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Randy was interviewed on a radio program called “American Made Beauty” which is run by Patty Schmucker, who’s been in the industry for over 35 years. She interviews different experts to give a behinds the scenes look at the beauty biz. And she wanted to hear all about the Beauty Brains! It was fun and here’s a link to the Beauty Brains on American Made Beauty where you can listen to the show for yourself. We talked about…
- What is Beauty Brains and why is our message important
- Funniest product claims and wacky ingredients
- Upcoming innovation for cosmetic chemistry
- We even talked about the 3 Kligman questions which we use to determine if anti-aging ingredients really work
Do salon products use higher quality ingredients?
Becky asks…I was once told that there is difference in quality level in the ingredients used in salon brands vs grocery store brands. Is this true?
This question comes up a lot – I think the myth that salon brands use better quality ingredients was probably started by someone selling salon products. We used to just hear that “salon products use better ingredients” but people have gotten savvier about reading the back of the package, and now they realize that the ingredient lists for salon products look a lot like the ingredient lists for mass market brands.
So the myth has evolved to be essentially what Becky is saying…the ingredients may LOOK the same but the salon products actually use a higher quality version of the ingredient that happens to look the same on on the label. This isn’t true either.
How do we know that? Because we spend the last 20+ years buying hair care ingredients from the biggest suppliers in the beauty industry for both grocery store and salon brands. They do NOT have a different level of quality for salon ingredients. That’s not to say that all products are alike – you can use BETTER ingredients. But the notion that the ingredient list can look identical and the only difference lies in the “quality level” of the ingredient itself is simply not true.
If you think about it, even the ice cream example that Becky used doesn’t completely hold up. It’s true that “Vanilla extract” does have different quality levels depending on whether it’s made directly from vanilla beans or from vanilla flavoring. But the ingredient list for cheap ice milk would list “milk” whereas the list for expensive Haagan-Dazs ice cream would show “cream.” And of course, “eggs” would be the same across both products. So even in food products the ingredient lists could look different.
Can you exfoliate your feet with Listerene and vinegar?
Liz asks…DIY recipes on Pinterest say to mix equal parts Listerine, vinegar, and water, and use it as a foot soak. After 15 minutes, you can wipe your feet with a washcloth to remove calluses. The crazy part is it actually works! I tried it out without getting any irritation (and am really hoping it’s not bad for me!). I’d love to get your take on the DIY, including: 1. Why does the mixture help remove calluses, and which ingredients make this recipe work? 2. Why do you need both Listerine and vinegar? Would one remove calluses on it’s own, or does the combination do something special? 3. Are there potential negative side effects, or any reason not to try this out?
To be honest I’m surprised this works because the active ingredients are present at such low concentrations but here’s how it theoretically COULD work: Vinegar is made of diluted acetic acid (about 3 to 9%). Concentrated acetic acid is a known keralytic agent (in other words, it can loosen dead skin cells.) Listerine contains benzoic acid which, at high enough concentrations, is also a keralytic agent. However, it’s used in mouthwash at very low levels to help control pH. Listerine also contains alcohol which could help these ingredients penetrate skin.
So theoretically there’s a mechanism but again I’m surprised if it really provides much benefit.
Again why would you use a hack like this when proven products are available for reasonable cost that are optimized to work.
What does the “slash” mean in a cosmetic ingredient list?
Pilgrim asks…When an ingredient is listed with forward slashes, does that mean it was whichever ingredient was available for the manufacturer at the time? For example, “aqua/water/eau” is just H2O and not one choice of the three. But an ingredient what about “styrene/acrylates/ammonium methacrylate copolymer?” Would those be 3 different options and the manufacturer could use whichever version was available? Or, like H2O, is it just different name for the same compound? Or, if it is a slightly different ingredient, would it affect the end result product differently?
It’s confusing because the slash is used for different reasons. In the case of aqua/water/eau the slash means the ingredient name is aqua or water or eau. In the case of styrene/acrylates/ammonium methacrylate copolymer the slash means the copolymer is made from styrene and acrylates and ammonium methacrylate.
Samantha from scotland says…I’ve saved so much money and become so much more informed thanks to this podcast. The hosts are endearing, smart, and nerdy- a perfect combination!
Unitedstates35 says…Love your podcast and I look forward to every new episode that comes available. I must say that I have to fast forward a lot to get to hear you talk about the show’s title 😉 ( sorry… I do love your show but …) however once you get to the information and you get to talk about the title of the podcast, it’s amazing and informative. PS. Can you please talk about this trend of dry oils and facial oils in general.
Siouxzilla says…I’m so glad I found this podcast. I have worked in the beauty industry for several years and have always been curious about the inner workings of products. I am also cynical when it comes to product claims. Thank you for keeping it real! P. S. My question would be why is animal testing still being done in this day and age? Why doesn’t every company use in vitro testing?
Is it dangerous to use 20 year old makeup?
Margaux asks…Is it okay to use 20 year old makeup?
But here’s the deal – you’re not doing any “secret harm” to yourself by using old makeup. It’s not like years from now you’ll notice that you have more wrinkles or something because you used expired cosmetics.
BUT the problem is that you do use an old product that has a compromised preservative system, and that product has become contaminated with bacteria, then you could open yourself to infections of your skin, your eyes, or even your gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes that kind of contamination will be obvious because of appearance or odor but other times it’s not.
This depends on the product type – she mentioned lip gloss. That’s an issue. Mascara is certainly problematic for eye infections. Powdered products may be less of an issue.
