Read-the-Label: FACE Atelier Lip Glaze

Today I wanted to do another lip product and I choose the Lip Glazes from Face Atelier.

FACE Atelier Lip Glazes are available in 10 beautiful and versatile colors: Clear, Ice, White Gold, Flamingo, Peach, Cameo, Dianthus, Primrose, Plum and Shiraz and come in generous tubes of 15 ml/.5 fl.oz. at € 21,50. An enduring industry staple!



What’s in the product?

Polybutene, Octyldodecanol, Petrolatum, Beeswax, Ozokerite, BHA, Trihydroxystearin, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butyrospermum Parkii, Silica, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Retinyl Palmitate, Squalene.

May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Mica, Carmine, Red 7 Lake, Red 6 Lake, Red 30 Lake, Red 33      Lake, Red 27 Lake, Red 28 Lake, Red 36 Lake, Red 21 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Tin Oxide, Calcium Aluminium Borosilicate.

Polybutene is a polymer that is used for lubrication and thickening. It ensures that the application is even and smooth. Octyldodecanol is an alcohol, which is a surfactant. It is used as a thickener and emulsifier. It also gives the product a bit of opacity and provides lubrication. Petrolatum can form a film and is also used as a thickner. Beeswax is a thickening agent with some moisturizing capacities. It is made by bees, so this product isn’t vegan. Ozokerite is a mineral that is a thickening agent.

BHA, betà hydroxy acid, also known as salicylic acid (aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid, and thus closely related), is an exfoliant which is probably used in a concentration of 0,5 to 2%. BHA has the ability to penetrate into the pore, and therefore can exfoliate inside the pore as well as on the surface of the skin. Trihydroxystearin is a mixture of fatty acids and glycerin and is used as a moisturizer and thickening agent. Ascorbyl Palmitate is the stable form of Vitamin C, and acts as a anti-oxidant. Tocopheryl Acetate is also a vitamin and anti-oxidant, Vitamin E. Butyrospermum Parkii, also known as Shea Butter and should be listed as Vitellaria paradoxa, is a thick butter that is renowned for it’s moisturizing properties, but can be used as a thickener as well. Silica, a mineral is used as a thickener.

Methylparaben and Propylparaben are the preservatives which stop the formula from going rancid. They are the most safe and effective preservatives. Retinyl Palmitate is better known as Vitamin A, an anti-oxidant and Squalene is an oil which could be derived from sebum, plants (mostly olives) or shark liver. It’s a natural component of the skin, and thus can moisturize the skin. It also has antioxidant and immune stimulating properties.

Now onto the “may contain” list. Keep in mind that the ingredients in this section are added in such low quantities, that is has no other effect than to color the product. For instance, Titanium Dioxide has some thickening properties, but because of the low concentration, it only acts as a white pigment. Same for iron oxides, a group of chemical compounds with have range of colors such as yellow/orange/red/brown/black. Mica is white as well. Carmine (derived from bugs), Red 7 Lake, Red 6 Lake, Red 30 Lake, Red 33 Lake, Red 27 Lake, Red 28 Lake, Red 36 Lake, Red 21 Lake are pigments used for their red color, Yellow 5 Lake is yellow, Blue 1 Lake is blue, Tin Oxide can give the product, in stable form a blue-black color or in metastable (the stability is long, but not infinte) a red color. Calcium Aluminium Borosilicate is another preservative.

It is a bit weird is that a polymer is the major ingredient. No water or any kind of (cheap) oil is used as a carrier for the other ingredients, but then again, based on the ingredientlist, this is a quite a thick liquid, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

Until next time,



Read-The-Label: FACE Atelier Ultra Foundation PRO

Below you will find Dymphy’s review of the ingredient list, but let me give you some background on FACE Atelier first. I started reselling FACE back in 2009, and I’ve had the very good fortune and privilege of meeting CEO and founder Debbie Bondar when she came down to help me pull together my first appearance at The Makeup Show in Berlin in 2011. Yes you read it right. She came down all the way from Canada to help yours truly and I’m forever gratefull that she did, because I had no clue whatsoever and without her I would probably not have survived. Debbie: if you’re reading this: you are the definition of girl power and my inspiration!

