A-Closer-Look-At: Argan Oil

Argan Oil is hot at the moment, in the sense that it is trendy to use it
And why not? Celebrities like Beyonce are said to use Argan Oil. It is a deep, golden colored oil and is a very multi-functional product. Argan oil can be used as a skin- and hand serum and as bathing oil. It can be used by all skin-types from greasy to super dry, flaky skin types like myself. I’ve been using argan oil in the evening as a serum under my regular night cream and it’s wonderful! Flakes disappeared in a few days and the oil gave my skin a natural glow. Argan oil originates from Morrocco, where it was first used as an oil for cooking and baking. Later, it was also used for skin and hair.

Argan oil is extracted from the seeds of the Argania Spinoza tree. The argan tree grows in infertile and dry regions of south-west Morrocco. From June to September, the fruits are harvested and processed into oil.

A single tree produces about 30 kilos of argan fruit, which in turn yields 700 ml of argan oil. Until a few years ago, the seeds of the argan tree were found in goat droppings, since they were the only ones able to climb up the thorny trunk.

Nowdays, the demand is much higher and so the fallen fruits of the argan tree are collected.
The fruits are then taken to the villages to be processed.The seeds are beaten with rocks to get  the kernel out.

The fruit is used to feed livestock and the shells are used to make the fire which is needed in the extraction of the oil.

If the oil is used for consumption, the kernels are roasted before pressing to add some flavor.

After cooling down, the nuts are ground by hand. Water is added during the grinding process, so a paste will be formed. The paste is pressed by hand and what’s left is pure argan oil.

 

This labour intensive process takes about 15 hours, which makes argan oil pretty expensive.

Nowdays, this process is more and more replaced by mechanical press machines to extract argan oil. The collection and removal of the outer shell of the seed is still done by hand, but everything else is done by a machine. This saves time and eliminates the use of water, thus prolonging the shelf life of the oil.

Argan oil contains twice the amount of vitamin E found in olive oil, an anti-oxidant. It also contains a lot of lipids and fatty acids which are beneficial for the skin, including oleic acid, palmitic acid, and especially linoleic acid. It is therefore great for people with acne, as well as eczema and psoriasis.

Until next time,

Dymphy

A-Closer-Look-At: Cetearyl Alcohol

Many people cringe when they see alcohol on an ingredientlist. And they should, because the alcohol/hydroxy group dries out the skin. The hydroxy group that makes alcohol an alcohol, consists of both an oxygen (symbol: O) and a hydrogen (H) atom. A hydroxy group can form a hydrogen “bridge” with another water molecule. It basically pulls out water and takes it with it when you, for instance, wash it off your face.

But why is cetearyl alcohol (or cetostearyl alcohol/cetylstearyl alcohol) good for the skin? That is because of it’s fatty acid tail. The tail usually has an even number of carbon atoms, ranging mostly from 8 to 22 carbon atoms, although 36 or more aren’t an exception.

To be more precise, Cetearyl Alcohol is a mixture of fatty alcohols, of which cetyl and stearyl alcohols make up most of this ingredient. Since cetearyl alcohol has a polar, (water loving) head and a non-polar (oil loving) head, it is a surfactant. It can therefore be used as an emulsifier, stabilizer, opacifying agent (cetearyl alcohol turns into a white, waxy solid at room temperature) and a foam boosting agent.

Cetearyl alcohol was first extracted from whale oil, but since commercial whaling is forbidden, cetearyl alcohol is now produced from vegetable oils, like palm or coconut oil. It is also an end-product of the petroleum industry. It can also be made synthetically, from, for instance, breaking up triglycerides (three fatty alcohols bound together). The source can determine the amount of carbon atoms. For instance, rapeseed produces longer molecules of about 20 tot 22 carbon atoms, whilst coconut oil will yield molecules with 12 to 14 carbon atoms.

Please be careful if you have sensitive skin, cetearyl alcohol can possibly worsten dermatitis.. If you don’t have dermatitis, cetearyl alcohol is a very safe to use moisturizer and surfactant.

Until next time,
Dymphy

Read-the-Label: O.C.C. Skin Primer

Tanistates was wondering (you are always allowed to ask more questions, don’t feel shy because I love to answer them!) where she should start her primer search. To make it a bit easier, I thought it would be nice if I reviewed the ingredientlist of one of Monique’s favourites; the O.C.C. skin primer.

O.C.C. skin primer contains the following:
Deionized Water (Aqua), Vegetable-Derived Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Chamomile (Anthemis Noblis) Extract, Comfrey Root Extract, Lemon Peel Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate

Deionized Water (Aqua) is hard to go wrong with (unless you happen to add another hydrogen which means you get hydrogenperioxide aka bleach used for bleaching your hair – don’t worry, that usually doesn’t happen, unless you force it to happen by means of a very complicated process). It is mostly used as a solvent.
Next up the list is Vegetable-Derived Glycerin, which is probably derived by fermentation of sugars. Fermentation happens to be a very posh word for “letting it rot”. Another great example of a fermented product is fish sauce. Glycerin is an excellent moisturizer, but don’t use it in it’s pure form as it will have a drying effect on skin.
Xanthan Gum is a polysaccharide (a type of sugar) and is used as a thickener in oil-in-water emulsions, to stabilize the oil droplets and it has some skin hydrating porperties. It could also be used to create a water-gel-like structure.
Chamomile (Anthemis Noblis) Extract sooths the skin, and has some anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties.
Comfrey Root Extract has some anti-inflammating properties, but could be toxic if taken orally. This proves that not only synthetic ingredients are ‘bad’ for you. Don’t worry if you put it on your face, since the water and glycerin (the first two ingredients) make up the most of the product, so it shouldn’t give any problems.
Lemon Peel Extract is a bit of a delicate subject. Some say it is great for moisturzing and it has some anti-bacterial properties, some say it could be irritating on the skin. Combined with the Chamomille, I would give a try.
Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate are preservatives, which are really necessary because the sugar (Xanthan Gum) makes it ideal for bacteria and fungus to grow.

The ingredientlist is what you make of it. Personally, I would give the skin primer a try, but if you don’t like the Comfrey Root and Lemon Peel extract, it’s up to you.

Anyway, do you have any other favourite primer as a recommendation for Tanistates? Please share below in the comments!

Until next time,

Dymphy

A-Closer-Look-At: Castor Oil

Castor (seed) oil is derived from seeds of the Ricinus communis plant.

The seed is bean shaped, but doesn’t belong to the bean family.

The oil from the seeds is a colorless to pale yellow liquid with no odor or taste.The seeds contain between 40% to 60% which is rich in triglycerides (fatty acids) of which (90%) ricinolein acid is the main compononent. Other fatty acids that are present in the castor oil include oleic acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid.

Another component of castor oil is ricin, a toxic protein. This protein is denaturated (=inactivated/destroyed) by the heating during the oil extraction process.

Castor oil can be used as an moisturizer. It has a unique property that, when dry, it forms a solid film that can have water-binding properties. That film could feel a bit sticky on skin, but it is rarely associated with skin irritation or allergic reactions. I also read (although I couldn’t confirm it) that castor oil helps stimulate the production of elastin and collagen to soften and hydrate the skin; causing wrinkles to dissapear. It could therefore also be great for combating stretch marks and acne.

Castor oil can also be used as a bathing oil. However, the oil dissolves quite poorly in water, so it needs a little soap (showergel or something alike). Otherwise it just stays on the surface of the water, instead of mixing with it. As a massage oil, castor oil has some anti-inflammation properties. It could be used to relieve the pain of arthritic joints, nerve inflammations, and sore muscles.

A funny fact to end this post with: castor oil has been used for ages to induce labor.

Until next time,

Dymph

A-Closer-Look-At: Triticum Vulgare

I browsed through the Promakeupstore website and I clicked on the Embryolisse Cleansing Bar. First I thought that it was a soap bar, so I was curious whether or not the ingredients would be listed (contrary to regular cosmetics this isn’t obligatory for soap bars). Then, I actually discovered that the bar was soap free. So, I quickly scanned the ingredient lists, and saw Triticum Vulgare listed. The name made me curious, what is this ingredient?So, Triticum Vulgare, otherwise known as Wheat germ, Octacosanol, Octacosanol concentrate, Octa cosyl alcohol, Polycosanol, Isopolicosanol, Ateromixol is a grain.

In the Embryolisse Cleansing Bar, the oil is used. It is extracted from the kernel of the grain
It is a light yellow or reddish oil. The oil contains octacosanol and policosanol(long, saturateded alcohols which are good for the body) , the fatty acids linoleic acid (omega-6 and omega-3), palmitic acid, oleic acid and vitamin E. It is no surprise that the wheat kernel oil is used as a moisturizer. Scientist believe that it is the vitamin E that benefits the skin the most.
It is also used in the treatment of exzema, dry or irritated skin, wrinkled skin, scars and hair. However, it isn’t very wise to put pure wheat oil on your face. The oil has a drying effect on skin. If you do want to DIY with it, try an oil blend of a maximum of up to 10-15% of wheat kernel oil.
Is the oil all safe? No, people allergic to wheat or with Celiac’s disease (there is a difference between allergy and intolerance such as Celica disease) should avoid it.
Wheat kernel oil can also be taken as a supplement, but you should make sure that it doesn’t interfere with your medication. For instance, octacosanol may interfere with the Parkinson’s drug Levodopa. Policosanol may thin the blood slightly and thus should be avoided by people with potential bleeding disorders and who are taking blood-thinning drugs such as Asperin and Warfarin (Coumadin).
Until next time,
Dymphy

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,

Dymphy

A Closer Look At: Acrylates

Acrylates (methyl methacrylate, poly(methyl methacrylate) )

I was curious what methyl methacrylate and poly(methyl methacrylate) were doing in a foundation. So, I dove deeper into the acrylates as subject of today. Please bear with me until the end when I try to make “an educated guess” about the use of these acrylates in beauty.

Last Tuesday, I wrote about acrylamide, bisacrylamide and polyacrylamide. Acrylamide and bisacrylamide are used to create polyacrylamide for a technique calles SDS-PAGE (sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis). It is an example of an acrylate, because the acrylamide and bisacrylamide form bonds to create the polymer, resulting in a sponge like texture. This technique is mainly used to study and seperate proteins based on weight. Acrylamide is a neuro-toxin (it gets on your nerves – literaly) so you never want to touch it with your bare hands. Although the gel should be used with caution, it is still the golden standard in the research fields.

But now we are going to take a look at methyl methacrylate and poly(methyl methacrylate). Both substances are acrylates. To give you a clear understanding: poly(methyl methacrylate) is mostly refered to as plexiglass.

Poly(methyl methacrylate) is made from methyl methacrylate. Because manufacturers can never guarantee that all the methyl methacrylate has reacted and ‘changed’ itself to poly(methyl methacrylate), they have to list the ingredient as well. The red dots in the picture above indicates the place where the double bond between two carbon atoms (indicated by = ) opens, and creates another bond with a carbon atom from another methyl methacrylate molecule.

Methyl methacrylate is mostly used in total hip and knee replacements. It is used as the “glue” to fix the bone insterts to the bone. It reduces the post-operative pain, but it has a finite lifespan of about 20 years. Therefore, methacrylate is mostly used for the elderly (in younger patiënts, cementless inserts are used).

Poly(methyl methacrylate) is known as plexiglass, lucite, optix and perspex (depending on the manufacturer). It is used as a glass substitute in for instance, those huge aquariums in a zoo, because it can withstand the pressure of the water more easily than glass. Other uses include medical implants and plastic optical fibers (like the cable which you might use to connect your computer with the internet).

It is not surprising that poly(methyl methacrylate) might be used in nailpolish, because nailpolish consist of polymers to make a thin and yet durable layer (although that is a point of discussion – Chanel, with high prices, never seems to last an entire day on my nails).  Also, acrylates are used in hair gel or wax, as a fixative.
But what could it’s purpose be in a foundation or a concealer?

The most logical thing that I’ve come across are the acrylic paints. Acrylic paint is an pigment suspension in an acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, and become water-resistant when dry. Depending on the amount of dilution (the amount of water added) or modified, the finished painting can resemble a watercolor or an oil painting.

Although I wasn’t the best one in art class (my art teacher advised me not to pursue a career in art), I do remember that acrylic paints didn’t have a cream consistency like the Ben Nye foundation or concealer I reviewed last week. However, it is possible that the acrylates in that product provide a water resistant film, or at least makes sure that the product is waterproof. Since the foundation is for oily/combined skin, it could cause some trouble: the oil of the skin (sebum) can’t go anywhere because of the film and perhaps clog pores and cause pimples. My advise would be to thoroughly clean your face after using the products, perhaps even with a waterproof makeup cleanser.

However, you shouldn’t be worried about the safety of the product. A few atoms more or less can make a huge difference in the world of chemistry.

I hope this article is clear and it answers your questions (I had some myself as well), otherwise there’s always the comment box below to ask one.

Until next time,

Dymphy