Category Archives: Oils

Sweet Almond Oil

sweet almond oil

 

Sweet almond oil is a viscous oil with a yellowy colour. Cosmetic scientists like it because it gives a rich lubricious feel to cream formulations. Marketers like it because it sounds natural. More on that in a minute. It contains a lot of unsaturated fatty chains. This is something that might turn out to have some benefits for the skin, though there is no formal evidence I can cite to justify this at present. The skin contains some chemicals that look a lot like the unsaturated bits of sweet almond oil and which seem to help protect the skin against bacteria. It isn’t impossible that adding sweet almond to the skin boosts this sort of thing and so helps build the skin’s barrier and protective function. Continue reading

The Palm Tree – The Cosmetic Industry’s Base

Palm is an important source of cosmetic raw materials

Palm is an important source of cosmetic raw materials

Some things I write about seem quite important to me but somehow don’t really resonate with the people who read my blog. For example I wrote a post on palm oil which explained how the palm oil business works.  Nobody read it.  But I still think it matters so here we go again. Basically palm is grown on plantations and then processed to produce palm oil. This all goes into a big system from where it is moved around to produce a bewildering number of products. 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

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

Monoi Oil

monoi oil

 

Gardenia perfume
Lingering on a pillow
Wild strawberries
Only seven francs a kilo
And still my heart has wings,
These foolish things,
Remind me of you

These lines are from the famous song where a man wanders around Paris to find that the sights, sounds and smells all remind him of his lost love. When These Foolish Things was written in London the 1930s a trip to Paris was still an exotic thing to do. Having breakfast in Kensington and lunch near Les Invalides as I did a while back would have been something that would have astonished previous generations. But while Paris is still Paris, we have lost something in the process of globalisation and mass transport. There are fewer things that you can only get by traveling to particular places. Continue reading

Do Anti-Ageing Creams Cause Autism?

anti-ageing-cream-autism

Another day, another scare story. This one suggests that ingredients in anti-ageing creams can affect the development of unborn children causing autism. Well, nothing is totally impossible.  But this one seems a bit more far fetched than most. The research has found that brain development can be affected by high levels of lipids.  This doesn’t seem particularly surprising to me.  Brain development is a highly delicate process.  Disrupting it shouldn’t be too difficult.  And lipids are certainly used in anti-ageing creams.  So should we start to worry?  Let’s have a look at what lipids are first. Continue reading

Why natural oils are better for your skin

natural-oils-better-for-skinDespite what a lot of marketing suggests, there is no particular reason to suppose that natural ingredients are safer or superior to synthetic ones.  It depends on what you are doing with them.  It’s horses for courses.  You pick the material that has the properties you need.  But on the whole most of the time I prefer natural oils over mineral oil for skin creams.    Continue reading

Rosehip Oil – It Matters How You Handle It

rosehip

Nothing worth doing is easy, and working with natural products is no exception.  The way you handle them makes a difference.  I have just come across a good example, rosehip oil.  When I was growing up rosehip syrup was routinely administered to growing children.  I particularly remember a spoonful of it being added to a bowl of rice at school.  We used to like it because it was sweet and had a nice flavour.  I don’t think I realised at the time that we were being given it not as a treat but because it was particularly rich in vitamins. Continue reading

Coconut Oil Shampoo Pretreatment

My friends over at the Beauty Brains blog have been talking for a while about using coconut oil as a pre-conditioner.  Basically the idea is that the oil soaks into the hair shaft and makes the hair less brittle.  It is an interesting idea, and one that has some evidence behind it.  So I thought I’d give it a try. Continue reading

Palm Oil

palm-oil

A lot of people are concerned about palm oil production.  Palm oil production has some serious environmental issues associated with it to do with sustainability and destruction of precious wildlife habitats.  Older readers might remember serious air pollution caused by palm oil farming in Asia some years back.  The symbol of this has been the orang utan, whose numbers have been severely curtailed by the loss of their habitat to the palm plantations. Continue reading