Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Beauty Q&A: Can Anti-Cellulite Creams Make You Lose Weight?

This post has been moved to the anti-cellulite post on the new Beauty Brains.

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Beauty Q & A: What To Do For Dry Skin and Breakouts?

Do you have dry skin and acne? Check out this skin post at the new home of the Beauty Brains.

Beauty Buzz: No Rinse Shampoo

This post has been moved to the dry shampoo post on the new Beauty Brains.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Beauty News - Stopping the stink

This post has been moved to the oral care section of the new Beauty Brains.

Beauty Q & A: What Hair Removal Products Work?

This post has been moved to the all new Beauty Brains in the hair removal section.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Beauty News - The skinny on sunless tanning

This post on sunless tanning has been moved to the New Beauty Brains.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Beauty Q & A: What Are Photofacials?

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Beauty News: Your Purse Can Make You Sick

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Beauty Q & A: What Causes Pierced Ear Infections?

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The Beauty Brains.

Beauty Q & A: Does Magnetic Jewelry Really Work?

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Beauty Q & A: Do Ingredients in Teeth Whitening Strips Really Work?

This post has moved to the new Beauty Brains oral care product reviews.

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Beauty Q & A: What Happened to My Nail Polish Remover?

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Beauty Buzz: Eucerin deep pore purifying mask

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Beauty Q&A - Would You Use Self Preserved Cosmetics?

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Actual Ads: Fragrance and The Flag

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Beauty Q & A: Is Ojon Restorative Treatment Any Good?

This post has been moved to our new blog site. Click here for the Ojon Product Review.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Beauty Q & A: Bad Brush Bacteria?

We have moved our blog!! Come find more at the all new Beauty Brains.

Corinneyb asks:

What do you think of Clinique's makeup brushes with their "unique antibacterial technology" that is supposed to last up to 500 cleanings?

The Right Brain Rejoins:
Without extensive testing, there's no way to tell which antimicrobial agent Clinique is using on their brushes, or how long it will actually last. We're reminded of the Ocello sponges that claim to fight mildew odor for a certain number of washings. And those things never seem to last as long as they say they will!

We don't have a strong opinion on these brushes, but you can read more on this blogger's comments.

The Brain's Bottom Line:

Does treating brushes with an antibacterial agent help?
It certainly could. Does it make the brush worth that much more money? Well, we suppose that depends on how much trouble you're having with your current brushes. If you can afford them, you've got nothing to lose. Give Clinique a try and let us know what you think!

Beauty Q&A - Ode to Olive Oil

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Cynical Girl Says…
Okay, talk to me about DHC skin care products. Does the olive oil really make a difference? I use the olive oil cleansing product to remove make-up, but I'm not sure if it's a waste of money.

The Left Brain Counters...
To answer this question let's first look at how these things work? Makeup is essentially composed of oily materials such as waxes, oils, pigments, and emollients. They stay on your face so well because these ingredients do not dissolve in water; if they did your makeup would run! But that also means you can’t remove them with water either.
Standard facial cleansers don’t work so well on makeup because they are designed to be gentle. The more gentle you make a cleanser, the less ability it has to remove heavy oils. Cleansing ingredients are generally harsh for your face. If manufacturers made the cleansers with more detergent, you could remove the makeup but you would also remove all the natural facial lipids and dry out your skin! Thus, the makeup remover is needed.

Makeup removers use the “like dissolves like” property of chemicals. Since oils can be dissolved in oils, and makeup is oil based, the removers also have oils in them. When the oil is rubbed on the face, it mixes with the surface makeup and is then removed with a cotton swab or cloth. The makeup removers also contain a small amount of surfactant to aid in removal off the face.
What’s left on the face is some residual oil but not much if you wipe it well. This small amount of oil can then be removed with a facial cleanser leaving your face perfectly clean without being dried out.

The product you mentioned has the following ingredients.

europaea (olive) fruit oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, sorbeth-30 tetraoleate, tocopherol, phenoxyethanol, propylparaben, stearyl glycyrrhetinate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil

The formula is basically olive oil with some added lower molecular weight oils (probably vegetable oil) and nonionic surfactant. It also has a splash of vitamin E added to have something extra to say on the label and a few preservatives to ensure the stuff doesn’t go rancid. At $3.58 an ounce that’s pretty pricey. Especially considering that you could buy a gallon of olive oil for about $25.

