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On today’s program we are going to talk about a couple of beauty industry news stories and answer your questions about…

  1. Is an expensive skin serum worth the money even it if is from a pharmaceutical company?
  2. Which is more damaging, hot water or hot styling devices?
  3. Do nutrition pads work to deliver actives?
  4. Can a shampoo or conditioner make your hair grow faster?

Beauty Science News

New York is putting limits on 1,4 Dioxane
What does this mean for shampoos and body washes?

Gweneth Paltro is at it again – Vagina candles

Beauty Questions

Question 1 – Paula asks – Skin Medica – TNS essential serum and recovery complex. Do these products do what they claim? It can strengthen sagging skin through anti-aging peptides + growth factorIs the product worth the money? Do the ingredients do what they claim?

Wow!  $281 for a one ounce product!  That’s amazing. I wonder how many they actually sell. I’m just blown away.  

Skin Medica essential Serum

Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media, Water/Aqua/Eau, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Unsaponifiables, Alpha-Arbutin, Isoceteth-20, Arachidyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Ethoxydiglycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Dimethicone, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Ergothioneine, Hydrolyzed Sericin, Phospholipids, Ubiquinone, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Leaf Extract, Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate Filtrate, Aminobutyric Acid, Phytosterols, Tocopherol, Tocotrienols, Squalene, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax (Oryza Sativa Cera), Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Steareth-10, Steareth-20, Butylene Glycol, Maltodextrin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Parfum/Fragrance, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool, Coumarin, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Geraniol, Isoeugenol

Question 2  

Does hot water damage hair more than hot styling devices?

Both are damaging but from a heat standpoint, the styling device are worse. But really, these are two different types of damage on the hair that can’t compare.

Question 3  

Ingredients by Louise shared a post with us via Instagram about a brand called Le-Vel. They are selling “wearable nutrition” as part of their Thrive product portfolio. The patches, featuring Derma Fusion Technology, promises that technology meets premium nutrition. The patches are placed on the arm to deliver – over an extended period of time – ForsLean, Green Coffee Bean Extract, Garcinia Cambogia, CoQ10, White Willow Bark, Cosmoperine, Limonene, Aloe Vera and L-Arginine. 

It’s unlikely you’ll get any noticeable benefit out of using this product.

Classic MLM marketing tactic! 

Question 4   

One Drink Bona asks, I’m a hairdresser that loves listening to ya’ll. I have clients that always want to grow more hair or make their hair grow faster. Some have always had finer hair and some have gone through chemo. Is there a shampoo and conditioner or topical solution that does actually do this? Is there one that is the best? Thank you so much!

If your hair is slow growing or not growing due to a deficiency, taking a vitamin that addresses that deficiency may help, but if you’re not deficient, you’ll just urinate them out. 

Follow the 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 thebeautybrains@gmail.com

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

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Beauty Science News stories

On today’s program we are going to talk about a couple of beauty industry news stories and answer your questions about…

  1. Aluminum hydroxide in topical products
  2. Whether lip scrubs are worthwhile
  3. The environmental impact of cosmetics
  4. And what the differences are between bentonite and charcoal in a facial mask

Beauty Science News

Talc is not linked to cancer – I wonder if that will affect the court cases

Regenerative beauty: Aussie skin care brand sees luxury potential in horse placenta

There is a challenge with using ingredients that are derived from animal protein, fat, tallow, placenta, etc, and that is transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, also known as TSE when speaking about animals in general, or BSE when speaking about cattle. 

Recall Alert

Say Yes To Recalls their Yes to Grapefruit VITAMIN C GLOW-BOOSTING UNICORN PEEL-OFF MASK

Pictures of complaints

Ingredient list: Water (Aqua), Ethyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Algin, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Mica, Ascorbic Acid*, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Tin Oxide (CI 77861), Ethylhexylglycerin, Chlorphenesin, Silica, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Benzyl Benzoate, Limonene. *Vitamin C

Beauty Questions

Question 1 – Jodi from LA – What is aluminum hydroxide and is it bad if it is in a diaper rash cream?

