Posts Tagged ‘ingredients’

Will waterproof sunscreen give you acne?

July 5th, 2014

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Tree asks…The sales assistant in a makeup store told me I shouldn’t be using waterproof sunscreen because it’s too heavy for me. The sunscreen contains zinc oxide. She recommended me another one that doesn’t contain parabens and is also lighter. I don’t care about parabens but is waterproof sunscreen something I should stay away from?

The Beauty Brains respond:

I see the logic behind this: if something is waterproof it must be so oily and heavy that it HAS to clog your pores, right? Not necessarily.

Whether or not a sunscreen will cause acne depends on the comedogenicity of the ingredients in the formula. Some ingredients are more likely to form comedones (the “plugs” that contribute to acne.) If the product contains these ingredients it may cause you to break out.

Unfortunately, even though you can look up comedogencity of some ingredients, it’s not an exact science and you can’t predict what a blend of ingredients will do. Your best bet (even though it still doesn’t guarantee anything) is to look for a sunscreen that has been tested and labeled as “non-comedogenic.”

The risk of a little acne is worth getting good protection from skin cancer!


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Is more expensive eye shadow really different?

June 6th, 2014

Celebrity Makeup News and Blogs:

Mamasim asks…Can the processes (methods) as opposed to ingredients, of producing a beauty product be different enough to justify the price differences in the same product type? A makeup artist I like commented in a tutorial that the reason she liked Dior eyeshadows is they have a wonderful texture. She said that when she asked a cosmetic chemist why they said it was because during its production the product was held at the ‘fat combining’ stage for slightly longer than is the norm… (???) I’m interested in knowing if high end companies use more involved methods and this is a reason why their products can be more expensive?

The Beauty Brains respond:

The only unusual “fat combining” process that I’m aware of is the way Perry eats a hamburger and french fries. He eats ALL the fries first THEN he eats the burger.  Isn’t it normal to intersperse bites of the burger with the fries so you can enjoy the flavor of both?  I mean you wouldn’t eat your entire bag of potato chips and THEN eat your ham sandwich, would you? Sheesh! But I digress…

Processing can impact product cost

While we stress the importance of looking at ingredients to understand the quality of a product, there are situations where the ingredients don’t tell the full story. Sometimes HOW the ingredients are put together can be tremendously important to the quality of the finished product. You don’t see this in simple mixtures, like shampoos, but you do see it on more complex products like pressed powders. Case in point: a recent article in Cosmetics & Toiletries revealed that the quality of a powder cosmetic products depends in part on how the powders are pulverized.

The powders used in cosmetics can form agglomerates, or clumps. These clumps prevent the powder from having a smooth application. To avoid these clumps powders are processed to break them into tiny particles. This is commonly done using a piece of equipment called a “Hammer Mill” which basically slams metal hammers against the powder’s surface to break the pieces apart. Most manufacturers used to this type of equipment.

However a more advanced process, known as “Jet Milling,” can break the particles into even smaller sizes and make them more spherical.

Not surprisingly Jet Mills cost more, and not as readily available, as Hammer Mills. That means if a company wants to make a higher quality powder they either have to invest in more expensive equipment or they have to use a contract manufacturer which owns this specialized grinder. In either case the use of jet milling to create a softer feeling product results in an increased price. Therefore it’s unlikely you’ll see this used in bargain products.

So the answer is yes, process can impact cost.


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Kiehl’s Olive Fruit Oil Nourishing Conditioner – how to find a cheaper version

February 8th, 2014

Celebrity Makeup News and Blogs:

Miriam asks..I’m looking for a conditioner similar to Olive Fruit Oil Nourishing Conditioner from Kiehls, could you recommend something cheaper?

The Beauty Brains respond:

Miriam’s question comes from the boards on Makeup Alley where we’ve been contributing recently. It’s the most active online beauty community we’ve ever seen – if you haven’t checked it out already you should!

Use the “Rule of 5 Ingredients”

Of course there’s no way to know for sure without testing but we can identify good candidates for Miriam to try just by looking at the ingredients list (see below.) In particular, look at the first five ingredients:

Water, cetearyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, glycerin, amodimethicone

Water is the solvent/carrier and will be the first ingredient in any emulsion-type conditioner. The cetearyl alcohol is the “body” of the product and is a mix of cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol. (Remember that these so-called fatty alcohols are NOT the kind of alcohol that dries your hair.) Behentrimonium chloride and amodimethicone are both excellent conditioners which are chemically modified to stick to the damaged spots on your hair after rinsing. Glycerin is a good moisturizing agent although it really doesn’t do much from a rinse out product.

