Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Become an Ingredient Detective

ingredient detective

With what seems like a new beauty products being introduced every day, you really need to know what you are putting on your skin and in turn in your body.  You need to become an "Ingredient Detective".  This post will hopefully give you some resources to start your detective work and become a more savvy and well educated consumer.

The main reason to become an Ingredient Detective is for health reasons. You don't want to use products that could be damaging to your skin or your body.  But another reason is to really understand the ingredients that are in your products is so you won't waste money on "miracle" products that have ingredients in them no more special than glycerin or silicones. I can't tell you how many times I have been drawn in by clever marketing materials on a new skin cream or acne treatment or foundation. I'll throw money at these companies all based on some promise that they are not legally bound to deliver.  Once I started looking closer at the ingredients in my products and understanding what they are used for I started to have a better image of what the product could do for me and if it could live up to the claims that the marketing department makes.

Before buying a product I always try to read the ingredients first. With many brands that is becoming easier to do, but still there are brands that refuse to give that information on-line. One must actually have the physical product in hand in order to know what's in it.  Once you are aware of what specific ingredients mean and what they do to your skin, you can make an educated decision on purchasing.

There are many options on the Internet available to you for researching product ingredients, but as always you must consider the source of your information and remember that most information on specific ingredients if not coming from a scientific research approach will have an agenda attached to the information.  Plus. Not everything you read on the Internet is true!

When most people run a search for specific beauty product ingredients some of the first results to pop up are from an organization called The Environmental Working Group (EWG). I am here to say that the EWG is not always the most reliable source of information.  The EWG has been known to use scare tactics, misleading information and bogus "scientific evidence" to push their anti chemical agenda.  A major point you need to be aware of is that the EWG studies of toxins have overstated the health risk of chemicals.  They prey upon the public's lack of education about toxicity levels of chemicals and rely on pseudo science and very thin evidence which has a tendency to jump to conclusions unsupported by the science.  Most important, many of their studies have not been peer reviewed.

The EWG has published such articles about lead in lipsticks and unsafe sunscreens that have been more of a menace to society than a help.   In the sunscreen example, the results they published were so off base and delivered in such a way that was considered sensational that some people stopped using sunscreen at all, especially on their kids.  The thought was that the chemicals in sunscreens were more harmful than actual unprotected sun exposure.  I'm here to tell you that sunscreen is vital and necessary in preventing skin cancer caused by sun exposure.  No chemical sunblock is so dangerous that getting skin cancer is a better alternative.

Now I will say that some information in the EWG database can be helpful in understanding what a chemical is used for in a beauty product. However, the information that goes into opinion about whether a product is dangerous or harmful should be taken with a grain of salt. You must understand that the EWG has an anti chemical agenda they are trying to push.

On the other side of the spectrum is a website called Cosmeticsinfo.org.  Cosmeticsinfo.org is another database on beauty, skin care and personal care ingredients with an extensive wealth of information on what products are meant to do and how they are used.  But again, this other .org database is funded and created by an association representing makers of cosmetics and personal care products. That means they too have an agenda to push and their information needs to be taken with a grain of salt as well.  However. I do find that they do not release sensationalist articles like the EWG does.

Three sources of information that do not seem to have an agenda attached to their information are as follows:

Paula's Choice. Paula Begoun, also known as "The Cosmetics Cop,  has an extensive database of beauty ingredients on her website. While the list can be extensive, please note that it is not always the most detailed.  However, the information found there will give you a good basic knowledge of what that ingredient is used for in a product.  While Paula has her own line of skin care products that she sells, I do not believe that her database of ingredients is influenced by the retail side of her business.  She did, after all build an empire out of books about cosmetic ingredients long before she introduced a product line.  However, always remember that there is sometimes opinion mingled in with the facts.  But for the most part. Paula's database is reliable.

A second source of information can be found at Personal Care Truth.  They are branded as "Personal Care Information Based on Scientific Facts".  This organization that has been researching cosmetic ingredients for decades.  Their focus is on facts rather than scare tactics, and they like to rely on scientific data that has been through a peer review. The list of ingredients on their website, while not extensive, will give you an unbiased answer about the chemical or ingredient in your personal care products. This website does seem to offer a wealth of useful information, but please note that they are extremely anti-EWG and have numerous articles dispelling many of their "scientific studies" as myth or outright lies.  Take that information as you will.

A third source of information about specific ingredients can be found at ... yes. Believe it or not... Wikipedia.  Wikipedia, while not always known for their accurate reporting of history or public figures, does seem to have the most unbiased information when it comes to cosmetic ingredients.  Wikipedia may provide a lot more scientific information that you want or need, but it will give you the basics of what an ingredient actually is and what it is used for. Whether it will harm you or your skin is not always apparent in the first few paragraphs, and you must read further to actually get that sort of information.

I have seen other helpful sources of information, but sometimes it's just a few ingredients at a time that I find.  I personally find my best resource to be Internet searches on google, yahoo and bing for specific ingredients. I tend to ignore most EWG results, which means I have to go to the second or third page of results to get what I am looking for.  

Also, I am wary of any database that has an option to "buy online".  Like if I'm looking up an ingredient in a sunscreen, I am suspicious of a website that wishes to profit off me buying a sunscreen through an affiliate link on their page.  For example,  the EWG is getting an affiliate commission on the sale of sunscreens that they advertise to have some of the highest toxicity ratings.  It makes me wonder why the EWG, a group that claims to be so focused on your well-being, is choosing to make commissions on the very products they say will harm you.

I hope this has helped you with finding new resources on becoming an ingredient detective.  If you have  specific websites you visit to find reliable information I would be happy for you to share them, but please no spamming and I will remove comments that look like spam.

Killer Beauty – Dangerous Cosmetic Ingredients

skin ingredients    

This post comes from Carleen Coulter at Beauty and Fashion Tech. Carleen also recently acquired an international fashion blog, Just For Trendy Girls, which she is fixing up into native English writing. 

There is a growing body of evidence that points to the dangerous side of glamour. Many cosmetic ingredients are unsafe for humans, especially when used over several decades. The average adult uses nine personal care products daily and is exposed to approximately 200 unique chemical ingredients as a result. The risks of these toxins include cancer, birth defects, brain damage, skin problems, kidney and liver damage, and other health effects, including death. While mercury and lead were once openly lauded as beauty ingredients, and Victorian women swallowed arsenic pills to make their eyes sparkle and put a glow on their cheeks, today’s health-conscious consumer would be wise to study the product label for dangerous ingredients.  

Six ingredients of Concern 

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Dibutyl Phthalate 
Phthalates are used to soften vinyl plastics in children’s toys and are the source of that funky vinyl shower curtain smell. They are used in air fresheners, detergents, and cleaning products. Cosmetic products containing phthalates include nail polish, perfume, creams, and hairspray. Phthalates have been linked to impaired thyroid function and breast cancer. 

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Formaldehyde is used as a disinfectant, biocide, tissue fixative, and embalming agent. It is considered a known human carcinogen by many expert bodies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Formaldehyde is sometimes an ingredient in nail polish, shampoo, and soap. Health risks associated with formaldehyde include lung cancer and DNA damage. 

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Phenylenediamine is used in hair coloring products and is also known as coal tar. A mixture of several chemicals derived from petroleum, phenylenediamine is a carcinogen. Phenylenediamine hair dyes have contributed to the increase in Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. This toxin can cause eczema, bronchial asthma, and skin irritations. If contaminated with low levels of heavy metals, it is also toxic to the brain. 

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Propylene Glycol 
Propylene glycol is found in lotions, mascara, anti-freeze, and brake and hydraulic fluids. It keeps cosmetics from melting in high heat or freezing in the cold. This toxic ingredient is used as a humectant or humidifying and delivery ingredient in cosmetics. Risks to health are dermatitis, kidney damage, and liver abnormalities. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers propylene glycol of “low toxicity.” 

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Sodium Laurel Sulfate 
Mechanics use sodium laurel sulfate to degrease engines. It’s also used in a huge number or shampoos, some skin creams, and sometimes toothpaste. This ingredient is absorbed through the skin where it is retained in the heart, liver, and brain. Sodium laurel sulfate can cause eye damage. It can also cause coughing, headaches, nausea, vomiting, skin irritations, and allergic reactions. Some studies show that children exposed to sodium laurel sulfate run an increased risk of health issues. It also can cause acne. 

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Talc, a common ingredient in baby powder, facial powder, antiperspirant sprays, and eye shadow, can be contaminated with asbestos fibers. This poses a risk for respiratory toxicity and cancer. Cosmetic-grade talc that is free of asbestos has also been demonstrated to be a form of magnesium silicate that is toxic and carcinogenic. 