“Standard” makeup removers are emulsions (mixtures of water and oil) based on an ingredient like mineral oil. Here’s an example…

Water, Mineral Oil, Lanolin, Petrolatum, PEG-15 Cocamine, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

This formula is also an oil, a surfactant and some preservatives. It also has a thickener in it.
Basically, these formulas will work the same.

Brains bottom line

So does the Olive Oil based formula work better than the mineral oil based one? An excellent question. While we haven’t tested this question exactly, the most likely answer is no.
Olive oil is a decent oil solubilizer but mineral oil is better. And since it’s been shown that mineral oil does not cause acne, you should not fear using a formula with this ingredient. But if the olive oil based formula is working well for you and you don’t mind spending the extra money, feel free. It’s not any better for you but it’s probably not going to be bad for you either unless you have a condition like these folks.

Beauty Q & A: The Problem With Pore Strips

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Another “Anonymous” Asks:

What can you tell us about Bioré-type pore strips? It's strangely fascinating seeing all the crap come off on the strips, but is just a quick-fix that will actually make things worse in the long run?

The Right Brain Boasts About Biore:
A pore strip, like Biore’s, is a very dramatic way to clean your pores. It works by adhering tightly to your skin – so tightly that when you pull it off it also pulls out the oily, dirty gunk that is clogging your pores.

The cool thing is that you can actually SEE the “pore poop” stuck to the strip after you take it off.
The first time the Brains tried this product they sat staring transfixed at the forest of tiny nasal pore discharges dotting the landscape of the freshly spent pore strip. Some white heads were barely visible to the naked eye; other black heads where ominously thick and dark. We still get shivers just thinking about it.

Even if you don’t feel you need them, we recommend trying pore strips as an experiment just so you can see for yourself.

(By the way, just in case you’re wondering how all that gunk gets in your pores in the first place, click here for an excellent description of the process courtesy of

But back to your question:
When used correctly, Pore Strips can be a powerful weapon in your battle against blackheads. But don’t use them too often – they can irritate your skin. Three times per week max, that’s the limit. Any more than that and you risk damaging your skin. We quote Cosmeticscop's description of the dangerous downside:
"What about pore strips? What has me most concerned about pore strips (which are not as widely available as they once were) is that most people don’t pay attention to the warnings clearly printed on the side of the box. Pore strips are accompanied by strong warnings such as not to use them over any area other than the nose and not to use them over inflamed, swollen, sunburned, or excessively dry skin. It also states that if the strip is too painful to remove, you should wet it and then carefully remove it. What a warning! You may at first be impressed with what comes off your nose. (Well, if you have extremely superficial, noticeable black-looking blackheads, there is no question: you will be impressed.) Most people do have some oil sitting at the top of their oil glands (most of the face's oil glands are located on the nose), and whether you use these strips or a piece of tape, black dots and some skin will be removed. Is that helpful? Briefly, but if you use these repeatedly, they will not eliminate the problem and the ingredients on the strip can eventually irritate skin and potentially trigger further breakouts."

The Brain's Bottom Line:
Pore strips really work, but they're no substitute for a good, regular cleansing regimen. And don't use them too often or you may experience some negative side effects.

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Beauty Q & A: Do Aspirin Masks Work?

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Ivy Asks About Aspirin:
I've been preparing to write about Aspirin Masks. The mask is prepared by crushing four aspirins and mixing it with a bit of water to create a paste. Then it's smeared over one's face.

Do you know anything about this do-it-yourself cosmetic?

The Right Brain Responds: Aspirin Masks seem to be all the rage these days, but we can't find any evidence that they're worth the effort. Here's why:

The active ingredient in aspirin is the drug called Acetylsalicylic Acid. After you swallow an aspirin tablet it travels to your small intestine where this ingredient is broken down to create to Salicylic Acid. Salicylic Acid, or Sal Acid as it's referred to, is the form of the drug that actually reduces pain, fever, etc.

Now, Sal Acid also belongs to the class of chemicals known as Beta Hydroxy Acids, or BHAs. BHAs are similar to AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids). Both BHAs and AHAs are known for their ability to help slough off dead skin cells when applied topically.

Are you beginning to see the connection between aspirin and facial masks?

In theory, crushing aspirin tablets and rubbing them on your face COULD be beneficial because you're delivering a skin smoothing BHA, right? Well, not exactly.