Aluminum hydroxide is an approved active ingredient to treat diaper rash. It has been approved as safe and effective at a level of up to 5%. This means that the product has gone through medical trials and been proven to be safe & effective. It has an absorbant effect which makes it work. It also has no known skin toxicity so there isn’t anything to worry about.

However, people hear the word “aluminum” and they automatically get scared. There is no reason to be scared but unfortunately, fear-marketers have made people afraid of anything with aluminum, especially antiperspirants and products that are applied to the skin of babies. But these ingredients have been tested and they are safe. I don’t know how to convince people that think otherwise though. 

Question 2  – Ben A La Mode (Instagram) – I feel that lip scrubs and masks are all the rage these days, and I am not sure if they have long term benefits. I know that a scrub may make lips feel soft in the moment, but will they make my lips feel and look younger over time? Which ingredients are good for these scrubs and moisturizers to have?

Question 3  Wahde was wondering if we could help with a paper he wanted to write on the impact of cosmetic use and the environment. He says, can you please help by providing info for contributing factors that identify cosmetics as an environmental health problem?   And consequences that would arise if the problem is left unsolved or unsolved. Anything will help! Thank you so much!

There are a few ways in which cosmetics impact the environment. They include…

  1. Chemicals getting into our waterways
  2. Toxic chemicals
  3. Microplastics 
  4. Air pollution
  5. Plastic going into landfills

What can consumers do? I don’t really know. I saw the advice that people should make their own cosmetics but this isn’t such a great idea. If you are going to use stuff in your kitchen to make cosmetics they aren’t going to work as well as a standard product. Now, you can buy cosmetic ingredients from home crafter suppliers but if you add up the environmental impact of making it yourself, that’s also not going to be better for the environment. I guess the best that you might be able to do is to buy fewer products and buy from companies that have transparent sustainability programs. And just remember, just because a company says they are environmentally friendly doesn’t automatically mean they are. Cosmetic companies are still in the business to get you to buy more and more product. Even the environmentally friendly ones.

Question 4   – Ravi asks, What are the differences between the mechanism of charcoal and bentonite when they work on your face in cosmetic products?

I couldn’t find any literature about which had more absorbing capacity, but in general, you would use a higher percentage of bentonite in a formulation so I would imagine that you have more absorption capacity. Additionally, I couldn’t find any literature about topical application of charcoal and the adsorption benefits, just the ingestion. However, suppliers of bentonite have done studies about sebum reduction and removal of iron from the skin, while adding beneficial trace minerals like magnesium and silicon.

Follow the 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 thebeautybrains@gmail.com

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

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It’s a special episode with Perry and Sarah Bellum. On today’s episode we’re going to be answering your beauty questions about 

  1. Do you need to reapply sunscreen if I’m indoor all day?
  2. Why is ferulic acid used with vitamin C?
  3. Are vampire facial good for your skin?
  4. Why isn’t there more recycling?
  5. Does Revitalash really work?
  6. Are cosmetician brands really better?
  7. What other podcasts do you listen to?
  8. What are some trends you see in new technology for beauty products?

Beauty News

How accurate are those beauty product DNA tests

This article was title How accurate are those beauty product DNA tests and it was posted on the Huffpost. They were pondering whether beauty products formulated with your DNA profile in mind were effective. They gave examples of the company Strands Hair Care which gets your DNA profile from a sample of your hair to formulate hair products for you and ORIG3N which offers beauty product advice based on beauty DNA tests.

They did the standard two sides thing where the expert in favor of the technique was, of course, selling products and DNA consultations. She used a lot of “sciencesplaining” and concluded that it definitely worked. The article also offered a reference to a 2018 paper published in the Journal  Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology and suggested that research supported the use of individual DNA testing for cosmetic application. I read the article and that was not the conclusion. The authors merely said it might be possible.

