Welcome to the Beauty Brains, a show where real cosmetic chemists answer your beauty product questions and give you an insider’s look from scientists in the cosmetic industry.
On today’s show we’re going to be answering questions about…
- Is the wait time necessary when you are applying acids?
- How do you debate product safety with someone?
- Do skin products with natural moisturizing factor work better?
- Should you avoid glycerin and dimethicone in hair products?
And we’ll cover some beauty science news too.
Beauty Science news
Question 1 – Shea Drury – My question is about wait times after applying acids. After cleansing about 3 nights per week, I apply Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, wait 20 minutes, then apply Cosrx AHA Whitehead Power Liquid, wait 20 minutes, then go on with the rest of my routine. From what I’ve read, the reasoning behind waiting 20 minutes after applying the acid is that it takes 20-30 minutes to neutralize, therefore by waiting you are getting more benefit from the product, and that applying other products over acid before it has neutralized naturally will neutralize the acid. Also, the possibility of irritation is said to increase if you don’t have the wait time between the two acids. Do you think this wait time is necessary? And given that BHA is oil soluble and AHA is water soluble, which one should go first?
No, 30 minute wait time is not necessary.
Question 2 – I recently had a conversation with a makeup artist about products to clean makeup brushes. She said J&J Baby Shampoo contains harsh ingredients that are bad for the skin and for the waterways. She has created a product called Luxury Vegan Makeup Brush Soap but I don’t know ingredients well enough to tell if her product is “good” for the skin and the waterways. Do you mind weighing in or direct me to how to sort this out on my own? Thank you.
The first thing I keep in mind when discussing “this product is better than that product” with someone, is what their belief system is. This person clearly has a definition of what a “good” product for the skin is. In going to this person’s website, they think a good product is vegetable-based, sulfate-free, fragrance-free, antimicrobial and antibacterial is good. Ok, we might not agree with their definition, but we can use this definition to see if the J&J product fits the definition. In looking at the J&J product ingredient list, I can see it is not fragrance-free, although all the allergens were disclosed. All of the other requirements are met.
The second thing I do is check what they’re saying about the product to see if it’s valid. This person says J&J’s tear free shampoo has ingredients that are bad for the skin. Aside from the fact that every company is required to prove their products are safe, and certainly a company the size of J&J is doing so, what ingredients could be the culprit? There are some studies that show glucosides (of which the J&J product has Decyl and Lauryl) can be irritating, which I think can be true at high levels. That doesn’t necessarily mean this product is irritating, though. I then look at the makeup brush soap and see that it contains pentasodium pentatate. This can be non-irritating to irritating. Additionally, pentasodium pentatate is a hazardous substance that has to be declared on Safety Data Sheets. So, this person doesn’t have a leg to stand on if they want to use this as a talking point. However, pentasodium pentatate is perfectly fine when used in their product. The second thing they claim is that their product is good for the waterways. What they mean by this is that their product’s ingredients readily biodegrade when introduced into water, or that the ingredients are not harmful to aquatic life. I’m not sure if this individual has both of these in mind, but I would say this is likely true. Looking at her ingredients, this is likely true. You can find this information in Section 12 of a Safety Data Sheet. The J&J product contains EDTA, which is not readily biodegradable, but eventually will. I didn’t look up all the ingredients, but this jumps out. Keep in mind it’s important to keep in mind the safety data sheets are written for the ingredient at 100% of the concentration and you can extrapolate some things to the end product, but use caution there.
Last but not least, I ask myself what this individual would have to gain from having this view point. This person has created their own product, so of course they think it’s going to be superior to anything else on the market.
I do want to make one final comment; this person may be referencing an older ingredient debacle that J&J had where their formula used Quaternium-15 as a preservative. This is a formaldehyde donor, and while it’s safe for use, it has gained a bad reputation. J&J came heavily under attack and was forced to reformulate under consumer pressure despite the safety of the ingredient and the product.
Luxury Vegan Makeup Brush Soap
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Sorbitol, Sodium Stearate, Sodium Laurate, Sodium Oleate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Milk Sodium Myristate, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Glyceryl Laurate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Sodium Thiosulfate, Sodium Citrate, Titanium Dioxide, Trisodium Sulfosuccinate, Tocopherol, Pentasodium Pentatate, Tetrasodium Etidronate
Johnson & Johnson Tear Free Baby Shampoo
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Lauryl Glucoside, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Glycerin, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, PEG-150 Distearate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Fragrance, Polyquaternium-10, Disodium EDTA
Question 3 Deborah – What are your thoughts on moisturisers formulated with elements that are found naturally in the skin (e.g. The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA)? Specifically are these formulations better for damaged/sensitive skin?
What is it?
The NMF are components that your body naturally produces to keep your skin moisturized. If you analyze the NMF you’ll see that it consists of about 40% amino acids, 12% sodium PCA, 12% lactate, about 8% sugars like glycerol, 7% urea, and a bunch of other stuff. NaPCA is really important because it helps the skin hold onto moisture.
Do products that include it work better? I don’t think so.
It makes for a good marketing story. If you like the products and what they do for your skin, then they are worth trying. But as far as moisturizing and making your skin feel better, there are better ingredients than what the skin produces naturally.
Question 4 – Paula asks, when looking for new products for myself and clients to help strengthen or moisturize hair, what are some ingredients I should look for? I have a brand I’ve used for years that I love and have always felt made a huge difference in my hair, but if I remember correctly, I looked the other day and it had glycerin & dimethicone high up on the list, which makes me think it’s just coating my hair.
Glycerin and dimethicone are used in products for two different reasons. If you are using a rinse off product with glycerin, it is likely being rinsed off the hair and going down the drain. It’s kind of a waste to put in those types of products but brands do it anyway for various reasons. If you are using glycerin in a leave-on product, I do find that it can coat the hair and it leaves the hair feeling a little tacky. It’s certainly not harming the hair, because sometimes things coating the hair is a good thing. It increases lubricity helps with combing and reduces breakage. It’s about personal preference, and I just don’t like the feeling of glycerin being left on the hair.
Dimethicone use in formulations is complex. There are some really light weight dimethicones that provide good rinse-feel. These don’t remain on the hair, but rather either get rinsed down the drain or volatilize into the atmosphere. Then, you have the dimethicones that are heavier in weight and remain on the hair. These provide lubricity to the hair or make calming the hair a little bit easier. Or they can be used for anti-frizz or to weigh down the hair. The point is, you *want* them to coat the hair or they can’t do their job.
If you are looking for products to strengthen or moisturize the hair, I wouldn’t worry too much about the presence of glycerin or dimethicone as a deterrent. Do you want to look for products that contain protein, which is a form of scaffolding on the hair that acts as a strengthening network. Wheat protein is actually excellent for strengthening the hair. A lot of people worry about wheat protein having gluten, but the protein is hydrolyze, and therefore gluten is typically not detectable. If you have a concern about gluten and you see hydrolyzed wheat protein in a product you shouldn’t have to worry too. Additionally, some proteins like hydrolyzed soy protein can increase the moisture content of hair. You can also look for an ingredient like polyquaternium-37 which leaves the hair feeling really conditioned.
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