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We’re on vacation this week but instead of skipping the week we thought we’d give you some insight on the fragrance loophole and what it means from a cosmetic chemists and formulator’s perspective.

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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

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

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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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Welcome to the Beauty Brains. A podcast and website where real cosmetic scientists answer your beauty questions.

On the show today we cover:

  • Kitchen cosmetics: Does Beer work for hair
  • What’s the deal with the microbiome
  • Can you get alcohol free hair spray?
  • Can makeup sprays keep makeup on longer?

To see a transcript of the show go here.

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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Welcome to the Beauty Brains. A podcast and website where real cosmetic scientists answer your beauty questions.

On the show today we cover:

  • The types of questions you can get answered about beauty products
  • Does Preparation H really reduce puffy eyes
  • Are beauty products really cruelty free?
  • Will sunscreen prevent skin from tanning

This was a solo show and Perry tried out a couple new segments

To see a transcript of the show go here.

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

{ 2 comments }

On today’s episode we answer beauty questions about :

  • Should one be worried about tree nuts in cosmetic products?
  • What’s the difference between a toners and astringent?
  • How does one spot a bad dupe versus an affordable product that works?
  • Why do some nail polishes last longer on some people than others?

Show intro notes

Article: You are what you eat: Within-Subject Increases in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Confer Beneficial Skin-Color Changes

Is there really a problem with walnut facial exfoliators?

Do you need to exfoliate your head?

Beauty Science Questions

Should we be worried about tree nut allergens in cosmetic products?

Tree nuts are considered major food allergens. The actual nut or derivative from the nut, like an oil, may contain a protein or proteins that elicits an allergic reaction. In food, which is where a majority of the allergic reactions take place, it is a requirement through the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) that requires declaration of any tree nuts or possible contamination with tree nuts on the ingredient label, as well as any of the other major food allergens that exists. FALCPA does not cover cosmetic ingredients.

In short, cosmetic products don’t have labeling requirements for tree nuts in the US or EU that indicate a similar warning to food. In long, it’s not easy to prove scientifically that tree nuts are an issue topically as they how they are used in cosmetic products – and topically, meaning on the skin and not in for products intended for the oral mucosa.

Essentially, they couldn’t find sufficient evidence that applying peanut oil to skin was an issue consistently, so they couldn’t create a safety threshold.

There is no labeling requirement and I’m not aware that they have established guidelines for other tree nuts. In the US, this regulation does not exist.

All that being said, if you have any concerns about tree nuts in cosmetic products, even if they’re topical, I would consult your allergist and certain avoid products that come in contact with the oral mucosa or broken skin.

Question 2
Celeste says…Good morning, Perry and Valerie, Not sure whether you’ve answered this before, but what is the difference between a toner and an astringent? Is either one effective at what it claims?

Skin toners and astringents are terms often used interchangeably. However, many people consider that there are differences in the way they are formulated with toners using glycerin while astringents use alcohol. The reality is that there are plenty of astringents that use glycerin as well as alcohol. Witch hazel is another popular astringent ingredient. Most toners that I found were alcohol free.

Toners and astringents are frequently included as part of a three-step skin care regimen (cleanse, tone and moisturize). But let’s get to the more important question, do you really need either of these products? Let’s take a look at the ingredients used in toners to understand what they really do for your skin.

What does a toner do?
Toners usually claim one of two things – they can remove excess oil and dirt that your cleanser left behind or refresh and moisturize skin. Historically, toners use alcohol and/or witch hazel which can make your skin feel tight and firm and can feel refreshing. However, more recent versions of toners have moved away from this approach due to the drying effects of alcohol. Thus the split in terms Astringents and Toners. These types of toners are alcohol free and often use glycerin and panthenol (vitamins) to give skin the same kind of refreshed feeling while being more soothing to skin.

Do you need to use a toner?
I would say probably not but it is certainly a case of personal preference.. A decent cleanser should remove excess oil, dirt and makeup. And the truth is, you do not want to strip every last molecule of oil from your skin. Only grime, makeup and excess oil on the surface needs to be removed. The sebum (oil) that your skin produces naturally is actually good for your skin and is best left undisturbed. Toners, especially alcohol-based ones, tend to strip everything off, leaving the skin dry and irritated. As far as alcohol-free toners, they may feel good and leave a little moisture on your skin but they don’t really do much, particularly if you use a moisturizer anyway. The people that may benefit from using a toner are women with exceptionally oily skin (usually teens) or women with very dry skin. If your skin still feels sticky and oily after cleansing, a toner can help remove that excess grime. Women with very dry skin may find an alcohol-free toner to be soothing.

I have a question about nail polishes, and that it appears to be such differences for how long they last on different people. I get that there is a vast variety for how you apply the polish and your everyday wear and tear, but is there any difference in peoples nails that would effect how long nail polish lasts? Is there anything different with the nails of some people that makes nail polish not last as long? All the best, Jenny

The reality is that people’s nails are chemically very similar. I looked at a study called “Age and Sex Variation in Lipid Composition of Human Fingernail Plates” in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology and while there were some difference between people 10 years and younger and adults, there were no significant difference between people at different ages as adults. Now, these looked at the age groups as groups and there was some variability within the age groups, but the differences I don’t think are significant to impact how well nail polish will stick on someone’s fingers. This will be much more affected by the

Method of application, the type of nail polish used, whether you put a base coat, the speed at which the polish is dried, the quality of the nail polish (is it old?), and the exposure of the hands to different environments. Things like washing dishes, cleaning the house, exposure to alcohol, etc. can all impact how long nail polish will last. It’s these environmental conditions that matter much more for long lasting nail polish than any difference in people’s nails.

