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Are beauty products from Amazon the real thing? Episode 164

Today, we bring you a special Beauty Brains episode featuring Sarah Bellum.  Randy is on vacation.

We answer a few question.

About beauty products on Amazon

cejxn19 asks – Hi Guys, I’ve heard some horror stories of people buying expired or knock off beauty products on amazon. Is there any good way to tell if a product is legit other than trial and error?

About the K-Beauty product craze

shar037 says – Hi! I am fascinated with the whole K Beauty craze. With ingredients like Snail Mucen (goo), bee venom, sheep placenta…my curiosity is peaked. Not to mention the fact that most K Beauty routines consists of at least 10 steps! Is there any validity to the use of ingredients like these? Are 10 steps better than 3?

About diluting shampoos

Dash says – I’ve read quite a few times now about people diluting their shampoo with water before using it. The ratio varies, but it’s roughly 1 part shampoo to 5 parts water. Does this seem like a good, hair-protective idea? Or would it simply not clean as well?

Beauty Science Story:



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sim Tours September 29, 2017, 4:24 pm

    I have to disagree with your host on the fenty beauty. I think it is revolutionary for a company to launch with 40 shades that cater to all skin tones. The fact that the formula seems to be a standard formula tells me that other companies should have and could have done the same but they didn’t. I am personally sick of only have to choose between Mac and Lancome for foundation because everyone else’s foundation run incredibly red in the one maybe two deep tones they carry. Other than that, love the shows.

    • j October 2, 2017, 9:29 am

      Estee DW foundation has 50 shades. Fenty brings nothing new to the table

      • yuki October 3, 2017, 4:12 pm

        but did they launch with 50 shades though? because fenty is apparently going to add even more shades. and even though the range of shades is nothing new it is quite rare to have that many shades for POC instead of 30 shades of beige out of 40. also I feel like many brands might have many shades but with the wrong undertones and can still look super unflattering on the skin.

        • Miki October 13, 2017, 1:21 pm

          I have to agree. What a pita for ladies of darker skin colors! I have light skin so I consider myself lucky to not have to to fight to find shades. But I always notice how limited the shades are in the darker range! I honestly don’t know why companies act as if dark skin tones don’t exist. Why is that … is it that they’re ignorant, or is it tough to formulate dark pigments??
          Also, Clinique has a good range of colors, and quality formulas. But I don’t really know how dark their shades go.

          • admin October 18, 2017, 9:04 am

            It is not a technology problem. Formulating dark pigments is not especially difficult.

            The most likely reason that companies don’t make more tone colors is because they don’t sell as well. Companies strive to make as few products as possible for the most number of people. When manufacturing you have to create a minimum number of products of anything you make. This costs money. It makes less economical sense to make lots of shades. You can make 1 product that meets the needs of 70% of the market or you can make 5 products that meet the needs of 100% of the market. It costs less for you to launch with less products. It’s also less risky. This is why you don’t see a lot of different shades available from new companies. Fenty has enough money up front so they can take a risk with a lot of shades. Time will tell if their strategy works.

  • Maritsabel September 29, 2017, 10:41 pm

    I felt Ms. Bellum was rather tone deaf about the Fenty beauty line. I know you take a scientific approach to reviewing products, but one of the main reasons the foundation has made a big stir is the 40 shades that takes into account pigment undertones, particularly for darker women. Bellum’s dismissive tone was a real turn off, had me skipping the rest of the podcast.

    • admin October 18, 2017, 8:49 am

      People who have been working in the cosmetic industry for a long time have seen launches like this so they have a different perspective on it than consumers.

      • TenthMuse October 24, 2017, 1:37 pm

        I have never seen a launch like this. Color matching is one of the principle technologies that a foundation offers. This is a technology that many people of European descent take for granted. While Cover FX, MAC, Lancome, Estee Lauder & Make Up For Ever offer color technologies in their foundation lines that are inclusive, I don’t believe any of them launched their foundation lines with 40 shades. However, if my information is incorrect, I am very open to being corrected.

        In terms of the economics of inclusivity in the cosmetics industry, early financial indications suggest that Fenty Beauty has not only challenged the predominant ideology which suggests that people of color will not buy make up, it has proven that people of color will buy make up (a lot of it), and that the industry’s conscious or unconscious unwillingness to serve consumers of color likely has little to do with financial concerns.

