Author Archives: Colin

Men Prefer Women With Less Makeup


Men Prefer Women With Less Makeup

An interesting way to spend the time is to compare the way science is reported in the media to what the actual published research states. There is often quite a mismatch. So when I saw some online comment about an article in Time that said that men preferred woman with less makeup, I didn’t take anything at face value. Continue reading

What Is Healthy To Eat?

It's tasty, but is it healthy?

It’s tasty, but is it healthy?

A pair of groups of whom I have never heard before called the the National Obesity Forum and the Public Health Collaboration have made a bit of a stir in today’s newspapers by attacking government health advice. The official line is that obesity is caused by eating too much fat, so we should avoid it and go for low fat options.  These activists claim that it is the other way around.  We should eat plenty of fat and avoid processed carbohydrates.  Who is right? Continue reading

How Do Organic Accreditations Actually Work?

Organic accreditation

There are dozens of organic certification schemes. The way most of the big ones work is that they certify a particular supplier and also have a schedule of the actual products covered by that certification. So you’d have them come and certify Melanie Organics and typically a certificate saying so. There would also be a list of all the things that you supply that the certificate covers. This is usually a separate document – it is likely to be changed from time to time. There is nothing stopping you from supplying other things so long as you don’t claim them to be organic.If you want to check that a given ingredient is organic you’d need to look at both the certification of the supplier and the individual ingredients listing. The supplier might well put references to the certification on their own documents, but it is rare for the certification body to issue certificates for individual materials. Continue reading

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Facial Clay

Being a formulation scientist I appreciate elegant formulations that have been carefully crafted to produce an elegant solution balancing all the competing requirements of elegance, efficacy and economy.   But sometimes you just don’t need all that.  This product is just a big jar of clay.  A pound of the stuff in fact.  But does it make up for its lack of sophistication in product development by snazzy marketing?  Er, not really.  It is called Indian Healing Clay evoking the sounds, smells and mystery of the sub-continent.  But the pack is illustrated with what looks like an Aztec or Mayan pyramid.  It’s not really considered polite to continue the old mistake of mixing up the indigenous populations of South America with those of somewhere else altogether.  So it doesn’t look like this has been carefully thought out by a team of highly paid marketing professionals.   I quite like the look, but as Mrs BeautyScientist always makes clear, I have no taste so this is a bad thing.

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Balance Me Radiance Face Oil

I am always on the look out for interesting, unusual and preferably entertaining product claims.  Which is how I ended up on the website of Balance Me, a skincare company of whom I have to confess I had not heard of before.  They have bought out a limited edition of a facial oil.  There is no indication on the website why it is a limited edition, nor just how limited it is.  They don’t claim that each bottle is numbered, or that it comes with a certificate.  So I’ll just have to assume that they have just decided that at some point they are going to stop producing it when some number of units has been reached. Continue reading

Four Influential Female Cosmetic Scientists


Elizabeth Arden

The world is changing all the time, and one of the big changes is that technology is removing many of the barriers to doing things that used to exist.  Had you wanted to start a cosmetic company thirty years ago you would have had to have had a pretty big slice of capital just to get into the game.  But now things are available in much smaller quantities so you can launch a product with much less actual cash.  This is already having an effect.  The business is now much more about niche products than it used to be. Continue reading

Why Develop A Spa Range?

why develop a spa range?

So why develop a spa range? It seems obvious to me, but may well not be so to anyone else so let me explain. A spa treatment has to be really good. It is applied by a skilled technician directly on to a paying customer. If it is in any way substandard, it will be noticed very quickly. You just have to meet the expectations of the end users or you will be getting the worst kind of feedback very rapidly. Continue reading

Retinol – Possible Changes To Regulations

Retinol - Possible Changes To Regulations

Liver paté is a source of vitamin A

The EU has a rather Byzantine way of regulating cosmetics.  The rules are set by the European Commission in Brussels.  This is run by the commissioners, of whom there are 28 one from each state.  They have what strikes me as quite a modest sized staff and they don’t employ any scientists specifically to look at cosmetics and indeed don’t have a department that dedicated to the industry.  So the regulations are drawn up by general bureaucrats.   Continue reading