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 episode 182 – we cover beauty questions about

  • BB glow facials
  • The safety of self tanners
  • Doing you own research and
  • Hard water and your beauty products

Beauty Science News

Butt Masks
Is natural deodorant necessary?
8 Beauty ingredients to know about

Seaweed
Wheatgrass
Saffron
Patchouli
CBD Oil
Kale
Kukui Nut Oil
Marula Oil

Beauty questions

Alina asks – What do you think of BB Glow facials?

BB Glow facial is essentially a semi-permanent makeup treatment in which you take a pigmented BB cream and inject it into your face using a micro needling process. The pigmented product is only injected into the epidermis so over time it will come out of your skin due to normal skin growth and exfoliation. Interestingly, the reason a regular tattoo doesn’t come out of your skin is because it is injected into the dermis of your skin.

The theoretical benefits are that you get a long lasting foundation which means you don’t have to put it on for up to 6 months they say. hmm.  Since the epidermal turnover of skin is about 8 weeks, I’d say this won’t last even as long as 2 months. But if the approximately $400 cost of the treatment is worth about 2 months of permanent foundation, then you might think it’s worth it.  

Do people spend that much on foundation?

The real benefit, I guess is that convenience of not having to apply foundation regularly. Some people might like that. Do people apply foundation every day? I don’t think my wife does.

As far as other benefits go, the author of this review I read said she doesn’t use as many facial products now. Since you don’t really need to use a lot of facial products, that’s probably not a real benefit. But I could see how someone who changes their routine might think it is.

Alright, now the other side.  We covered micro needling way back in episode 45.  

According to the research out there (there isn’t a lot) micro needling can show some improvements in skin. It boosts collagen and elastin production & can help with scars. And in the recent review article published by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, they conclude that “micro needling appears to be an overall effective and safe therapeutic option for numerous dermatologic conditions”.  They also said that “the majority of microneedling studies have been case series and small RCTs (randomized controlled trial)” so more research needs to be done to determine the general safety of this procedure, especially if more people are going to start doing it.

The thing that wasn’t mentioned in the review paper is anything about the particular chemicals being injected into the skin using this treatment. Products like these don’t have to disclose the list of ingredients so you don’t really know whether you’ll have reactions such as skin allergies, irritation, and significant, lasting skin inflammation. You’re essentially letting yourself be a Guinea pig for an untested procedure.

So, with the uncertain safety profile and the limited benefit I’m not sure I can recommend doing this. But if you really hate putting on foundation every day and you don’t mind spending north of $400 for a treatment that probably won’t last more than 2 months, go for it.

Is DHA safe?

DHA is an acronym for dihydroxyacetone, which is an ingredient used in sunless tanning products.

DHA works by reacting with the nitrogen compounds found in the amino acids of the protein in the outermost layers of our skin to form brown colored compounds via a non-UV induced Maillard reaction. The tone of the tan depends on which amino acids are prevalent in the skin – some amino acids create yellow tones, some orange, and some brown tones.

Formulations are pretty simplistic because DHA is very reactive and the allowable ingredients with DHA are very few. On certain skin types, DHA can appear yellow or orange, so various additives are added to these basic DHA formulations to improve the end color result. These are not approved for sunless tanning by the FDA. A commonly used support ingredient is Erythrulose – a carbohydrate that reacts slowly on the skin and does not produce as intense of a color as DHA.

DHA has excellent safety data associated with it when used for tanning without UV exposure; because it is regulated as a colorant, it has strict purity guidelines set by the FDA. Some of the safety data includes few to no allergic reactions documented in humans, no skin penetration, and no mutagenicity or carcinogenicity in mice. But like any ingredient, there are risks – and while we can’t speak for Adrian – we weren’t sure what she didn’t like about DHA and this was all we could think of.

Oral tanning tablets exist on the market but there is no proof they work. The alleged mechanism is that one digests massive amounts of color additives like canthaxanthin. The additives are digested by the body and deposited into the skin, imparting a color to the body. The end result will be an orange to brownish deposit. The tanning result is not from a natural increase in melanin. This is NOT been approved by the FDA for this or any other use, so steer clear or oral tanning tablets. One company applied with the FDA to have canthaxanthin approved as a sunless tanning colorant and withdrew their application when they discovered adverse side effects – one being crystal formation in the eye.

You can use bronzers or BB creams that rely on iron oxide pigments for tanning, but this is a purely topical effect and will only last one wash.

There are also products with ingredients that allegedly increase melanin production topically. One ingredient that was in development was Palmintoyl Dihydroxymethylchromone. This allegedly works by increasing melanin content in the basal layer of the skin.

Bottom line: Unfortunately, there is no alternative to DHA that provides an adequate level of tanning and substantivity on the skin. That being said – you won’t find efficacious alternatives to DHA that are safe and any risks of using DHA clearly outweigh the risks of UV tanning.

How to do your own research?

1. Be humble because research is hard
2. Look for real experts who have a background in the subject
3. Look for unbiased experts who aren’t trying to sell you something
4. Watch out for ideologues who are pushing a biased agenda.
5. Always remain open to changing your mind if the evidence is good enough.

From Facebook – Cristina Rollins Great episode. It would be sosooso amazing if you could record an episode (or half an episode 😉 ) on hard water. How can we tell for sure we have it or how to test it (ph?)? What to do to avoid wrecking your hair / skin too badly? Do small shower filters work? (the ones sold on Amazon for example, not the professional ones applied on the entire home system), ecct. I have searched the site and only found a short comment. THANK YOU UUUU

Well, It’d be hard to do a whole show on hard water 😀 but we can certainly answer a few questions about it.  First, hard and soft water refers to the amount of metal ions or minerals in a water source.

Hard water is a term used for water that contains a high mineral content. Water from our waterways picks up different minerals like magnesium and calcium due to interactions with rock formations and who knows what else we’ve put in the ecosystem. So of course, geography plays a role in how hard your water is depending on where you live. There are also sulfates and chlorides present and limits on metals like iron and lead that are removed.

