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Real Scientists Answer Your Beauty Questions
The Beauty Brains Book.indb 1 2/6/2008 12:14:12 PM
The Beauty Brains Book.indb 2 2/6/2008 12:14:12 PM
Real Scientists Answer
Your Beauty Questions
edited by Sarah Bellum
Brains Publishing – New York, Chicago
The Beauty Brains Book.indb 3 2/6/2008 12:14:12 PM
Copyright © 2008 by Brains Publishing
All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Brains Publishing.
www.brainspublishing.com The authors have attempted to make this book as accurate and up to date as possible, but it may contain errors, omissions, or material that is out of date at the time you read it. Neither the author nor publisher has any legal responsibility or liability for errors, omissions, out-of-date material, or the reader’s application of the advice contained in this book ISBN: 978-0-9802173-4-6 Printed in the United States of America First Edition The Beauty Brains Book.indb 4 2/6/2008 12:14:12 PM For Beauty Brainiacs everywhere...
The Beauty Brains Book.indb 5 2/6/2008 12:14:12 PM The Beauty Brains Book.indb 6 2/6/2008 12:14:12 PM Real Scientists Answer Your Beauty Questions Table of Contents Who are the Beauty Brains viii ix What’s the Purpose of The Beauty Brains?
Section I Hair Chapter 1 Hair Products and how they work The shampoo secret companies don’t want you to know Is Paul Mitchell making your hair break Is Ojon Restorative Treatment any good 5 Two natural oils that make your hair shiny and strong 7 Is Pantene good or bad for my hair 8 Are salon products in stores the same as those i
Left Brain The most hardcore skeptical scientist of all the Beauty Brains, the Left Brain peruses the world of science to bring you the latest developments and how they might apply to the cosmetic world.
Right Brain Still scientific, but a bit less militant, the Right Brain has a good eye for the humorous, and human interest, side of science. The Right is particularly skilled in interpreting advertising claims.
The Other Lobes The other Brains work behind the scenes researching questions, reviewing the latest beauty technology, and keeping up with the day to day business of running this website. As we continue to grow, you’ll be hearing from some of the other “lobes.” All of us use “brainy” nicknames because being anonymous lets us blog about all kinds of products from many different companies without any bias.
We’re here to help you cut through the confusing, misleading and sometimes false information that the beauty companies bombard you with. Our goal is to explain cosmetic science to you in a way that’s entertaining and easy to understand. We believe the more information you have, the better you’ll be able to find products that you like at a price you can afford. So, you can listen to the advertising. Or advice from a friend. Or what your stylist tells you. But if you want to really understand cosmetic products in an unbiased, scientific way.
In this book we’ve collected more than 100 of our best questions and answers to make learning about cosmetic science easy and entertaining. By giving you honest, unbiased information, The Beauty Brains can help you become a smarter shopper so you’ll be able to get the products you like at prices you can afford.
Conny tells The Beauty Brains she has a very sensitive scalp with fine hair and suffers from hair loss and dandruff. Dermatologists have advised her to use a clear gel shampoo that has to be clarifying or deep cleansing. So, she’s tried Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo, Suave for Men Deep Cleansing shampoo, Neutrogena Anti-residue shampoo, and Prell Classic original formula. She’s not happy with those choices and is asking us to set her straight.
Hair Products and How They Work - 1
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The Right Brain responds:
While we hate to disagree with dermatologists, we don’t understand why they recommended a deep cleansing shampoo when you have dandruff. Deep cleansing type shampoos will remove the surface flakes, but only a dandruff shampoo can control the cause of flaking and itching. So we’d recommend finding a good dandruff shampoo instead of chasing deep cleaning, clarifying and anti-residue products. This may seem confusing to you because the beauty companies tell you there are SO many different kinds of shampoo.
But in reality, every shampoo on the market falls into a few basic categories.
Only 4 different shampoo types in the world All shampoo can be categorized by their basic functional category. So then why are there eleventy million products on the market, you ask? Because the companies that sell shampoo need to find new ways to talk about their products to keep them sounding new and exciting. There’s nothing wrong with them being creative about their names and claims as long as the companies are honestly depicting what their products can do. But you can be a smarter consumer if you can see beyond the marketing hype and understand the functionality of these 4 basic shampoo types.
1. Deep Cleansing Shampoos (Also known as Volumizing, Clarifying, Balancing, Oil Control, and Thickening.) These shampoos are designed to get gunk off your hair and scalp. They typically contain slightly higher levels of detergents so they foam and clean better. They include the examples above as well as salon products like Paul Mitchell Shampoo 2. and Frederic Fekkai’s Full Volume.
2. Conditioning Shampoos (Aka Moisturizing, 2 in 1, Smoothing, Anti-frizz, Strengthening, Color Care, Straightening, and Hydrating) This kind of formula is all about leaving a moisturizing agent, like a silicone or Polyquaternium 10, on the hair to smooth it. It’s very good for dry hair, especially if you color treat or heat style but it can weigh down fine hair. Good examples of this type includes most of the Pantene formulas and some products from the L’Oreal Vive collection and Dove ProCare.
4. Anti-Dandruff Shampoos (Aka Anti-itch, Flake Control, and Dry Scalp) Head and Shoulders is the leading dandruff product; other examples include Nizoral and Redken Dandruff Control. These are medicated shampoos that contain a drug ingredient that controls itching and flaking. In the United States these are considered to be Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drugs.
The Beauty Brains bottom line Hopefully, this helps you better understand the marketing hype around shampoo names. We’re not saying that all shampoos are the same, or even that all shampoos in a given category type are the same. There are real performance differences so it’s important that you shop around and find a product that performs the way you like at a price that you can afford. But just don’t get too hung up on the names the companies use to describe the products. That’s the marketing part of the industry, not the science part.
