Posts Tagged ‘cosmetics’

Do you rely on makeup to be more attractive?

March 7th, 2015

Celebrity Makeup News and Blogs:

In our podcast Episode 70 we discussed a research study which indicated makeup is not the key to attractiveness. One of our astute listeners, Nadia, pointed out that we neglected to mention other research which came to a much different conclusion. She graciously took the time to summarize these additional studies and, with her permission, I am reprinting her email below. Take it away Nadia…soofi_makeup_by_minelissa_robot-d4b9d49

A lot of blogs and the media, including The Beauty Brains were buzzing about a study in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology that implies women wear too much makeup based on misperceptions. However, it is only one paper right now. That matters because the replication rate in psychology is unknown, and a preliminary estimate is between 33 and 66%. Susannah Locke of Vox also questioned the conclusions and methodology of the QJEP article. The female models were told to do their makeup for a night out, but then photographed in daytime lighting.  It may be true that women would look better to most people if they wore less makeup, but replications and papers that address these limitations are needed to say for sure.

Broadly, several studies have examined how cosmetics affect female facial attractiveness. They demonstrate that women are judged more attractive, on average, when they are wearing cosmetics in photos. A French psychologist with a gift for designing naturalistic experiments has done some related work that shows these effects emerge in behavioral interaction as well. Gueguen and his associates found that female waitresses are tipped more by male customers when wearing makeup. In another study, he looked at how many males approached a female confederate in a bar when she was wearing cosmetics compared to not. She was approached more frequently when she was wearing cosmetics. The weight of the existing evidence is pretty conclusive: cosmetics enhance female facial attractiveness.


Cash, T. F., Dawson, K., Davis, P., Bowen, M., & Galumbeck, C. (1989). Effects of cosmetics use on the physical attractiveness and body image of American college women. The Journal of Social Psychology, 129(3), 349-355.

Etcoff, N. L., Stock, S., Haley, L. E., Vickery, S. A., & House, D. M. (2011). Cosmetics as a feature of the extended human phenotype: Modulation of the perception of biologically important facial signals. PloS one, 6(10), e25656.

Guéguen, N. (2008). Brief report: The effects of women‘s cosmetics on men‘s approach: An evaluation in a bar. North American Journal of Psychology, 10(1), 221-228.

Gueguen, Nicolas, and Celine Jacob. “Enhanced Female Attractiveness with Use of Cosmetics and Male Tipping Behavior in Restaurants.”Journal of Cosmetic Science 62.3 (2011): 283-90. Print.

Jacob, C., Guéguen, N., Boulbry, G., & Ardiccioni, R. (2010). Waitresses’ facial cosmetics and tipping: A field experiment. International journal of hospitality management, 29(1), 188-190.

Mulhern, R., Fieldman, G., Hussey, T., Lévêque, J. L., & Pineau, P. (2003). Do cosmetics enhance female Caucasian facial attractiveness? International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 25(4), 199-205.

Osborn, D. (1996). Beauty is as Beauty Does?: Makeup and Posture Effects on Physical Attractiveness Judgments. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 26(1), 31-51.

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Runway Beauty: Mysterious Smoky Eyes at Giles Spring/Summer 2015

September 22nd, 2014

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At Giles Spring/Summer 2015, models wore a look inspired by French photographer Sarah Moon. The eyes were smoked out in washes of grays and blacks while the nails popped in graphic black and green.

Giles Spring/Summer 2015 runway beauty
Makeup: Lucia Pieroni for M·A·C Cosmetics
Nails: Marian Newman for M·A·C Cosmetics

After skin was prepped with Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula Softening Lotion and Essence, Pieroni used Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm SPF 35 sparingly and Studio Conceal and Correct Palette to cover up any imperfections. She then swept Blot Powder through the t-zone to eliminate shine.

On the eyes, she applied MAC Eyeshadows in Black Tied and Soot to the inner corners. She blended the colors no further than the pupil and smoked them out for a mysterious, hollow, yet beautiful look.

As a finishing touch, she patted Lip Conditioner (Tube) onto the lips.

To create the nail look, Newman applied Nail Lacquer in Nocturnelle on the top two-third of the nail and Deep Sea on the bottom third.

Smoky eyes at Giles Spring/Summer 2015

Smoky eye makeup at Giles Spring/Summer 2015


Giles Spring/Summer 2015 backstage makeup by MAC

Black and green nails at Giles Spring/Summer 2015

Images: Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics and Michele Morosi/

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Runway Beauty: Dewy Look at 3.1 Phillip Lim Spring/Summer 2015

September 14th, 2014

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The dewy look is always a hit on the Spring/Summer runways but at 3.1 Phillip Lim Spring/Summer 2015, models rock a healthy, monochromatic illuminizer look that is totally to-die-for.

3.1 Phillip Lim Spring/Summer 2015 runway beauty
Makeup: Francelle Daly for NARS Cosmetics
Nails: Elisa Ferri for NARS Cosmetics
Hair: Paul Hanlon, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Stylist for TRESemmé

“There is a lot of see-through transparency and airiness to the collection – I wanted that to come through in the makeup. My inspiration is sensuality; the way the morning light hits you as you wake up in your bedroom, with sensual skin beaming with rays of light. I highlighted the cheek bones, high planes of the face and the bridge of the nose to accentuate and bring out that glow in each girl.” explained Daly.

She started with NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer and NARS Stick Concealer before setting with NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder – Loose. Then, she added Reckless Blush and the right side of Jubilation Dual-Intensity Blush, both new for Spring 2015, on the cheeks and temples.

On the eyes, she used the right side of Jubilation Dual-Intensity Blush and Valhalla Single Eyeshadow (new for Spring 2015) and coated lashes with Larger Than Life Lengthening Mascara. The lips were made glossy with Guyane Lip Gloss.

Nails were coated with Zakynthos Nail Polish, a medium tan color.

Hair-wise, the look was inspired by a cross between Stephen Klein’s 1990s photography and the romanticism of the Pre-Raphaelites, but with a punk edge. “It’s a simple, organic and youthful look that allows the collec7on to shine whilst s7ll being a look girls can achieve themselves.” said Hanlon.

He first prepped the hair by applying TRESemmé Climate Control Mousse through the hairline and mid-lengths to add volume and give it hold without soaking the hair. Next, he rough dried with the TRESemmé Salon Professional Volume Blow Dryer and used a soft bristle brush to pull out and straighten the hair around the hair line. He used TRESemmé Fresh Start Volumizing Dry Shampoo on the roots of the hair to create a matte and mouldable texture and then moving around the hair line, back combed fine sections of the lengths and lightly sprayed with TRESemmé Climate Control Finishing Spray to define and hold. Then, he pulled the hair into a ponytail at the crown of the head and secured with a hair tie. Next, he divided the lengths into two sections and then knotted (as you would your shoes laces), twice or three times depending on the length of the hair, secured with pins and left the ends to sstuck out for a “punkier” look. Finally, he pulled out strands around the sides and back of the hairline and finished with a spritz of TRESemmé Climate Control Finishing Spray.

Dewy skin at 3.1 Phillip Lim Spring/Summer 2015

3.1 Phillip Lim Spring/Summer 2015 backstage makeup by NARS

3.1 Phillip Lim Spring/Summer 2015 backstage

Flyaway knot by TRESemme at 3.1 Phillip Lim Spring/Summer 2015

Images: Courtesy of NARS Cosmetics and TRESemme.

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Are counterfeit cosmetics safe?

December 27th, 2013

Celebrity Makeup News and Blogs:

Tatyana says… I have been sent two fake makeup palettes that are meant to be Urban Decay, and these fakes are really ubiquitous. As I am a scientist as well, I did notice fairly quickly a few ways to identify fakes besides the aesthetics and scripts with lot numbers. One of my fakes did have an obvious ‘Beauty with ay edge’ typo on the box and insert. Anyway, I love makeup, and I love the hyper-pigmented, super saturated colour that Urban Decay often employs. I do realise some of the cost of cosmetics is in the development and quality control of the product, but is there any significant difference in the quality of the pigments? I do know that the costs of pigments for fine arts painting can be significantly different, and I have always assumed that is due to the nature of the pigment, for example, yellow ochre, cheap, some of the bright, lime greens (I can’t remember the name right now, something like phallocyanate green), expensive. As well, some young women just think it is great to be able to get cheap fake cosmetics, they don’t think there is an issue. Can you elaborate on some of the issues with fakes please? As well, is there any distinction between fake cosmetics and what a lot of them are calling ‘cosmetics from Hong Kong’.

The Beauty Brains respond:

In the US (and many other countries) pigments are certified to ensure that they don’t contain any dangerous contaminants. This requires a more elaborate process of manufacturing and record keeping but it does ensure that colorants are safe. Some counterfeit products made outside of the US (or other regulated countries) have been found to contain pigments with high levels of lead, for example. While trace levels of lead are common (and not very dangerous) high levels of lead does pose a problem. So it’s possible that some unscrupulous companies are selling these cheap knock-offs rather than using pigments that have been properly quality control checked.

From what I understand, a number of these counterfeit products come from China so I assume that the term “cosmetics from Hong Kong” is just another way to refer to such fakes. (Of course that is not to say that ALL fakes come from China or that every Chinese product is fake.)

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Toxic Halloween makeup – should you be afraid?

October 30th, 2013

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Post image for Toxic Halloween makeup – should you be afraid?

In this weeks’s Beauty Brains show we discussed the Huff Po article on toxic makeup. Here’s a transcript (or at least a summary) of the points we covered.

1. “Because of the fact that the cosmetics industry is not regulated by the FDA, there are no laws based on levels that are safe for makeup.”

Truth: Consumer advocacy groups frequently claim that the cosmetic industry is unregulated. This is false. The regulatory framework for the cosmetic industry was set up in 1938 with the passage of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. This created the FDA which is who regulates the cosmetic industry.


2. “Lead is banned from makeup in both Canada and Europe but it’s allowed AT ANY LEVEL in makeup in the U.S.”

Truth: The Cosmetics Directive in the European Union specifically bans lead as an ingredient while in the US lead is NOT included as an approved ingredient in the Cosmetic Dictionary. In other words, lead is not allowed as an ingredient in EITHER country. (The exception in the US is lead acetate which is allowed as a color additive but products containing this ingredient must be clearly with the following warning statement: “CAUTION: Contains lead acetate. For external use only.”)

It’s also true in both the US and EU that cosmetics contain trace amounts of lead – there’s a big difference between adding lead as an ingredient and having trace amounts of lead present as in impurity.


3. “…there are numerous other paths of exposure [to lead] and makeup is a critical one.”

Truth: According to the American Cancer Society, the main routes of exposure to lead are breathing and ingestion. Other than the exception of kohl eye makeup, which is known to contain high amounts of lead (and which is NOT allowed in the US), makeup is not cited as a “critical” concern for lead exposure. If you’re really worried about protecting children from lead then don’t let them eat any candy (which is allowed by the FDA to contain up to 0.5 ppm of lead) or drink tap water (which is allowed by the EPA to contain up to 15 ppb lead.) Since candy and water are directly ingested, the potential for lead exposure is MUCH greater from these sources than from makeup which is poorly absorbed by skin, if at all.


4. “Since we absorb as much as 80 percent of what goes on our skin, the precautionary principal tells us it’s not smart to coat ourselves with things containing lead.”

Truth: In reality our skin is an effective barrier against most materials and very little of what is applied topically actually makes it through the skin into the blood. The notion that 80% of whatever goes on skin is absorbed is not accurate.


5. “Lead in lipstick has been a known issue for years and the FDA continues to do periodic tests which only show more lead in lipstick…”

Truth: Actually last two studies (using the method validated by the FDA) show a consistent amount of lead present in lipstick, not “more” lead. The first study, from 2009 showed an average of 1.07 ppm while the most recent study 2012 showed 1.11 ppm. From a statistical perspective this is not an increase in lead.


The bottom line
Let’s be clear: lead poisoning IS a serious problem. But the amount of lead and other potentially dangerous materials in cosmetics is controlled through a combination of government restrictions and industry self-regulation. Lead is not allowed as an ingredient in the US or the EU but it is allowed in cosmetics at trace levels. These amounts of lead are very low and the amount of that lead that enters our bodies from these products is even less. Therefore the risk of lead poisoning from cosmetics is VERY low. Our kids are exposed to greater amounts of lead from candy and water than from makeup.

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