Many modern cosmetics haven’t advanced beyond the Victorian practice of using turpentine liniment or diluted ammonia to cure dark, under-eye circles. The use of coal tar, embalming agents, and other toxic ingredients seems to be the standard in today’s cosmetic industry, a fact hidden in plain sight from most consumers. And cosmetics that claim to be “natural” are often unfortunately anything but. Just because a product is on a shelf in an organic market doesn't mean it doesn't contain toxic ingredients. Reading the label carefully is the best guarantee of purchasing a cosmetic that isn’t dangerous to your health. Beauty shouldn't kill.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Makeup Wars Favorite Facial Masks

 This Makeup War is all bout our favorite facial masks.  I have to admit I'm a facial mask junkie.  While I have only written a few times about masks here on the Pink Sith Blog, I must say that I own waaaay more masks than I care to admit.  I think the main reason I don't write about them all that often is that they don't usually give the results they claim to give.  Well. Let me rephrase that. They don't give the instant results they claim to give. It usually takes dedication and several weeks of use to see the results that a mask claims, and by then, like the ADD child that I am,  I have lost interest and have moved on to other masks.  Oh well. It happens right?

The goal was to provide a picture of us wearing one of our favorite masks.  While I don't really have a favorite mask, I do have a few that I like a lot.


OK. But seriously. Here are a few of the ones I like the bestest!


Ahava Time To Clear Purifying Face Mask. Hands down my favorite clay mask ever invented.  Not only does it feel amazing and not make my skin feel like it's being stretched dry, it actually lessens the swelling on my acne and CLEARS UP SMALLER PIMPLES OVERNIGHT! Sorry to yell. It's just works so well I love it so! 

Peel Off:

Until I tried the Le Metier de Beaute Chem60 Pro Peel Mask (This mask was provided for review by the PR company representing the brand) I had yet to find a peel off mask that doesn't drive me insane. If you remember, ages ago I used the Seikisho Mask White, which is actually a black peel off mask that did nothing but peel off all the tiny hairs on my face and a top layer of skin. Blerg!  The Le Metier de Beaute Mask first used a chemical peel that was washed off then followed with a chemical peel off mask that did not hurt, did not turn my face red and did leave it smooth and baby soft and glowing. I love that!

I do adore sheet masks because they are so easy to use and don't require washing off. Just pull one out of the packet, slap it on your pace, wait about 15 min and you're done. Smooth leftover product into your skin and hit they hay!  I have told you about my love of the Karuna Brightening mask, but this time I feel compelled to tell you about my new love, 

The Etude House AC Clinic Intense Mask Sheet.  This mask is formulated with salicylic acid and special moisturizers so those with acne and dry skin can use this as well as those of us with acne and oily skin. It's a lovely and easy treatment. 15 min on the face and you're left with calm skin that has had a deep salicylic treatment, and your acne flare ups are fewer because of it.  

I like to apply this mask a week before "that time of the month" and then usually  a day or two before just as a preventative measure.  Then whenever I have a flare up I'll slap one of these babies on just as a treatment. It works wonders.  It costs $6 for three masks, and while that's kind of on the expensive side compared to clay masks, it's worth it's weight in convenience and effectiveness!


Whoo baby. So I like to use alternative types of masks.

I love my Peter Thomas Roth Oxygen Mask that leaves my skin soft and glowy. The foaming action tickles a little, but it's fun to wear. It's like a science experiment happening on your face.

The good old Aspirin Mask, for days when my acne is out of control. A poor mans salicylic acid mask. Aspirin Masks are inexpensive, but you should always ask a Doctor before using one just in case you might have an allergy to aspirin or might be pregnant.

Moisture Infusing masks like the one from Fresh with real rose petals suspended in a moisturizing gel, this masks just makes my skin feel soft and supple. Perfect for those cold winter days when my skin is angry from the cold air and wind.  Of course,  the hefty price tag may put some people off, but sometimes you just have to indulge, right?

What I think is most important to remember about facial masks is that they give you 10 to 20 minutes of "me" time. Everyone deserves a break and facial masks are the perfect way to pamper yourself and scare small children at the same time.  I find that one of the most relaxing things about wearing a facial mask. The terrifying of small minds and instilling fear in the hearts of children is always so rewarding!  Sure it may not clear up your clogged pores, but you'll clear a room, and what better way to get caught up on the show "The Shahs of Sunset" do you suggest?

Read about all the other warrioresses (That's not a word) in this Makeup Wars battle over favorite facial mask below!  Then share your favorite mask in the comments section!

The Lipstick League – week of 4.22.13

Question of the Week - What are your favorite body washes (or bar soaps, body scrubs or bubble baths) that are currently sitting in your shower?

