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The Beauty Brains bottom line To please all consumers, many nail polish remover brands, like Cutex, make both kinds of products. Just be careful to read the label so you know which one you’re getting! If you prefer a powerful polish remover look for acetone on the ingredient list and stay away from products that are non-acetone or acetone free.
112 - Nail Knowledge You Need Chapter 8 Fragrance What Makes Some Perfumes Last So Long
Jansen Needs Justification:
Hi to both Left and Right Brains, I am currently using a eau de parfum called Allure Homme Sport by Chanel, and it is the MOST long-lasting fragrance ever.
(And Yes, I am a bloke). One of my chemist friends told me that this is to do with the exclusive alcohol that Chanel uses in their perfumes, as it probably has a low boiling point and so the fragrances are more volatile. I wonder how true this statement is? Thanks in advanced!
The Left Brain is Left Justified:
Thanks for the question Jansen, it’s always a special treat when we hear from our male readers! But while we chemists usually stick together, we have to disagree with your friend’s assessment of why Allure lasts so long. To explain
Fragrance are complex mixtures of natural and synthetic chemicals designed to create a specific scent. The fragrance ingredients are mixed with alcohol (specifically ethanol) to dilute them to a usable level. Ethanol is used because its safe, it’s a good solvent and it evaporates quickly. In fact, the alcohol is the FIRST thing that evaporates. That’s why when you first spray on perfume you want to wait a few seconds before smelling it. Otherwise you get a nose full of sharp alcohol odor. As the alcohol flashes off, the other ingredients in the fragrance are more noticeable; these ingredients are loosely grouped into 3 categories depending on how fast they evaporate.
Three notes Top notes evaporate quickly so you smell them first. These tend to be lighter in nature - think citrus type scents. They are also the first notes to wear out over the course of the day.
Middle notes evaporate a bit slower and create the body of the fragrance, these are usually a combination of floral and/or fruity notes.
Bottom notes are the heavier longer lasting fragrance components. Perfumers describe these notes with terms like woody, balsamic, smoky, or musky. These notes are the “anchors” that help the fragrance last longer. Bingo!
The Beauty Brains bottom line Allure lasts longer because of the bottom notes in the fragrance not because of the alcohol. And speaking of alcohol, tell your chemist friend he or she should buy you a cocktail to make up for the bad advice!
114 - The Science of Smell Feeling Tired? It Might Be What You Smell Here’s a bit of odor research showing that symptoms like fatigue, chest pain and lower back pain may actually be related to the odors you’re smelling.
Researchers had 194 people keep track of their stress levels and odor experiences over the course of 8 days. What they found was that physical symptoms actually got worse after people experienced intense odors. They don’t know exactly how the two are related but they believe that the memory of the odor becomes linked to the pain which triggers the sensation.
So what can the Beauty Brains community do about it? Well, you might keep a diary like the people in this study did. Anytime you feel fatigued or pain write down all the things that you smell. You may start to notice a pattern and start avoiding odors that trigger the symptoms.
How important is fragrance in your life?
Did you know that about 400,000 people in the US were born without a sense of smell? These people have a condition known as anosmia and effects not only their sense of smell but also their ability to taste. (Here’s one author’s experience with anosmia). Why most can’t smell is mystery but that may be changing.
You can imagine how unfortunate it is, especially when it comes to using perfumes or heavily scented beauty products from places like Lush or Bath & Body Works. Without fragrance people would have a very difficult time noticing any difference between various products.
Does fragrance make the beauty product?
In fact, brands like Philosophy are all about fragrance. Let’s compare a couple of their products.
