then: Rub bacon grease or fat on your face.
Now: We still use fats of one sort or another but has active ingredients like retinol, niacinaimde, Vitaminc C and so on.

Lip Plumpers
Then: Bite your lip several times throughout the day.
Now: Never fear, Lip Fusion Micro-Injected Collagen Lip Plump is here! (I’ll stick to biting my lip, thank you

We have a lots to be thankful for this Independence Day: Government for the people by the people; freedom of religion, and science-spawned, store-bought cosmetics! Yay!

Beauty Science News

Beware of YouTube beauty videos

The first story that caught my eye was this one about how P&G (the makers of beauty products like Olay, Pantene, and Max Factor) have gotten in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over one of it’s YouTube Videos. Who knew the government was watching advertising on the Internet?

Anyway, according to the story one of P&G’s hired vloggers Ruth Crilly put up a video on their Beauty Recommended YouTube channel in which she recommends using Max Factor products.

The ASA received a complaint from another beauty and style blogger (we beauty bloggers are a competitive bunch) who said the video didn’t identify itself as an advertisement.

The ASA agreed and said P&G violated the rules of marketing communication and misleading advertising. P&G was required to ensure that all future ads like this made their commercial intent clear. To solve the problem P&G now puts the hashtag #ad at the beginning of each video.

I thought this was interesting for a couple reasons. First, how do we get P&G to give us money for blogging? lol. Just kidding. We can’t be paid shills for industry.

But second I wonder how many other beauty bloggers or vloggers out there are being paid by companies without mentioning it. Or not mentioning that their reviews are influenced by the fact that they got free samples. In the old days of the Internet no one ever made you mention whether there was a conflict of interest but today it’s a whole new world.

So beauty consumers should be weary of any reviews they see on beauty blogs. They could be paid for by the beauty company.

Update on the Personal Care Products Safety Act

A couple of weeks ago we talked about the new personal care products safety act which is a bill that has been introduced in the United States to provide better regulate the cosmetic industry. As you’ll recall the bill has 5 or 6 major provisions including FDA testing of ingredients, better product recall processes, and improved ingredient labeling.

At that time we noted that several major manufacturers of cosmetics are in favor of the bill because they’re already doing most of the things that the bill would require. But for small manufactures this could be a big problem because it would require them to take extra actions like hiring more people which leads to higher costs.

In the last couple of weeks several organizations that represent smaller businesses have come forward to register their opposition to the bill. I thought it would be interesting to hear their point of view. It’s also interesting to see how many organizations there are to represent small cosmetic manufacturers. I had never heard of some of these. So let’s take a quick look at what each of these has to say.

Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers & Distributors (ICMAD)
“ICMAD has a long track record of working with federal regulators to promote product safety, honor the best science in our industry, and advance small businesses… However, the approach taken in this legislation is in conflict with these goals.”

The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild (HSCG)
They support much of the bill including “provisions that help identify ingredients that are potentially harmful, encourage transparency and give the FDA recall authority [but], we cannot support this bill as it currently exists.

Coalition of Handcrafted Entrepreneurs (COHE)
“Any new regulatory regime contemplated for the cosmetics industry should recognize the unique role and needs of the handcrafted industry, as well as the choice the industry provides for consumers.” So consumers should be able to choose unsafe products??

Handmade Cosmetic Alliance (HCA)
“subjecting small handmade cosmetic companies which operate with less than a handful of employees to onerous regulation is not only unfair and unprecedented, but creates regulatory requirements that will force businesses to close their doors, “

By the way, remember that Perry is on record as stating he does not expect the bill to pass.

Would you wear moisturizing underwear?

Are you familiar with the Spanx line of clothing? This is a line of form fitting underclothes that help to make people look and feel slimmer. They were all the rage and the inventor made a ton of money.

Well, here’s an inventor who has gone one step further. The company Skin-Eez has created some figure flattering undergarments that have micro-capsules of skin moisturizers embedded in the fabric. So while you wear them you are also moisturizing your skin.

Most impressively, the founder of Skin Eez has landed a deal with Target to launch the initial run of thigh smoothers, capri pants and boyshorts.

She says it’s “Fashion compression garments with a time-released cosmetic skin care delivery system.”

Talk about multifunctional products. They call these “cosmeto-textiles” and they are being touted as the next generation of cosmetics.

