Posts Tagged ‘don’

Do I Have to Kill Animals to be a Cosmetic Chemist?

July 1st, 2012

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Britty says…I’m very interested in makeup and I’m a chemistry major so naturally, I’m interested in being a cosmetic chemist but I’m absolutely NOT okay with animal testing. I’m not a vegan but I am a vegetarian and a STRONG supporter of animal rights. I realize this may be a little hypocritical since I USE products that I’m assuming have been tested on animals but I want nothing to do with the actual testing. I don’t want to be the one to test on animals, or be around people testing on animals or even have to pass a room where I know animal testing is going on inside. I also don’t want to meet people whose job it is to test on animals. I realize that some brands don’t test on animals but what are the chances of working for one of those brands? Do I have any other options? Or should I just choose a different career? Thanks!

The Right Brain responds:

The companies that the Beauty Brains have worked for haven’t done animal testing in years, and they’re fairly typical of the industry at large. These days very few  cosmetic brands actually test on animals. Don’t believe us? Alchemist (one of our Forum members) has had similar career experience: “Until recently I worked for a big international manufacturer (in regulatory affairs), in my 11 years there I never saw any animal testing done on cosmetic products, and company policy was that it was not done.”

Also, you have to understand that even when cosmetic companies DO test on animals, they don’t do the testing themselves. They outsource it to companies that specialize in that kind of work. (You certainly don’t want to work for one of THOSE companies.)  So, the chances of you running into an animal tester in the hallway is slim to none.

However the catch, if there is a catch, is the fact that these companies all use ingredients that may have been tested on animals at some time in the past.
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Do Natural Oils Smother Your Skin?

June 24th, 2012

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MamaHerrera must know…Here’s my big dilemma and it applies to skin, hair, makeup. I love natural oils, My makeup has sunflower oil, castor oil, and beeswax. I put coconut oil on after my nighttime moisturizer. I apply castor oil to my scalp before washing my hair and do deep oil treatments on my hair at times. Now I’ve read that oils and beeswax are occlusive and don’t allow your skin to breathe and that over the long-term, it will actually damage your skin and allow toxins to go to your liver because they can’t escape through your face. If I”m really not allowing pores to breathe, than castor oil will eventually make my hair fall out, no?? So confused, and I remembered a blog from this site and wanted to come here for some help in understanding this. I already avoid silicones because of this, and now what?

The Right Brain reassures her:

Don’t worry, MamaHerrera, using natural oils won’t cause your liver to fail.

Occlusive is good for your skin

Most oils (natural oils, mineral oils, and silicones) ARE occlusive – that just means that they can reduce the amount water that evaporates through your skin. But they don’t SEAL the skin in such a way that sweat glands stop working. Your skin doesn’t need to breathe; it just needs to be able to perspire so it can regulate your body temperature. Occlusive ingredients in topical cosmetics do not impact how much you perspire so you don’t need to worry. Also, the liver handles getting rid of the toxins. That’s not the skin’s job.

You do need to worry about ingredients that can contribute to clogged pores, however, because they can lead to acne. There are several sites that allow you to check the comedogenicity rating of ingredients in your products. (Or, just look for products that are labeled non-comedogenic.)
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The Products That Changed the Life of my Hair

January 25th, 2012

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By Leili, Hair Care Contributor

Leili is a 19-year old New Yorker who is obsessed with beauty, chocolate, and celebrity of the trashiest kind. Her drawers look like the stockroom of a hair salon! She’s currently enrolled in her second year of college but still trying to decide on her major. When she’s not worrying about that, she’s either at home with a good book, baking scrumptious goodies for her family, or exploring new restaurants with her friends. Check out her blog, Materialistic Musings!


The Products That Changed the Life of my Hair

I’m not someone who takes the term “life-changer” lightly, which is why my post references so few things. There are certainly products I love (with a particular emphasis on hair oils and deep conditioning treatments) but for me to claim that something has changed my life, it has to be truly spectacular like what you’ll see here. But don’t take my word for it—try them out for yourself!

Just to recap, my hair is long, extremely oily at the roots, dry at the ends, and reasonably thick and wavy though I don’t have much of it!

Check out four life-changing hair products for long, thick hair! 