A common perception is that hard water is water that is contaminated, but the contaminants are actually minerals these are actual essential to health in moderate doses. If you look at bottled spring water, like Fiji, you can actually see that it contains various minerals that contribute to the flavor profile and feel of the water. Water completely devoid of minerals does not taste good and actually can be detrimental to health long term.

Laws govern how water is treated and how much hardness water can have when leaving the water treatment facility. The hardness of water is measured by primarily the calcium content of water through measuring how much calcium carbonate is present. 0 – 100 ppm is considered soft, 100-200 moderate, and 200 – 300 hard. Again – keep in mind water can also contain iron, chlorides, sulfates, magnesium or other minerals found on the earth’s surface. We call these dissolved solids. You can measure how much “dissolved solids” at your home by using a TDS meter. This is a little meter is plunged into a water sample and it reads out how many ppm is found in the water. It doesn’t necessarily identify each mineral, just the overall content. Typically, less than 500 is considered satisfactory. The only means of reducing total dissolved solids is by using reverse osmosis which is not really economical.

When it comes to washing dishes and doing laundry, soft water is better because it doesn’t leave a mineral residue behind. When you’re washing your hair, though, I do not believe soft water is beneficial over hard water in all cases. When water is softened, sodium  and potassium are often exchanged for the other ions. So while soft water might not contain calcium or magnesium, it still has these sodium salts which can alter hair.

Help 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 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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Welcome to the Beauty Brains, a show where real scientists answer your beauty questions and give you an insider’s look at the beauty product industry. On today’s episode we’re going to be answering your beauty questions about

  • Whether or not expired or fermented milk from the kitchen can be used as a DIY Toner.
  • Should you be worried about shrimp in cosmetics?
  • Do we need a spatula or scoop for skin care products?
  • What makes Maybelline lip gloss work so well?

Beauty Science News

Herbivore’s Moldy Face Cream

Climate Beauty

Beauty Questions answered

Can expired or fermented milk from the kitchen can be used as a DIY Toner.

Milk has a complex chemistry, much like other natural components coming from plants or animals. It’s roughly composed of 87% water, 3% fat, 3% proteins, 4% carbohydrates of which lactose is the main carbohydrate, , and < 1% minerals (Ca, K, Mg, Cl, PO4, Acetate,), Enzymes, vitamins and gases. Lactose is the primary carbohydrate.

Fresh milk actually has very little lactic acid in it and it undergoes fermentation by different strains and variations of lactobacillaceae, like lactobacillus, leuconostoc, pediococcus, lactococcus, befidobacterium, to make different milks and milk products. The bacteria eat the sugar lactose, and lactic acid is secreted by the bacteria as a byproduct. Fermentation of milk with various levels of lactic acid by various strains of bacteria is desirable because it changes the foods into differing textures and flavor – like hard and soft cheeses, yogurt, salami, and fermented milk products like kefir.

Milks and fermented milks actually have a standard of acidity – milk generally across different regulated countries have a maximum allowable lactic acid concentration of 0.18 – 0.4%. No, it probably wouldn’t be a good source of Lactic Acid.

Taylor from Tampa – I saw this funny tweet today, below, and I laughed out loud, so I read some more of the comments. I have never heard of fish scales in makeup! If fish scales and more importantly, shellfish, are indeed used cosmetics, would someone with a shellfish allergy have a reaction? What type/how severe of a reaction would occur? I understand you’re not allergists, but maybe you’re familiar with this subject. And my mom has a severe shellfish allergy, so I’ll refrain from doing patch tests on her for now.

Indeed fish scales are used in some makeup products. There is an ingredient called Guanine which is derived from fish scales. It produces a pearly iridescent effect and is used to make products like body wash and shampoo shiny. In the business we call it pearlessence.  In makeup, it provides a shimmering effect in eye shadow and nail polish.

Now, as far as shellfish go there are some ingredients that make their way into cosmetics. Chitosan & Chitin are natural polymers found in many crustaceans of which shrimp is one. That makes up the shell of the shrimp. Anyway, shrimp shells are a source of chitosan which is used in some cosmetic products. Chitosan derivatives can be used as hair and skin conditioning ingredients & film formers like in hair sprays and styling products.

While it may or may not be a problem, if you have a shellfish allergy you should avoid products with Chitin in it.

Love this podcast, look forward to each new episode.  I did a quick search and I don’t think you have answered this question before.  My question is, do you need a spatula or scoop to get skincare products that are packaged in jars?  The worry, I guess, is that if you stick your fingers in your skincare, it will contaminate the product…presumably destroying it or at least lessening its benefits.  But if you have clean hands, and your product is not expired and has a legitimate preservative system, the need for a spatula and scoop doesn’t seem necessary. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

First, the problem with products packaged in jars or tubs is that they are exposed to the air much more than ones in squeeze bottles or pumps. More surface area exposure of the product means there will be more exposure of microbes and other bacteria in the product.  There is the additional problem caused when you dip your fingers in the product. Your fingers have additional bacteria that gets into the product when you do this. So the question is will using a spatula or scoop reduce the chances that your product will get contaminated?

While you might like the experience of scooping rather than touching your product, it’s highly unlikely this is going to provide you any extra protection from contamination. In my view, this is just the kind of advice a beauty product marketer might give to enhance the experience of using the product. There really isn’t any additional benefit.

Hey Beauty Brains!

I’m so glad that you’re back! Valerie is a great addition to the team. It’s so nice to have a weekly source of intelligent, informed beauty discussion again!

I was hoping you could shed some light on the seeming miracle that is liquid lipstick. Specifically, I recently began using the Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink liquid lipsticks and was amazed at how longwearing and comfortable they are. What about the formula makes these so transfer-proof and flexible? (As a woman of science, I have ruled out magic as a possible explanation.)