You're really delivering Acetylsalicylic Acid to the skin - NOT Salicylic Acid, which is the active BHA. And just rubbing the Acetyl verision on your skin won't make it convert to the Sal Acid version. Ok, maybe SOME of the acid is present in the Sal version, but it certainly isn't an optimized dose.

The Beauty Brain's Bottom Line:

Putting crushed aspirin on your face might have SOME benefit, but if you really want a skin smoothing BHA treatment, just buy one of the many Sal Acid products on the market (e.g., Neutrogena's 1% Sal Acid cleansing mask.) In this case the home-made remedy doesn't appear as effective as the chemist-made one.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Beauty Q & A: How Do I Clean Make Up Brushes?

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Carrie's Curious About Cleaning:
I am an aspiring makeup artist and I'm wondering what the best way to clean and disinfect my cosmetics brushes would be. In Cosmetology school we used Quaternary Ammonium Compounds to disinfect hair brushes but how can I disinfect brushes I use on the face? If you have any great ideas let me know. I want to protect my clients as best as I can.

The Brains Don't Brush Her Off:
Thanks for the question Carrie. Unfortunately, there’s not a simple answer.
In reality, there are many disinfecting chemicals available - the Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (called Quats for short) are one of the most common. But when you become a professional make up artist, you'll need to make sure you're following the local state regulations for cosmetologists and those regulations usually specify some kind of sanitization protocol for brushes. You should be able to find out more by doing a web search for the state you’re in. (You’re probably in a state of confusion at this point!)

Now, having said all that, we can steer you toward a couple of “not-necessarily -approved-by-state-regulatory-agency” methods for cleaning make up brushes:

1) The Colorescience Brush company says this about their brush cleaner:
“This pharmaceutical grade aromatherapy spray gently cleans make up brushes with natural ingredients. Its alcohol and hydrogen peroxide formulation helps purify and quick dry your Colorescience brushes.”
2) A manufacturer of squirrel hair brushes (no, we’re not making this up) recommends the following and we quote:
“There are many brush cleaners available. Two excellent brands worth mentioning are Masters Brush Cleaner & Preserver and "Pink Soap" Artist Brush Cleaner and Conditioner. They both clean and rinse out very well. Moreover, they help condition your makeup brush hair. They are available at any good art supply store.”
The Brain’s attorneys won’t let us comment on the viability of using art supplies to clean your make up brushes, but hey, if it’s good enough for squirrels… But seriously, you should check out their website just to see their instructions on how to clean and dry brushes - they've got some good tips.

3) Finally, here's a tip from a consumer at one of our fave sites, “

“After cleansing your face in the morning, you are more than likely spreading bacteria back on your face when you apply make-up with a brush. Makeup brushes are breeding grounds for bacteria. To help keep my brushes clean after each use, I simply wipe each brush back and forth over an inexpensive anti-bacterial wet wipe before putting them away. (You can actually see the makeup and blush residue deposited on the wipe!) Your brushes will be dry in about 3 minutes and stay much cleaner in between washings. This helps to keep breakouts to a minimum.”
Interesting. We’re not sure if this is scientifically valid, but interesting.

The Beauty Brain’s Bottom Line:

To be honest, we’re not really experts in brush cleaning. But there are a lot of products out there so we suggest you check with a local beauty school for their recommendations. Sorry we can't be of more help, but thanks for the interesting question.

We've moved!! Check out the all new Beauty Brains.

Beauty News Bits - Wonderful whale washup?

This entry has moved to the new Beauty Brains site.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Beauty Q & A: Do Curling Shampoos Really Work?

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Beauty Q &A: What's a Good Facial Sunscreen?

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Beauty News - Are You A Suntan Addict?

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The Science of Color and Fashion

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Beauty Buzz: Worst Shampoo Ingredients Ever

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Beauty News: The Biology of Beauty

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Beauty News Bits - Does mineral oil cause zits?

The Beauty Brains and this post have been moved. Check out the mineral post here.

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Hair Care - L'Oreal

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Beauty Busting – Are Hair Products Bad for your Hair?

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Beauty Q& A: Is Lip Balm Addictive?

This Lip Balm post has been moved to the all new Beauty Brains

Beauty Bits: Diamonds Made From Human Hair

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Beauty Q & A: Are Straightening Irons Good for Your Hair?

