What’s the best way to get rid of bed head? Episode 122

Does this bed head product really work?Lautrec_in_bed_1893

Sasha asks…Can Ma Cherie Perfect Shower fix your bed better than regular water? Is this worth the money or is it nothing more than water mixed with leave in conditioner?

Let’s begin by talking about what causes bed head. First, you have to realize that there are two different kinds of bonds that control the shape of your hair. There are the disulfide bonds – these are very strong chemical bonds (kind of like the rungs of a ladder that keep the proteins in your hair locked in shape. These are very tough to break – think relaxer or straightening treatment. Then there are hydrogen bonds – these are very weak bond that only temporarily affect the shape of your hair. As soon as your hair comes in contact with water, these hydrogen bonds are broken. As you sleep your head sweats and the moisture is absorbed by your hair. Then, as you toss and turn your hair is twisted and pushed into a jumble of fibers. Once, the sweat dries, new hydrogen bonds are formed and your hair is “locked” into this new configuration.
Note that this is especially problematic if you have short hair because long hair is less effected. Partly because it has more weight to counter act the effect and partly because only the hair close to the scalp is directly in contact with all that sweat.

Fortunately, this problem is easy to fix – as soon as your hair comes in contact with water again the hydrogen bonds will reset and your hair will return to it’s normal shape. So if you wash your hair in the morning this isn’t a problem at all. BUT if you don’t wash your hair what do you do? You can just wet your hair with water but here’s the problem with that – hair is fairly hydrophobic (especially if it’s oily) so you really have to saturate your hair with water to over come the hydrogen bonds. And if you’re going to get your hair THAT we you might as well wash it.

That’s where these anti-bed head products come in – they facilitate the process of wetting your hair with as little water as possible so you can control the shape without having to spend a lot of time drying your hair. THAT’S how these products are better than just plain water.

How do they do this? They reduce the surface tension of the hair so it wets faster. This Ma Cherie product does that by using alcohol (and other ingredients – see below.)


Water, alcohol, glycerin, diphenylsiloxy phenyltrimethicone, PEF/PPG-14/7 dimethyl urea, sodium lactate, steartimonium chloride, hydroxyethyl urea, lactic acid, inositol, honey, wine extract, propylene glycol, PEG-10 dimethicone, PEG-20 glyceryl isostearate, dimethicone, isopropyl alcohol, ammonium lactate, butylene glycol, tocopherol, fragrance.

I do see two issues with this product however: and those are: how efficiently it works and how convenient it is to use. I should mention this is actually a Shiseido product. It sells for about $15 US for 250 mls.

First, like I said, it contains alcohol (ethanol) that will help lower the surface tension of hair. But just from looking at the ingredients it appears to be a bit over-engineered. 5 or 6 different conditioning agents is probably overkill even when used at low levels. Glycerin can make hair sticky. It should do a pretty good job of getting rid of bed head some people may find it leaves too much stuff in your hair it leaves it feeling weighed down.

I expect this will work better than plain water because of the alcohol and other ingredients that will help lower the surface tension of hair. I personally think this kind of product is a great idea!

Second, the product comes in a a pump bottle with a trigger sprayer – never understood how you spray the back of your head with a dispenser like that. Remember that you have to pretty much saturate your hair for this to work – wet it pretty well. Doing that with a spray seems like a) you’ll use a lot of product and b) the overspray and dripping will be messy.

If you’re interested in this kind of product you might consider another version. You can formulate products like this using a small amount of a very mild surfactant will do a good job of breaking the hydrogen bonds and probably won’t leave as much gunk in your hair. Plus, it can be delivered from a foam dispensing pump which is much easier to apply than a spray. Less mess and fuss. There are a few on the market.

Does Beverly Hills MD really lift and sculpt your face?

PW Vancouver says…I recently watched a long infomercial online by Beverly Hills MD and was convinced to buy their lift and firm sculpting cream. I liked it a lot, but I don’t know if it “lifted” so much. I bought the product because their sales pitch focused on their proprietary ingredients and technology. Is it true or do other manufacturers use the same things?

First of all, no cream will truly “lift and sculpt” your face so beware of products that imply that they do. Having said that, let’s look at the claims they make:

“Beverly Hills MD Lift + Firm Sculpting Cream’s exclusive formula contains select natural extracts and high-tech amino acids that work together to give skin a firmer, more lifted look. When combined, these active ingredients form a complex that can significantly reducing the appearance of loose, sagging skin by enhancing the skin’s internal support structure.”

You’ll note that they actually say the product will give your skin a more lifted LOOK. This is just another appearance claim which is common for cosmetics.
What about the ingredients? Basically this is a moisturizing cream with some peptides (Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester, Trifluoroacetyl Tripeptide.) There are plenty of other peptide containing creams on the market.

The website says this product is different because it doesn’t use “harsh” ingredients, it doesn’t rely on collagen and elastin which don’t penetrate skin, and it “enhances skin’s support structure by facilitating its natural rebuilding process, providing gentle results that last.” (The peptides again.) That doesn’t really sound all that different to me.

I couldn’t find any clinical test data that might indicate how the product performs although the website does include before and after pictures (which don’t prove anything by themselves.)
At $120 per bottle this stuff isn’t cheap! I don’t see anything that would indicate it’s worth that much but that, of course, is up to you. If you like it and can afford it, then go for it but I wouldn’t recommend any spend so much money on this product.

Ingredients for Beverly Hills MD Lift and Firm Sculpting Cream
Water, Aloe Vera Butter (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil + Aloe Vera Extract), Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester, Isononyl Isononanoate, Sorbitan Laurate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Lecithin (Phospholipids Derived From Soy), Linum Usitatissimim Seed (Linseed) Extract, Glycerin, Cyathea Cumingi (Tree Fern) Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Silk, Trifluoroacetyl Tripeptide, PVM/MA Copolymer, Dextran, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Extract, Allantoin, Camellia Sinesis (Green Tea) Extract, Caviar extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Copper Gluconate, Magnesium Aspartate, Symphytum Officinale Extract, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance (Parfum).

Egg in skin care

Priyasha asks…I just came across this article about Korean skincare trends. A lot of these products have egg-derived ingredients. Does egg actually have any benefit when applied topically to the skin or is this a marketing gimmick? Could a DIY egg mask be just as effective?

We’ve written about eggs but I don’t think they come up on the podcast before. Many people believe that an egg facial mask will get rid of wrinkles. That’s a myth that got its start because eggs contain albumin protein which is a good film former. This film makes skin skin temporarily feel tighter which may make you THINK your wrinkles have been reduced.

But, despite this myth, it turns out that eggs really do contain a chemical that’s quite good for your skin: cholesterol. That’s right the same waxy gunk that can clog your arteries is actually one of the main natural moisturizing agents in skin. So should we skip the expensive skin lotions and just rub egg on our faces? Well it’s not quite that simple. Applying eggs directly to your skin is not a good idea for several reasons:

  1. They’re messy. Eggs have that… well… “eggy” consistency that makes them unpleasant to spread on skin. They’re just not as aesthetically nice as a well formulated moisturizing product.
  2. Eggs are prone to spoilage. I seriously doubt if anyone out there once their face to smell like rotten eggs. (Although some dandruff shampoos will make your hair smell like rotten eggs.)
  3. Cholesterol is only one component of the egg so you have to put quite a bit on your face to gain a significant benefit.
  4. And lastly some people have an allergy to the proteins contained in eggs which would make applying them to their face potentially risky.

I have seen that some cosmetic suppliers offer an egg extract which captures just the good stuff. This ingredient is known as “egg oil” and it’s a concentrated version so there’s plenty of cholesterol to do its moisturizing job. And it doesn’t contain any of the other eggy ingredients which makes it a sticky mess and prone to spoilage. Finally, it is stripped of the proteins that can cause some people to have an allergic response. But why not just add cholesterol at that point?

Should I worry about endocrine disruptors in my skin care?

Suzanne asked…What do I tell my client who insists that any ingredient in product that has been reported to have an endocrine disruptive effect will cause her to have hormonal symptoms. Her argument has been that hormone replacement therapy is often given in a topical cream for delivery into the bloodstream. Please help me answer this!

We have talked about endocrine disruptors before on the show. (Episode 39) We also pointed out that, for the most part, fear of endocrine disruptors in cosmetics is overblown. But, regardless of the science, if your client is that concerned about having “hormonal symptoms” maybe you shouldn’t try to convince her otherwise. I would hate to see her develop some sort of medical condition that she then blames you for.

Having said that, here’s how I would explain it to someone.

In the case of cosmetics you’re applying LOW levels (a few tenths of a percent) of chemicals that don’t penetrate skin very well and that MAY mimic the effect of hormones to disrupt the endocrine system.
In the case of a hormone replacement cream you’re applying HIGH levels (2% or more ) of a pure hormone that DOES penetrate the skin and which DIRECTLY affects the endocrine system.
If cosmetics caused the same type of hormonal effects as a drug cream wouldn’t that be obvious to medical professionals by now?

Why are the conditioners in hair coloring kits so good?

The next question comes to us from our good friends at Allure magazine. They recently asked me about the conditioners in hair coloring kits. you know how you’ll get a little tube of intensive conditioner you’re supposed to use after you color your hair? Well, apparently some people are raving about them – to the point where they’re hoarding these little samples. So, allure wanted to know what’s so special about the formula – specifically they asked me about Nice and Easy CC Colossal Conditioning Gloss.

I’ll post the full ingredient list in the show notes but I think the “magic” of this product is the BIS-HYDROXY/METHOXY AMODIMETHICONE (not to be confused with it’s cousin “regular” amodimethicone.) I say this for two reasons:

First, the “bis” version is rated as a more intensive conditioning agent by the manufacturer. (Its primary benefit is to retain color, especially red shades.)
Second, It looks like this product is using it in the recommended range of 1 to 3% (maybe higher?) given that it’s the first ingredient
after water and before stearyl alcohol.
Most conditioners don’t use such an intensive conditioning agent at such a high level. By the way, not all hair coloring kit conditioners are that special. Some are just regular conditioners that are thickened up. You have to look at the ingredient of each one.

I don’t know if you’d want to use this as your everyday conditioner because it might be a bit too heavy but for hair that’s been damaged by chemical processing it should be quite good.

Nice and Easy CC Colossal Conditioning Gloss

Can I be allergic to goat milk soap?

J asks…Can goat’s milk soap cause an allergic reaction?

According to the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology, yes, this may a problem. Milk, not only goats milk but cows milk as well, contains proteins that some people can become allergic to. A study published in the Journal of allergy and clinical immunology reported on a case where this exact problem occurred.

A woman experienced severe anaphylaxis immediately after eating a salad containing goat’s cheese. She was not previously allergic to goat milk but her doctor discovered she had been using a moisturizing cream with goat milk that had over time made her skin increasingly itchy and irritated. Blood tests confirmed that she had high levels of allergy antibodies to goat’s milk. And even more important, they were able to directly show that the goat milk proteins in the moisturizer was what triggered the response. The hypothesis is that when these allergens are applied to skin that is somehow damaged the allergens can penetrate deep enough for the body to mount a defense against them and you can become sensitized. So yes it appears that applying a skin lotion which contains skin allergens like milk can lead to the development of food allergies.

The good news, if there is good news here, is that you don’t have to worry about lactose intolerance. That works by an entirely different mechanism.