Answer: - I have too many top count. But I do find myself reaching for Kings & Queen Nefertiti Body Wash which smells like honey and white flowers. It's divine. However I can't find it in the US and I have to order it in bulk from Zuneta every so often. What about you? Leave your answer if the comments section!

EauMG - reviews a mouth-watering juicy orange perfume, Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine.

Gouldylox Reviews - Have you seen the new LE Too Faced Palette? Gold, purple, bronze, turquoise and a sexy bedroom eye make this palette irresistible.

Lipglossiping - has a serious think about the benefits of buying a wig! Have you been getting wiggy with it?

My Beauty Bunny - Emerald green may be the color of the year, but we all know coral is the color of summer. My Beauty Bunny shares her simple 5-minute coral look and her favorite cruelty-free Peach and Coral Makeup products.

Nouveau Cheap - reviewed six of the eight new Summer 2013 Limited Edition Maybelline Color Tattoos, and shows them to you in a way that might just surprise you (and make you want them even more).

Pink Sith - has a list of things that make her happy such as Room Service, naps and hot cocoa, but the NARS Larger Than Life Lip Gloss in Paris Follies is inching near the top of her list!

Prime Beauty - tells you how to take years off your looks! Nothing looks more youthful than a bright, white smile and Prime Beauty helps you get there with a giveaway of 5 Oral B Deep Sweep Electric Toothbrushes and the new Crest Pr-Health Toothpaste! Well, what are you waiting for?

Phyrra - gets blacklight reactive with Stila After Glow Lip Color. You need to see it to believe it!

Vampy Varnish - has two of the new nail shades from the Rescue Beauty Lounge Emoting Me collection and thinks they are truly beautiful!

we heart this - Want to win a $215 home spa prize pack from Eucerin (which includes a $125 Visa gift card)? Umm, yeah you do!

Beauty Junkies Unite - NARS just paired up with shoe designer Pierre Hardy for a gorgeous Summer collection release. Don't miss these refreshing nail polish and blush shades in this review with swatches!

Clumps of Mascara - is giving away a mascara each week during her weekly mascara contest on Instagram!

Guest Post of the Week, as chosen by EauMG - One of my favorite beauty blogs is Scent Hive. Trish focuses primarily on natural beauty products, bath products and perfumes. Scent Hive was my first introduction to the world of natural perfumes!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Etude House Missing U Hand Cream I can fly No.02 (GREEN) Kakapo - Review, Pictures, Swatches

I can't resist cute packaging.  That's why when Etude House came out with four different Missing U Hand Creams, I had to have at least one.  I think I might need more than one, but I am trying to show restraint and only start with one…for now.

So what is this little piece of adorableness?

Well formulated with Shea Butter and other organic herbs and nutrients, this hand cream is not only good for your hands but helps save endangered birds.  Because the translation from Korean to english is spotty at best, I can't tell you how much of the money goes to saving endangered birds, or the organization that Etude House goes through to do it. So I'm not going to focus on that right now.

What I am going to focus on is the incredibly CUTE packaging.

This is the recycled cardboard box that the hand cream comes in.  Soy ink is used for the printing, and the entire package is collapsable and recyclable.

On the side,  you can scan the QR code and download the I can fly song. No,  I have not done that yet. I don't really care to do that. But it's cute none the less.

On the back is the explanation about the bird and ingredients in Korean.  But not to fret my dear non Korean reading readers…(that's me too) They have a translation in English on the side, and the ingredients are listed there too.

Aside from the cute packaging the cream inside is actually very nice!  It's not too greasy or thick, but it's not runny either. It's custard like texture easily absorbs into the hands without feeling sticky or oily.  Most important, the hand cream moisturizes very well. I found the condition of my hands improving with continued use.

The scent is called Sunny Sunny Green Apple.  It's not that artificial green apple (Jolly Ranchers) smell. It's actually not "sharp" like the artificial green apple, but it's not overly sweet either. It's a nice balance of creamy and crisp.  I was pleasantly surprised at how pleasant the hand cream smelled. I was really expecting something awfully cloying.  This scent was a welcome treat.

But let's face it. I didn't buy this for the scent or the quality or the saving of a species (which is all a delightful extra) I bought this because it's so freakin cute!

Look at it!!

Look at it!!!

See? It IS cute. You agree!

I purchased this sweet Etude House Missing U Hand Cream from the RoseRoseShop.  Oh and they have three other colors and scents in this sweet bird container! I like their fast delivery (from Korea) and good prices. This little gem only set me back $5.50. And yes. I could get a ton more hand cream for less than $5.50, but they won't look as cute as THIS!!!

Don't forget the 10% discount code. 
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