Also, question-within-a-question (sorry): If I put an SPF lip balm underneath these lipsticks, am I actually getting the approximately two hours of sun protection that I would get if I had applied the SPF lip balm alone? (Not taking into account reapplication.)

Stay warm! Best, Claire

We looked up the ingredient list of this product…But you know as an aside I just want to give kudos to companies like Maybelline who list all the ingredients on their websites. I hate when I go to a website and look for the ingredients in a product and they list just a few feature ingredients. Provide the whole list of ingredients please!

Anyway, a quick review of the ingredients shows that it is a mostly silicone based product including dimethicone, trimethylsiloxysilicate, a dimethicone crosspolymer, and a solvent. It also has paraffin which can help blend the colorants and give the product a more cushioned feel when you apply it. They reason it lasts so long is because silicones are really good at repelling water. The polymers also help it adhere better to the skin so the product isn’t left behind as much on drinking cups and other people’s lips. This product is all about the silicones.

As for your other question, when you put a sunscreen product on your skin the product is supposed to create a protective film all along your skin. The process of letting the product “dry” helps set up the film on the skin and adds to protection.  For a lip balm with SPF the film is a waxy layer. When you put this lip stick product over the lip balm it’s possible that you could be breaking up that film and diluting the sunscreen effectiveness. Without testing it is difficult to say exactly. However, I would guess that your SPF effect wouldn’t be effected too much so I wouldn’t worry about it. The reality is that 2 hour claim is highly dependent on how much you put on, how well you spread it around and the conditions of your lips. When claims like that are tested it is under ideal conditions.

Next time

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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Welcome to the Beauty Brains show. On today’s episode we’re going to be answering your hair care beauty questions!

  • Hair products that claim to restore natural color in gray hair
  • Ouidad curl conditioner
  • Products that claim to thicken hair
  • How do you avoid hair damage?
  • How do you know what ingredients actually do something?
  • What are the best natural ingredients for hair products?

Beauty Questions

Bexaida asks – I have found this product that is restoring my hair color back to the shade I had in my youth, i used it for a few days and the silver and white turned darker and darker brown and my red undertones appeared as well . I use it less and less until all I need is once a week It is said to remove the Oxygen that builds up in our scalp as we age What do you know about this product?

The product you’re referring to is called Hairprint. This uses a standard technology in which a metal is oxidized to create color. It can provide some gray coverage but it does not work in the manner which is described by their marketing.

I was hoping you might take a look at the ingredients of the Ouidad Curl Immersion Triple Treat Deep Conditioner (see below). I had never tried a Ouidad product before due to price but finally caved after reading rave reviews about it. The problem is I really don’t like it and unfortunately can’t return it. I’m finding it doesn’t have much slip for detangling while it’s in my hair and when I rinse it out, it just doesn’t feel very conditioned. What is it about this product that would cause that? Also, is there anything that can be added to improve it? I’ve heard to add things like honey, oil, or glycerin. Thanks, Misty

This is the problem with following online reviews. First, you don’t know if they are real or the people were paid by the company to write the reviews. And second just because a product works well for one person doesn’t mean it will be great for another. I like using hot water for shaving my face but it’s probably not a great suggestion for most people. Beauty product effectiveness is largely related to your personal preference and experience.

So, you say that Ouidad leaves your hair without slip and it doesn’t feel conditioned. In looking at the ingredients they sure have a lot of ingredients!  There are a number of things in there meant for conditioning hair. Cationic surfactants like Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetrimonium chloride, and Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine. Those should give slip but then there are also a bunch of things which can interfere with that like the shea butter, lanolin, the oils, even the glycerin. And they have silicones in there but Cyclopentasiloxane which tends to evaporate and the others are in there at low levels. Based on the ingredient list it is not surprising you’re not feeling conditioning.

If you want conditioning as you describe look for something with Dimethicone high up in the ingredient list and something that doesn’t have as many ingredients to interfere with the working of all the conditioning ingredients.

You also wanted to know if there was a way to improve it. Adding honey or glycerin will not improve things. I think that would make it perform worse. I’m not sure there is anything you can do but you might try using a leave-on conditioner after. That could at least improve your detangling effect.

Curl Immersion Triple Treat Deep Conditioner Ingredients:

Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape)Seed Oil, Propanediol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Lanolin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil,Cyclopentasiloxane, Behentrimonium Chloride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Polyquaternium-37, Cetyl Esters, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Amodimethicone, Bis-Hydroxy/Methoxy Amodimethicone, C10-40 Isoalkylamidopropylethyldimonium Ethosulfate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Citric Acid, Dipropylene Glycol, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Palmitoyl Myristyl Serinate, Panthenol, Peg-8, Peg-8/SDMI Copolymer, Propylene Glycol Dibenzoate, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate, Quaternium-91, Sodium Polyacrylate, Trideceth-12, Trideceth-6, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance (parfum)

Sheila Marie – My question has to do with a hair product called Nioxin. Can you please explain the science behind this product? And can you explain what it means when the hair product says that it “thickens” hair? Thanks for taking the time to read this email.

Nioxin prides themselves on creating products that thicken hair. They have some products in their line that contain Minoxidil so these are the basis for hair regrowth claims. Their other products “support” hair growth and work in standard product ways to make volumizing products like having a high level of surfactant and focusing on scalp cleansing. The reality is this is a marketing position and the product is unlikely to measurably improve hair thickness better than other products claimed to do the same.

Tina says – I have Caucasian hair that seems to break off excessively and is almost always frizzy. The natural texture seems to be wavy and straight in different places. I don’t know what kind of shampoo and conditioner I should be using.

Use a moisturizing shampoo and always use a conditioner afterwards if you are having problem with frizz and breakage. You might even consider using a leave-in conditioner.