The Beauty Brains have moved as has this post on straightening irons.


This post has moved to the all new Beauty Brains.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Beauty Review: Biosilk

Hello. Thanks for visiting our site. But this is our old site and we have since moved.

For answers to all your beauty questions, come visit the new Beauty Brains.

Beauty Q & A: Do Shave Minimizing Lotions Work?

Shave minimizing lotions really don't work. See our new Beauty Brains site for the full explanation .

And for answers to your beauty questions just ask the Beauty Brains.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Breaking hair

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Science Sources: Cosmetics, Toiletries and Fragrance Association (CTFA)

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Beauty Q & A: Hair Loss Products - Love 'em or Lose 'em?

This post has been moved. Please click here to find out what hair loss products work.

The Beauty Brains. For all your beauty answers.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


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Beauty in a Bottle: How Does Mascara Work?

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Beauty News Bits - What's Making Your Skin Red?

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Beauty Review: Pantene Restoratives

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Beauty News: Science Makes Smarter Shoppers

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Tasty Toothpastes

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Combing cream with cereal

This post has been moved to the cereal styling page on the new Beauty Brains.

Beauty News - Advances for Making Anti-Aging Lotions

This post has been moved to the anti-aging lotion section of the new Beauty Brains.
For answers to your beauty questions see the new Beauty Brains.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Beauty Q&A - Hairy Glaze of Glory

This post has been moved to the hair glaze section on the new beauty brains.
Got beauty questions, we've got beauty answers.

How Cosmetics Work: Skin Lotions Part 1

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Beauty Business: Who's Who In Hair Care

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Who's who in the Beauty Biz

The primary goal of the Beauty Brains is to help you, our readers, become smarter shoppers by educating you about cosmetic products. While most of our posts deal with the science and technology of these products, we will occasionally post about the business side of this industy as well. So here we present the Who's Who of the Beauty Biz. Here you'll find all the companies that make the industry go. You might be surprised who owns which brands.


Proctor & Gamble - The Consumer Product Giant

L'Oreal - The haircare people

Beauty Q&A - Animal Testing Analysis

Curious about Animal Testing and cosmetics? We've moved our blog and this post on animal testing.

And see the All New Beauty Brains for your beauty answers.

Beauty Buzz: Too Many Shampoo Choices Part 2

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Beauty in a Bottle: How Do Shampoos Work? Part 3: Interaction with Hair

In previous posts , we've talked about the ingredients in shampoo and how they're mixed together. This post talks about how shampoo actually works to clean your hair.

The reason you want to wash your hair in the first place is because it's dirty - but how does it get dirty? There are several ways: The sebaceous glands in your scalp secrete natural oils (kind of chemically similar to olive oil) that make your hair feel greasy; then you 've got perspiration which deposits salts and other junk on your hair and scalp. On top of that mess you have smoke , pollution, and dust that your hair picks up from the environment. And let's not forget the styling residue from hair spray, gel, mousse, and putty you might have used. Now, you might think that getting this stuff off your hair would be simple, but the process of cleansing is really ingeniously sophisticated.

For the most part, all this residue on your hair is not very water soluble - in other words if you just rinse your hair in water you wouldn't get rid of it all. Enter the shampoo with its surfactant (aka detergent) molecules. These molecules are designed to remove these water insoluble contaminants by working as tiny chemical bridges. (They link oil and water together.)

If you were to look at these molecules under a microscope , you would see they consist of two parts: One end of the molecule is attracted to water, and at the other end to oil. This structure gives surfactants the unique ability to combine oil and water and it also allows them to create foam as well. This handy little piece of chemisty is the one of the most important properties of cosmetic ingredients and we'll talk about it more in a future post .

So, when the shampoo is applied to your dirty hair, these tiny chemical cleansers spring into action and "seek out" the drops of oil, dirt, and yesterday's Sebastion hair spray. The surfactants actually surround these contaminants and lift them off your hair. Once all the undesirable dirt is lifted off your hair the surfactants keep it suspended in the rinse water so it goes down the drain, not back on your hair.

So there you have it - that's how shampoo cleans your hair. And if you're wondering how a 2 in 1 shampoo cleans and conditions your hair at the same time, well, that's a different post!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Beauty Q & A: Facial Creams and Moisturizers

Sandy’s Search for Science:

“I'm curious about all the different types of facial moisturizers out there - eye cream, face cream, face lotion, serum, day moisturizer, night moisturizer...etc. How different are they exactly, and which ones are truly necessary?”

