What is a basic question about beauty products you want to know the answer to?

PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
Much is written about beauty products and lots of advice is given. But having been a chemist in the industry I'm quite amazed by some of the simple, fundamental questions that haven't really been answered. Certainly, you can find marketers and influencers who have answers but those are often only based on feelings and personal observations. Since it costs money to run studies, it's not surprising that some of these don't have answers. 

Here are some questions I think have not been satisfactorily answered.

1. Do you really need to wash your hair? How often?

2. Do heat protectant sprays really make a noticeable difference for your hair?

3. Do you really need to wear sunscreen every day? or indoors?

What are some basic questions you wonder about?

Comments

  • Hi @Perry

    I think this is a basic question too:

    What is the adequate method to measure the pH of a cosmetic cream?

    By reading in this same forum, it seems that the method depends on the type and viscosity of the product. I have found conflicting information on the Internet too, some measure the pH directly in the cream, while others dilute in water (1:10).
  • Cafe33Cafe33 Member
    Are Aloe Vera claims overstated and is it more of a label appeal ingredient?
  • I think For pH ratio should be 50:50 water:cream
  • ggpetrovggpetrov Member
    Perry, I'd add also the cosmetics for solarium here. Many people believe that theese lotions are special, but actually they are not. 
  • AbdullahAbdullah Member
    edited June 6
    The question i think about several times a day is what does the companies that sell the largest amount of beauty products for example Shampoo do that people are buying there Products instead of there competitors?

    The simple answers that every one would give is good marketing or good quality or affordable price. But this is not the right answer. If you do good job at these parts your sells will not increase or increase for a short time and then decrease again to the level before.

    So what are they doing or have done that they have succeeded this much? 
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    Abdullah said:
    The question i think about several times a day is what does the companies that sell the largest amount of beauty products for example Shampoo do that people are buying there Products instead of there competitors?

    The simple answers that every one would give is good marketing or good quality or affordable price. But this is not the right answer. If you do good job at these parts your sells will not increase or increase for a short time and then decrease again to the level before.

    So what are they doing or have done that they have succeeded this much? 
    You +/- describe P&G's basic practice that has been successful globally with Pantene and Head&Shoulders - quality with effective product and advertising/ marketing.  Tho' can add continued product improvements/"news' - real or contrived.  
    What may not be evident is the "effective" element both for product development and advertising/marketing.  Knowing consumers - what they want and what appeals to them - as well a investing in the technology  so products are (and perceived as) more effective.  There are peripheral elements shelf placement , response to consumer complaints, active patent defense, etc.
  • raiyanaraiyana Member
    Some questions that a lot of beauty influencers like to talk about:

    Can we use products with ingredient A and ingredient B together.

    For example: can we use products with AHA / BHA / LAA together with Niacinamide?

    And then, another famous question:
    How frequent can we use exfoliating products per week?

    Every beauty influencer has their own opinion and sometimes they fight on social media because they are always right. 

    It gets even funnier when dermatologists join in the conversation.

    And then, only chemists know they are fighting over a product with 0.02% salicylic acid in it.😁
  • AbdullahAbdullah Member
    PhilGeis said:
    Abdullah said:
    The question i think about several times a day is what does the companies that sell the largest amount of beauty products for example Shampoo do that people are buying there Products instead of there competitors?

    The simple answers that every one would give is good marketing or good quality or affordable price. But this is not the right answer. If you do good job at these parts your sells will not increase or increase for a short time and then decrease again to the level before.

    So what are they doing or have done that they have succeeded this much? 
    You +/- describe P&G's basic practice that has been successful globally with Pantene and Head&Shoulders - quality with effective product and advertising/ marketing.  Tho' can add continued product improvements/"news' - real or contrived.  
    What may not be evident is the "effective" element both for product development and advertising/marketing.  Knowing consumers - what they want and what appeals to them - as well a investing in the technology  so products are (and perceived as) more effective.  There are peripheral elements shelf placement , response to consumer complaints, active patent defense, etc.
    Thanks 👍
  • jemolianjemolian Member
    edited June 7
    One weird question i've seen lately on reddit is: Do i need to buffer with another product if i'm using a product that is of a specific pH? 

    Let's say for example if they used a saponified / soap cleanser, then want to use a Ascorbic Acid serum. Do people need to use a pH balance toner before using the serum? 

    I've seen some people asking if they can find a low pH toner for that "purpose".  :/

    Another basic question i guess will include: How long should people wait after low pH products (example chemical exfoliants, Ascorbic Acid) before moving on to the next product for them to be effective. 
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Jermolian:

    Why would anyone want to use a saponified oil or soap cleanser on their face ... the high pH disrupts the acid mantle/skin barrier in a negative way.  Better to use a pH-balanced Cleanser.

