«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 ...»
Flashback from sunblock One common ingredient in foundations is titanium dioxide. It’s very opaque and so it’s good at concealing skin flaws. But it’s also good at scattering light rays. In fact, it’s used as a sunblock for this very reason. (For example, Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Make up contains 2% titanium dioxide.) So, our guess is that the brand you’re using has more titanium dioxide that’s reflecting a lot of white light which shows up in your photographs.
Of course, it’s also possible that talc or one of the other white powders in the formula could be causing the problem too. There’s no way to be sure without testing.
The Beauty Brains bottom line It’s just a guess, but you could try looking for foundations that do NOT have titanium dioxide on the ingredient list. We can’t recommend any specific brands, but you can check the ingredients on Drugstore.com.
In their study, they found that men are more attracted to women with more coloring on their face. And they suggest that there is a good biological basis for this fact. They theorize that women with higher levels of estrogen naturally have more color than those with lower levels. And a higher level of estrogen is indicative of a more fertile woman. According to evolutionary theory, men should be inclined to find more fertile women more attractive.
Marvelous Makeup The experiment involved measuring hormone levels of a group of volunteer women and then having those women rated for attractiveness by another group of both men and women. It turns out that the ones who were rated highest in attractiveness were also the ones who had the highest level of estrogen.
The Beauty Brains bottom line Of course, you probably didn’t need a scientific study to validate the use of make-up. People discovered the benefits centuries ago. But we here at the Beauty Brains are happy to know that it really isn’t all just a waste of time. And it’s also nice to know that the chosen career of this Brain is playing a crucial role in the noble quest of successfully propagating a diverse population.
On the back of my daily cleanser (Alpha Hydrox Nourishing Cleanser to be specific) it instructs to apply with an “upward motion”. Is there any actual reason for this, or was it just thrown in to seem more “special”? Should I be applying other products in a certain direction/motion?
The Right Brain Responds:
We aren’t aware of any real scientific need to apply facial cleansers with an upward motion. Our guess is that it’s marketing speak to make the product sound more special. Maybe they think that since gravity drags your skin down (making it saggy and wrinkled) you can push your skin up to get rid of wrinkles. Who knows what they really mean.
How You Apply Cosmetics Can Make A Difference Does your application technique ever make a difference? Yes, in some cases it does. Sunscreens, for example, need to be applied with very even, smooth strokes because they won’t work very well if they don’t evenly coat the skin. Same thing is true for sunless tanners if you don’t apply them consistently you’ll end up with streaks. Some types of make up have similar application issues you need to be careful when applying wrinkle concealing foundations to make sure they fill in those fine lines evenly.
The Beauty Brains bottom line For some products, application technique does make a difference. That’s not the case for facial cleansers. Whether it be Avotone or StriVectin, there’s no technical reason that applying the product this way should help your skin.
On the other hand, it won’t hurt it either.
How is Lush different than regular products?
Most emulsions, like your typical skin lotion, are “oil in water” emulsions which means that the oil drops are dispersed in the water. Borax-beeswax emulsions are unusual - they’re “water in oil” emulsions so the water drops are dispersed in the oil. That type of emulsion tends to be more water proof which is good for a lip balm. Also, because the borax - beeswax combination forms a stable emulsion without the help of additional emulsifiers, this type of formula supports Lush’s position of not using excessive chemicals.
The Right Brain enlightens her:
We looked into UV dryers and found that the wavelength of the light they produce IS the same type that causes photo-aging and skin cancer.
(That’s the UVA range from about 320 nm to 400 nm for those of you keeping score at home.)
Webmaster Wants To Know:
I’ve stopped biting my nails and now I’m trying to grow them out. However, after they reach a certain length they would start to break. I’ve been using Sally Hansen Hard as Nails, but to no avail! Therefore, my question are: Are the ingredients in Sally Hansen more harmful than helpful to growing my nails and possible health? Are there any nail products that you could recommend that could promote stronger nails?
4. Use a good hand cream or cuticle cream.
Daily exposure to detergents and harsh chemicals dries out your nails and makes them break more easily. By moisturizing them often you can prevent loss of moisture and reduce the chance of breakage. Lotions with petrolatum or mineral oil are the best. You might try the Terra Naturals Nail Strengthener.
Source: American Academy of Dermatologists, 10/06
The Right Brain Hammers Out A Reply For Her Nails:
It’s hard to say for sure what the seasonal changes are that you’re experiencing, but many things can affect the condition of your nails. Here’s our top 5 finger factors to avoid when your nails look hammered.
3. Damage from drying solvents Are you engaged in any activities that would expose your nails to solvents?
For example, home repair projects (like painting a room or varnishing wood trim) could be seasonal activites that negatively impact the condition of your nails. Solution: make your husband do it. (That’s a suggestion from Sarah.)
5. The horrible heartbreak of psoriasis Psoriasis is a disease that causes your skin to become red and scaly. About half the people who suffer from this condition also have nail problems, particularly pitting, rippling, and/or splitting of the nail. Unfortunately, there is no cure for psoriasis, so you’ll have to amputate the affected fingers. (Just kidding;
I wanted to see if you were still reading.) Solution: If you think psoriasis might be responsible for your nail problems, check with a dermatologist for treatment options.
The Left Brain exhales this response:
Nearly all the popular brands of nail polishes including Revlon and OPI contain organic solvents and methacrylates. The March 2002 issue of Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, & Behavioral Neurology summarizes a study by Gina LaoSasso, Ph.D et.al, that shows prolonged exposure to nail polish fumes can affect the way your brain works.
And while the study did measure the size of the salon, the amount of ventilation, and the number of hours that the technicians worked, the data can’t be used to predict what would happen at a lower exposure. In other words, if you’re in a nail salon long enough, you may experience these problems. But is 30 minutes a week enough to cause an effect? It doesn’t look like it but clearly more studies are needed. In the meantime, make sure you’re getting plenty of fresh air when you’re getting your nails done!
“Death from inhalant abuse can occur after a single use or after prolonged use. Sudden sniffing death (SSD) may result within minutes of inhalant abuse from irregular heart rhythm leading to heart failure.”
The Right Brain Polishes Off This Response:
Nail polish can turn your nails yellow. Why? There are a couple of reasons:
Color reaction Some of the darker colored polishes can stain nails due to a chemical reaction between the colorant and the nail plate. This reaction is hard to predict because it doesn’t happen for everybody for every dark color. It can also take a few days to a few weeks to occur.
Formaldehyde It’s also possible that formaldehyde (one of the ingredients in many nail polishes) is causing the problem. This chemical can react with the keratin protein in your nails and make it brittle and yellow.
The Right Beauty Brain Replies:
Our guess is that you might have accidentally bought the wrong Cutex!
Basically, there are two different kinds of nail polish removers: Acetone and Non-Acetone. They work by dissolving the hard film that’s left on your nails by the ingredients in the polish.
Acetone Acetone is a very powerful solvent and it’s hands down the best at removing polish. But, it’s also very harsh because it removes a lot of natural oils from your skin. In fact, sometimes your skin will look really white if you’ve used too much acetone on it. That means you’ve dried it out.
Non-acetone Non-acetone removers use less aggressive solvents, like ethyl acetate and isopropyl alcohol. They also add moisturizing agents to over come the drying effect. However, these formulations don’t dissolve the polish coating as efficiently so you’ll have to work harder to take off all the old color.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The Beauty Brains Book.indb 115 2/6/2008 12:14:26 PM 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.