A quick scan for products with similar ingredients reveals that Loreal Nature’s Therapy Mega Hair Moisture Treatment has the same five ingredients in the same order (see below.) It also contains a few lesser ingredients which may give the product a different feel like cetyl esters and cetrimonium chloride. Most of the other differences, like the preservative,  won’t impact the performance of the product.

The Kiehl’s product sells for about $2.26 per ounce ($19 for 8.4 ounces) while the L’Oreal “dupe” is only  $1.40 per ounce ($11.21 for 8 ounces). So if you’re looking for a cheaper option, the L’Oreal product should be a good one to check out.

Loreal Nature’s Therapy Mega Hair Moisture Treatment ingredients

Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Amodimethicone, Cetyl Esters, Sodium PCA, Fragrance, Methylparaben, Trideceth-12, Sunflower Seed Oil, Chlorhexidine, Dihydrochloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Yellow 5.

Kiehl’s Olive Fruit Oil Nourishing Conditioner

Water, cetearyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, glycerin, amodimethicone, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, persea gratissima (avocado) oil, trideceth-6, 2-oleamido-1, 3-octadecanediol, lanolin, citrus limonum (lemon) peel oil, cetyl esters, methylparaben, chlorhexidine dihydrochloride, cetrimonium chloride, dimethyl tin dineodecyl ester, fragrance.

Do YOU have any favorite products you’d like to find a cheaper version of? Leave a comment and we’ll try to track one down for you.

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What is Clarins Beauty Flash Balm?

September 24th, 2013

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Madeira must know…What is Clarins Beauty Flash Balm? Is it a primer? A moisturizer? What does it do? (If anything).

The Beauty Brains respond:

According to Clarins this product “instantly moisturizes, brightens, and tightens facial contours so skin looks rested and relaxed.”   It also “prepares skin for perfect makeup application.” We suppose you could call this a “moisturizing primer.”

Flash in the pan

A quick look at the ingredients (see below) reveals that the product is water-based and contains the following key ingredients:

  • Hygroscopic agents (propylene glycol and glycerin) which will help bind moisture to skin. However if the climate is very dry these kinds of ingredients can actually pull water out of the skin.
  • Octyldodecanol – a hydrocarbon-based emollients that will help make skin feels smoother.
  • Starch which is a film former. That means as it dries on your skin it will make it feel tighter. This can have a temporary effect on reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

It’s also important to note what this product does NOT contain. There are no highly occlusive moisturizing agents to seal moisture in the skin, such as petrolatum or dimethicone. There are no skin resurfacing agents that would truly make this product “brightening” such as a retinoid or an alpha hydroxy acid.

The Beauty Brains bottom-line

This product should do pretty much what it claims as long as you don’t get your hopes too high. It will certainly provide some degree of moisturization (although there are much better moisturizers on the market); it will also smooth skin and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The starchy film combined with the octyldodecanol should provide a good base for make up. Just remember that it won’t provide any sustained benefits to your skin – once you wash it off the benefits will disappear.

Beauty Flash Balm Ingredients

Aqua/Water/Eau, Propylene Glycol, Octyldodecanol, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Glycerin, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Stearate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol, Bisabolol, Sodium Hydroxide, Parfum/Fragrance, Butylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Citrate, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Algae Extract, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Coumarin, Benzyl Salicylate, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Hydroxycitronellal, Citronellol, Geraniol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Eugenol, Limonene, Isoeugenol, Ci 15985/Yellow 6E.

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Is this mineral makeup really free of harmful stuff?

September 18th, 2013

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Moulin Rouge says…I just saw this Deep Bronzing Mineral Bronzer by Divine Cosmetics on It’s cheap, it says its comparable to MAC makeup and it’s “FREE of harmful ingredients.” Should I buy it? 

The Beauty Brains respond:

It depends on whether or not you’re Canadian. One of the ingredients in the formula, Ferric Ferrocyanide, is classified as “expected to be toxic or harmful,  suspected to be an environmental toxin, and to be persistent or bioaccumulative,” according to Health Canada.

Risk is a combination of hazard and exposure

Remember that the true risk of any given ingredient is determined by both the intensity of the hazard and the degree of exposure. In the case of a colorant such as this one which is only applied topically, the exposure should be quite low.

Still, one would think that any company wanting to make the claim “free of harmful ingredients” might have opted out of using something with CYANIDE in the name. Sheesh!

Deep Bronzing Mineral Bronzer ingredients:

Mineral Talc, Mica, Iron Oxides. May contain: Carmine, Ferric Ferrocyanide.

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