This idea isn’t exactly new and other companies have launched clothing products that were supposed to reduce cellulite, have anti-aging effects, or release sunscreen. Some of these companies have also been sued so it might make for a more skeptical consumer base.

But if all they are claiming is that it will provide some skin moisturizing they should be fine. Now whether the products do anything for moisturizing skin, I’m skeptical. It seems like you would eventually run out of product on the clothes and then you’ll have to what reapply? or buy new undergarments? They say you can reapply this spray after 10 washes but come on, that doesn’t sound like it would work. It sounds pretty complicated actually.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see if these types of products put any new pressure on traditional skin care products. I think since lotions are mostly used on places that aren’t covered by clothes there won’t really be much conflict.

This story did give me an idea though. How about special Beauty Brains hats infused with hair growth technology? Now if we could just discover some hair growth technology that works…

Fish make their own sunscreen

One of the products on our “wish list” is a sunscreen in pill form. We me may be one step closer to this because of the discovery that fish, and some birds, naturally produce a chemical in there body called gadusol which is a very effective UV absorber.

Scientists at Oregon State University are trying to copy that mechanism for use in humans by using yeast cells to reproduce the fish mechanism. They have even gone so far as to speculate that this may work in humans in pill form.

I wouldn’t celebrate just yet however because there is still a big question about safety. One of the researchers said something like “well it’s in birds and fish so it’s probably safe for humans.”  The article goes on to say however, further studies will be needed to test if and how gadusol is absorbed, distributed, and metabolised in the body to check its efficacy and safety. Still it’s exciting to think that a sunscreen pill may someday really be possible.

Is DIY perfume a good idea?

We just talked about the handcrafting Association of America wouldn’t it be cool if you could handcraft your own perfume?

I’ve heard this talked about I think as long as I’ve been in the industry. The idea is you can make a scent just exactly like you wanted by blending your own essential oils.

Most cosmetic chemist have dismissed the idea because of the complexity involved in perfume formulating. It’s deceptively difficult because of the hundreds of different components it takes to make a sophisticated,
 nuanced scent. It’s quite astonishing when you see the numbers of different materials in the different use levels required to create a full perfume that has top, middle and bottom notes.
The other big issue the instability of fragrance compounds  – these chemicals can be highly reactive with each other and you have to understand exactly what you’re putting together or it will smell very very different a few days or weeks or months later.
Of course if you just want to make yourself smell like roses or some other single note floral it’s considerably easier because you may be only mixing a couple of components.

So it hasn’t really been possible for the average consumer to play perfumer. At least not until now – we just received a press release from a company who is in fact now offering do it yourself perfumery. The company is called Uunique.

I’m concerned however about the value proposition for the consumer. It’s fairly expensive – an initial price of about $70 an ounce with the regular price about $170. It seems to me that no matter how good their software is there’s a reasonable chance you won’t like the smell of something that you formulate online. If they could do some sort of presale sample or offer a no questions asked return policy then I think it would be okay. Anyway, they certainly get points for being innovative.

Would you like to smell like burnt rubber tires?

Alright we promised to tell you at the begining of the show about the hot new fragrance for the summer. You want to know what it is? Do you?

Well according to this story NASCAR veteran Jimmie Johnson is teaming up with Sunoco to release a new cologne called…Burnt Rubber. It is a unisex eau de toilette that has a faint hint of race track smell.

So if you want to smell like a race track or you’re in an elevator and the odor suddenly transports you to the car races, this could be the product for you.

I think this is going to be huge! Who wouldn’t want to smell like burnt rubber tires. Of course. it wouldn’t be the first time I got a trend wrong. Remember when I thought those Wow Chips were going to be huge. They were going to change the potato chip industry? That didn’t quite work out.

Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dc/An_Electronic_Nose_Estimates_Odor_Pleasantness.png

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jaxmom June 30, 2015, 7:25 pm

    Love love love Blinc’s mascara (I use Amplified)-glad you mentioned them.
    I have tried so many mascaras over the years and none would stay on due to my oily skin/eyelids. Blinc stays put as long as I don’t rub my eyes and is so easy to remove-just warm water and a washcloth. Blinc looks fantastic, too-makes my lashes look longer than they are-great product!

  • Irina July 1, 2015, 5:27 am

    Hi Perry & Randy,

    Great show! As a perfume lover, perfumer and olfactory scientist I always love it when you talk smellies 😉

    It is indeed very hard to make a good fragrance, especially a functional one, lots of chemistry involved there. Most DIY perfume websites and tips are imho either a marketing trope or a really bad idea. I’ve been teaching people how to design fragrance like a pro and I love how much people appreciate such classes. Perfumery training is a rare thing due to the fragrance industry being very secretive in nature.

    In the USA there are several ‘make your own perfume’ shops, mall types and just like you suggested unless you have some kind of ‘nose’ training you won’t be making a masterpiece. In the EU such shops are not allowed as there is a lot more regulation around fragrance (and rightly so given it’s a huge gamble allergies wise).

    You made me laugh about the handcrafted guilds and such, huge in Portland I hear. Indeed mostly don’t take kindly to safety or GMP because artisan means ‘artistique’ thus the art is everything??? Very popular with the all natural crowd as well…
    You’ll find such shops all over the handmade Ebay site aka Etsy. I don’t understand people that shop there…

    (I do believe if such a bill passes small companies should get some kind of help regarding passing safety and stability assessments and such. In the EU any small business with a good business plan can apply for EU funds towards the extra costs involved in having to comply with regulation)

    And some last comments about the moisturizing spandex: maybe the occlusion does help with keeping the skin moisturized versus rubbing lotion on? Another problem with spandex is that if the skin is too moisturized, especially oily, before putting the spanks on, they will ‘roll up’. So the skin must be as dry as possible. And as you will sweat more because of the occlusion, the skin might get a bit irritated, especially on the inner thighs because there is more friction there. So to me, a spandex wearing woman, this new product does make sense.

    Thank you again for a great show, keep up the good work!
    Smell you later,

    • Randy Schueller July 1, 2015, 11:42 am

      Smell you later, indeed! Thanks for the great feedback, Irina.

  • Irina July 1, 2015, 5:35 am

    p.s. There are actually lots of guys into fragrance that love the smell of burnt rubber, just like the smell of diesel and kerosene 😉 (and bacon LOL)

  • Barbara July 1, 2015, 10:46 am

    Thanks for the info about blogs. I suspected that people were either being paid or they were made by cosmetic companies. That is why I don’t trust blogs. People don’t always tell the truth – unless it is a negative review.

    • Randy Schueller July 1, 2015, 11:42 am

      You’re welcome Barbara. It’s good to be skeptical about these things.

  • KN July 1, 2015, 1:54 pm

    “So beauty consumers should be weary of any reviews they see on beauty blogs. They could be paid for by the beauty company.”

    I’ve long been wary of reviews, but I am beginning to grow weary. #pedant #butIreallyloveyourblog

    • Randy Schueller July 1, 2015, 4:29 pm

      I think Perry’s typo is so funny that I’m just going to leave it. (Although we all know he meant “be wary.”)

  • Eileen July 2, 2015, 12:03 pm

    It’s such a simple matter to add to a review disclaimers such as “product provided by PR for consideration”, “sponsored post”, “affiliate links”, “the owner of the company is my brother” (LOL I’ve actually seen that one 🙂 ) etc. that there is really no excuse for any blog to be on the tale without being transparent about it. I don’t care if a blogger makes money or gets free products by providing reviews so long as they are honest about it and it is clear that they are getting some sort of compensation from the company involved. I’ll still read the reviews to see the swatches and get a bit more information, but I don’t for one moment assume that the reviews are unbiased. Really, nowadays reading a blog is not much different than reading a magazine. They’re rife with advertising, editor picks, 10 best lists, and product placement and so readers must be more discerning. In some cases, blogs are actually very slick professional endeavors masquerading as friendly, personal blogs. I think those are the worse offenders because it can sometimes take awhile to figure out that they are not truly independent. You think you’re reading something by a woman who shares your interest in beauty products but then you gradually begin to realize that’s she’s a professional blogger for hire. 🙁

    • Randy Schueller July 4, 2015, 9:53 am

      “The owner of the company is my brother.” LOL!

  • Ling July 13, 2015, 3:16 pm

    In the UK, beauty vloggers are supposed to mark all ads as so. Most UK vloggers mark their ads as such now, so not sure why Ruth didn’t do so. Especially since she is a well known vlogger and was probably aware of that. Maybe she was pressured to not mark it? There’s no requirement to do so in North America… yet.