Is Paul Mitchell Making Your Hair Break?
About a year ago my stylist starting using Paul Mitchell products on me and I haven’t loved my hair since! Now it’s damaged and it breaks easily. My stylist blames me using the flat iron. I know that doesn’t help BUT I used the flat iron for years and have never had this happen. She tells me that’s because I had my hair colored so much. I have never had these problems until she switched to Paul Mitchell.
Is it possible that his products make my hair start to break off and thin out?
Instead of worrying about Paul Mitchell, I’d blame 3 other factors for your
1. Flat iron usage is VERY bad for your hair. That’s probably the most immediate cause of daily breakage. If you want less damage consider ironing less frequently.
2. In the long run, the worst thing you can is chemically color your hair. Coloring breaks down the hair’s protein making it weaker. Frequent chemical processing literally pushes your hair to its “breaking point.”
3. The first two factors are worsened because you’re getting older and your hair is weaker. As we age our hair gets less dense and more prone to breakage. That’s probably why you’re seeing so much hair breakage more recently - Father Time is catching up with you!
What to do So, what can you do? Well, the shampoo doesn’t matter much as long as you’re using a conditioner. The Paul Mitchell conditioner is good, but so are many other cheaper, mass market brands like Fructis, Pantene, or Tresemme.
You might consider using one of these every time you do your hair. The conditioner should provide enough lubrication so that pulling on it with a comb does not break the hair. It may even provide some protection against the heat of the flat iron. If you’re not using a conditioner, be sure to use a conditioning shampoo like Pantene 2-in-1. This should help slow your hair breaking problem.
The Right Brain Responds:
Ojon’s oil treatment consists of palm oil, fragrance, and a few extracts. It’s particularly interesting because recent research has shown that only SOME oils will actually penetrate the hair. Mineral oil and sunflower oil, for example, will not penetrate. But coconut oil (which is essentially the same as palm oil) will filter deep into the cortex because it is so similar to hair’s natural lipids.
Is it a good value? Well, that’s another question. Any other coconut oil based product should do about the same job and should be much cheaper. Off hand we can’t recommend any specific brands, but look for products that feature
Is there anything to their rain forest hype? Well, their rain forest story seems well intentioned but this ingredient isn’t proven to work any better or any differently than non-rain forest ingredients. Coconut trees only grow in tropical climates, but there’s nothing special about trees from the rain forest.
So, if you like Ojon’s products and you want to support their cause AND you can afford the $55 for this product, then by all means buy it. But don’t buy the product just because they tell you their rain forest extract is better.
The Beauty Brains Bottom Line We haven’t tested this product but based on recent scientific research, the palm oil used by Ojon should penetrate the hair. Therefore it could protect your hair from over-washing. However, at $55, it’s a bit pricey so shop around for other coconut oil products because you may be able to get the same effect for less money.
The Left Brain provides an oily update:
Thanks for your kind words, Lina. Yes, studies have shown that coconut oil actually penetrates the hair to help make it stronger. And as it turns out, olive oil also has penetrating properties. Scientists at the Textile Research (J. Cosmet.Sci 52, 169-184, 2001) tested Olive oil, Avocado oil, Meadow foam seed oil, Sunflower oil, and Jojoba oil. Their results showed that straight chain glycerides like olive oil easily penetrate into the hair. Polyunsaturated oils, like Jojoba oil, are more open in their structure so they don’t pass through the layers of cuticles very well.
What does that mean in plain English? Olive and Avocado oils penetrate all the way into the hair shaft. Meadowfoam seed oil partially penetrates, and jojoba and sunflower oils don’t penetrate at all. They’re very superficial and don’t really provide any practical benefit. Kind of like Ryan Seacrest.
And to answer your question:
Mixing coconut and olive oils shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, it’s possible that the olive/coconut oil combination might even penetrate hair better. I won’t bore you with the details, but it has to do with mixed micelles. I’d start with a 50/50 mixture and see how that works for your hair.
I’ve heard a lot of things about Pantene Pro-V’s shampoo and conditioners. A lot of hairstylists swear on their hair-dryers that it is awful for your hair. Supposedly, it coats your hair with plastic or wax to make it seem smooth, soft, and shiny, instead of really moisturizing your hair. It also reportedly makes your scalp itchy and hair fall out.
However, I’ve been using the Pantene Restoratives shampoo and conditioner for a few months now, and I find my hair less frizzy, more manageable, smoother, and softer. Of course, I also use John Frieda Anti-Frizz Serum and Pantene Pro-V Restoratives Frizz Control Ultra Smoothing Balm (I highly recommend the latter, just apply to wet hair). Phew, that was long. So, my question is: Is Pantene good or bad for my hair?
The Right Brain Righteously Responds:
Sophie, please don’t fall into the trap of believing everything your stylist tells you. (That’s one of the The Beauty Brains Basic Beliefs.) While most stylists are very talented at cutting and styling hair, they’re not very talented at interpreting cosmetic formulations.
The truth is, Pantene’s shampoo and conditioner formulas are believed to be among the best in the industry by those of us in the cosmetic science side of the business. It makes sense if you think about it. P&G, makers of Pantene, have a HUGE research budget. Certainly larger than any salon company. That means they can afford to dedicate resources to developing and testing the best formulas possible. We’ve seen Pantene formulas beat the pants of salon products in blind consumer testing.
(The products are hidden or blinded, not the consumers) Why is Pantene vilified?
So why do stylists say that Pantene coats the hair with plastic, or make it fall out? Because that’s what they’re told by the sales representatives for the salon
Even though the names vary you’ll see three basic types of ingredients: