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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cosmetic Chemistry Tidbits #1

Hello! How are all you beautiful people doing?! I'm doing great, especially after watching Lady GaGa ROCKING THE EFF OUT on DWTS.  =) She's amazing, I've decided.

Anywho, I thought I'd share some knowledge with you all! There are some terms I've used in my past entries, some that I've explained, but I didn't go too in-depth and I don't think everyone knows what they mean so I'll tell you! This is just #1 in a series, instead of throwing a whole bunch of special terms and long words at you, I thought splitting it up would be easier. I'd rather tell you about less stuff, but with more information on the things I do tell you about. Make sense? I think so. But if there's a word or ingredient or anything I haven't blogged about yet and you'd like to know what it is, please feel free to ask me! ♥

I wasn't quite sure about what to write about first, so I'll just start with terms that seem to be very popular right now:
  • Sulfates: In the beauty industry, sulfates are used to strip the debris from your hair and are found in most shampoos, although they are in almost every personal hygiene product. To my knowledge, the most commonly used sulfate is Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate; it's main function is to make foam. Some companies will tell you that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is the one used in every shampoo (except theirs of course), and it's so harsh on your hair, it will take out all your color, and make it dry and fall out. These claims are absolutely FALSE. SLS is almost never the main detergent in shampoos, and hasn't been for years because it IS quite strong, and there are milder and gentler alternatives that are used today. Another popular trend I'm noticing is Sulfate-Free products. This is because the same companies that are telling you that SLS is in every shampoo, are also saying that sulfates wil completely strip your haircolor, and only by using their Sulfate-Free products will keep your color in longer. This is incorrect, it is not shampoo that strips color, and it is not the sulfates that strip your color. It is a combination of WATER and the FRICTION from shampooing your hair that strips color. Just soaking your freshly colored hair in water will cause about 30% of it to come out. Then the friction you create while shampooing your hair makes more color come out. So just because your not using sulfates, doesn't necessarily mean your color will last longer, but hey use what works for you. =)
  • Surfactant: Surfactants or "surface active agents," are what clean your hair. A surfactant molecule is made of two parts: a hyrdophilic head, and a lipophilic tail. When you shampoo your hair, the hydrophilic head attracts water, and the lipophilic tail attracts oil. Together, they create a process that actually lifts the dirt and debris off of your hair, so they can be rinsed off with water. The surfactants you will see most often are Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, and Sodium Laureth Sulfate.
  • Humectant: A humectant is an ingredient used in many moisturizing products that will actually draw in moisture from the air. It sounds crazy I know, but they actually do work. Common humectants are glycerin, sorbitol, urea, and lactic acid. Look and see how many are in your products!
  • Emollient: An emollient is a type of moisturizer that helps to lock the moisture in your hair or skin. It prevents the moisture from leaving, so your skin or hair will feel soft and healthy as long as it's on. It is commonly found in conditioners and lotions due to these properties. Some common emollients are aloe vera, lanolin, collagen, almond, coconut oil, shea butter, and mineral oil.
  • Emulsifier: An emulsifier is mostly used to thicken a product. Emulsifiers can also bind moisture to humectants and emollients to create a smooth, creamy texture. You remember how in grade school you were taught that water and oil dont mix? Well that's not so true now is it! You just need an emulsifier! LOL. There are two basic types of emulsions: Oil-in-Water which will have a thinner consistency, like lotion, and Water-in-Oil which has a thicker consistency, like hair masks and body butter. Common emulsifiers include Beeswax, Cetaryl Alcohol, PEG-20 Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Polysorbate 80, and Lecithin.

I think I'll stop at five, especially with my rant on sulfates LOL. There are plenty more Cosmetic Chemisty Tidbits on the way, so keep reading to find out more. Take care of your hair, and if you like this blog, please follow it and tell your friends! Love you all! =D


Anonymous said...

So sorry I did not comment sooner-- I was at work!!

I'm glad you posted about chemistry, a lot of people don't realize how scientific hair is!!



That's ok dollface. =) At least you cared enough to comment!! <3 <3

G. said...

I LOVE this post! OMG, I can't tell you how informative and helpful this will be in my future haircare choices. I totally got sucked into the SLS-free thing and for over a year I only used shampoos without SLS and conditioners without 'cones. But then I came to the conclusion that my hair just loves sulfates and looks so much better when I use them. Oh, and BTW, can you talk about the different kinds of 'cones in a future post? I know that some are more water soluble than others and I swear when I use conditioners with the water soluble 'cones I can feel a difference in terms of how much less waxy and coated my hair feels. I hate product build-up but I'd like to hear from you if this is all in my imagination! Thanks :)


I'll definitely be talking about silicones soon. I think CCT#2 will be all about silicones.

G. said...

Perfect! I can't wait :)

crista said...

I was wondering what the best product would be for my hair, its very dry and brittle as well as damaged.
I can't cut any more off because of the layers that are damaged, I used bed head after party and it was really really good, but seemed to misplace it somewhere, and despite the price it was fairly good for my hair, I was wondering what the best product you would recommend at a good price; if not after party.