At present, I don’t think it is possible. There are a lot of things going against DNA testing for your skin or hair but the main one is that we formulators have no idea what to do with the information. Formulating is not a high-precision activity. We find ingredients that generally work and make educated guesses to how much should be included in a formula. Even if a formulator knew everything about your DNA sequence we don’t know what specific genes matter for your skin or hair, how they interact to produce collagen, elastin, or to grow hair. And it says nothing about the external environmental effects on your skin and hair. Identical twins might not respond the same to identical treatments. For example, if one twin got their hair bleached and the other didn’t, their genetics would not tell you what type of hair products were best for them.

No doubt these types of products will continue to gain in popularity. Or at least more companies are going to be launching them.  But it’s still just a marketing gimmick and you aren’t going to get any significant benefit by having a product designed specifically for your skin or hair DNA.

Question 1 (Audio question)

If sunscreen isn’t exposed to the sun can it last all day? Do I need a product to reapply sunscreen if I’m inside all day?
The idea of reapplying sunscreen is not primarily because the sunscreen breaks down. In fact, sunscreens mostly do not break down upon exposure to sunlight. According to Dr. Steven Q. Wang, the director of dermatology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center the advice to reapply sunscreens every two hours was mostly because people don’t put enough on initially. This was a way to get people to apply closer to the right amount. I also think that when you’re at the beach and you’re sweating and going in the water, the sunscreen film can get broken so it makes sense to reapply.  

It is probably not necessary to reapply if you are just going to be indoors however. Sunscreen is pretty stable when not exposed to UV light and even then the sunscreens are stable. Zinc oxide certainly isn’t going to stop working.  So, I don’t think you really need to worry about reapplying sunscreen if you are just going to be indoors. I highly doubt you will notice any difference especially if you are in a standard office building and don’t have any exposure to UV light.

Question 2
Ayu asks – What is the science behind the claim that Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid stabilize Vitamin C (L-ascorbic Acid)? And is there ever a shelf-stable formulation of L-ascorbic Acid?

There was a paper published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology in 2005 titled “Ferulic Acid Stabilizes a Solution of Vitamins C and E and Doubles its Photoprotection of Skin.” It claimed that a 15% solution of Vitamin C and a 1% solution of Vitamin E were stabilized and the photoprotection of skin was improved by adding 0.5% Ferulic acid. They showed some interesting results when the product was applied to the skin of weanling white Yorkshire pigs. Animals that got the treatment the combination of three antioxidants experienced less sun burn than animals that didn’t. So, there is some synergistic effect with ferulic acid and Vitamin C+E. 

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that products on the market with these three ingredients in them are more shelf stable. It wasn’t clear but the researchers likely made the solutions right away and applied them to the test subjects. Any product that you can buy in the store has been sitting for a number of weeks or maybe even months. By the time you get it, the Vitamin C no doubt will have broken down and the fact that Ferulic acid is in there probably won’t have much impact. There are companies that claim they have shelf stable l-ascorbic acid formulations but I’m skeptical. Especially if the product has water in it and is not in an opaque container. Both water and UV exposure can break down ascorbic acid. In fact, I read in one paper in the November 2019 issue of Food chemistry that showed a significant amount of vitamin C broke down within 1 hour of making the aqueous solution. 

Question 3

Vampire facials and using your blood in creams… Is this really a good thing? No, it’s a terrible idea. It’s unregulated and potentially dangerous.

Question 4

Recycling – from your episode with Sarah a while back I got the impression that recycling isn’t that common in the States. Here in the UK we recycle everything, it’s ingrained into us to recycle as much as possible. And when you both mentioned paper straws on holiday this has been the case for a while in the UK, it’s been widely accepted. I just wondered if the cultures are very different.  

I think the difference is just based on the cultural norms of where you are. Recycling is done more in some places, less in others. In Chicago, we don’t really have a good recycling program. Unfortunately, even the stuff that is recycled is often not getting recycled. It used to be that China would take garbage and sort it for recycling. But these days, that doesn’t happen much. So all those shampoo bottles and skin lotion containers mostly just end up in landfills (at least in the US). 

Question 5

Products like revitalash- eyelash growth serums, how do they work, what is the magic ingredient? Is this a good long term solution? The story behind how this brand came about is incredibly touching but could it really be recommended to those not in surgery? 

