“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
I get a regular question from people doing science degrees who want to get into a career as cosmetic scientists. Here is the kind of rely I give, this particular one to long standing Beauty Pages reader Hannah. Continue reading
Doctors in arms race with antibiotic resistant superbugs
As I write this, this news isn’t being widely reported. A bacteria has been found in the United States that is resistant to the last antibiotic left in the arsenal. There is now no longer any antibiotic available that bacteria can’t survive. This is certainly bad news – though not unexpected bad news. Resistance to antibiotics has been a problem since antibiotics came into use. The more widely antibiotics are used, the bigger the problem becomes. While this is an unpleasant milestone to pass, it doesn’t actually mean that the problem is suddenly bigger than it was. The laws of natural selection are hard to dodge, and bacteria have many tricks up their sleeves to defend themselves. Continue reading
I get a steady stream of enquiries from journalists. Their questions are usually fairly similar. They ask about the safety of cosmetics, and lose interest quite rapidly when I tell them that they are. “Stuff you’ve never worried about before is still nothing to worry about” is not really the makings of a great headline. But I did get one that was a bit more interesting than most the other day. Who does the research on cosmetic safety? Obviously, there might be a story if all the research on cosmetic ingredients is carried out by cosmetic companies, or paid for by them, then maybe something sinister is being hidden. Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy? Continue reading
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
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
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
My good friend Dene Godfrey wrote an article for personal care truth denouncing the practice of free from the claims on cosmetics. This is very much the kind of thing Dene does, and he did it very well. Normally he beats all oppostion into instant submission, but this time there was a riposte to it from a blog called Skin Matters, which although I wouldn’t call them great friends is a blog I read from time to time and generally appreciate. This response was also very well-written and made some good points. To sum up the debate, Dene asserted that free from claims were not based on scientific evidence and had the effect of alarming consumers about non-existent risks. Skin Matters replied by saying that some people have genuine problems, and there was a need for products to address this. In fact Skin Matters are so convinced of the general goodness of free from claims that they have instigated an award for free from products. Continue reading
Around one 1% of all people on the planet suffer from vitiligo. It affects all races and ages equally, but loss of pigment is obviously more noticeable a the darker your skin is. So it is more noticeable when someone like Michael Jackson suffers from it. Although it doesn’t exhibit any other symptoms, having unusual skin pigmentation is a distressing condition – most of us really want to look as normal as possible. I worked on a project to develop a product that would cure vitiligo some years ago. It was a really exciting time. It is rare that an incurable disease is beaten, and we thought we had. Unfortunately, as is the way of these things, it didn’t get through the clinical stage. Continue reading
This was the question answered by a very interesting article on Cosmetics Design Europe this morning. I have to say I never really thought to ask it before. But it is an interesting question. Continue reading