Why do facial products come in such small bottles?
Anita Porpoise… I was curious if there was any chemical reason for why facial moisturizers come in small (small being anything < 6oz) bottles. My boyfriend wants to start using a facial moisturizer with an SPF, but believes that the small bottle with the high price is all marketing and profit driven. He’s seen reasonably priced facial lotions that get expensive when SPF is added. I realize that this might be more of a marketing question, but any insight you can offer would be helpful.
The answer is part science and part marketing. Some anti-aging ingredients (like UV absorbers, retinol, and niacinamide to name a few) are expensive. Selling lotions with these ingredients in small bottles helps keep the cost down.
On the other hand, there’s lots of money to be made in an industry where many people believe that “more expensive is better.” If a special anti-aging potion is sold in a small, yet expensive, bottle it MUST be great, right? (The answer is not necessarily.)
Tell your boyfriend he needs to…
- Identify what benefits he’s looking for. (Just moisturizing? Moisturizing with SFP? Or is he trying to get rid of existing wrinkles.?)
- Look for ingredients that are proven to deliver those benefits.
- Shop for products from reputable companies which contain those ingredients until he finds one he likes and can afford.
How does John Frieda Go Blonder shampoo lighten hair?
Emma says..While shopping the hair care aisle I was intrigued by the new John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder line. The shampoo and conditioner bottles claim to make hair two shades lighter. At first I assumed that the shampoo and conditioner would be like a ‘bleach wash’ (a hairstylist technique of lightening hair by mixing powder bleach and developer with shampoo). But unlike other comparable products that gradually lighten hair (Sun In or L’Oreal Sunkiss Casting Jelly) the shampoo and conditioner contain neither ammonia nor hydrogen peroxide. How can John Frieda make such claims without including bleaching agents?
In her email, Emma gave us ingredient lists for all the products she asked about (see below.) She even went so far as to speculate what bleaching agents the product COULD be using to make it really effective. She noted that none of the products contained “standard” bleaching agents like peroxide based (hydrogen peroxide, sodium percarbonate, sodium perborate), chlorine based (sodium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite, chlorine dioxide), or reducing (sodium hydrosulfite). So she REALLY did her homework and she was genuinely puzzled how the product could claim to lighten hair. Let’s take a closer look at that claim, shall we? You’ll see that this is deceptively simple.
Here are the claims from the bottle and/or the website
- Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo and Conditioner gradually lighten blonde hair for a year-round sun-kissed look while restoring moisture and healthy softness.
- The formula, containing a natural Lightening Complex, gently reduces the color pigments in the hair Ammonia and peroxide-free
- The claim on the front of the shampoo bottle says “Now 2 shades lighter*”
The “*” points you to the back of the bottle where they inform you that you have to use the shampoo, conditioner and lightening spray to achieve those results. And guess what? The lightening spray contains HYDROGEN PEROXIDE. It seems more than a little shifty to put that claim on the shampoo bottle (which tells you that the shampoo is ammonia and peroxide free!) and then make you use a peroxide containing product to get the promised results. But that’s how it works!
Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo
WATER, SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE, SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE, LACTIC ACID, GLYCOL DISTEARATE, CETYL ALCOHOL, BETAINE, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA (MATRICARIA) FLOWER EXTRACT, CITRUS MEDICA LIMONUM (LEMON) PEEL EXTRACT, CURCUMA LONGA (TURMERIC) ROOT EXTRACT, CROCUS SATIVUS FLOWER EXTRACT, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED EXTRACT, VITIS VINIFERA (GRAPE) JUICE EXTRACT, VITIS VINIFERA (GRAPE) SEED EXTRACT, GLYCERIN, BENZYL ALCOHOL, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, GUAR HYDROXYPROPYLTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, COCAMIDE MEA, PEG-40 HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, GLYCINE, ALCOHOL, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, SODIUM CHLORIDE, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, SODIUM XYLENESULFONATE, MALIC ACID, TOCOPHEROL, DISODIUM EDTA, METHYLCHLOROISOTHIAZOLINONE, METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE, FRAGRANCE, YELLOW 10 Go Blonder Lightening Conditioner WATER, GLYCERIN, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, DIMETHICONE, BEHENTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, FRAGRANCE, DIMETHICONOL, PEG-14M, AMODIMETHICONE, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, DIAZOLIDINYL UREA, TRIDECETH-12, GLYCINE, MALIC ACID, CETRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, YELLOW 5, BENZYL ALCOHOL, LACTIC ACID, IODOPROPYNYL BUTYLCARBAMATE, VITIS VINIFERA (GRAPE) JUICE EXTRACT, ALCOHOL, CITRUS MEDICA LIMONUM (LEMON) PEEL EXTRACT, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED EXTRACT, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA (MATRICARIA) FLOWER EXTRACT, TOCOPHEROL, PEG-40 HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL, VITIS VINIFERA (GRAPE) SEED EXTRACT
Go Blonder Lightening Spray
Water, Hydrogen Peroxide, Polysorbate 20, Disodium Phosphate, Phosphoric Acid, Fragrance, VP, VA Copolymer, Polyquaternium-47, Polyquaternium-55, Propylene Glycol, Ext. Violet 2, Vitis Vinifera Juice Extract (Grape), Chamomilla Recuitita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum Peel Extract (Lemon), Helianthus Annuus Seed Extract (Sunflower), Glycerin, Alcohol, Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract (Grape), Tocopherol, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil