Can you orgasm just from smelling mushrooms? Episode 93

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Herbal Essences has a new owner_49553199_stinkhorn_bbc_341

I have Herbal Essences on my mind because I just saw the news that Proctor and Gamble are selling the brand to Coty. That’s right according to this story P&G is selling off some of their lesser performing brands so they can focus on their better performing (or bigger) brands. They seem to be going for a less is more strategy.

Anyway, in what is rumored to be a $12 billion deal Coty will be purchasing brands like Hugo Boss perfume, Gucci, Wella and Clairol hair care plus Max Factor and Cover Girl makeup. This story says it will make Coty the world leader in perfume and hair care. I’m not sure about being the world leader in hair care though as P&G will still have Pantene and Head and Shoulders which are two of the biggest hair care brands.

So what does this mean for consumers? Usually nothing right away. However, you can expect to see the formulas of these products to change slightly.

The reason that companies change formulas is mostly to streamline costs (ergo make things less expensive).

You might wonder why a company would sell their brands.
Well, there is only so much marketing money to go around and for a lot of brands if you are not putting money into marketing you aren’t going to grow sales.

Lavender in cosmetics: good or evil?

I’d like to take a few minutes to talk about lavender. It seems like lavender is one of the more polarizing natural ingredients. On one hand it’s praised for its aromatherapeutic benefits (it supposedly helps you relax). On the other hand it’s been vilified for its potential role in gynecomastia which is a condition that causes young boys grow breasts. (By the way the study that indicated that problem has been discredited.)

But I saw two new stories about lavender – one positive and one negative – so I thought we’d comment on those today.

The negative story says that there’s a recently discovered allergen present in lavender. As you know fragrance allergens have to be listed on personal care products. In my opinion this is done very poorly because the allergens are lumped together with all the other ingredients and people really don’t understand which is which but that’s a rant for another show.

The real point is that a component of lavender, linalyl acetate, has been shown to react with oxygen and create hydroperoxides which are strongly allergenic to some people.

I love the title of the study by the way: “Air-oxidized linalyl acetate – An emerging fragrance allergen?” I’m surprised CNN didn’t pick this up. This was published in the journal Contact Dermatitis, and the authors are recommending that this chemical be added to the list of 27 allergens that have to be declared on pack.

Of course I suspect that Big Lavender is lobbying to keep it OFF that list but we’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, if you have unidentified skin allergies and you like lavender fragrance, that maybe something to look at. That’s the evil side of lavender in today’s news.

The good side of lavender, according to research published in the Netherlands, is that it can cause people to trust you more.

I think their reasoning is a bit sketchy. Basically they say it’s because people associate the scent of lavender with pleasant or relaxing environments like a garden or their grandmother’s house.

This is one of those behavioral studies that Perry loves so much. They had study subjects participate in a role playing game where they had to lend money to other people. They found that subjects in a lavender scented room were more likely to lend money to people than subjects in a peppermint scented room.

So by comparing lavender to peppermint, they conclude that lavender makes you feel more generous, that it could be helpful “for negotiations, bargaining, or building trust within groups of people.” That’s their conculsion.

My conclusion would be that peppermint makes you cranky and stingy.

I wouldn’t put a lot of stock into this research until I see this kind of study repeated about 1000 times but in the interest of balanced reporting now you’ve heard both the good and evil of lavender.

Does dandruff make you anti-social?

Speaking of Head and Shoulders, here’s a story about a new survey that reveals one third of people avoid social situations as a result of psychological distress caused by dandruff.

The survey also found the 73% of respondents believe that dandruff makes them less attractive.

One in five reported that the condition resulted in bullying and verbal abuse directed at the sufferer. Wow.

While the survey was conducted by the British Skin Foundation, guess who was one of the main sponsors? Head & Shoulders.

That doesn’t mean much except that they are going to highlight the results that will make people think it’s important to use anti-dandruff shampoos. Coincidentally P&G also announced that they have results from a study which shows that it’s possible to be dandruff free if you regularly use Head and Shoulders.

It’s not a cure for dandruff but it is an effective treatment. Of course, anti-dandruff products are regulated by the FDA so pretty much all of them work equally well for fighting dandruff. The Head and Shoulders product may do a better job than many for leaving your hair feeling nice and manageable but all anti-dandruff products will stop dandruff.

Is dark chocolate good for weight loss?

Chocolate is another one of those ingredients that we desperately want to have some sort of beauty benefit. You may have seen the stories about chocolate being a good antioxidant for example. That one has been around for several years. But there’s a more recent study that says dark chocolate actually helps with weight loss. Did you see this?

Yeah well calm down because it turns out the entire study was a hoax. But I think it was a well intended hoax. Let me explain.

This whole thing was a put on by a researcher who was sick and tired of the media providing sloppy, inaccurate coverage of scientific studies.

This is a common theme on our show as well. How many times have we complained about studies that are really too small to be able to draw a conclusion from or studies that are poorly designed without controls or they have inadequate statistical analysis.

