Posts Tagged ‘acid’

Kaia Juicy Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloth: in the Beauty Brains bathroom

August 2nd, 2013

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Today I’m sharing my impressions of Kaia Juicy Bamboo facial cleansing cloths.  

What’s in it and what’s not in it

According to their website, these cloths are a “natural cleanser, toner, eye makeup remover that doesn’t fry your skin.”

  • Purest cleansing cloth on the market
  • Soaked in vitamins B12, C, E
  • Lifts and dissolves makeup without stinging eyes

It also contains honey and 8 natural plant oils and is free from parabens and sulfates.

Sarah Bellum says…

The bamboo fabric is softer than any non-woven towelette I’ve ever used yet it still has enough texture that it gives a deep clean sensation. Compared to other facial cloths I’ve used it’s relatively dry feeling. That’s nice because that means there’s no solution dripping down your  face. However, I had the sense that it doesn’t provide as much cleansing for heavy duty makeup removal.  I haven’t been using much makeup lately so I wasn’t able to really put it to the test, so  I checked with the Left Brain to get a sense of how effective these natural ingredients are at removing greasy makeup.

It turns out that while the cloths are sulfate free, as claimed, they do contain a couple of mild surfactants (like sodium stearoyl lactylate) which help remove makeup.  All these ingredients are not listed on Kaia’s website but I’m copying them below from the back of the package.

Kaia Juicy Bamboo ingredients

Agua, acacia gum, xanthum gum, honey, sodium stearoyl lactylate, cetyl alcohol, sunflower seed oil, sodium lauroyl oat amino acids, panthenol, benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid, salicylic acid, benzoic acid, phenoxyethanol, benzalkonium chloride, orange oil, lemon peel oil, spearmint leaf oil, lime oil, tangerine peel oil, grapefruit peel oil, mandarin orange peel oil, bergamot fruit oil

Full disclosure: From time to time we receive free samples of products, like this one, to try in exchange for a mention on our blog.

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What Product Offers the Highest Sun Protection?

August 10th, 2012

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Verina asks…Dear Beauty Brains, you bring rationality to the cosmetics industry, a feat which deserves the Nobel Prize, along with my undying gratitude. 

I am trying to find a cream or primer to use under makeup that offers the highest sun protection available. I am considering mainly mineral sunscreens, since many of the chemical ingredients irritate my skin. I have narrowed it down to:

MAC Prep+ Prime (SPF 50 with active ingredients: zinc oxide 16.10%, octinoxate 7.50%)

Fasio Zero Expert UV Primer (SPF 50 with active ingredients  ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate 7.49%, phenylbenzimidazole sulphonic acid 2.50 WW%, zinc oxide 15.36 WW%.) 

I await your words of wisdom…..and what the hell kind of sun protection is phenylbenzimidazol sulphonic acid?

Alchemist responds (from the Beauty Brains Forum): 

It’s impossible to tell which actually provides more sunprotection from the active ingredients, especially when they are so close in composition (ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate & octinoxate are the same thing, the first one is the INCI name, the second is the USA drug name). SPF is very heavily influenced by the other ingredients in the formulation and production methods. The type and size of the Zinc Oxide will also have a big effect. Given that both claim SPF 50 both must have a tested SPF of 50 or above.

Phenylbenzimidazole sulphonic acid is better known in the USA as ensulizole. It’s a water soluble UVB sunscreen that is neutralised in situ (usually with TEA or Sodium Hydroxide)

Image credit: http://images.cdn.fotopedia.com/flickr-2059154608-hd.jpg

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Exfoliation: An Essential Step in Your Skincare Routine

January 13th, 2012

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By Laura, 40s, New York, Skincare Contributor

Laura “came of age” in the 80s, so she considers a survivor of some very disturbing fashion and makeup trends, like shoulder pads, acid-washed jeans worn unironically, streaky blush, and thick eyeliner that we softened with a lighter before putting it on–don’t even get her started on what women wore to the gym in those days! She now works in a more conservative field, and she’ll get an odd look or two if she wears crackle nail polish (and she expects we’ll look back on that trend with the same disbelief we now reserve for horizontally-striped leg warmers).


Photo by Darwin Bell

Exfoliation: An Essential Step in Your Skincare Routine

As I’ve posted here before, I have a particularly galling skin type – namely, skin that’s not only middle-aged that I have to worry about fine lines but is still prone to oiliness and breakouts as well. For both issues, I find that exfoliation, which is a fancy word for removing the outer layer of skin, is essential for my skincare routine. Along with Retin-A cream, exfoliation has led to the greatest visible improvement in my skin. (Retin-A, incidentally, is not an exfoliant, contrary to popular belief.)

Exfoliation benefits most skin types, but if you have oily skin like me, you want to exfoliate to avoid blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. Those skin problems result from an overabundance of sebum, which is a waxy substance produced by your skin’s sebaceous glands. Under normal circumstances, sebum is actually a good thing, since it reduces natural water loss from the skin. However, when your sebaceous glands overproduce sebum, it tends to clog the pores, not only with the sebum, but with skin cells and bacteria. By exfoliating–helping the skin cells to shed off your face–you help keep the pore from getting clogged, and with a little luck, no breakouts.

Exfoliation can also benefit sun-damaged skin by removing the thickened layer of skin that results from over-exposure to sun and makes your skin look ashy or sallow. As for dry skin, it can also benefit from exfoliation; the process helps shed skin cells, permitting moister skin cells to surface and make the skin look more dewy. Not incidentally, if you have dry skin, exfoliation will also help your skin absorb moisturizers better, as the dead skin cells fall away and no longer act as a barrier for the moisturizer.

So which exfoliants to use? I prefer chemical exfoliants (alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acid) instead of physical exfoliants (scrubs or plain old washcloths), since the latter don’t penetrate below the surface. For my oily and aging skin, I usually use a BHA, which is salicylic acid (yep, close to what’s in good old aspirin). Unlike AHAs, BHA not only exfoliates the outer layer of skin, but is also fat-soluble rather than water soluble, so that it gets inside the pore to get rid of all the stuff clogging it.

Your BHA product should have a concentration of one to two percent, with a pH of 3 to 4 (roughly as acidic as vinegar).  To be certain you’re getting an effective product, salicylic acid should be high up on the ingredient list. And although I know you’re using sunscreen every single day (you are, right? RIGHT?), you have to be extra careful to use a good sunscreen when you’re using a BHA, because BHAs increase sun sensitivity. My own favorite BHA is Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant  ($18.95), which is formulated for oily skin.

I also like to use an AHA product once or twice a week; I notice a definite difference in the suppleness of my skin when I do. Again, you want to make sure your product has the right amount of AHAs to benefit your skin: five to eight percent AHA and a pH of 3 to 4, so that it has enough acidity to be effective (look for fruit acid high on the ingredients list). As with BHA, make very certain you’re using a proper sunscreen, as AHAs can also increase sun sensitivity. My current favorite AHA product is Olay’s Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir ($29.99).

A couple of caveats: I don’t use an AHA and BHA together, and I don’t generally exfoliate every night, since I do notice that if I don’t take a little break, my skin will sometimes get flaky–not exactly the look I’m striving for!

What are your favorite exfoliants?


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My Killer Combo To Get Rid Of Blackheads

December 5th, 2010

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While I have been blessed with semi-clear skin (thanks Mom and Dad), wearing makeup on a daily basis has given me quite a few nasty blackheads that I constantly struggle to get rid of. So after watching the Live Chat Q&A with Elle beauty editor Emily Dougherty, I decided to take her advice and try both chemical and physical exfoliation and I think I finally found my perfect blackhead killer combo!
*Step 1. Use a cleanser with salicylic acid. Salicylic acid has been widely known to exfoliate and unclog pores …

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