Category Archives: Science

Hard core science straight from the journals.

Learning Cosmetic Science for Non-Cosmetic Scientists

learning about the science behind cosmetics

A question from Emma

Dear Colin
I started reading your blog a few months ago, and find it a fascinating and useful resource. I am in the process of setting up a small business selling soaps and bath products that I make myself by hand. I started this as a hobby about 4 years ago, but found that I loved the process and the huge learning curve, and wanted to devote more and more time to it…
I am very keen to learn more about basic chemistry, but I have no idea where to start as I have no science background (if you were arty in my day, the sciences were another world!). If you are able to suggest any reading or learning material to get me started I would be very grateful.
Yours
Emma

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Egg and Yoghurt As A Hair Conditioner

I was talking to someone who grew up on the Indian subcontinent and he asked me about something his mother and sister do.  They make their own hair conditioner using yoghurt and egg.  It’s quite an interesting idea.  As a cosmetic chemist I can draw on raw materials from several hundred suppliers and use all sorts of equipment to develop and make highly effective hair treatments.  But what if I had to work with only the materials that were to hand in the average country kitchen? Continue reading

Grey Hair Gene

Grey Hair Gene

Grey hair may not be inevitable in the future

Grey hair is something we can all look forward to.  That the genes have something to do with it is pretty clear.  Some people go grey in their twenties – a few put it off until their fifties or even later.  And it is very rare that someone goes grey and then turns back again.  So it is a pretty safe bet that this is not strongly an environmental thing.   Continue reading

Antibiotic Free Rosacea Treatments – Dermalex

antibiotic free rosacea treatments

Rosacea is bad – though generally not this bad

A question from Lucy

Exciting to find your site… thank you for interesting articles.

Do you know anything about Dermalex Rosacea Cream? It sounds tempting in so far as being antibiotic free and reducing redness but the scary-sounding ingredients are unfamiliar. Is it genuinely safe?
I’d be grateful for your opinion Continue reading

Hair Care Secrets – Horizon BBC2 23rd January 2017

Hair Care Secrets BBC HorizonSo how much hair care can you cover in an hour?  Quite a lot, but maybe not as much as the producers tried to cram into this one.  We had the biology of hair, a run down of the chemistry of both shampoos and conditioners, restorative hair surgery, a new hair strengthening agent, hair evaluation technology, how to shoot hair for adverts, greying hair and the latest gene research.  I am out of breath just typing it all. Continue reading

Is Standing Healthier Than Sitting?

Is Standing Healthier Than Sitting?

Is standing up a lot a good idea? The claimed health benefits for standing rather than sitting are quite impressive. According to juststand.org excessive sitting is causing “obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression and the cascade of health ills and everyday malaise that come from what scientists have named sitting disease. ” Continue reading

The Epidemic of Methylisothiazolinone

three things you should know about scare stories

There’s a new paper out with some numbers from dermatology clinics about reactions to methylisothiazolinone (MI).  Dermatologists regularly patch test people to discover what they are allergic to.  This involves applying a set of common materials that tend to provoke allergic reactions to the skin, and seeing which ones the individual reacts to.   Continue reading

Microbeads In Cosmetics Are Bad – But Plastic Is Everywhere

Microbeads In Cosmetics Are Bad - But Plastic Is Everywhere

Turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish

Christmas 2016 is over, and like a lot of people for me the next item on the agenda is getting rid of all the rubbish.  I am particularly aware of it this year having read an article in the Biologist over the holiday by freelance naturalist Rajith Dissanayake.  Despite the popularity of naturalness and general greenery we still produce one heck of a lot of plastic.  I can certainly vouch for that as I have tried to squeeze of lot of it into my bin.  Rajith quotes the figure that the average American produces around 2.5Kg of plastic waste per day, and us Europeans can’t be far behind.

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Is It Time To Free Cosmetics Of Caffeine?

Is It Time To Free Cosmetics Of Caffeine?

Do you need this stuff on your skin?

Caffeine has been a cosmetic ingredient for a long time, and you’ll find a jar of it on the shelves of most cosmetic development laboratories. There are three things it gets used for. There are the so called body sculpting products. The idea behind these is that you apply them to parts of your body that have more fat than you’d like. The caffeine stimulates fat burning, so you can get rid of the fat in the areas you don’t like it. Keep it up and you can change the shape of your body to something you like the look of. It is also used to improve the tone of the skin.  It is supposed to stimulate energy production in the upper layers of the skin. This again uses the breakdown of fat, but in this case to release energy to improve the look of the skin. And finally it is used in shampoos to stimulate hair growth.

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Resources For Non-Scientists To Learn Cosmetic Chemistry – Part 1 The Basics

science resources for cosmetic science

 

“How do I learn more about the science behind cosmetics?”

I get this question asked from time to time – a lot of people are interested in getting to know more about the science of cosmetics but don’t have a strong background in basic science.  What do I recommend by way of learning the foundations?  This is something that is very helpful if you want to do some blogging about beauty products and really really helpful if you want to create your own products.

I certainly think that there is no such thing as having too much knowledge of science when it comes to actually working on cosmetics either as a maker or a commentator.  I have observed that the best formulators are usually the best scientists and it is surprising how often something you learn that doesn’t seem to have any direct applicability later turns out to offer a solution to a problem that you never realised you were going to have.  If I could live my early life again I’d spend even more time learning about basic science than I did.

So where do I suggest you start? Continue reading