We covered eyelash growth products way back in episode 149. The quick answer is the only one that is approved (and proven) to work is the product from Allergan called Latise. 

Question 6

What is your opinion on cosmetician brands as opposed to the big beauty brands? For example DCL, skinceuticals, zelens Vs Estée Lauder, clarins, elemis etc. – With big company brands you will find products that will work for most people. Cosmetician brands are more niche targeted so there might be some consumers who like them more but they might not appeal to a typical consumer. I always say when in doubt, stick with the big beauty brands. 

Question 7

Which other beauty or scientific podcasts do you listen to?

Fat Mascara
The Eco Well
The Skeptics Guide to the Universe
The Reality Check
Science for the People
Science Magazine podcast
Mintel Little Conversations

Question 8

What are the latest advancements in cosmetic technology? I know 2019 was a trend year of retinol and biomes, what else are scientists working on? What are the big cosmetic brand scientists working on?
Sustainability
New anti-aging actives
Stabilizing ingredients
New preservatives

Follow the 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 thebeautybrains@gmail.com

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

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Year end wrap up – episode 204

Happy New Year!

We take a look at some of the hottest trends in the beauty industry in 2019 including clean beauty, CBD, Indie beauty and waterless beauty. Then we give our predictions for the hottest trends coming in 2020.

We’ll get back to answering beauty questions in our next show.

Follow the 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 thebeautybrains@gmail.com

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

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On today’s episode we’re going to be answering your beauty questions about 

  1. Quality of ingredients versus price of the product?
  2. The Curly Girl Method and Parabens?
  3. What it’s like to work in the cosmetics industry
  4. Do you have to wait after applying Vitamin C?

Beauty Science News stories

Is your old makeup is contaminated? 
Here’s an interesting story which should be a wake up call to anyone who uses products that say “no preservatives” or preservative free.  It turns out even products that don’t contain water have been found to be contaminated with potentially harmful microbes.  

In this study publish in the October issue of the Journal of Applied Microbiology, researchers wanted to investigate the nature and extent of microbial contamination in five categories of used cosmetic products (lipstick, lip gloss, eyeliners, mascaras and beauty blenders) and highlight the potential risk posed to consumers in the UK.

The got samples of used products donated by consumers and analyzed them for the microbial contents.  This was done by taking a sample, plating them on microbial culture plates and then letting them grow.  Surprisingly, they found that anywhere from 79–90% of all used products were contaminated with bacteria, with bacterial loads ranging between 102 and 103 CFU per ml, beauty blenders contained an average load of >106 CFU per ml. Presence of Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Citrobacter freundii were detected. Fungi were also detected in all product types, and were prevalent in beauty blenders (26·58 and 56·96% respectively). Ninety‐three per cent of beauty blenders had not been cleaned and 64% had been dropped on the floor and continued to be used.

The researchers concluded that significant levels of microbial contamination occur during use of cosmetic products and presence of pathogenic organisms pose a potential risk to health.

Now, I suppose most of these products passed microbial challenge tests or were not tested because the manufacturer has the mistaken notion that products that don’t contain water do not need preservatives. But this is not true.  Don’t listen to marketers who say preservative free or even paraben free.

You should only use cosmetics that have preservatives. It is the much safer option as this study demonstrates.

Survey Says – Our Eyelids are Itchier Than Ever
According to research published in the January issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Americans are typing in the keyword “itch” to the tune of more than 18 million—with the skin on the eye/eyelids appearing at the top of the list with 3 million hits.

Two dermatologists were interviewed, where one dermatologist advocated one should avoid touching their eyelids if they’re irritated, and one should apply Aquaphor sparingly. If it gets too bad, there are prescription topicals available to ease the itch. The other dermatologist stated that you should buy his balm, which contains 1% hydrocortisone and NO irritating ingredients that other OTC hydrocortisones contain, like alcohol and petrolatum. 

