Category Archives: Ingredients

Elderberry Extract for Dark Circles Around The Eyes?

Elderberry Extract for Dark Circles Around The Eyes

Do elderberries hold the secret to curing dark circles around the eyes?

We’ve all seen and may well have actually experienced the dark marks that you sometimes get around the eyes.  They are known as dark marks, dark circles and spider veins.  They vary in colour – they can be black, blue or purple.  The cause of them is that the skin is particularly thin on this part of the face.  This makes the blood capillaries there particularly prone to damage, both as a result of rubbing them and to things that affect the size and  permeability of the blood vessels.  The result is that blood cells can get out of the blood stream and accumulate into this dark coloured structures.  The spidery appearance is due to them following the lines of the capillaries.  Having got there they can trigger an inflammatory response making the skin puffy as well. Continue reading

What Makes A Good Fake Tan?

fake tan accelerator

Can you get a fake tan even quicker?

There are plenty of fake tan products out there. Fake tans are easy to formulate and not too expensive to manufacture. The active ingredient, dihydroxyacetone, is very effective. So the big problem facing the manufacturers of fake tans is how to differentiate their product from the competitors. So they need to find ways to speed up the tanning process or to give a superior end result. Continue reading

Does MI Cause Developmental Problems?

MI development problems

There are an interesting couple of points in the comments thread on my blog post asking for MI not to become a scare story, from Suzanne. She has drawn my attention to a paper from 2012 that details developmental problems in tadpoles exposed to MI. She concludes from this that MI is potentially unsafe for humans as well and asks what the liability is for companies that continue to use it now that this risk has been identified. 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

Bad Advice For Kitchen Cosmetic Chemists

how to make your own beauty products from scratch

I am great supporter of people making their own cosmetics at home.  It’s a fun thing to do and for me life is all about building a better understanding of things.  A good way to do this is to look closely into something, learn about it and then put those lessons into practice.  You’ll learn about cosmetics, you’ll get some stuff to use.  But you’ll also gain a deeper feeling for how things are made.  Modern life can alienate us from the real world a lot of the time and making your own cosmetics is one way to reconnect. Continue reading

Nut Allergies To Cosmetic Products

nut allergies to cosmetics

Most people like nuts

There has been a big increase in the number of people suffering from allergies of all kinds, and although there is a perception that the problem is bigger than it actually is it still remains a problem.  Nut allergies are one of the biggest categories and we have all become used to pervasive labelling of foods including ones that don’t even contain nuts as regular ingredients.  Traces of nuts are enough.  So should you be worried about allergies to cosmetics containing nuts?  Here are my observations. Continue reading

Placental Protein – Should You Seek Out Products Containing It?

Placental Protein - Should You Seek Out Products Containing It?

Placenta – is it as revolting as it looks? Yes it is.

My long term Twitter pal@just3nita asked me about placental protein.  It seems to me that there is always somebody somewhere in the world putting something stupid into a cosmetic product.  But in fact placental protein isn’t a particularly new idea.  It has been around long enough for their to be an official EU monograph for it on its list of cosmetic ingredients.   Here is how it is described –

Placenta, ext. Extractives and their physically modified derivatives such as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, inorganic ions, etc. obtained from mammalian placenta.

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Dangers of Mineral Oil In Lipstick

Dangers of mineral oil in lipsticks

Candelilla wax often used to give a shiny coat

A paper in the most recent International Journal of Cosmetic Science has just drawn attention to a little noticed issue that has been bubbling away in the background of the cosmetic science world for a while. The issue is the use of long chain hydrocarbons in lip products. This sounds pretty formidable, but it is not really that complicated. Mineral oil is largely composed of long molecules that are composed of nothing more than chains of carbon atoms surrounded by hydrogen atoms. This is about as simple as chemistry gets, and the chemistry of hydrocarbons has few surprises. The most interesting thing about them is that they make a good source of fuel. And the biggest use we put them to is to put them into cars and aeroplanes. Continue reading

Your Soap Bar Is Sprouting?

Your Soap Bar Is Sprouting

I have just picked up on an interesting story on Twitter. Lush are being gently mocked because people are finding that one of their soap bars that contains some seeds are sprouting in people’s bathrooms. This is a nice easter story – germination is something that is associated with spring after all. And it is quite funny. I have feeling that the people responsible for quality at Lush aren’t laughing though. I can remember a similar incident from long ago in my career. This was before Twitter but in any case didn’t get out into the public domain.

A large batch of strawberry seeds were weighed out in a factory with the intention that they should be used in a batch of exfoliator. They were left for a few days in the humid environment that you have in a cosmetic factory and they too sprang into life, expanding to several times their initial volume. Continue reading

A Serum Formulation

Serum IngredientsSomeone has asked about a serum they like.

Hi Colin,

I have a very very expensive formulation of a serum here. Would you please be so kind to evaluate it? My questions are especially concerning preservatives.. and also: does skin benefit from so many different ingredients and antioxidants…? I think I think that simple is best. The formulation might be of interest to you, as it seems at the forefront.

Water, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, glycerin, punica granatum (pomegranate) extract, squalane, tocopheryl acetate, camellia sinensis (white tea) leaf extract, vernonia (ambiaty) apendiculata leaf extract, morinda citrifolia exrtact, pichia/reservatrol ferment extract, laminaria digitata extract, padina pavonica thallus extract, hydrolyzed algin, palmitoyl oglipeptide, phanthenol, niacinamide, ubiquinone, yeast amino acids, 7-dehydrocholesterol, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ extract, helianthus annuus seed extract, equisetum arvense extract, commiphora myrrah extract, retinyl palmitate, allantoin, PEG 10 rapeseed sterel, tribehenin, ceramide 2, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/beheneth-25, sucrose laurate, polyacrylate crosspolymer-6, polyquaternium-55, zea mays (corn) oil, ethylhexylglycerin, phenoxyethanol, tricalcium phosphate.

Best regards,
M.

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