Can I use a facial cleanser as a shampoo? Episode 212


Beauty Questions covered

We have a lot of beauty questions to answer today, including:

  • What are the best facial moisturizers for sensitive skin?
  • Is there a big difference between facial cleansers and shampoo?
  • Will castor oil help your hair grow?
  • How does someone become a cosmetic chemist? (Audio)

Beauty Science News

How is the spread of the coronavirus affecting the beauty industry?

You can’t turn on any news channel without hearing about the coronavirus, and that includes the beauty news! The coronavirus is doing more to the beauty industry than impacting stocks; supply chains for all aspects of the beauty industry have been impacted. There are packaging delays and raw material shortages. L’Oreal has said their in store foot print has slowed down, but e-commerce is still thriving as people are looking to avoid crowded places like malls. Additionally, many trade shows have been post-poned or cancelled.

Should you make your own hand sanitizer?  Alcohol & Aloe Vera

No.  You need 60% alcohol. Need humectants that will help alcohol stay on skin longer.  Not a great idea Most important – wash hands with soap and water.

Beauty Questions

Helene on Instagram asks, what are the best facial moisturizers for sensitive skin? Thanks!! Love the podcast!

Sensitive skin is a lay term that people typically use to diagnose their own skin when it becomes easily irritated. This skin can display a reaction as a result of reduced tolerance to an environmental exposure, such as the sun or a cosmetic product. The challenge with the terminology is that there isn’t really a definition, and it’s important you work with your dermatologist to identify which environmental factors cause redness, itchiness, dryness, rashes or breakouts. 

That being said, if your skin is reactive to cosmetic products, it’s important to pinpoint which type of ingredient is causing the sensitivity. We’ve mentioned on the podcast before that many fragrances, natural plant extracts and certain preservatives can be irritating to the skin. We can’t forget the JAMA editorial that Drs. Rubin and Brod penned in September 2019 that dermatologists are seeing both irritant and allergic contact dermatitis and photosensitization from plant extracts in products. 

I would recommend looking for a moisturizer without fragrance or plant extracts, and one without too many actives that can cause the skin to react. In this case, less is more! I also recommend for you to read the book, Beyond Soap, by Dr. Sandi Skotnicki. She has a product elimination diet that can help you determine what your skin is reacting to and she has found it to be pretty effective with her patients. 

And, when you’re in doubt, contact your dermatologist.

Question 2 Hi Valerie and Perry,  Love your podcast! I am an avid listener and you both have taught me so much, my hair and skin have never felt or looked better! I have a question I wanted to ask, I travel a lot and being a minimalist packer, I only ever bring a backpack with me when I board the plane, which makes me try and minimalise the liquids I take with me.  I am currently using the Cerave SA cleanser for my face and body and was wondering whether I can use it as a shampoo replacement as well when I travel (only for the short term)? Is there a huge difference between cleansers for the face, body and hair in general or is this just all marketing?  Lots of love from England!  Sally

You can use a facial cleanser as a shampoo if for a short while. It’s probably going to be more expensive but this particular product will work.

Ingredients: Water, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Niacinamide, Gluconolactone, Peg-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Zea Mays Oil/Corn Oil, Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eop, Carbomer, Calcium Gluconate, Sodium Chloride, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cholecalciferol, Cholesterol, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium Edta, Tetrasodium Edta, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin

Question 3  Hello Beauty Brains! I listen to you guys and love your podcast! I had a question about thinning hair and the power behind castor oil being able to “thicken and grow hair.” Is this scientifically proven? And if so, what does the research say? Lots of love from Vancouver, British Columbia! – Luxe Lettering.

This is a common perception I hear about castor seed oil, and I haven’t been able to find any merit behind it in peer-reviewed scientific publications. At least, in humans! There was one 2008 study in the Romanian pharmaceutical journal, Farmacia, which looked at the effect of lotions containing 35% and 40% castor oil on hair growth in rabbits. There was no placebo lotion used in the study, and the paper was full of grammatical errors. I wouldn’t rely on this paper at all. That being said, I did find lots of papers about castor oil and its derivatives to cause dermatitis on the skin. While this is a more rare reaction, there are several publications in reputable journals with some perspectives on its ability to cause reactions. Nothing on hair growth!

I did find one paper that spoke about castor oil and hair on humans, but it was how castor oil has been observed to cause the phenomenon of acute felting on the hair. This is a rare disorder of the scalp called plica polonica where the hair spontaneously turns into one giant matted dreadlock that resembles a stone or birds nest. More on that in a second!

So why then, do we have this anecdote that castor oil is great for hair growth? Castor oil is extracted from seeds of plant Ricinus communis. It is a ricinoleic, monounsaturated fatty acid which can act as humectant and moisturizer. It’s an extremely viscous, sticky oil that probably offers a lot of shine to the hair. Certain cultures use castor oil to lubricate the hair shaft, much like argan oil or jojoba oil is purported to be used on hair. When the hair is lubricated, you can have a reduction in breakage. A reduction in breakage helps give the illusion that hair is growing.

Going back to the acute felting incident on the hair; I think in certain hair conditions, you have a perfect storm of damage and other debris on the hair, the hair fibers can get ruffled and cross over each other, getting snarled in a sticky mess of castor oil. It’s impossible to undo the felted hair, aside from cutting it off. This is a very rare phenomenon, although I have had one person on Instagram message me an instance where this happened to a guest of theirs.

Bottom line, I don’t think that castor oil will help you hair grow, and it’s probably a fine oil to use in products, but I would recommend a more lubricious, spreading oil on the hair if you would like to use an oil to prevent breakage.

Question 4 – Audio Question

How does someone become a cosmetic chemist?

Well… it depends where you want to work!  But if you want to work as a cosmetic chemist for a company, you’ll need a degree in chemistry or chemical engineering.

Follow the Beauty Brains

Thanks for listening. Hey if you get a chance can you go over to iTunes and leave us a review. That will help other people find the show and ensure we have a full docket of beauty questions to answer.

ASK A QUESTION – If you want to ask a question click this link or record one on your phone and send it to

Social media accounts
on Instagram we’re at thebeautybrains2018
on Twitter, we’re thebeautybrains
And we have a Facebook page.

Support the Beauty Brains!
The Beauty Brains are now on Patreon! Help support us to continue to make episodes.

Thanks again for listening and remember Be Brainy about your Beauty