The Right Brain Rejoins:

Well, Sandy, here at The Beauty Brains, we treat all questions as equal. But, not all parts of your skin are equal and that’s why you need different types of facial moisturizers. (How’s that for a segue to your answer?)

Most of the products you cited are designed to perform on different parts of your skin OR they’re meant to perform different functions. Eye creams, for starters, are specially designed for the delicate area around your eyes. As you can see if you click here*, the skin around the eye has unique properties:

“It has virtually no sebacious glands, which makes it highly prone to dryness. It is much thinner and more sensitive than other facial skin. It overlies a particularly dense capillary network and has minimal fat padding, which makes the eye area prone to puffiness. It is stressed by frequent eye movements and squinting.” *courtesy of
Cosmetics made for use around the eyes are formulated to address these specific properties. Facial skin, on the other hand, needs products formulated differently because the area around the nose and cheeks is filled with active oil glands. You don’t want to apply too many oily moisturizers to this area! (Acne anyone?) So, it looks like you need to decide WHERE on your face the product will be used before you pick the product.

Ah, but if only it were as simple as “eye” or “not eye.” There are other factors to consider – is the product meant to moisturize during the day? Well then the formula should probably contain a UV absorber. Is it just a night time product? Then UV isn’t a problem. So, you also need to consider WHEN you’ll be using the product before you pick the product.

What about product forms, you ask? Serums, lotions, creams? Well, these are really just different delivery vehicles. You can have serums for the face, lotions for the eyes, creams for the nose, or serums for the nose, creams for the face and lotions for the eyes or you can have…. Well, you get the picture. You need to decide what kind of product form you like before you pick the product.

Soooo, the Brains bottom line: to some extent, these products are different and understanding where, when and how you want to use the product will help you select what to buy. But beware – there is a lot of Marketing hype out there and you don’t need to buy EVERYTHING they tell you!

Thanks for the question, we hope this helps.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Beauty News - Corrective Cosmetics Can't Conceal Concern

Scientists from the Ohio State University are reporting that using make-up to cover severe facial marks may not actually make women with severe facial blemishes feel better about themselves. In a paper published in the most recent issue of the International Journal of Dermatology women with these blemishes reported a lower quality of life than women with similar blemishes who did not wear concealing make-up.

Now, it could be that the women who didn’t use the concealing make-up were just naturally more self-confident. But it is surprising that these expensive make-ups were not doing the job they were intended for. It sounds like this is a real opportunity for a creative cosmetic chemist. We just have to figure out why people are dissatisfied with these products.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Beauty Q&A - The Paraben Perils

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Lou asked…
What are your feelings on parabens? Is this something we should avoid in a product? If so, any recommendations on brands to check out? Thank you

And snapdragon77 also asked…

Everyone is afraid of PARABENS! The product line that I use (Bioelements) lists methylparaben and propylparaben as the last ingredients, and I know that they are preservatives, but what do I tell a frightened clientele who have just heard "Parabens=Bad!"

Left Brain Responds...
First things first. Parabens are preservatives used in nearly every kind of cosmetic. They are put in formulas in small amounts to prevent the growth of disease-causing microbes. Without preservatives, cosmetics would be much more dangerous to use. They have been used in cosmetics for at least 20 years and are quite effective at killing microbes.

It’s not surprising that parabens raise so many questions. Stories about these ingredients and the perils of using products that contain them are found everywhere on the net. A quick google search of “
parabens and cancer” results in over 300,000 hits! Sites like this and this extol the evils of parabens. Of course, sites like this and this state a much different, less alarming position. So who should you believe?

Here’s what the FDA has to say about the subject. Their position is best summed up in the following quote, “FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens.” But they are still looking at data.

And the primary governmental agency (in the United States) that receives money to research such questions, the National Institute for Health, has
this position paper. Basically, “…researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are not aware of any conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the subsequent development of breast cancer.”