        • Jessica November 16, 2017, 9:09 am

          It has everything to do with financial concerns. In the U.S., there are around 13% population of black people. Half of them are women. Now take out children and women who don’t wear foundation and you have a very small population of dark foundation wearers. I still find it asinine that big companies do not make more dark shades because they clearly have the money to do so, but these corporations are all about making top dollar and making fewer colors for a small population makes them more money because there is less product not sold. It’s ridiculous and I wish they would make more dark colors, but it’s all about money.

  • Joanna October 19, 2017, 6:31 am

    I think the reason for diluting shampoos in this ratio is to use them with a foaming pump (I have seen a few bloggers do it). The reasoning behind it is to use less friction when you distribute the detergent over the hair. Regular way requires massaging scalp to create foam and this method with premade foam creates fewer tangles.

    • Janel Schick July 6, 2018, 11:31 am

      Another reason for diluting shampoos/soaps would be because some people have clean water filtration systems in their homes and as much soap is not needed. (Many soaps/shampoos/detergents contain chemicals that help break down hard water.)

  • Chris November 29, 2017, 8:01 am

    I knew it! Always had a suspicion that perry and Sara are married and I was right!

  • Ellen January 16, 2018, 6:13 am

    I love this show but I wasn’t super impressed by this episode.

    1. Yet another person pointing out that Fenty Beauty’s shade range is more revolutionary than was discussed. One thing no one has mentioned is actual distribution of the full shades. Sephora essentially agreed to supply the full shade range to all Sephoras. This is not typical even for companies who have committed to inclusive ranges. I’ve been to many make up counters who have extensive shade ranges and the darker tones are not routinely stocked. They are happy to order it in for you but they often don’t even have samples or testers there.

    2. The Korean beauty discussion seemed a bit flippant! How is “well we can’t be bothered to use ten steps” actually an answer? What, again, the show seemed to miss is that K Beauty’s central claim is that isolating out almost each active ingredient and applying that one ingredient in a way designed to get maximum effect is theoretically better than creating one product with multiple uses like a western face cream. (Think about Olay – fights 8 signs of aging v Korean steps where every single step generally does ONE thing) Now, I don’t know if this is true (!) but that’s what I wanted to hear discussed.

    So for e.g. Is it better to cleanse and then apply a cream with tons of active ingredients OR cleanse and then put one active ingredient on a mask for 10 minutes, then rinse with another active ingredient, then wipe with a pH balancing wipe to then apply a serum? Does it matter? Does it work better?

    It’s an interesting question but seemed totally missed.

  • School Nurse May 22, 2018, 7:19 pm

    Heyhey!! Reader since 2009, please keep it up! I can not get enough of ingredient/beauty myth de-bunking!

    I keep having push-back with a parent over his child’s re-curring eye puffiness (child touches everything and rubs his eyes a LOT, application of allergy eye drops aren’t making this kid’s conjuctiva any less inflamed and the doctor’s notes keep returning with pink eye, go figure). He keeps insisting his child is allergic to coconuts and coconuts are in everything. Are coconut derivatives really in everything? What are the different names for coconut derivatives, or, how do I search for these on the internet without being led to some stupid, unverified InfoWars-like source?

    Thank you!

    • Perry Romanowski February 26, 2019, 10:29 am

      Thanks for being a long time fan. Coconut oil is the starting material for a lot of things but not as much as wheat, oats, nuts…etc. Most short chain fatty acids can be obtained from coconut oil so things like Lauric Acid, Stearic acid, and anything with “coco” in the name. But if your partner things the child has an allergy it can be easily determined by getting checked by a doctor.

  • Rishab September 3, 2018, 2:48 am

    Thanks for sharing this stuff with us!

  • ShivaD September 9, 2018, 7:38 am

    I will NEVER buy beauty products on Amazon or any other platform like that. Just seems sketchy and I don’t trust these sellers. I like to go to the companies website and see if they list authorized retailers, which most do, and I have yet to see Amazon listed. Even Target and CVS are suspect. If the price is well below I also get suspicious. It might be legit but I don’t want to take the risk.