    But, if you do, then nothing wrong with using a Toner to bring the pH back to balance before applying a low pH serum.

    Perhaps someone who is marketing Toners is trolling your Reddit
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Perry said:
    Much is written about beauty products and lots of advice is given. But having been a chemist in the industry I'm quite amazed by some of the simple, fundamental questions that haven't really been answered. Certainly, you can find marketers and influencers who have answers but those are often only based on feelings and personal observations. Since it costs money to run studies, it's not surprising that some of these don't have answers. 

    Here are some questions I think have not been satisfactorily answered.

    1. Do you really need to wash your hair? How often?

    2. Do heat protectant sprays really make a noticeable difference for your hair?

    3. Do you really need to wear sunscreen every day? or indoors?

    What are some basic questions you wonder about?
    Yes, Perry ... you are correct.  No one is going to spend money to conduct studies to answer these questions.  Rather, the money will be spent trying to convince consumers that they need to wash their hair often, use a sunscreen every day, etc.

    I tend to approach these types of questions from this perspective:  Wide availability of consumer personal care products is actually relatively new in the context of the existence of humans on the planet. 

    So, the basic question is:  What did nature intend or provide for humans to care for hygeine and "beauty" prior to the development of personal care products ... Water, Common Sense and an understanding of nature.  Your skin secretes sebum for a reason, as does your hair get oily.  Everything has a natural purpose and oftentimes, cosmetic products work at cross-purposes to natural biological processes.

    Granted, I would not want to live in a world without personal care products.  But, the marketers have convinced consumers to use more products than they actually need and more often than is needed.

    In that context, my question is:  Do Microbiome products actually work?
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • raiyanaraiyana Member
    edited June 7
    @MarkBroussard actually that's a valid question in the skincare and beauty world. there are many people asking should they give a buffer time after using low pH products like ascorbic acid serum or AHA toner (<pH 3.9) before using products with higher pH like Niacinamide (~pH 6).

    some skincare brands / beauty influencers say, you should use these products 30 minutes apart for both of them to effectively work in their ideal pH range.

    i'm interested to know what chemists think about this :#
  • PattsiPattsi Member
    edited June 7
    Perry said:

    3. Do you really need to wear sunscreen every day? or indoors?

    There're only recommendations in textbooks.

    Antony R. Young
    -Risks versus benefits of population UVR exposure
    The acute and long‐term risks of UVR exposure are well established with damage to DNA leading to mutation and skin cancer. Chronic UVR exposure also results in photoageing. In the context of terrestrial UVR (with no UVC), the vast majority of action spectrum studies, whether in vitro, in animal or human skin in vivo, have shown that these effects are primarily caused by UVB. The only established benefit of solar UVR exposure is vitamin D production, which is also caused by UVB. Field studies have shown that vitamin D production and DNA damage are related to the product of skin area exposed and solar UVB dose over a wide dose range [108]. Thus, benefit is always associated with some risk, which will be influenced by skin type. There are those who argue that the population benefits of maintaining optimal vitamin D status are more important than the burden of skin cancer [109], but such views remain highly controversial, especially in the dermatology community. More recently, it has been argued that exposure to solar UVA is beneficial because it reduces blood pressure and a reduction in blood pressure would have major health benefits at a population level. Any proposal to increase UVA exposure would be contrary to recent global trends for ever better UVA protection. Until recently, most emphasis on the immunological effects of UVR on the skin has been focused on its suppression of acquired immunity, but it is now recognized that UVR can enhance innate immunity. At present, we lack the information to prescribe solar UVR exposure to obtain the best risk–benefit outcome for health. As such, it is probably best to advise that daily exposure be restricted to suberythemal doses, e.g. about 2 SED whether through sunscreen or not, which are sufficient for vitamin D synthesis. There is, however, no case for additional UVR exposure from tanning beds which significantly adds to MM risk. Sunbed use, popular with the young, is often unregulated and the non‐cosmetic beneficial effects can be readily obtained from the sun or vitamin D supplementation.

    Vincent A DeLeo
    -SUNSCREEN RECOMMENDATIONS
    There is ever-increasing evidence that although the public is aware of the damaging effects of sun exposure, there does not seem to be a significant degree of alteration in behavior. In an effort to re-energize the medical community’s need to try to change behavior, the American Academy of Dermatology has reformulated its message concerning protection (www.aad.org). While the importance of sunscreen is stressed, the recommendations are broader and more positive, and hopefully this and other improvements in consumer education will eventually lead to a decrease in photodamage in the world’s population.