Debbie Bondar IS FACE Atelier. To read more about her, the brand and the philosophy behind it (including views on animal testing (Peta approved) click here

The focus of todays post is the line’s star product: Ultra Foundation Pro. The “pro” refers to the packaging more than the product, because the same foundation is also available in 30 ml glass bottles for personal use.

The Pro version however, is housed in 20 ml lightweight, compact and unbreakable containers (shown below), made specially for the makeup artist on the go. Debbie lightens our load (literally) and we love her for it.

Other than that, this foundation is a staple in my own kit. It’s versatile, can be mixed to create every shade under the sun from white to almost black, and above all: it won’t budge!

Dymphy: take it away!

It’s a coincidence that Tanistates asked me to review a foundation – Monique asked me the same a few days before. Reader requests take precedence, so this post moved up a week and instead I reviewed the Ben Nye foundation and concealer.

This week it is time for FACE Atelier Ultra Foundation PRO.

Here’s the ingredientlist:

Cyclomethicone, Water, Glycerin, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Cetyl Dimethicone Copolyol, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Quaternium-18 Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Cellulose Gum, Nylon-12, Tribehenin, Lauroyl Lysine, Tristearin, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben. May Contain: Ci77891/Titanium Dioxide, Ci77492 Ci77491 Ci77499/Iron Oxides, Mica Ci77019

Cyclomethicone is a silicone and also the main component of the product. It’s responsible for the smooth application of this product. After applying, it evaporates. The other main component is water.

Glycerin (E1520) is a moisturizer which was traditionally obtained from animal fat or tallow. It can be made by adding a caustic, or highly alkaline substance to animal fats or vegetable oil, resulting in the formation of glycerin along with soap. Glycerin and parabens are two of the traditional cosmetic materials that have been used for many years, because they are safe and effective. Heck, it is even safe enough to eat, the FDA lists glycerin among the sugar alcohols as a caloric macronutrient.

Although glycerin is a good moisturizer, it isn’t a very good idea to put pure glyerin or too much glycerin on your face: the glycerin sucks the water from the lower layers of skin to the upper layer of the skin. In a foundation, it softens the skin. In eyeshadows, glycerin holds pressed pigments together.

Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate (E1452) is a powdery thickening agent. It absorbs and can also be used as an anticaking angent.
Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate is an emmolient/surfactant that keeps the formula together.
Cethyl Peg/Ppg – 10/1 Dimethicone is a silicone that moisturizes the skin (and doesn’t evaporate).
Hexyl laurate is a moisuturizer, and is a mixture of hexyl alcohol and lauric acid.
Cethyl Dimethicone Copolyol is a mixture of cetyl alcohol and dimethicone, which doesn’t dry out the skin, but instead moisturizes it.
Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate is a glyceryl ester and acts like an emulsifier.
Propylene Carbonate is a solvent and a film-forming agent.
Quaternium-18 Hectorite is a suspensing agent and also has emulsifing properties. Cellulose gum, or Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) is a thickening agent that can be made synthetically or derived from plant cell walls.
Nylon is an absorbant and a thickening agent. Please note that nylon is a plastic and therefore not suited to be flushed down the sink.
Tribehenin is a moisturizer that is composed of a mixture of glycerin and behenic acid.

Lauroyl Lysine is a moisturizer. It contributes to the product’s texture by helping as a gel solvent and is very stable.
Tristearin is a fatty acid which has three tails, together with a head of glyceryl. It makes a great emulsifier.
Phenoxyethanol is, together with Methylparaben and propylparaben part of the preservative system that keeps the formula (texture) stable and keeps the nasty bacteria away. Those three are the safest and less irritating preservatives.

Then on to the ‘may contain’ section. As you might already know, Ci77891/Titanium Dioxide, Ci77492 Ci77491 Ci77499/Iron Oxides and Mica Ci77019 are pigments. They are used in such low levels, that they don’t provide any protection from the sun.

Face Atelier is a silicone based product, with a lot of moisturizers and some emulsifiers to keep things together. It’s a good formula, although I wonder why so many moisturizers are used.

Until next time,


A Closer Look At: Anti-Oxidants

Recently, I wrote a paragraph about anti-oxidants in the article about parabens. Here’s a recap:

Anti-oxidants can capture so called “free radicals” which are free electrons that roam the body in search of a bond they can make. Sometimes, in order to create such a bond, they break up excisting bonds, thus creating damage in the body. Instead of letting the free electrons break up stuff, anti-oxidants prevent the electrons creating damage by offering a bonding place. That also explains the anti-oxidant hype.

Truth is, although it is proven that anti-oxidants work ‘in vitro’ (in a petridish in a laboratorium), there is insufficient proof that it also works that way in the body (‘in vivo’). Perhaps I’ll explain more in a follow-up article.

While it is correct (otherwise I wouldn’t write it), I think I owe a somewhat more detailed explanation. It all has to do with atoms and their electrons. Everything in the world is composed of atoms. Yes. The chair you’re sitting on (assuming that you are sitting on one). Your mobile phone. Your hair. The rest of your body.

An atom consist of a nucleus that consists of protons (positive charged) and neutrons. Around the nucleus, the electrons circle in, well, circles called shells. Perhaps you have seen this (pictured below) in some popular (wannabe) scientific program on tv.

These shells have a tendency to become “full”. The first ring wants to have two electrons, the second ring eight, and so on. However, some atoms do not have enough electrons to completely fill the outer shell, and therefore, will seek some companionship. This is why molecules (multiple atoms together) exsist. Take for instance water. Water’s chemical structure/name is H2O. That means that water is made out of two hydrogen atoms (H2) and one oxygen atom (O). The two hydrogenatoms only have one electron each, so they seek companionship to complete their circle. They found a partner in oxygen, who is missing two electrons as well. A reaction occurs and voilà: water.

Above, water is pictured (without the protons en neutrons in the nucleus). The electrons are pictured as little blue circles. The outer shells of oxygen and the two hydrogenatoms are combined, so that both atoms have a full shell. But, if an atom can’t find a partner, then it is known as a free radical. Free radicals can damage other molecules, to create a binding to satisfy themselves (this is actually called oxidating). Pretty selfish. But imagine if those molecules are part of something bigger, like cells, which can be part of something like your skin. We don’t want that to happen.

Enter: anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants offer a possiblity, a double bond between two atoms (in the anti-oxidants), which can break and therefore can offer two extra electrons for the free radical to bind. This is proven in vitro. In vitro means in a petridish on the lab. Why is that? Anti-oxidants can deteriorate when exposed (for some time) to air and light (UV radiation). It is possible that the anti-oxidant in your jar of fabulous anti-oxidant cream has, well, detoriated. One way to avoid this is to seek products which are packaged in opaque tubes or bottles and to check if the opening dispenses only small amounts of product to minimize the exposure of the product to air and light.

O, and eat your veggies and fruits. They are loaded with anti-oxidants! 😉






Until next time,


Picture 1:
Picture 2:

A Closer Look At: Parabens

Parabens have a bad reputation. But why? And is it really wise to avoid them?

Let me first start to explain what parabens are.
There are different kinds of parabens. The list is endless: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, pentylparaben, hexylpraben, heptylparaben, octylparaben, nonylparaben, decylparaben, and so forward. The difference is the amount of carbon atoms added. The number of atoms stands for the name; “methyl” stands for one extra carbon atom, “butyl” for four extra atoms, “octyl” for eight (octyl – octopus – eight – a favourite mnemonic). The extra carbon atoms are added to 4 – hydroxzybenzoic acid. The adding of the carbon atoms is the “estering” of the hydrozybenzoic acid.
Hydrozybenzoic acid is an anti-oxidant which can be found in coconuts, although most of the 4 – hydroxybenzoic acid are made syntheticly.

To illustrate this point I have made a very boring infographic:

Parabens already have been used for ages, as food and cosmetic preservatives. Preservatives are necessary in cosmetic formulas, because of the product integrity (how the products looks, smells and performs, whether it is now, or six months from now, and for the control of the growth of microbes (fungus, bacteria, virusses (the herpes virus in lipsticks – the horror!)). Parabens are popular because they cause little risk of allergies, are low in cost, and there aren’t many alternative (and/or “natural”) preservatives available that work as well.

Anti-oxidants can capture so called “free radicals” which are free electrons that roam the body in search of a bond they can make. Sometimes, in order to create such a bond, they break up excisting bonds, thus creating damage in the body. Instead of letting the free electrons break up stuff, anti-oxidants prevent the electrons creating damage by offering a bonding place. That also explains the anti-oxidant hype.

Truth is, although it is proven that anti-oxidants work ‘in vitro’ (in a petridish), there is insufficient proof that it also works that way in the body (‘in vivo’). Perhaps I’ll explain more in a follow-up article. A funny fact is that metylparabens can be found in blueberries!

So, parabens have been around for ages, and yet, they are surrounded by controversy. Why is that? I blame the media.
A while (ok, a good while) ago, multiple scientists researched parabens. Some drew hasty conclusions (a no – no in the scientific world), some found that parabens looked a lot like estrogens (and estrogens are linked to cancer), which led to incorrect statements that parabens could cause cancer. The media picked it up, and started terrorizing the consumer. I will list the concerns or alleged “hazards” of parabens per topic:

Allergies and irritation: Parabens are known to cause very few allergies and irritations. The mayority of users (my estimate is 95%) do not develop allergies or irritations. Only people with very, very, very sensitive skin or rosecea can develop allergies or irritations. This is no rule: what works for one, may not work for another. Remember: every substance can cause allergies. What you should look at, is the allergy – rate. The allergy – rate is very low with parabens – you don’t have to worry about it.

Breastcancer: It all begun with a research in 2004 lead by Philippa Darbre. They researched 20 breast tumors and found parabens present in the sample. However, the conclusion was (okay, I have to admit, part of the conclusion was): ‘From this research it is not possible to say whether parabens actually caused these tumors’. There you have it. Since then, there is more research done. Some said parabens caused cancer, some said they don’t. It ended (well, at least for me) with a review (a type of scientific paper) in 2008 which looked at 59 research papers and found that there is ‘no scientific evidence to support the hypothesis (parabens are bad) was identified and no validated hypothesis appears likely to open the way to interesting avenues of research. Finally, it seems possible to affirm that this question does not constitute a problem of public health and that it appears therefore useless to pursue the research on the subject.’

Estrogen & Cancer: Estrogens can cause cancer. Parabens look (a bit) like estrogens (the longer the tail, ‘the carbon atoms’, the more they look and act like estrogen). However, research has shown that butylparaben is 100,000 weaker than estradiol (the, ehm, ‘sister’ of estrogen – they look a lot alike) and the effect was only observed at a dose level approximately 25,000 times higher than the level typically used to preserve products. Therefore, the estrogenic activity of parabens can be neglected.

UV Damage: It has been shown that parabens can react with UVB radiaton and therefore can lead to skin aging and DNA damage. However, if you sunbathe wisely and use sunscreen, you don’t have to worry.

I think I have covered all of the controversy surrounding parabens – most of them are incorrect. If you find any more alarming sounds about parabens, post a comment below and/or contact me (go to the “ask” page – and send a e-mail) and I will happily do more research.

To sum it all up: don’t worry about parabens. They are very safe and very effective. Do use a sunscreen though. As the FDA (the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration – the American institute on consumer safety) states: “FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens.”

Until next time,

Sources and further reading: Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, October 2010, pages 568-577;International Journal of Toxicology, Supplement 4, 2008, pages 1-82; Water Research, November 2008, pages 4578–4588; Cosmetics & Toiletries, January 2005, page 22; Toxicology, January 2005, pages 471–488; Menopause, March–April 2002, pages 145–150; Critical Reviews in Toxicology, Golden et al, 2005; Menopause, May–June 2004, pages 281–289; Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association, Spring 2002, pages 85–90; Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, January 2002, pages 49–60; American Journal of Epidemiology October 1996, pages 642–644