Hi Beauty Brains,

I’ve really loved all your episodes on hair care recently, and listening to them helped me put my finger on what the core question is that I hope you’ll answer, which is “what are the best methods/products/etc to avoid damage to hair?” I like to grow out my hair quite long, so that means avoiding damage as much as possible so I can keep all the length I get. So how, in your opinion, do I do that? This is where all my other major questions spring from. Does harsh shampoo really cause damage? What conditioning ingredients really help? What deep treatments help? Where’s the balance between moisturizing your hair and getting hydral fatigue? On that note, what about the air drying vs. hair dryer debate?

There’s a lot of conflicting info out there on the internet on these topics. If you guys can put together a top ten tips to minimize damage or similar I would really love to hear it!Thanks Elizabeth

Tips for minimizing hair damage.

  1. Minimize washing. Getting hair wet swells the fiber and causes damage
  2. Don’t color your hair
  3. Don’t use a curling iron or flat iron
  4. Always use a conditioner – preferably something with silicones
  5. Minimize combing and brushing
  6. Minimize the use of things in your hair like scrunchies
  7. Don’t get a perm or relax hair
  8. Protect hair from the sun if you’re out a long time

My name is Sophia. I’m obsessed with not damaging my hair because I literally put hundreds of dollars into it. My friends tell me that hair dye is fine but I’m not so sure. As a cosmetic chemist you would know, just how much damage does hair dye cause? And even if I only do it once, what effects would that have and how would I recover from it? Thanks!

Well, we just talked about hair damage and coloring your hair is one of the most damaging things you can do. The only thing more damaging is relaxing hair which actually breaks protein bonds in the hair fiber.

If you only do it once, you can recover from it. The new hair that grows out won’t have any of the same damage problems. Of course, it can take a long time to grow back. Hair grows about half an inch a month.

Question: We often see companies marketing a product with a certain ingredient and stating this ingredient provides you with this benefit like for example a hair cream with Shea Butter and coconut oil marketed as heat protecting cream, or a Cinnamon hair mask marketing that Cinnamon helps with hair growth. With so much miss information out in the internet where can we as consumers find if these ingredients actually provides what there stating?  (Jeanie)

There is no single source – although the Beauty Brains is a good place

First assume that things don’t work. Most things won’t.

Journal of Society of Cosmetic Chemists


Google Scholar

Cosmetic Chemists on Twitter

Next time

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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Welcome to the Beauty Brains, a show where real scientists answer your beauty questions and give you an insider’s look at the beauty product industry.

Hosts: Valerie George and Perry Romanowski

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

  • What are the benefits of broccoli seed oil?
  • What is the deal with California’s banning a list of toxic ingredients?
  • Can you easily remove Quaternium-18?

Beauty Science News

Your car is dirtier than a rest stop

Michelle Pfeiffer Launches a Genderless, 100% Transparent Perfume Brand

Beauty Questions

Julie – I would love to hear your take on this new hero ingredient: broccoli seed oil! Fashionista is comparing it to retinol without the irritation, but I’m skeptical. What are the potential benefits? What kind of concentration should I look for?

The bottom line is that broccoli seed oil is nothing special in my view. You could see superior results by just including a standard moisturizing ingredient, a sunscreen, and specific vitamins. But the name Broccoli is more familiar with consumers and it plays well with the natural trend so it’s good for marketing.

Another reality is that you as the consumer have no way of knowing whether they’ve included 10% in the formula or 0.01%. While there is some interesting possibilities for the ingredient, it’s only marketing hype in my mind at the moment.

Camille asks – What are your thoughts on this new bill: California bill would ban sale of makeup containing cancer-causing chemicals, toxins

https://www.foxnews.com/health/california-bill-would-ban-sale-of-makeup-containing-cancerous-chemicals-toxins

Sherry wants to know whether toners are really needed.

Typically, facial cleansers are formulated to have a pH of anywhere from 4.5-7, and ideally 5 -6. Of course, this is dependent upon what else the cleanser should be doing – is it advertised as gentle, or exfoliating? What are the types of surfactants in the cleanser? What is pH range the preservative system works in?

Of course, it’s in the best interest of companies to sell more products, but through personal experience, I think there is some validity to using toners, but they don’t necessarily have to do with pH of the skin. I like toners for making the skin feel hydrated

——-

Deja says – I was told that quaternium-18 is a silicone. Will a shampoo made with Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine and decyl glucoside remove silicone buildup in hair? Specifically, quaternium-18?

No, quaternium-18 is not a silicone. It is a quaternized ammonium molecule which has two methyl groups and two Tallow groups. So, it’s not necessarily vegan. In fact, some sources of quaternium-18 come from mink. But you don’t have to worry about silicone buildup.

Next time

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 of The Beauty Brains we’re going to be answering your beauty questions about

  • The differences between salon and store bought deep conditioners
  • Whether curology is better than going to a dermatologist
  • And what are the pros and cons of using a bar soap form of shampoo and hair conditioner?

Beauty Science News

Here’s a story that was published in Elle about dangerous cosmetics.

You know it’s a truism in the media industry…if it bleeds it leads. Fear based news stories are preferred for news organization and stories about cosmetic products are included. Fear based news stories prey on our anxieties and in this online world, they lead to more clicks, social media shares, and advertising money. And they all follow the same formula, grab attention with a scary headline, then offer a solution to reduce that fear.

These types of fear mongering / sales articles are all over the Internet. They are not based on science and are really just hidden advertisements parading as some kind of news. Rather than talking to a toxicologist who would be expert in product / ingredient safety, they usually talk to a biased brand owner who benefits from keeping you scared of mainstream products. Why are no toxicologists contacted when writing articles like this? Because the stories would not be nearly as scary.

Michelle Pfiefer fragrance launch

Speaking of fear marketing, it seems Michelle Pfiefer is launching her own “clean fragrance” line in which she’s following the lead of companies like P&G, L’Oreal and Unilever by making the full ingredient list available online for anyone who wants to see it.