I’m pretty certain that everyone loves a fabulous blowout, but many people struggle with achieving it at home. I’m terribly uncoordinated, so trying to wrangle my half-dried hair with a blow dryer and a round brush at 6AM doesn’t usually end up well. The genius behind Hair Dryers with Brush Head Attachment (roughly $30, depending what you buy) is that they take all the fuss and confusion of working with both hands out of a blow dry. I struggle with a lot of flatness at the crown of my hea, and getting volume there with a round brush is my biggest hair challenge that I can’t seem to overcome.

With one of these, however, the maneuvering becomes incredibly simple.  With a little mousse through my roots, I can actually get that lift at my crown that I so desperately crave. They do come in round heads, which are better for curling the ends, but obviously don’t straighten as well. (They are absolutely genius, though, for those of you with reasonably maneuverable hair who wear bobs!) I only saw these in Asia up until recently, and while I was terribly disappointed with a Conair I tried, I’m still testing readily available brush-head blow dryers (though the Asian ones are still my favorite) to find a local favorite.

Brushing your hair (with boar bristles)! Hair stylists have been telling me to brush my hair for years, and it was advice that I promptly and perpetually ignored. As someone with wavy hair, it didn’t make any sense to brush and break up the natural texture of my tresses into a poofy mess. When I did absolutely have to brush my hair, I only did it from the ear-down, which, as any hair stylist will tell you, basically defeats the purpose and reason behind hair brushing. Brushing helps to stimulate your scalp and distribute the natural oils that collect at the roots all through your hair, thus promoting its health. While the Mason Pearson may be the revered hair brush of experts and people with hundreds of dollars to spare, I selected the much cheaper Denman Grooming Brush with Natural Bristles and Nylon Pins ($15.99) with a mix of nylon and boar bristles. The latter of the bristles are actually the best for this sort of job, but they’re not stiff enough to go all the way through my thick hair, which is where the nylon comes in.

I keep a separate, super cheap Conair brush on hand for going through my hair before curling or straightening, but the Denman one is kept specifically for healthy brushing. Instead of raking it through my hair during the day, though, I wait until I’m about to shower or get my hair wet. This is kind of gross, but as an every other day shampoo girl, by the time I’m ready to wash my hair, it’s already plenty greasy, which is optimal time for brushing! Running my Denman through pre-shampoo hair makes me look like I’ve gone and oiled my whole head, but you can actually feel how much oil spreads into your dry locks. Clearly, all those hair experts know what they’re talking about!

While the short-term results of brushing are great (less shedding around the house and in the shower, and conditioner is a cinch to run through your hair), it’s the long-term results that are truly life-changing. In the year or so that I’ve been brushing my hair this way, I’ve noticed a huge difference in the overall health and look of my hair. My tips and notoriously dry under layers have more moisture to them, and my locks are shinier and feel much stronger. Normally, the winter season requires me to use a deep conditioning mask every week as my hair gets very dry, but as long as I keep brushing, all those treatments become less necessary (I still use them, of course, but far less frequently). That $15 brush just might be the best thing I’ve bought all year!

I used to throw hot rollers under the “grandma” category of beauty, along with the perpetual need for bobby pins and using lipstick as blush. But ever since I started using them a few months ago, I now roll my hair more than any other elderly woman in my family.  As much as I love curling my hair, I am never happy with how the pieces around my face come out. They’re perfect curls, as are the rest of my styled mane, but they don’t sit properly against the head and the overall effect is unnatural—I don’t think I’ve ever curled my hair without pinning the front pieces back. After hearing so many good things about the volume hot rollers create, I picked up this small set of five Hot rollers—Babyliss Pro Ceramic 5 Jumbo Roller Hairsetter ($24.99).

Some people like to buy a bigger set and roll their whole head, but I find that a curling iron gives me more longevity so I just use the five for the pieces that frame my face. The first time I tried them didn’t exactly go well, with lots of finger-burning, sweating, and swearing, but I somehow got them up and clipped, and 20 minutes later, took them out to find exactly what I was looking for. These jumbo rollers tend to provide more of a dense, rich wave than an exact curl, and the effect is incredibly flattering and natural. It’s not quite Victoria Secret’s model hair, but they provide plenty of volume and work great on both the layered and lengthy sides of my hair. My roller-waves last all day, and into part of the next, but they don’t quite hold up the way curling-iron curls do. Everyone’s hair is different but that’s still something to keep in mind. The best sign that this hairdo totally works? The rollers-in-the-front, curling-iron-everywhere-else look garners compliments every time.

I know I talked a lot about Batiste Dry Shampoo in Fresh ($7.99) in my previous “Must Have Hair Products” post, but no list of life-changers is complete without my beloved Batiste. This tends to set the standard for a life-changer for me, as dry shampoo has not only changed my hair, it’s actually changed my lifestyle. Nothing allows me to preserve blowouts, the health of my scalp and as many hours of sleep as possible like this product. Between the time it saves, volume it creates, and exorbitant amount of grease it can absorb, I’d swear this product was tailor made for me. I showed Blush in my last post, calling it my favorite scent, but I’ve since discovered their new one in Fresh, and it has quickly become my new favorite. It’s the perfect blend of floral, citrus and clean laundry that completely blows Blush out of the water. (I actually think Fresh smells a lot like the Hello Kitty perfume available at Sephora, if you’ve ever sniffed that.) I haven’t yet seen Fresh available in the miniature size, but I’m looking—I won’t even let my purse go without dry shampoo!

 


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Changing My High School (Beauty) Life for the Better

January 16th, 2012

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By Makeup Morsels, Teen Contributor

Makeup Morsels is a pseudonym, and if that seems a little bulky, just call her MM! She resides in California and on her last year of high school. She has black hair, brown eyes, and pale skin (think NC15), and often has people tell her she looks like a corpse! She’s guilty of having a slight obsession for both sunscreen and lipstick (both of which she says she needs to stop hoarding). You’ll typically find her stalking drugstore aisles for bargains or lurking around high-end makeup counters to window shop. MM also enjoys cooking (and eating), food photography, reading, and exploring the world of makeup. Check out her blog, Makeup Morsels!


Changing My High School (Beauty) Life for the Better

Over the past few years, I’ve tried a lot of different things with my makeup and beauty routine. From maximizing my limited morning time to making up the game of “pet the brush because I don’t have a dog” (only kidding!), I’ve come across several tips and tricks that I still use today. I spent a lot of high school figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t, so today I bring you three tidbits of wisdom that changed my high school beauty life.

Nail polish. By the time junior year of high school rolled around, manicures were my go-to activity in times of stress. Neatly painting polish required that I hold the brush still. Holding the brush still required that I take a deep breath, calm down, and remind myself that the world was not going to end if I couldn’t figure out a Calculus problem. In fact, after a quick 10 minute polish session, I would return to my homework and sometimes experience a moment of epiphany. A useful tip: quick drying top coats such as Out The Door ( 4.99) speed up the process tremendously.  Just to clarify, I’m not implying that painting your nails is going to deliver epiphanies or get you straight As (that would be nice, wouldn’t it?)!  What it will do is give you a breather before you go back to tackling those math problems and hopefully cheer you up.

Skincare. These days, my makeup of choice is often no makeup at all (give or take a couple of exceptions, see below for more details). The reason I feel comfortable walking out the door with nothing but sunscreen and moisturizer on is that I simply don’t need foundation. While I’m no skincare guru and can’t give you the magical recipe for good skin, what I do suggest is that you think about your specific skin type (is it oily, dry, sensitive, combination?) and read up on skincare bloggers with similar skin issues. Removing your makeup every night is always a good bet, as is wearing sunscreen, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of sleep (I’m still working on that last one).

Under Eye Concealer. Quite honestly, I don’t think I could have gotten through the past three-and-a-half years without this stuff. On days when I’ve accumulated enough sleep debt to look like a panda that’s been walloped in the eyes, a dab of concealer does wonders. I instantly look 10 times more well-rested (when in fact, I am about to fall out of my chair), and friends no longer ask me if I’m okay because I look”disheveled and kind of like a corpse.”  Because my dark circles tend to have a purplish cast, I like to use salmon-toned concealers to neutralize the shadows, concentrating the product on the inner corners of my under eyes. My holy grail dark circle concealer is from Skin Food ($12.99), which does the trick without appearing overly orange on my pale skin.

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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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