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Thursday, June 30, 2011

The dangers of Mineral Oil

Another ingredient you might want to avoid in skin products, is the controversial mineral oil.

Over the years, mineral oil has been renamed again and again with names like white oil, liquid paraffin, etc.
However, a name that was never ever used in the cosmetics market, but used in other markets, is none other than the word 'kerosene'

Yes. Mineral oil is Kerosene, a by-product of petroleum, that we use as a fuel for combustion.

So what on earth are companies adding kerosene in products for?

Apparently, mineral oil works rather similar to dimethicone. They work by forming a thin layer on our skin, clogging our pores. This way, moisture lost to the surroundings will be minimised.

Having our pores clogged, bacteria growth is encouraged, and dead skin cells are trapped inside, leading to pimples and acne. To add matters worse, the fact that mineral oil is an oil, it causes more harm and irritation to our skin.

The threats posed by mineral oil does not stop there.

When mineral oil is absorbed by our skin into our bodies, it is sent to the liver to be broken down. After that, mineral will absorb the fat soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E, K) in our bodies.

Due to the fact that mineral oil robs our bodies of vital vitamins, many health problems have been attributed to the frequent use of mineral oil. Such health problems include pneumonia, decrease in lung functions, nutritional deficiencies etc.

Baby oil is a product made entirely of mineral oil mixed with fragrance. Imagine slathering kerosene all over your baby!

It's strange how many companies insist on using mineral oil as a part of their ingredients, despite knowing the side effects of it.

That's why we have to be educated consumers. We MUST always look at the list of ingredients before buying to avoid having poisonous substances in our faces.

So if the companies refuse to think about our health, it's time we, the consumers give them a silent protest by saying NO to mineral oil products.

Thanks for reading. Remember to follow my blog and share it with your friends on Facebook :)

Parfum, EDP, EDT and EDC

Fragrances can be divided into parfum, EDP, EDT and EDC based on their concentrations of perfume oil, diluted with solvents

Among all four of them Parfum, which is often called perfume extract, has the highest concentration of perfume oils, followed by Eau De Parfum (EDP)

Most of the fragrances for women that we can find in the market are Eau De Parfum, as most women prefer the scent of their fragrances to last longer and project better

Midnight Poison by Dior, an immensely famous EDP for women

Be Delicious by DKNY, a very popular EDP known for its fresh and crisp scent

Harajuku Lovers, a range of fruity EDP by Gwen Stefani which is an instant hit

Hypnose by Lancome, an EDP ispired by enigma and hypnotism

After that, we have EDT (pronounced ow-de-tua-let, not ow-de-toi-let) which is lower in concentration of perfume oils compared to EDP. Most fragrances for men are EDT, and it is very difficult to find an EDP for men

Acqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani, a popular marine EDT for men

1 million by Paco Robanne, an EDT that has received a lot of compliments for its invigorating scent and unique bottle design.

Hugo Boss Bottled No. 6, an oriental woody EDT, also the most popular fragrance from Hugo Boss

A point I would like to add is that, there are no standards or regulations for fixing the amount of concentrations for classifying EDP, EDT and EDC in the market.

It is entirely up to the company to set their own standards. Therefore, you might notice that the scent of an EDT of a certain brand, might be stronger than the scent of an EDP of another brand.

Joop! Pour Homme (pronounced yoab) is an example of EDT that has such strong projectivity, it puts the concentration of an EDP to shame.

EDC (nothing to do with Esperit) stands for Eau De Cologne, which has the lowest concentration of perfume oils among the four. EDC's are generally not very popular, as their scent is very very mild, making them rather difficult to find in the market

Devin by Aramis, a green chypre scent, that was released in 1978

So that's the difference between Parfum, EDP, EDT and EDC. Some web sites may tell you that there are certain standard percentages differentiating the four in the market.
But trust me, it's not true. Or at least it's not true anymore, as companies have long started using their own unique standards to differentiate the four.

Thank you for Reading :D

The lies and the hidden truths in ads and product discription

Everyone knows the psychology behind advertisements; They show images of pretty models, make them flaunt their pretty hair and their pretty faces, making us feel inferior to them.