So where did the furor about parabens and cancer come from. In 2004, Dr Philippa Darbre at the University of Reading published a study in the Journal of Applied Toxicology that said his group tested 20 different human breast tumors and found parabens in all of them. Neither he nor anyone else could explain how they got there or why they were there. They also couldn't say whether normal tissue had parabens. This raised the possibility that the parabens could have something to do with the cancer, but no one could explain what was going on. And since then, there still hasn’t been an explanation. This doesn’t mean parabens have anything to do with cancer. We just can’t say they don’t.

So, what do we think? Here at the Beauty Brains, we have to side with the majority of the scientific research. Namely, at the moment there’s no significant reason to be concerned. The notion that parabens are a major cause of breast cancer is just not true! It’s possible that they might play a role in breast cancer but there is no conclusive evidence that supports this idea. No matter how bad parabens are, microbes are much worse.

Many cosmetic industry suppliers are offering alternatives to parabens. Privately, these companies acknowledge that parabens are more effective. They also do not believe there are any real safety issues, but it is an opportunity to create new products so they are taking it. Unfortunately, every other effective preservative such as DMDM Hydantoin (a formaldehyde ingredient) or Kathon (synthetic) have potential safety issues. And suggested alternatives like grapefruit seed extract · phenoxyethanol · potassium sorbate · sorbic acid · tocopherol (vitamin E) · vitamin A (retinyl) · vitamin C (ascorbic acid) don’t really work too well. The available preservatives aren’t perfect, but they are the best there is. And they are certainly better than using nothing. Bacteria, yeast, & mold could really kill you!

Preservative alarmists may have a point and the industry is constantly on the lookout for new, effective ingredients. They just haven’t found any. But the risk posed from these ingredients is so small that it’s not worth worrying about. There are much more critical things you can do to avoid cancer like not smoking, avoiding excessive sun exposure, exercising regularly and eating a well-balanced, low fat diet. Don’t waste your energy fretting about the preservatives in your cosmetic.

Actual Ads: Hair Dryer as Pop Art

The Beauty Brains have moved pages. Please click here to see the all new Beauty Brains.

Yes, we know it was the 1970s.

Yes, we know that "hip" and "mod" reigned supreme.

But what the HELL?!?!

In most beauty ads, the hair style takes center stage. "Make me look beautiful like the goddess in the ad" is what you're supposed to say to yourself as you flip through Cosmo.

But this ad seems to call to you in a droning, zombie like tone:

"Must--Join--Cybernetic --Blue--Capped--Line-- Dancing-- Clones."

If this were a James Bond villianess her name would be something catchy, like "Blue Bonnet Plague." Unfortunately, it's just an actual ad for a hair dryer. Go figure.

copyright 1974, The Gillette Company

Monday, May 01, 2006

Beauty Q & A - Sunscreen and Vitamin C

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Meg's Pondering Sun Protection:
I hear a lot about using vitamin C and antioxidants in addition to a high PPD sunscreen to prevent sun damage and aging. Is there truth to this, or is this just something the cosmetics companies invented?

The Brains Say:
Actually, there is some solid research that indicates antixoidants can have some antiaging properties when used with sunscreens.

We've known for a while that sun protection is one of the best things you can do for your skin. But now,
researchers at the Department of Dermatology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans LA, have shown that vitamin C and other antioxidants can help with collagen synthesis and a variety of inflammatory dermatoses. In other words - it's really good for your skin!

By the way, kudos to Meg for using the term PPD (Persistent Pigment Darkening), which is one of the proposed methods for measuring sun exposure in humans.

Beauty Q & A - The Power Of Peels (Glycolic Acid)

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Lux Likes This Question:
I wanted to know about glycolic treatments and peels available in drugstores and beauty counters. What do these treatments do? Are these treatments effective or are you better off going to a Dr's office for a facial peel with a higher acid content? If the treatments the public can buy are effective, what ingredients and/or percent concentration should I look for?
The Brain's Bounce Back: Glycolic peels performed by a dermatoligist can be pretty potent. One study shows they're equally as effective as microdermabrasion. Ouch! These high power Derm peels use a glycolic acid concentration around 20% while your basic drug store product only only uses about 10%. So yes, there is a difference. You might be satisified with the drug store brand, but if not, see your doctor.

If you liked our facial peel picture, check out

Beauty Q & A -SPF Night and Day

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Jamie Wants To Know:
I recently bought a new moisturiser which contains SPF. Is it alright to use this as a night cream as well? Will applying SPF to your skin day and night cause any harm? Or should I just go get myself a night cream?

The Brain's Say: Applying an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) cream to you skin at night versus during the day won't make any difference. Any cosmetic CAN be irritating if you have very sensitive skin, but if you've used the product during the day and it's ok, you won't have any problems at night. At least your face won't have problem. Your bank account might because SPF products tend to be more expensive! The Brain's Bottom Line: Invest in a good night cream without SPF and you'll save some money.

Beauty Q & A -Mineral Foundation and SPF

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Kim’s Query: Is mineral makeup better for your skin than other foundations? Also, some of them say they have SPF 15. How much of the makeup would you have to use to actually get this level of protection?

The Right Brain’s Response: Kim, we’re not sure if you’re referring to powder or liquid foundations, so we’ll try to address both. Let’s start by pointing out that most, if not all foundations COULD call themselves “mineral” products because most of them already use “mineral” ingredients. Most foundations use one or more of the following: Talc, titanium dioxide, 
Iron oxides, 
Mica, and 
Silica.) These can all be considered to be minerals in the broad sense, even though they don’t all meet the technical definition of a mineral. 
 Some of these ingredients, like the iron oxides, impart color. Others, like the titanium dioxide, help cover up your skin. But there’s nothing “magical” that happens just because the products contain minerals; basically, that’s just hype from the cosmetic companies.

You also asked about SPF (or Sun Protection Factor) and how much make up you’d have to apply to get an effect. You can, and should, protect your face from UV radiation and using your foundation to boost that protection is perfectly reasonable. But, sunscreens need to be applied in a fairly thick layer in order to work properly. So, if you’re just dusting on a little powdered foundation color, we doubt you’re getting very good coverage. Liquid foundation can give you good protection, IF you apply it ALL over your face. If you don’t apply foundation to your ears, for example, they’ll still burn!

Acne, Blemish, and Skin Irritation Posts

Facial Moisturizers and Cleansers Posts

Beauty Bits - Top 10 Trends of 2006, Part 1

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The “researchers” at The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) have reported on what they believe will be the Top Ten Health and Wellness Trends. While we can’t verify their prognosticatory prowess, the trends they mention do link up with what we hear from our industry sources.

1. Changing Demographics Create Health and Wellness Opportunities. People are living longer so the population is getting older. No kidding! You already see products marketed for these older (but not old) folks such as Pantene Silver Expressions or Olay Regenerist. A quick review of the label shows that while they look different than “normal” products, they are not much different than the regular formulas.

2. Organic Versus Natural: The Balance of Price and Benefits. How many of you have noticed the proliferation of new Organic/Natural aisles in your grocery store? This is no accident. It is a response to the tremendous growth of Whole Foods whose Organic/Natural positioning has struck a chord with their consumers. Cosmetics are part of this trend. Look to see more launches in the near future. Don’t look, however, for any great new products. While you can make a fine product using “natural” ingredients, they will not work better and they are not better for you. There may be some merit to the benefits of organically grown food but for the things you put on the outside of your body, not so much.

3. Energy and Vitality: Future Platforms for Growth. You’ll probably see products launched claiming to give you energy and improve vitality but keep your skeptical glasses on. This is a promise that cosmetic manufacturers can’t possibly deliver on. At best they can create nice smelling products whose odors could brighten your mood. However, that alone could be a good enough reason to buy it. It’s why I like Axe body wash.

4. Ingredient/Nutrient Drivers. Ingredients to sell products? What a surprise. While specific ingredients like Aloe, Protein, Vitamins or Omega-3 Fatty Acids will get top billing on the front of the cosmetic bottle, the ingredients that do the real work are the less sexy sounding Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, and Petrolatum. All the manufacturers put the feature ingredients at extremely low levels just so they can claim they are in there. This is specifically because of cost issues and because the feature ingredients generally don’t have much beneficial effect even if they were used at high levels. Vitamins for hair may make sense and sound good, but even taking a bath in pure Pro-Vitamin B5 won’t make your hair feel better.

5. The Proliferation of Heart Healthy Products. Look for your cosmetic makers to start selling “healthy” products. This one might be a stretch but don’t be surprised if you see a skin product that claims it will make you and your skin “healthy”. Of course, the skin products are designed never to make it into your body (they don’t penetrate the skin far enough) so the notion of making you more healthy from your skin is just silly.

In part 2, we’ll look at the rest of the emerging trends.