Swiss apples – something special?
We all see a lot of adverts and most of us do our best to ignore them. Somebody who is trying to sell you something is rarely a source of useful information. But just how far do advertisers go in stretching the truth? I don’t think that big name companies are exactly pure in heart and soul, but they do on the whole keep within the letter if not the spirit of the rules most of the time. But smaller companies are often a bit more adventurous. A good example of just how they work can be inferred from a ruling by the UK’s advertising authority, the ASA, from last year. Continue reading
Er, not that kind of mole.
Who is the most popular chemist? Avogadro. Everyone knows his number. Okay it is a corny joke, and it is also probably a bit baffling if you have never heard of Avogadro’s number. It is one of those things that sounds a bit dry if you describe it in purely technical terms, but which is actually a stunning achievement of our species. It is simply the number of atoms in a gram of the smallest atom, i.e., hydrogen. We know the relative sizes of all the atoms. For example carbon is 12 times bigger than hydrogen. So 12g of carbon contains the same number of atoms as 1g of hydrogen. Chemists can therefore use Avogadro’s number to work out the number of atoms in any quantity of anything. Continue reading
Facial masks have been around for ages, and are popular enough to get stocked in supermarkets in the UK. But they are still exotic enough that you can’t assume people know what they are. The idea of putting a clothe soaked with a fluid on your face and leaving it there for about 20 minutes still seems to be something of a minority taste. Part of the problem is that people aren’t exactly sure what it is that they are supposed to do. And judging by the way some of the products in the category are marketed, it doesn’t look like the makers have a much better idea. Continue reading
I used to think about things in boxes when I was at school. There was chemistry, biology and gym. I didn’t really think much about the connections between them. But these subject headings we learn are not real. All the time your body is doing all sorts of exercise and there are processes going on that interact in ways that are hard to get a scientific handle on. Continue reading
As a keen environmentalist I often find myself face palming when a cosmetic company picks up on a green issue. They often home in on things that aren’t particularly relevant and propose solutions that are questionable. But I think the recent interest in the risks posed by microbeads is one where there is a real problem. Continue reading
Almost every successful wart product in the world is based on salicylic acid. The level is somewhere between 10 and 20% and the base is a solvent rich gel that dries to form a white film. They all work pretty well, and there is not much if anything to choose between them. The popular one in the UK at the moment is called Bazuka. It is no better, and indeed no worse, than any of the others. But is does have the most gansta sounding name. The advertising campaign promising to bazuka your verruca struck a chord, and the rest is viral skin infection history. Continue reading
The full title of the last talk in the Society of Cosmetic Scientists London lecture series for this year was ‘What drives trends in cosmetic claims: consumer dreams or scientific reality?’ The debate was between Stirling Murray – a marketing guru from The Red Tree consultancy and Steve Barton who trades as Skin Thinking. The audience were mainly scientists and so were probably rooting for Steve, who set out to demonstrate that science is the key factor behind cosmetic developments. Continue reading
One of the problems with being a beauty blogger is sourcing samples. Do you spend your own money on them? That’s an expensive proposition if you post regularly. Or do you accept free samples from brands, and compromise your integrity? It is a tricky one. I suppose there is always shoplifting. Luckily as a cosmetic chemist I can often get a pretty good idea about a product just by looking at the ingredient list. And to prove it, here is a review of something I have never actually tried. Continue reading
I was a bit slow off the mark with this one. When the Beauty Brains started their podcast I tried to find it on iTunes but couldn’t locate it. So I gave up. I should have persevered because I needed to search not for ‘BeautyBrains’ but ‘TheBeautyBrains’. So when the penny finally dropped I was already several months out of date. As they get an episode out every week, I had quite a backlog to catch up on. I still haven’t quite got to the current one, but I am not far off now. Continue reading
Lavender farmers are worried that under new legislation products containing lavender oil will have to bear a black and red warning symbol. They will also have to bear the warning ‘fatal if swallowed’. You can see why this might put people off. Continue reading