Well, I think this new wave of transparency is good. For a chemist it’s interesting to get more information about other people’s products. I’m just not sure how helpful it is for consumers to now know that Tetrahydro-methyl-methylpropyl)-pyran-4-ol is in your fragrance.

Natural Formulas Arrive At Clairol

Happi magazine is reporting that Clairol has launched a new Natural Instincts line of demi-permanent hair colors. The company says that it’s the most gentle at-home hair color product yet and it’s made from 80% naturally derived ingredients. The other 20% are supernaturally derived, I guess.

What Does Vegan Skin Care *Really* Mean? | Shape Magazine

And finally, if you want to know what Vegan Skin care really means, there’s an article in which I was quoted in Shape Magazine. To sum up the article basically while there can be animal derived ingredients in cosmetic products, mostly there aren’t. Companies got away from using animal derived ingredients back in the late 1990’s as a reaction to the mad-cow scare in the UK.

Certainly you still see animal ingredients like Lanolin, Beeswax, and Gelatin but for the most part, the vast majority of cosmetic products you can buy do not contain animal derived ingredients. They are derived either from plants or petroleum. Of course you might say that petroleum was really just dead dinosaurs so it’s still animal based…but that’s not right. It’s a myth that the dinosaurs turned into petroleum. There weren’t nearly enough dinos to do that. Petroleum actually comes from the decay of ancient phytoplankton that lived in the oceans. So technically, petroleum based ingredients are plant based too. Petroleum is plants!  Which makes them vegan. I wonder if that will catch on with consumers seeking vegan cosmetics.

Alright, on to some beauty questions and answers.

Beauty Question

Lily asks – My question today is, Are the deep conditioning treatments salons offer any different from your regular conditioner? A popular one in the recent year is keratin deep conditioning treatment, and I also heard of quinoa hair treatment.. people pay hundreds of dollars for them. I know you are paying for services and that fresh feeling you get coming out of a salon. But I’m curious if there is any difference in formulation between salons conditioning treatment and your regular ol conditioner ?

This is a great question and I’ll cut to the chase, yes deep conditioning treatments in salons are different from a regular conditioner. But I mean they are different in terms of how they are applied, how they are rinsed out and the whole process. They may even be different in terms of how they are formulated since the aesthetics of putting the product on the hair, rinsing it out, and the fragrances are not nearly as important for a salon treatment than for something you use at home.

But in terms of whether you’re getting some great benefit from these pricey treatments versus something you could just do at home…I’ve not seen any good evidence of that.  Consider that there are no special ingredients that go in a salon conditioning treatment that couldn’t also be put in your standard at-home product. I looked at the Clairol Professional Color Vibrancey Repair Packet and they have standard conditioner ingredients Amodimethicone, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Panthenol…you know, the same type of stuff you get in store brand conditioners.

Despite what you might read on the Internet there’s nothing about a quinoa hair treatment that is particularly impressive. Certainly not worth hundreds of dollars.  Keratin deep conditioning…those products also contain silicones, cationic conditioners, and all the other things found in standard conditioners. There really is no special technology that a salon puts on your hair when doing these special conditioning treatments.  

Now, I’m sure the whole experience will leave you with great feeling hair but I’ve tested enough of these conditioning treatments to know that your hair is not going to be left in a condition significantly better than the condition you can get by using a standard conditioner at home.  

Misty from Texas What are your thoughts on Curology? What do you think of these custom formulations?  Is this a good option instead of going to this instead of a dermatologist?

I hadn’t heard of Curology so I went over to their website to check them out. Indeed, they are all about customization and making customized formulas. Or at least, custom-ish formulas. They try to make things simple for you. You answer a few questions, snap a picture of your skin, send it to the website then they send you “your custom super bottle” of perfect skin care for you.  It sounds like magic.

But I’m skeptical of these types of things as you might have imagined. Especially the part where you are subscribing to a service. The main reason people market products as subscription is that it’s a guaranteed sale. They know that a large segment of their customer base will be too lazy or forgetful to cancel a subscription once it starts even if they don’t like the product. Marketing companies love to get people to subscribe to products. While subscriptions for things like Netflix or Car Insurance make sense, subscriptions to beauty products (especially acne treatments) don’t.  

They also don’t offer refunds.  hmmm. More troubling is the cancellation policy where they say that “if you do not receive a cancellation confirmation email, your account has not been cancelled.”  Seems a little dodgy to me. If someone wants to cancel they shouldn’t have to count on the company sending back an email to confirm you cancel. And then they don’t have a phone number?  What kind of business doesn’t have a phone number?

I digress.

The products are made in conjunction with a dermatologist which most likely means the dermatologist worked with a cosmetic chemist or contract manufacturer to get the products made. Anyway, I’m sure they are fine products.

I looked at their ingredient lists and wasn’t terribly impressed. The primary ingredients in their cleansers are Cocamidpropyl Hydroxysultaine and Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate. Then there are a couple of secondary surfactants too. This will be a perfectly functional, light cleansing product. I suspect it will have a hard time cleaning off a face that has a lot of makeup on it, but for an every day cleanser, I’m sure it will be fine.

The moisturizer isn’t anything special either in that it contains things you would expect like Dimethicone, and a couple other silicones and humectants like Glycerin and Sodium Hyaluronate. Again, a perfectly fine moisturizer.

But $60 for a 2 month supply?  

Then there is the super bottle. According to what I could find the formula contains three active ingredients which could be clindamycin, azelaic acid, tretinoin, niacinamide, and zinc pyrithione. These are all things that are found in anti-acne products.  Nothing groundbreaking here.

In my view the questionnaire is just a marketing gimmick. They ask you about skin sensitivity, aging, oil production and your breakout history. People are not very good at assessing their own skin so there are no obvious formulation changes you can make based on these answers. They could randomly give you one of the products and if it works, great. If it doesn’t work they can give you a different combination and keep iterating like that until you get something that works. Maybe their technology algorithm can do better than that but I doubt it.