The envy and admiration then submerges into our sub-conscious

A few fays later, when we see the products advertised on TV, the same feelings emerge again. Unknowingly, we just pick up the product, in hopes that we can be as beautiful or as handsome as the model in the advertisement, and pay for it

Has this ever happened to you?

It is a known fact that the purpose of advertisements are to psych you into buying their products.
But there is something else that advertisements do, which is much worse; 
That is to confuse and mislead you through claims.

But how?

Here are some examples

Some eye lifting cream claims that "under controlled lab tests" 80 per cent of men/women saw 75 per cent of reduction in puffiness in the eyes. But do you know what some companies do during this so-called controlled tests?

Companies dab alcohol (a dehydrating agent) under the testers' eyes, and measure the lifting effect after using the cream. This test is obviously a deception. Who wouldn't see improvements after using creams, if your skin were to be drenched with alchol beforehand?

Then we have some moisturizing creams stating that they use aloe vera gel to keep the skin hydrated.

A quick look at the ingredient list in some products, you'll be surprised to discover that the concentration of aloe vera gel used is actually lower than the concentration of methly paraben (a preservative) itself.
Such low concentrations of aloe vera gel is certainly not useful to our skin at all

And if you were to have a closer look at the ingredients, you might notice that silicone oils (like dimethicone) are in one of the top five ingredients.

This proves that aloe vera is just used an excuse used, to conceal the truth that dimethicones are actually the so-called hydrating agents. And they work by clogging your pores to prevent moisture from being lost to the surroundings.

Another very common deception in products is the claim of using Vitamin C.

While it is true that Vitamin C is a whitening agent, it only works in high concentrations.
Low concentrations of Vitamin C  do not provide whitening results. Instead, they can cause redness and irritation to the skin.

Taking a look at the content of Vitamin C in some products (which is in the bottom 5 ingredients) we can conclude that the product does not intend to whiten users' skin using Vitamin C at all.

Instead, Vitamin C is just used as a gimmick and a marketing strategy to fool consumers into buying the product

There are more deceptions and marketing strategies used to deceive consumers like us, and i would probably talk about them next time.

However, please take note that not all the products out there are made to deceive you. There are some genuine products that really live up to what they claim.
To be able to distinguish such products, you should learn how to be a good consumer, and learn to start looking at the ingredients before buying them.

Remember to always read the ingredients, and to never be fooled by product claims.

Thanks for reading :D

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fairer skin with sunblock?

Asians in particular are really very fond of fair skin.

Hence, I have always been asked whether it is possible to obtain fairer skin with constant use of sunblock.

But before I answer that, let us look at the mechanism of how sunblocks work, first

Most sunblocks contain aromatic molecules conjugated with carbonyl groups. This structure is capable of absorbing high-energy UV rays. However, some of the structures are not as stable as the rest, e.g. avobenzone, as they break down under the presence of strong UV rays.

Fruit of The Earth SPF 50 Block Up! is an example of sunblock that uses avobenzone

So if you want to get yourself a sunblock, make sure it's a minimum of SPF30, Pa++, and does not contain avobenzone.

Now, let's talk about what happens to our skin when exposed to sun rays

When sun rays come in contact with our skin, melanin is produced to counter the ultraviolet rays from damaging our skin. Melanin are pigments produced by our skin as a natural form of protection against the sun.

Naturally, we will get darker if we were to stay under the sun very often, as our skin has to produce more melanin to protect our cells from being killed by the high-energy UV rays

So what if we were to apply sunblock?

When we apply a good broad spectrum sunblock on our skin, the ingredient in the sunblock is sufficient to provide protection for our skin cells from the sun, and there is no need to produce more melanin.

Sunblocks do NOT make your fairer, as they can't eliminate the melanin that has been present in your skin (unless they contain whitening ingredients) . It just prevents you from getting darker.

Sunplay Powdery White SPF 47 is an example of sunblock that contains whitening ingredients

So, if you are naturally dark, and you believe you couldn't get an darker, does that mean you can forget about applying sunblock?

That's not exactly correct

While it may be true that "getting darker" would not be noticeable on you, but production of melanin is just one of the side-effects of exposure to sun rays.

Constant exposure to sun rays can also lead to hyperpigmentation, discolorisation of the skin, sagging skin, skin cancer, etc.

Studies have also shown that more than 90 per cent of premature skin aging is caused by exposure to UV rays.

So if you wouldn't want to end up looking like a prune when you grow old, you'd probably want to get yourself a good sunblock.

Thanks for reading, and please leave me a comment, as it would motivate me to post more :D

The 3 notes in fragrances

Fragrances are often used to enhance our body smell. When mixed with the pheromones of our own body, the fragrance evolves into a smell that is uniquely ours, despite retaining their signature scent.

When fragrances are applied to our skin, their scent reveals itself slowly from from the top notes to the middle notes, and finally, to the base notes.

The top notes of the fragrance are the strongest, and it is the first impression of the scent you get after spraying it from the bottle.

The smell of top notes can be rather intense and sometimes, overwhelming to those with a strong nose. But fear not, top notes will usually last from 15 to 30 minutes. After that, the smell will die down and be replaced by the middle notes

The Dreamer by Versace (pronounced Ver-sah-chee), a fragrance for men, is well known for its extremely intense iris top notes that can be unbearable for many, but transforms gracefully to its middle notes and base notes after a while

The middle notes (also known as heart notes) come after the top notes. The reason why they are called heart notes is because they make up the 'body' of the scent and fragrances are classified into floral, oriental, woody, marine or etc. based on the middle notes.

Most middle notes usually last for 2 to 4 hours, followed by the base notes.

Flight of Fancy by Anna Sui (pronounced annuh swee), a fragrance for women, is classified as an oriental floral fragrance with middle notes of star magnolia, rose blossom, and purple rain freesia

The base notes are the dry down of the fragrance, and it is the fragrance that will stick close to your skin till the end of the day or till you wash it off. 

Le Male (pronounceh le mahl) by Jean Paul Gaultier (pronounced zhon paul go-tee-ay) is a fragrance for men with base notes of sandalwood, vanilla, tonka beans, amber, and cedar that is well known for its strong projectivity and lasting power

So next time I will be posting about the differences between parfum, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, and eau de cologne.

Thanks for reading :)

Dimethicone. Good or bad?

Dimethicone, also known as polydimethysiloxane (PDMS) is a sylicone oil commonly found in hair products, and sometimes in skin products

molecular formula of dimethicone

Dimethicone in  Hair Products

If you were to take a quick look at the ingredients of your hair shampoo and hair conditioners, you are bound to notice the word "dimethicone".

In hair products, it is generally good to have dimethicone in it. So what does dimethicone do?

When we wash our hair, water enters our hair pores, making our hair healthy-looking and shiny.
But throughout the day, the moisture trapped in our hair pores will be lost to the surroundings, similar to the process of transpiration. As the day continues, our hair loses its shine and becomes more dull.

However, if our hair products contain dimethicone, it forms a layer of coating on our hair strands, trapping the moisture in our hair and sealing it in. As dimethicone is somewhat waterproof, it acts as a barrier to prevent our hair from losing moisture to the surroundings.

Besides that, dimethicone also minimises friction in our hair, making our hair softer and smoother. With dimethicone, it would be easier to comb our hair, and our hair feels really smooth to the touch.

As usual, the rule of moderation also applies here, as too much of something is often not good for us.

When we use products loaded with too much of dimethicone, it makes our hair strands heavy. Our hair will then lose its vitality and will become flat.

This may be good news for those who desire extremely straight hair that stick to your head, but, if you would like your hair to have an airy and energetic look, avoid products that use too much dimethicone.

If avoiding them is too difficult, then use less of your conditioner, and remember not to apply it near the roots! Just apply them at the ends of your hair.

Dimethicone in Skin Products

Dimethicone may be good for you hair, but when it comes to you skin, it's a whole new story.

Many manufacturers add dimethicone to skin products (especially moisturizers and creams) to make the skin smoother to the touch.

Similar to our hair, when dimethicone-based products are applied on our skin, dimethicone will minimize the friction on the surface of our skin to the touch of our fingers.

However, dimethicone clogs up our pores and prevents them from 'breathing'. Once our pores are clogged, bacteria and dead skin cells will be trapped inside, which might result in acne and pimples.

There is absolutely no reason for dimethicone to be added to our skin products, except for the manufacturers to prove their stand that it does make your skin 'smoother'.

Dimethicone can be tolerated in products that target the skin in your body. However, if it about the skin on your face, avoid them at all costs.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid (also known as beta hydroxyl acid) is a chemical that can be found in some of our skin products that we use

molecular structure of salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is excellent in treating acne and pimples.

But how does it work?

When applied to our face, it acts as an exfoliatant by causing the cells on our upper epidermis to 'move further apart' from each other, making it easier to remove the dead skin cells that are trapped in between.

Salicylic acid also promotes the regrowth of skin cells, and minimizes pore size.

It can be found in various products available in the market

L'oreal Menexpert White Active moisturizer contains salicylic acid to promote the growth of new skin cells

St. Ives Naturally Clear contains 2% of salicylic acid as their active ingredient

Clearasil Ultra deep pore face wipes contains salicylic acid for a deep clean

Dermalogica Sebum Clearing Mask, also with salicylic acid

Every product from the Clean & Clear Active Clear range contains salicylic acid

However, don't think that salicylic acid is the Holy Grail of cosmetic products as it has its disadvantages

People with sensitive skin should opt for products with a maximum of 2% salicylic acid or less. Salicylic acid has been known to cause irritation and redness in skin for some. People with extra sensitive skin might want to avoid salicylic acid altogether.

Products containing salicylic acid should only be used at night. Whenever salicylic acid is applied on our skin, it becomes 50% more prone to damage by sunlight, which will eventually lead to discoloration, pigmentation, sunburn etc.

However, if you still insist on applying salicylic acid in the day, make sure you finish off with a sunblock of at least SPF 30 and PA++, to protect your skin against the ultraviolet rays


Parabens such as metyhl paraben and proply paraben, are chemicals used to prolong the shelf-life of products

the general molecular structure of paraben

As many of our facial and hair products contain extracts, paraben works as a preservative to make them last longer. Don't be surprised that even some of our food products contain parabens!

Due to the fact that parabens can be found easily, and they are cheap, many manufacturers opt to use them in the in their products to lower the price, and make it more affordable

So far, there has been no strong evidence saying that parabens are dangerous. Even so, parabens are added at very low concentrations in products. So such little amount should not be harmful to us

However, if your day products contain methyl paraben, I would suggest that you finish off with a sunblock of at least SPF 30. This is so because research has shown that mehthyl paraben breaks down under the exposure of UV rays and will result in rapid death of the skin cells below it

So would it be a better option for one to use skin products that are paraben free?

Nutox Oxyfusion is a range by Tohtonku that is entirely paraben free

Actually, this is entirely up to you. Of course, it would be better if we were to avoid products containing preservatives. But personally, I think it is just a business gimmick.

Some companies claim that they do not use parabens in their products, instead, they use other chemicals which are more dangerous as preservatives.

So to avoid or not to avoid? You decide :)

P.S : Dont forget to click on my advertisements :D

Friday, June 24, 2011

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Shampoo

Clairol's Herbal Essences Hello Hydration shampoo is supposed to be a hair shampoo to counter dry and brittle hair. 

Priced at RM 16.90 per 300 ml, this hair shampoo can be found virtually everywhere (Guardian, Watsons, Tesco, Jusco, Mydin, etc.)

Despite being very common, Hello Hydration is one of the most expensive commercial shampoos that can be found. 

However, the Hello Hydration does NOT contain SLS or SLES  (for more info, click HERE)

Being formulated with only ALS and ALES as surfactants, Hello Hydration is one of the mildest shampoo that you can find under the commercial range.

The moment you squeeze this shampoo out of the bottle, you can't help but to notice the wonderful and refreshing scent of coconut, accompanied by the subtle scent of orchid, which makes a delightful combination. Even after washing and drying your hair, you can still smell it, wafting around the hair. People are definitely going to notice how nice your hair smells if you were to wash your hair with this :D

With Herbal Essences Hello Hydration shampoo, I'm sure you'll have a jolly good time, washing your hair

But, if you are the type of person who dislikes strong smells, you might want to avoid this shampoo.

This shampoo has a rather creamy texture and it works rather well in hair to form a lather.

And YES, Hello Hydration is fairly mild on hair, unlike other commonly-found commercial shampoos that will usually strip off the moisture in your hair along with the dirt and grime

What else can I say?

Hello Hydration!

BTW, don't forget to click on my ads :)