While the dermatologist is in his rights to recommend hydrocortisone cream, and it’s convenient he recommends his own, he should know better that petrolatum is not an irritating ingredient. Petrolatum is actually recommended and approved by the FDA as a skin protectant. Furthermore, most creams don’t contain alcohol, as in isopropyl alcohol. They contain fatty alcohols that help structure the product to make it a cream. These are not drying and not irritating.

Beauty Questions

Question 1: Charolette – My esthetician tells me that price difference is due to the quality of the ingredients. Is that due to the quality of the ingredient?  Is that true?

No, it’s not true and let us tell you why.

Question 2: Helen asks – Hi beauty brains! I’ve started following the curly girl method, and while i’m not sure if all of the claims are well founded, but  i will say that it has sorted my itchy flakey scalp out, so i will stick with it either way. I know that we are to avoid silicones that can’t be washed out without SLS, and we shouldn’t use drying alcohols and SLS, but i’ve never heard what hair benefit avoiding parabens is meant to bring. Are they just on the ‘we hate parabens’ train? What is the claim here and is the claim correct?

Question 3: I am 28 and am considering going back to school to study chemistry and enter the cosmetic chemistry field. This would be my second B.S.  (the first being in Textiles and Apparel). I was hoping I could ask you a few questions to get an idea of what the industry is like. In your experiences, is a masters needed or will a bachelors in biochemistry or general chemistry be enough to secure a job in the industry? What are the daily tasks of a cosmetic chemist like? Is it extremely competitive to place with a company or is there a lot of opportunity? Any advice you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Looking forward to the next show!

Question 4: Love your podcast — I wish I’d known about it when I first started exploring skincare! My question is about whether it is necessary to wait 15-30 minutes after applying vitamin C. I tend to wait for at most 5 minutes due to being in a rush. Have I been diluting the effect of the vitamin C, or is the wait time a myth? Online resources seem to differ on this, and I’d really appreciate your input from a scientific perspective! Thanks so much, Sonia

Follow the 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 thebeautybrains@gmail.com

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

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On today’s episode we just felt like ranting!

Today we cover 3 beauty science topics that have affected the beauty world. Here you’ll get the cosmetic chemist and formulator take on the following topics:

  1. Hair dye and a link to cancer
  2. Waterless formulas and whether they are superior
  3. CBD – is it really linked to smoking weed?

Beauty Science News stories

Hair dye linked to cancer – should you be worried?

Waterless beauty products – are they better?

CBD in cosmetics – why is this ingredient linked to drugs? Also, does it do anything?

Follow the 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 thebeautybrains@gmail.com

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

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On today’s episode we’re going to be answering your beauty questions about 

  1. Is meadowfoam seed oil making skin less itchy?
  2. Can rinse off conditioner give you acne?
  3. Does Este Lauder own Bobbie Brown?
  4. What is Indie Beauty?
  5. What’s the deal with oils and hair?

Beauty Science News stories

What do you make of these “waiting lists” ?  

Why Tata Harper Put 72 Active Ingredients into 1 Glowifying Super-Serum

Beauty Questions

Question 1: Dear beauty brains I have keratosis Polaris on my cheeks and I have tried many products over my 50 years currently the best night time moisturizer is a pricey product by fresh called cram in seeing that contains metal foam seat oil as the first ingredient the hype of the production is noted I also use clearance gentle day cream but it is not as good as the fresh product what is it about meadow foam seed oil that helps with keeping my skin from itching and becoming inflamed? thank you so much and I really enjoy this podcast

Product discussed:  https://www.sephora.com/product/creme-ancienne-P42592

Question 2: KH wants to know – Can Rinse Out Conditioner Give You Acne?

Question 3: Hello The Beauty Brain! I have been listening to your podcast for 2 years now and I so enjoy learning the true FACTS. Hard to find the true facts at times these days. I have a question regarding Bobbie Brown 50SPF primer. I think Estée Lauder owns BB? True? Not True? Also I am wondering where else I can find another less expensive brand of primer at a 50 SPF level out there? Elf has one but it is waaayyy too light for my olive skin. Thank you for your great show! Gerry

Question 4: Deepa asks – in (a previous) episode you talked about clean beauty. I agree about the vegan or clean brands not being that much different from the bigger brands. What is an “indie” brand? I’ve heard this term but don’t really understand how it differentiates from vegan, clean, organic etc.