Alright, so to your final question, is this a good option over going to a dermatologist? In my opinion, I don’t really think so. If you have acne, the first thing you should try is the over the counter stuff you can get at the store. These contain ingredients proven to work against acne for most people. But if you’ve tried that stuff and still have a problem, going to the dermatologist is a more reasonable option than a service like this one.  If you have severe acne or something that is complicated to treat, you need to be looked at by a dermatologist. Some people might like the at-home convenience of a service like curology but I’m skeptical that that is worth the cost.

Beth – What are the pros and cons from using a bar soap form of shampoo and hair conditioner?

First, what are these products and how are they different than standard shampoos and conditioners?

Basically, these formulas use many of the same ingredients as standard formulas but with a lot less water.  For a solid shampoo, typically a detergent is used diluted to about 15% of the formula. In these solid shampoos they can just skip the water and use a solid version of the detergent like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.

For a solid conditioner, they substitute a solid like Coco butter or Shea butter for the water but then include conditioner ingredients like Behentrimonium Chloride. They also include some detergent surfactants so you can was the stuff out of your hair.  These are tricky formulas to make and they generally don’t include the best ingredients you can use in conditioners.

Pros –

  1. Reduce water waste in making the product. We haven’t thought much about water when creating formulas but in the future it could have significant impact on the environment.
  2. Reduce packaging waste – No plastic bottles means less waste.
  3. Reduce number of ingredients needed to make products – For solid products you can use a lower amount of preservatives, pH adjusters and some other ingredients. There is nothing necessarily wrong with those ingredients but reducing exposure to any kind of chemicals is probably helpful. At the very least this lessens the chances of you developing some kind of reaction to one of the compounds.
  4. Last longer – the marketers say that these bars will last longer and they might be right. Bar soap seems to last longer than body wash so these probably will last longer.
  5. Easier to travel with? I guess you don’t have to worry about the bottle opening up and getting all over your clothes

Cons –

  1. Light cleaning – they probably aren’t going to clean your hair as well
  2. Low foaming – they won’t feel like they are working because it’s harder to make foam. This may not be related to how well they are working but you probably won’t enjoy the experience as much.
  3. More damaging – Rubbing a solid on your hair directly could cause damage that you don’t get from a liquid product.   
  4. More tangling – The rubbing action might also make your hair more tangled.

In my view these products aren’t going to be as satisfying to use for people with longer hair. For someone with short hair they might be fine.  But on the plus side, they can probably work as bar soaps too.

Support 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 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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Welcome to episode 177!

It’s a solo episode of the Beauty Brains.

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

  • Thinning hair and the research going on in that area
  • Whether cupping is an effective facial treatment
  • Which sunscreen ingredients block UVA
  • Why mandelic acid is used in deodorants.

Beauty science news

Is dust making you fat? Probably not.

Three hot new beauty trends from the UK – Vegan Beauty, Clean Beauty & Microbiome

Danish retailer bans fluorinated compounds in all cosmetics – And dentists around Denmark rejoice!

Are attractive women less trustworthy? Research says maybe, The Beauty Brains don’t agree.

Beauty Product questions

In your recent podcast you mentioned that only two sunscreen ingredients approved in the U.S. block UVA rays. What are the names of the two that block UVA?

That’s easy enough. The two approved in the US that block UVA are Avobenzone and Zinc Oxide. Titanium Dioxide will block a small portion of UVA rays, and so does Octocrylene, but for broad spectrum, blocking-all-the-UVA, you need to use either Avobenzone or Zinc Oxide. L’Oreal also has Mexoryl but they are the only ones who can use it. In the EU there are like 6 more UVA blockers that formulators can use.

Here’s an audio question – Does hyaluronic acid just evaporate off your face?

But let’s take a look at the ingredients. Drunk Elephant Bee Hydra Instensive Hydration serum – It’s got water, of course, but next is Coconut Alkanes – these are just emollients which are technically oils. Then there is Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil – so, they have some oils. I’m not sure why you said they didn’t.

But you’re right there isn’t anything here that would qualify as an occlusive agent per say. Then there are a bunch of fruit extracts…those aren’t doing much. Ah, there are a lot of humectants Pentylene glycol, Glycerin, Sodium PCA, Panthenol maybe, and of course Sodium Hyaluronate.

So, you’re worried this will just evaporate off. Well, that’s not true. While the formula does have water & cyclomethicone which will evaporate off rather quickly ingredients like Glycerin and Hyaluronic acid, they are not going to evaporate off any time soon. They will stay on the surface of skin and absorb water from the atmosphere or maybe from your skin and…you know..keep providing moisturizing benefits. They’re not going to evaporate off. And you don’t need to put any oils on top of it to make sure that doesn’t happen.

The formula also has film forming polymers like Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer & Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer which will make it stay on your skin even more. It will prevent easily rubbing it off.

So, no, you don’t have put on oils on top of this product. Now, I’m not sure you’re getting a great deal spending $52 for 50 mL of this product when you can get less expensive options that probably work just as well for you, but I’m sure this is a fine product.

Erin asks – As a biologist and chemist, who’s not as young as I used to be, I’ve found your podcast really interesting when it comes to anti-aging cosmetics and their claims. Recently, you did a podcast where you talked about thinning hair. I am very familiar with common knowledge that all products claiming to increase hair growth are bogus, with the exception of Rogaine which is questionable.

Because of my own personal experience, I am wondering if this is a problem with research that is just not well designed to test for ingredients encouraging increased hair growth?

Then she goes on to explain how thinning hair is a problem in her family, and how she tried a product from Monat which work well initially, then didn’t work as well after a while, and then it seems like it’s working again.

And so she wants to know Do you know of anyone doing really good testing on promoting hair growth? I think it’s a shame if this area is not being adequately researched.