The Science of Smell - 115 Philosophy Vanilla Birthday Cake 3-in-1 shampoo Water (aqua), TEA Lauryl Sulfate, PPG 2 Hydroxyethyl Cocamide, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycol Stearate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Fragrance (Parfum), Polyquaternium 7, PEG 150 Distearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzotriazolyl Butylphenol Sulfonate, Buteth 3, Tributyl Citrate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Propylene Glycol, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Red 40 (CI 16035) Philosophy Double Rich Hot Cocoa 3-in-1 shampoo Water (Aqua),TEA Lauryl Sulfate, PPG 2 Hydroxethyl Cocamide, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycol Stearate, Caramel, Disodium Laureth Sulfocsuccinate, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Fragrance (Parfum), Polyquaternium 7, PEG 150 Distearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzotriazolyl Butylphenol Sulfonate, Buteth 3, Tributyl Citrate, Propylene Glycol, Benzyl Benzoate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Red 33 (CI 17200) Notice anything? The formulas are identical except for the color and fragrance. Now, for a non-anosmiatic like myself this is not a problem.
I love both of these products. The intense fragrances transport me to happy times; a birthday party when I was 7, a cold winter evening snuggled up by a fire. Oh, such memories from simple body washes.
While anosmiacs won’t be able to tell any difference between these two products (except for color), relief may be on the way. Researchers at the Washington DC Taste and Smell Clinic report that they have identified cell death factors in the mucous of anosmiacs. And now they can get to work on finding ways to reduce the effect of these factors.
So if you happen to lose your sense of smell or were unfortunate enough to be born without it, you may be able to take a pill or nasal spray that will allow you to to know the difference between Vanilla Cake and Hot Cocoa shampoo.
116 - The Science of Smell Time Travel For Your Nose Archeologists have discovered a Sephora store from 2000 B.C.
Ok, it’s not really Sephora, but it is believed to be the world’s oldest perfume factory.
Appropriately located on Cyprus, said to be home to Venus the Goddess of love, this factory still contains the original distilling equipment along with ingredients like olive oil, pine, coriander, laurel, bergamot, parsley and bitter almonds. The laboratory they uncovered is over 40,000 square feet and includes rooms dedicated to olive pressing, copper refining, and fragrance oil storage. According to the researchers, the plant employed dozens of people.
But the really cool thing is that these scientists have used the remnants of this ancient factory to recreate scents that are 4,000 years old. They duplicated the original perfumes using fragrance ingredients extracted from traces left in containers at the site. They even replicated the ancient extraction techniques by steeping the spices in water and oil.
Imagine smelling a fragrance that was made 4000 years ago this may be the closet you’ll ever get to actual time travel!
Could a chemical actually improve your sex life? Well, if a study from San Francisco State University researchers is to be believed it can. According to their work, men are more attracted to women wearing pheromones resulting in more dates, kisses, cuddles and even sex.
What are pheromones Pheromones are a type of compound that allows animals to chemically communicate with each other. They are versatile chemicals that help ants figure out how to get home, that let dogs mark their territory and that let mammals know when to mate. The word pheromone comes from the Greek words pherin, to transfer, and hormon, to excite. These chemicals are similar to hormones but instead of working within the body, they work between bodies.
How do pheromones work?
The chemical communication of pheromones is simple. One animal (or human) releases the pheromone and another senses it. In essence, the behavior of the sensing animal is controlled by the pheromone releaser. In mammals, pheromones are detected by an organ called vomeronasal organ (VMO) which is located somewhere in the head between the nose and mouth. Pheromones are a bit like odor molecules but they have a much different effect.
So do pheromones really work?
Well, if pheromones really worked it would mean that controlling the behavior of people would be simple. If you wanted someone to fall in love with you, you could simply spray some pheromones whenever they’re around.
Fortunately, human behavior is a bit more complicated than that.
It is still debated among scientists whether pheromones have an effect or not. These researchers demonstrated that women actually saw an increase in sociosexual activity when wearing perfume that contained pheromones.
The impressive part of this research was that it was compared to a placebo 118 - The Science of Smell control. But one study (of 36 women) isn’t enough to substantiate these incredible claims.
Other researchers have looked at all the human pheromone data and the results are inconclusive. Yes, pheromones are real. Yes, they have some physiological effect (such as synchronizing women’s menstrual cycles). But how much pheromones change behavior is still unclear.
