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July 25 2014

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6 posts tagged "James Hammer"

Drugstore Discovery Of The Week: L’Oréal Feels The Vibrations

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Maybe it’s just us, but there’s something off-putting about vibrating mascaras. While they may fulfill their individual promises, we’re of the mind that if you’re going to bring a pulsating object that close to your eyeballs, it should do something more than paint your lashes an inky hue. Enter L’Oréal’s latest skincare innovation, the Collagen Micro-Pulse Eye. After reading cosmetic chemist James Hammer’s glowing recommendation, we decided that the vibrating tube’s dual-purpose eye system deserved a test drive. The handy pen is designed to transform your tired, droopy, dark-circled peepers with two simple steps: First, dab a few dots of the cream under and at the outer corner of the eyes to target raccoon shadows and fine lines. Then flip the switch and gently drag the micro-pulse massager around the area to soothe puffiness. The mild massage feels particularly heavenly on work-weary, sleep-deprived eyes, almost lulling you into a gentle state of calm. We suggest keeping one by your desk for mid-afternoon touchups—and an easy way to de-stress.

Photo: Courtesy of L’Oréal

Red-Flag Chemicals For Natural Beauty Novices

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This column features weekly tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders, on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox. To submit a question, e-mail celia_ellenberg@condenast.com.

I’m thinking about greening my beauty routine, starting with go-to’s like nail polish and foundation. I’ve seen a few products that claim to be “organic,” but what does that mean as far as something like lacquer is concerned? Are these formulas really better for me?

 
Polishes like those from Zoya and SpaRitual are not really “organic” in the same way that some other cosmetics or foods are labeled as organic, but they are better for you, because they’ve been formulated with safe ingredients. These polishes are free of toxic substances like toluene, dibutyl phthalate, and formaldehyde, and rely on nontoxic solvents and polymers to create a nice, durable finish. So yes, it’s worth switching to a natural-based polish if you’re concerned about any chemicals and you paint your nails frequently.


 
In the case of foundation and things like primers, many are formulated to be silicone-free, which is what gives them their “natural” connotations. Yet silicones provide a variety of benefits in makeup products, including lubricity, silky skin-feel, and wrinkle-hiding effects. Some people are concerned that silicones are damaging to the environment, though. Considering the amounts used in makeup products, the impact on the environment is negligible compared to the amounts that come from other industries. But if you are an organic or green-friendly consumer, you might want to switch to a silicone-free formula, regardless of any added health benefit.


 
James Hammer is a cosmetic chemist who analyzes and formulates products for the beauty industry. He works with the Pharmasol Corporation in Easton,
MA.

Photo: Norman Parkinson / Sygma / Corbis

The Chemistry Behind Those “Long-Lasting” Lipsticks

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This column features weekly tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders, on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox. To submit a question, e-mail celia_ellenberg@condenast.com.

Whenever I apply lipstick, the color goes on super-rich out of the tube, then fades after a few hours. I’ve tried long-lasting formulas, but there’s something about them that dries out my lips. Why does this happen and what are my alternatives?

Long-lasting lipsticks use very resilient polymers and waxes to keep the product in place and on your lips for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, some of these materials can also make your lips feel dry, chapped, or flaky. Traditional lipsticks tend to be formulated with an oilier base, which may help to keep your lips extra-moisturized, but when it mixes with the natural oils on your skin, it can create a situation in which your lipstick slips off or fades away after a few hours. However, most of the new lip stain formulas work pretty well—the color tends to absorb into your skin, as opposed to sitting on top of the surface, so the pigment stays put without pulling moisture out.

James Hammer is a cosmetic chemist who analyzes and formulates products for the beauty industry. He works with the Pharmasol Corporation in Easton, MA.

Photo: Antonios Mitsopoulos/ Flickr/ Getty Images

A Few Simple Tips To Fight The Humidity

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This column features weekly tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders, on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox. To submit a question, e-mail celia_ellenberg@condenast.com.

This summer’s hot and humid conditions have been especially cruel to my skin and hair. Are there specific cosmetic formulas that really prevent makeup from melting and tresses from frizzing up, or am I doomed to looking greasy and poofy for another month?

In hot weather, we perspire and our skin becomes oilier—that’s a simple side effect made worse by the kind of intense humidity we’ve been experiencing lately. From a scientific perspective, there’s only so much oil that even a pressed powder-type makeup product can absorb. Once you exceed that point, as you’ve been experiencing, the product can actually begin to sag and clump on your skin. I can’t really offer you a magic bullet, but to keep things as sweat-free as possible, follow a few basic pieces of advice: First, clean your skin before you put on any makeup to eliminate any residue; always choose an oil-free foundation to minimize grease; and finish with face powder to help set your makeup. It’s simple, but this formula works. As for frizzy hair, I’m a big fan of Living Proof’s No-Frizz system, which is made with polyfluoroester. The molecule is very effective for preventing frizziness in all hair types—even in high humidity. It’s the gold standard.

James Hammer is a cosmetic chemist who analyzes and formulates products for the beauty industry. He works with the Pharmasol Corporation in Easton, MA.

Photo: Courtesy of Living Proof

Our Cosmetic Chemist Talks “Smart” Beauty Products

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This column features weekly tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders, on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox. To submit a question, e-mail celia_ellenberg@condenast.com.

What do you think of the latest technological innovations in beauty products—like mascaras that help grow lashes, or vibrating eye creams? Bogus or brilliant?

Well, it really comes down to the distinction between a drug and a cosmetic. A prescription lash product like Latisse is a drug that has demonstrated efficacy and is approved by the FDA to help grow lashes. Mascaras like Revlon Grow Luscious are cosmetics; they do not claim to grow new lashes—despite the name—and if you read the fine print, they attempt only to strengthen and condition the existing lashes to prevent premature breakage, and therefore make them appear thicker and fuller.

Interestingly, vibrating eye creams could be promising. The gentle pulsing action in L’Oréal’s Collagen Micro-Pulse Eye Cream, for example, might help to stimulate circulation. It’s basically a gentle massage for the eye area. Some companies are relying on these micro-current systems, which use small amounts of electricity to stimulate the skin, as a substitute for cosmetic surgery, in fact. They are also used in electrical muscle-toning systems. I’m not entirely convinced at how effective the technology is for stimulating collagen per se, but vibration does appear to offer skin-toning benefits.

James Hammer is a cosmetic chemist who analyzes and formulates products for the beauty industry. He works with the Pharmasol Corporation in Easton, MA.

Photo: Courtesy of L’Oréal; Revlon