First, you’re right Rogaine is the only proven thing for hair growth. And that doesn’t work for everyone.

Next, on the subject of your experience. As a scientist I’m sure you’re aware of anecdotal evidence and how unreliable it is. It’s really easy to fool ourselves. Especially when we want something to work. You know the scientists & researchers out there in the cosmetic industry, we want to make discoveries. We want to make products that really work and that people want to use. Not only is it satisfying intellectually but it’s also monetarily good too. So, there is a lot of research out there going on with hair thinning. It’s just not something that has been easy to find stuff that works. The things we’ve found are by accident usually. And a product like this would be a drug. So, pharmaceutical companies are spending money researching this. There’s a lot of research money going in to finding solutions to hair loss. As you can imagine, this would be a huge market if someone found something that actually worked. I can tell you, the solution is not going to come from a Multilevel marketing company. It’s probably not even going to come from P&G or L’Oreal or one of those companies who focus on making consumer products. J&J might discover something as they are a pharmaceutical company, but most beauty companies are not set up to develop these types of products.

Unfortunately, those companies also don’t tend to publish their research. And they certainly don’t publish research that shows no benefits. So, it’s hard to know what has been studied. The only thing we can know is that this is a huge opportunity, pharmaceutical companies would be the ones who have to make these products (they are drugs) and it’s most likely that they just haven’t found anything that really works.

I feel your pain. I’ve just hit 18,256 days of living and I’m getting a little thinning on the top too. I wish I had better news for you but hair growth products…they mostly don’t work. And when evaluating whether something works it’s really important to not fool yourself. As famous physicist Richard Feynman said “The first principle (of science) is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. Just remember that whenever you are evaluating any beauty product.

Olga says…I saw recently a lot of videos on YouTube on face cupping. Is it proving a rejuvenating facial massage? Is it safe to do it at home?

Thanks for the question. I watched a few facial cupping videos and I have to say, I’m less than impressed. The procedure didn’t seem to be doing much of anything. However, watching youtube videos is not really a scientific examination so I did a little more searching. Facial cupping was no doubt inspired by the general practice of so called Cupping Therapy that is popular with the alternative medicine crowd. I’ll say up front, there is little evidence that cupping therapy has any real benefits. In a review of scientific studies of cupping therapy published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, the authors concluded that “this overview of systematic reviews suggests that cupping may be effective for reducing pain. The evidence is insufficient for other indications. Therefore, considerable uncertainty remains about the therapeutic value of cupping.”

It was a treatment developed before science and subsequent investigation of it has shown no skin benefits. Now, there are plenty of people who will disagree with that but I’m persuaded by evidence, not stories from people who have paid money to get the procedure done or by fake doctors who get paid to do these procedures.

Anyway, back to facial cupping. So, there is no evidence that facial cupping will rejuvenate your skin. And it certainly won’t have any long lasting effects either. Any fluid movement you might do while sucking on the skin of your face will drain back to where it started rather quickly.

As far as safety goes, yes it’s mostly safe to do at home. The biggest downside is that you can suck too hard on your skin and cause bruising. I don’t think a bruised face is what people are going for with this.

The bottom line is that facial cupping has no proven benefits and if you do it too hard you can bruise your skin. It’s pseudoscience, not proven and I don’t recommend it. I’ll provide a link to the review of research studies in the show notes.

Andrea asks…Why is mandelic acid the first ingredient in Lume deodorant?

Lume is touted as a natural deodorant but this seems a little dicey. I mean, it’s true Mandelic Acid was originally discovered as a component of almonds, but the stuff used in production of products is made through synthetic chemical reactions. But there pretty much aren’t any truly natural cosmetics.

I tried to find an ingredient list from the bottle, but all I found was what they had on their website & a picture of one bottle. And indeed the second ingredient, at least on the squeeze tube product is Mandelic Acid.

First, it’s helpful to know that mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid, like Glycolic acid but just a bit bigger as far as molecules go. As far as acid strength goes, it’s a stronger acid than glycolic acid. It’s been used for years in medicine as a urinary antiseptic because it’s thought to be an antibacterial. It’s being studied by some as a potential anti-aging ingredient.

It’s the antibacterial effect that is most likely why mandelic acid is in their product. Underarm odor is caused by bacteria that feast off the sweat you produce. Putting an antibacterial ingredient there will kill the bacteria and theoretically reduce the odor. This is how deodorants work. In traditional deodorants, the ingredient Triclosan is used. It is also an antibacterial. The other thing that deodorants have are fragrances to offset your natural odor. Now, if you wash your armpits, then put this on, theoretically the bacteria wont have time to cause odor so you could have an unscented version which they have but they also have a scented version. I’m guessing the scented version sells better.

I’ll point out they also make some fearmongering claims as they say they are free from “Aluminum, Silicone, Phthalates, Sulfates, Parabens, Gluten, Corn, Soy, Talc, Coconut Oil, Baking Soda” The reality is deodorants don’t use Aluminium. Aluminium salts are found in antiperspirants that stop you from sweating. This product and all deodorants will not have an impact on whether you sweat or not.

Deodorants also don’t normally contain phthalates, sulfates, parabens, gluten, corn, soy, or coconut oil. Some might have talc but that’s not normally found. Silicones are used but there are perfectly fine substitutes. And baking soda, well that’s not something you should put under your arms anyway.

So, there you have it. Lume uses Mandelic Acid as it’s antibacterial component and that’s why it’s in there. Of course at $14 a stick, it’s certainly not going to be a better value than the Speed Stick that I use. But if you like Lume and the brand story, it might work for you.

Next time…we answer more of your beauty questions.

If you want to ask a question about beauty products you can click the link in the show notes or record one on your phone and send it to thebeautybrains@gmail.com  Of course, we prefer audio questions because that makes for a more interesting sounding show.

Beauty Brains wrapup

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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