If it weren’t Valentine’s Day, I’d be more skeptical on this one, but it is and I really want to believe!
You can search the internet and find lots of sources for pheromone containing products. We’re not saying these products will work. In fact, most companies selling pheromones probably don’t use real human pheromones anyway. Still, this might just be the thing that helps make this a Valentine’s Day to remember.
Science and St. Valentines Day - Living Flowers Call us corny, but The Beauty Brains still think flowers are a classic Valentines Day gift. Perfume is wonderful, but nothing smells quite as nice as a fresh cut flower. Or does it? Is it possible that modern science can make a perfume that smells just like a real flower?
The answer is yes! Scientists at International Flavors and Fragrance (IFF) one of the world’s largest fragrance companies, have developed a new technology that allows them to reproduce the EXACT sent of a living flower - without even having to pick it.
Love and The Living Flower Floral fragrance ingredients were originally created by picking a flower and processing it to extract the chemical components responsible for its aroma.
The Science of Smell - 119 While this process did isolate some of the chemicals responsible for the flower’s smell, it did not capture the EXACT same scent molecules that were released by the flower and picked up by your nose. That’s because a living flower releases different chemicals than a dead, cut flower. Therefore, it was really impossible to replicate the exact scent of fresh flowers.
But IFF’s new Living Flower head-space analysis technology changes all that.
No, head-space analysis does not refer to some kind of psychoanalytical technique. It’s a way of collecting the scent of a living, growing flower instead of just extracting chemicals from a dead flower. It works like this, a large glass globe is placed around the living flower to capture the scent it releases. This globe is connected to a sophisticated Gas Chromatograph that analyzes the exact composition of the scent.
Chemists then use this analysis as a road map to create a synthetic chemical that smells exactly like the original. (This same technique can be applied to fruits as well as flowers.) So instead of chopping up dead flowers, scientists can now create more natural smelling perfumes from living plants. (Hmmm, we wonder if natural perfumes like Le Bijou, Jimmyjane, and Apothena use this technology.) It’s another great example of better living (and loving!) through chemistry.
120 - The Science of Smell Special fragrance makes you look 12 pounds lighter One interesting fragrance study suggests that exercise might not be the easiest way to look like you’ve lost those extra holiday pounds. Dr. Allen Hirsch and his team at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research foundation have recently found that the perception of body weight could be affect by the fragrance you wear.
In the study, four groups of about 50 men each looked at a woman (actual stats 5’9”, 245 lbs) and estimated how much she weighed. With three of the groups the woman was wearing one of three different fragrances (citrus floral, sweet pea/lily of the valley, and floral/spicy). For the fourth group the woman wore no fragrance.
The researchers then compared the weight estimates of each group for differences.
Surprisingly, when the woman wore the floral/spicy fragrance, the men estimated her weight to be 4 pounds less than her actual weight. And if the guys liked the fragrance, they said she looked a full 12 pounds less! Without a single sit-up being done.
Now, this research seems a little weak for my science-minded beauty brain but if repeatable, it is certainly interesting. And even if the results can’t be duplicated, it certainly couldn’t hurt to start wearing a floral & spice fragrance.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to spray on a fragrance and look like they lost some weight?
The Myth of Cupid and Cosmetics It’s true, at least according the myth of Cupid and Psyche. It turns out that Cupid’s estranged spouse had to travel to Hade’s realm and return with Persephone’s make up box. Unfortunately, curiosity got the better of her and she couldn’t resist opening the forbidden box to see what Persephone kept inside. (Rumor has it that Persephone was fond of Loose Lips lip gloss and Hydroderm Wrinkle Reducer.) Anyway, Psyche thought if she used some of Persephone’s magical makeup, she could win back her husband (hey, she just escaped from Hell, cut her some slack!). Of course, there’s always a catch to these myths and when Psyche opened the cosmetic box she was put into a trance and fell into a deep sleep.