This guy decided to do something about it so he set up a fake research organization and then recruited 16 people to test this hypothesis that eating dark chocolate accelerates weight loss. He divided those 16 people into three different groups by gender: low-carb diet, that diet plus 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate every day, and a control group who changed nothing, which means he only had a couple of people in each sub group.

According to his data, all of the groups on the diet lost five pounds, but the group that ate chocolate lost 10 percent of the weight faster.

Somehow he managed to have at least one journal publish his paper. And of course once a journal published it then the media outlets picked up the story which is why you may have seen it in the press.

His point in doing this was not to be malicious but it’s to point out why you need to look at everything with a skeptical eye. Responsible journals won’t accept studies with less than 30 subjects per group so clearly the way the study was designed it should not have been published in the first place.

It’s sad but not surprising to see reporters would jump all over a headline like “Science proves chocolate makes you lose weight.”

The problem is it takes time to do that kind of reading and in this fast-paced disposable headline culture not very many people are going to take the time to read behind the scenes. Which is why the Beauty Brains are here for you.

Dyeing your armpit your hair is a thing

Here’s a new beauty trend I can’t wait to try…dyeing your arm pit hair. According to the hard hitting news website there’s a new beauty trend that is sweeping the country…rainbow colored arm pit hair dying. You know this crazy trend is catching on because it’s all over Tumblr and YouTube.

Ya know you don’t even have to have hair to participate apparently. the product Manic Panic which is what a lot of people use is able to stain your skin so you can just color your armpit skin.

I know I was just saying to myself, what am I going to do with this uninteresting, unruly, arm pit hair? If the folks at Manic Panic want to send a product sample to the Beauty Brains headquarters, I’d be happy to give it a go.

Do you believe in magic cheese?

A cosmetic scam in Chile has bilked people out of about $15 million. Apparently this woman, whom the authorities call “Madame Gil,” must have heard that story that we reported on last year about cheese having antiaging properties. Remember that? Researchers found that certain types of bleu cheese have anti-inflammatory properties. Now I’m not suggesting she heard about it on our show but somehow she got the idea to sell anti-aging kits based on this cheese. For about $400 you’d get this special powder that you mix with milk and ferment it to create this magic anti-aging cheese.

The only problem is she got the money from investors and I guess even for some sales and then never delivered the magic cheese kits. Investigators confirmed it was a scam when they found the cheese rotting in a Chilean warehouse.

So the moral of the story is don’t believe in magic cheese in fact don’t believe in any beauty ingredient that sounds too good to be true. Do some research, and check with MULTIPLE sources before spending a lot of money on something that makes such outrageous claims.

Can you orgasm just by smelling mushrooms?

Alright, here is the story you’ve been waiting for. Can an orgasm be caused by the scent of a mushroom?

Well, can you believe that there is a study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms which suggests that it may be true? It was a study titled “Spontaneous female orgasms triggered by smell of a newly found tropical Dictyphora species.”

According to a 2001 publication the smell of fresh fungus can trigger spontaneous orgasms in human females. In the study, they tested 16 women and found that 6 of them had orgasms while smelling the mushroom fruit body and the other ten, experience physiological changes such as increased heart rate.

The researchers suggest that the hormone-like compounds present in the odor of the mushroom may have some similarity to human neurotransmitters released in females during sexual activity.

Incidentally, the odor had no effect on the 20 men that were tested.

This makes me wonder, why isn’t this a fragrance yet?

I’m skeptical but look for a mushroom perfume coming soon.

How to be happy

Hey Randy, I just finished listening to a book called The Happiness Advantage. It has 7 principles to help make yourself more happy. It was quite good and the main thing I came away with was that every day I need to write down 3 things that make me happy. So for today…

1. I’m happy that I get to record an enjoyable podcast with my good pal Randy Schueller

2. I’m happy my bean plants are growing strong and healthy.

3. I’m happy that hundreds of people listening to the sound of my voice right now are going to go out and buy our book It’s Ok to have Lead in your Lipstick

But you know what? I didn’t actually read this happiness book. I listened to it. Listening to books is a great way to experience them while your on the go or doing something else. I got through the whole Happiness Advantage book during my trip to Philadelphia.

Now the Beauty Brains have teamed up with to offer a deal to our listeners. Right now you can Download a Free Audiobook and support our show by going to

You can get the Happiness Advantage for free or most any other book.

You’ll get a free audio book and a 30-day trial. You can cancel at any time.

So go to today.

iTunes Reviews

Roniroxx says…So much knowledge. They have saved me so much money. Very smart and fun to listen to!!

Spaceman from the UK says…
I just love listening to these guys! The way they present the facts is always engaging and I giggle out loud at their humour! I’m not ashamed to admit “The Beauty Brains” is my new addiction!

Jacs2806 also from the US says
This podcast has taught me so much of the ‘behind the scenes’ of the beauty industry. A must listen for anyone who wants to really know what they are buying. However please can you add a overview on how cosmetics are regulated in the rest of the world other than America please?