    Habif, Thomas P.
    -FREQUENCY OF USE. The majority of lifetime sun exposure
    occurs during multiple brief exposures that are not intended to produce tanning; therefore daily sun protection should be encouraged. People who sunburn easily or those who have light complexions or sun-sensitivity disorders should use a high SPF sunscreen every day, all year, particularly if they live in more equatorial latitudes. Sunscreens should be applied once in the morning and reapplied every 2 hours or after swimming and heavy exercise. Encourage people to have sunscreens available in the bathroom and to make morning application part of their daily ritual. Sunscreen may fail to prevent sunburn if it is washed off during swimming or if it is not applied to all exposed skin. The protection against sunburn afforded by a reapplication of sunscreen relative to a single application is significant. Compared with the first application, the second sunscreen application affords 3.1 times more protection against minimal UVR-induced erythema. The combined effect of two sunscreen applications gives 2.5 times
    better protection from UVR than does a single sunscreen application.

    Hope I'm not violating the copyright.

    I'm on frequent use side if you are at risk of skin cancer, especially Aussies basically you are white living in hot sun.

    Indoors? - I have not found anything on this yet.
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    edited June 7
    Evolution is not rationale.  Sebum secretion, oily hair et al. are not the results of reasoning or purpose satisfaction.  They are the result of evolution, and their maintenance in current humans may or may not be based on some function we can observe.  Might be remanant or result of some obsolete function.
  • AbdullahAbdullah Member
    edited June 7
    Pattsi said:
    Perry said:

    3. Do you really need to wear sunscreen every day? or indoors?

    There're only recommendations in textbooks.

    Antony R. Young
    -Risks versus benefits of population UVR exposure

    I'm on frequent use side if you are at risk of skin cancer, especially Aussies basicly you are white living in hot sun.

    Indoors? - I have not found anything on this yet.
    let's ask what would be the worse reasons for big companies for saying that we should apply sunscreen everyday and every two hours? 

    1. To give them our money continually by purchasing and applying there sunscreens.
    2. To give them more money continually by purchasing vitamin D and calcium supplements because we no longer get vit D from sun.
    3. To give them more and more money continually by purchasing blood pressure drugs because we are preventing sun which is very effective in controlling blood pressure to apply to our skin.
    4. To give them more and more and more money by purchasing there tanning products.
    5. To give them even more money by purchasing their Products for other skin problems because black people and those who's skins are more exposed to sun have better skin than white people and those who always hide themselves from sun.

    What would be the best reason for them to say that sun is good for skin?
    They don't have any reason to say so because they would lose Bellions of money if they do so.


    And one more question; how many cases of skin cancer because of sun exposure are there?

  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    raiyana said:
    @MarkBroussard actually that's a valid question in the skincare and beauty world. there are many people asking should they give a buffer time after using low pH products like ascorbic acid serum or AHA toner (<pH 3.9) before using products with higher pH like Niacinamide (~pH 6).

    some skincare brands / beauty influencers say, you should use these products 30 minutes apart for both of them to effectively work in their ideal pH range.

    i'm interested to know what chemists think about this :#

    My answer was serious.  You should not use high pH products on your skin such as Saponified Oil Cleansers.  Better to use products that are a bit more acidic than the natural acid mantle barrier.

    Generally, the acid mantle will return to normal within an hour if the disruption is acid and 2-3 hours if the disruption is basic.  So, simply waiting 30 mintues to an hour between the application of a product with a pH of 3.5 before applying a product with a pH of 6.0 is reasonable, provided that it is practical. 

    But, keep in mind that you do not apply neat Niacinamide onto the skin ... the releavant pH is that of the product containing the Niacinamide.  Actually, Niacinamide is most effective if formulated in a product at a pH of 4.5 or so.

    Might a Toner help return the acid mantle to normal pH following application?  Perhaps ... it would have to be tested to confirm if that makes any difference in restoring the acid mantle to normal pH more rapidly than it would normally without external intervention.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • My basic question is why such an amazing humectant as urea isn’t very popular? Is it because it’s tricky to formulate with or marketing?
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Some great questions!

    Comments on the sunscreen question... @Pattsi
    I'm not anti-sunscreen or anything like that. And I do believe that sunscreens work to protect people from damage of UV radiation (both from a skin aging standpoint and a skin cancer standpoint). However, I just wonder how much does it really help. Skin will age whether you use sunscreen or not. People get skin cancer on parts of their body that don't get sun exposure.  So, how much is it really helping.

    Imagine two different scenarios.

    1. Person A religiously puts sunscreen on every day.
    2. Person B puts sunscreen on when they go to the beach or when they may be out in the sun a long time. But they often just skip it.

    After 50 years of each  person following this behavior, what will be the difference?

    And on the cleaners question... @MarkBroussard
    Why not use high pH cleansers on the face? Before the invention of synthetic detergents, soap was the only thing available for cleaning the face. What would be the end result of decades of washing your face with saponified soap and water?
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Perry said:

    And on the cleaners question... @MarkBroussard
    Why not use high pH cleansers on the face? Before the invention of synthetic detergents, soap was the only thing available for cleaning the face. What would be the end result of decades of washing your face with saponified soap and water?
    ... And before the development of antibiotics and salves the Egyptians used to put camel dong on burns and other skin ailments.  It was the best thing available at the time, but has been surpassed by modern surfactants.

    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Sure, I understand your point and agree synthetics feel better. But soap does actually work to clean your face whereas other pre-science treatments didn't work for the claimed purpose. (e.g. bloodletting)

    What would be the end result of decades of washing your face with saponified soap and water?  
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Perry said:

    What would be the end result of decades of washing your face with saponified soap and water?  
    I don't think that question will ever be answered since it falls into the "So What, Who Cares" category.  The parties with a vested interest are the manufacturers/marketers of saponified oil cleansing products to prove that long-term use is better than synthetic surfactants and i doubt that anyone will be willing to spend the money and time to evaluate it.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @MarkBroussard - "I don't think that question will ever be answered..."  
    On that we agree.
  • PattsiPattsi Member
    Perry said:
    However, I just wonder how much does it really help. Skin will age whether you use sunscreen or not. People get skin cancer on parts of their body that don't get sun exposure.  So, how much is it really helping.
    Indeed people get skin cancer on parts of their body that don't get sun exposure but the leading cause of skin cancer is still sun exposure, so it would be better to avoid the risk factor(s).

    Perry said:
    So, how much is it really helping.

    Imagine two different scenarios.

    1. Person A religiously puts sunscreen on every day.
    2. Person B puts sunscreen on when they go to the beach or when they may be out in the sun a long time. But they often just skip it.

    After 50 years of each  person following this behavior, what will be the difference?
    I honestly still can't find the answer to this question, it's in the area out of my expertise. Medical/Clinical dermatology textbooks they focus on pathophysiology and management, in Cosmeto-Dermatology books they tend to focus on beauty approach.
    So I wonder we will have the answer to this question or not, the only one that came to my mind who have the ability/fund to conduct this scale of study is probably l'oreal.
  • PattsiPattsi Member
    Perry said:

    What would be the end result of decades of washing your face with saponified soap and water?  
    I don't think that question will ever be answered since it falls into the "So What, Who Cares" category.  The parties with a vested interest are the manufacturers/marketers of saponified oil cleansing products to prove that long-term use is better than synthetic surfactants and i doubt that anyone will be willing to spend the money and time to evaluate it.
    So true, I myself a marketer can sell both then why waste the money and put the 2 against each other.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Pattsi said:
    Perry said:
    However, I just wonder how much does it really help. Skin will age whether you use sunscreen or not. People get skin cancer on parts of their body that don't get sun exposure.  So, how much is it really helping.
    Indeed people get skin cancer on parts of their body that don't get sun exposure but the leading cause of skin cancer is still sun exposure, so it would be better to avoid the risk factor(s).

    Perry said:
    So, how much is it really helping.

    Imagine two different scenarios.

    1. Person A religiously puts sunscreen on every day.
    2. Person B puts sunscreen on when they go to the beach or when they may be out in the sun a long time. But they often just skip it.

    After 50 years of each  person following this behavior, what will be the difference?
    I honestly still can't find the answer to this question, it's in the area out of my expertise. Medical/Clinical dermatology textbooks they focus on pathophysiology and management, in Cosmeto-Dermatology books they tend to focus on beauty approach.
    So I wonder we will have the answer to this question or not, the only one that came to my mind who have the ability/fund to conduct this scale of study is probably l'oreal.
    Perhaps a line of investigation that could shed some light on this:  Sunscreens have only been around for 100 years or so.  Have the rates of skin cancer changed significantly over that time?  Granted, the data almost certainly does not exist.

    Melanin and Shade have been nature's sunscreens throughout human history.

    In the 30's, it was desirable to have white skin since it conveyed a status of being educated and working indoors as opposed to laboring in the sun.  Then you get to the 60's and 70's, and it was socially desirable to have a tan, since it conveyed that you made enough money to travel for a beach vacation.  So people slathered themselves with tanning oils and laid out for hours on end.

    I suspect that you would find there is little to no difference, perhaps some slight improvement over the past 40 years or so.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    This is an interesting review of the research in the effectiveness of sunscreens. https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-great-sunscreen-cover-up/  But it doesn't get to the nitty gritty of the sunscreen scenario I proposed.  

    This study is supposed to be the "proof" that daily sunscreen use is effective. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21135266/
  • @Perry, I use sunscreen religiously and apply it as recommended (half of teaspoon on face and neck), yet my face is MUCH darker than, say, my shoulders that aren’t exposed to the sun. And yes I apply it in winter every day and even at home in summer. I only use large brands like L’Oreal and always spf 50. So unfortunately, it tells me there’s no guarantee that it will slow down aging. But still doing it just in case.
Sign In or Register to comment.