Question 5: Kinskihair from Instagram asks, Hi there! I’m a current hairstylist. With all the YouTubing, are oils beneficial to healthy hair and hair growth? I see a lot of DIY products and love the idea of using natural products, but is this wise? I try to promote healthy hair and want to use what is best, especially when it comes to relaxed or natural hair. The beauty business has become so overly saturated with products. It’s overwhelming.

Follow the 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 thebeautybrains@gmail.com

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

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Covered on this episode:

Beauty Science stories:

Cruelty free products are free from cruelty.

EWG on the Kardashian’s show

Beauty Questions:

Are human stem cells effective in anti-aging products?

Coincidentally, I just read a story about a new skin care product that incorporates both plant and human “stem cells.” This type of marketing is a bit annoying because it’s completely misleading. There aren’t stem cells in the product no matter what this company claims about their skin cream.

How do I know this? Well, all you have to do is know a little about the science of stem cells and it becomes clear. So let’s talk about stem cells.

Stem cells are living cells that are undifferentiated. They’re a bit like the cells that start every embryo when the sperm and egg cells fuse. They contain all the DNA information to make an entire human being (or plant or other animal depending on the species). When embryos start to grow, most of their cells differentiate into things like skin cells, brain cells, heart cells, and all the other different organs in your body. While nearly every cell in your body has the same DNA material, the DNA code is expressed differently so you end up getting the different organs. It’s like your DNA is one big recipe book and the organs are made by following different recipes in the same book. This is called cellular differentiation.

Stem cells do not differentiate in this way. They maintain their potential to become any type of organ. They also have an unlimited ability to divide and live. See most differentiated human cells can only divide about 50 generations before they die. They are subject to the Hayflick limit and have a built-in program that kills them off. Scientists theorize this prevents cancer.

But Stem cells, are not restricted as such. That’s why they are so promising for curing diseases or regrowing organs. Imagine if you could take some of your own skin stem cells and grow new patches of your own skin from them in a lab. You could use that skin to cover scars or other tissue damage. You could even get rid of wrinkles or signs of aging skin. It’s this potential that makes them a promising treatment for antiaging products.

It’s also a misunderstanding of this potential that has duped consumers and inspired marketers to put them into skin care formulations. So you might be wondering, if a stem cell could reverse aging, why wouldn’t you do it?

I’ll tell you why.

Because stem cells only work if they are living. And living stem cells are not being put into these skin creams. If they were, they would have to have a special growth medium and be kept at a specific temperature. They would need to be refreshed with food too. Stem cell containing creams are not created as such. At best you have a cream filled with dead stem cells that have no potential to do anything.

Plant stem cells

Plant stem cells in a skin cream is even more baffling to me. These are stem cells that come from plants and have the potential to grow stems, leaves, fruits, etc. Why would anyone think that a plant stem cell is going to be able to help improve the appearance or condition of your skin? It is nonsensical.

The reason companies put them in formulas however, is because they can claim the product has stem cells (which consumer like I guess) and the ingredients can be obtained inexpensively. Human stem cells would be pretty pricey and probably illegal. This isn’t a problem with apple stem cells. So marketers figure if people like stem cells in their products, it doesn’t matter what type of stem cells they are.

In this, they are right. But only because the type of stem cell in your cosmetic doesn’t matter. No type of stem cell added to your skin lotion will do much of anything!

Of course, I should add that stem cells are a promising technology for the future. And they may even be a great anti-aging treatment when the science catches up with the application. You will know when it is a real anti-aging treatment when the following things are true.

The stem cells are from humans (preferably yourself)

The stem cells are alive

The product is somehow delivered to your dermis (probably an injection)

The product is applied by a doctor

If stem cells really worked the way they are promised, this treatment would be beyond a cosmetic one and well into the drug category. It just might happen in the next 20 years but any cream that is advertised to be anti-aging because it contains stem cells now is about as effective as all the skin creams without stem cells.

Kelly asks : What hair dyes cover gray the best?

Kim asks  – Why do people think “All Natural” is better?

Shereen asks Does silicon damage curly hair?

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The Beauty Brains answer questions about…

  • Why can’t I find more fragrance-free hair products?
  • Living Proof hair care (is the price worth it?)
  • What’s the deal with No-BS Skincare
  • Can magnesium be used for cleaning?

Beauty News

Skin care in the dairy aisle – will probiotics help strengthen skin and hair? There isn’t a lot of evidence to say it will.

Tom’s launches toothpaste tube that’s recyclable – will the other brands owned by Colgate follow suit?

Social media

On this Instagram post we debated the idea that parabens are perfectly safe for cosmetics. There is ample evidence they are safe and not much evidence that they are unsafe. What do you think?

Beauty Questions

Question 1: Karyn – I have allergies to fragrance and I can’t find a good shampoo or conditioner that works well but doesn’t have fragrance. What are your thoughts on this?

Question 2: Hello Perry and Valerie (The Beauty Brains!).  I really enjoy your podcast – thank you for all you do to keep me and all of your listeners informed. I was wondering whether you could do a review of the hair care brand Living Proof. I currently use their color care line, and I like it, but all of their products are so pricey. Do any of their claims justify the expense? They are now owned by Unilever and I’m wondering whether there is a less expense Unilever option (or any other brand) you could compare Living Proof products. To add to the above, can you comment on whether colored or highlighted hair needs special products at all? Thanks again! Thäis.

Question 3: Carissa says – there is a new line of beauty products, called No B.S. Skin Care, and I was wondering what your take on it was.  They claim to only use ingredients that work, and that are not harmful. It would be wonderful to hear your thoughts on these products, and a podcast on it would really make my day!  😉 Thanks for your time and consideration! Have a great day!

Question 4: Jas asks, There’s a new detergent replacement in the market from japan called Terra Wash Mg. It’s magnesium enclosed in a package and supposedly can be used for 365 washes. I wonder if it’s true and effective? Would appreciate your thoughts.

Link to show notes

Follow the 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 thebeautybrains@gmail.com

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

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The Beauty Brains answer questions about…

  • Should you take collagen supplements?
  • Is there a difference between men & women’s hair care?
  • Is tea tree oil is as effective as benzoyl peroxide
  • Can Vitamin C change color?

Beauty News

Natural cosmetic act is introduced in congress (in the US)

The purple hair challenge is going viral – I have no idea why

Beauty Questions

Question 1: KH says – Hi. Is there any difference in the formulas besides fragrance? Suave Professional Men Daily Clean Shampoo says “Refreshing Shampoo made specifically for men’s hair”  Is this BS? Thanks.

Question 2: Kristin – Is tea tree oil as effective as benzoyl peroxide at removing blemishes? You don’t have to dilute it in a carrier oil as with other essential oils?  How true is this?

Question 3:

Hello BB,  I am a new subscriber to your podcasts and have been learning so much from binge-listening to past episodes. I wonder if you can look at the information in the following link and comment on some of the claims made. I take supplements sporadically – usually when in winter (we’re getting into that season in England now). I have tried collagen supplements in the past but found it made no difference to my skin. I continue to take vitamin c, d and sometimes a multivitamin as an ‘insurance policy’. Am I wasting my money?  Thank you.

Question 4: I recently came across an… interesting product from Farmacy, a brand known for its honey-based salve and mask. The product in question is the Bright On Massage-Activated Vitamin C Mask. In the description, amongst other things, they state the following: “As you massage it into your skin, the vitamin C capsules burst, turning the mask from lavender to green, so you know it’s working to bring out your brightest, most perfect skin.” I have personally never heard of Vitamin C changing color in such a manner to indicate efficacy or activation. How/why does this supposedly work, or is it just a gimmick?

Link to show notes

Follow the 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 thebeautybrains@gmail.com

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

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