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The Beauty Connoisseurs

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I have a confession...

Monday I proposed that we dedicate 21 days to establish new habits/behavior that would have a positive affect on our inner beauty. If you recall, I emphasized that one slip up resets the 21 days. I chose to make 4 changes. Unfortunately, I have slipped up on 2 of them. The other two haven't been tested yet. They are pretty much a package deal so I'm back to Day 1 of my 21 day challenge!

The key to this challenge is to make a conscious effort. The only way I'm going to be successful at this is if I become more mindful of my behavior. I must be proactive not reactive (if that's a word). This exercise is applicable to all areas of life, making it personal is just practice for applying it to more critical situations.

Today is my last Day 1! No excuses!
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Friday, February 27, 2009

Fresh Idea: Frankincense

I went on a "sniff trip" Monday morning in search of some oils to complete a client's project. While I was sniffing-- trying to make a decision on what combination I thought would be best to suit her needs-- I came across a bottle of frankincense oil. I must admit, I never smelled frankincense before that day. I was always turned off by its description, thinking that it would make my creations smell like incense. I can't stand that spicy/earthy smell that I think all incense have! So just out of pure curiosity I took a whiff... and oh let me tell you I was soooooo pleasantly surprised! One sniff made me smell it again.... and again... and again. It didn't smell like incense at all!!!

Its a known fact that smell is the sense most closely linked to memory. Frankincense brought back memories of my childhood summers spent at bible camp. How ironic! Frankincense was used to adorn baby Jesus at birth and it reminds me of the times in my childhood when I felt closest to Him. My fondest memories are from bible camp. I made friends there to last a lifetime... in fact that's where I met my honey :-).

At camp there was no television, no radio, cell phones or pagers... just a bunch of kids running free on the grounds participating in fun activities and having bible study. It was a week of bliss where you forgot about sirens and smog and whatever problems you had at home. There was nothing for your little heart to worry about. Camp made such an impact on all of us that we would anticipate that one week in the summer all year long.

In honor of this priceless memory, I'm going to make myself a fragrance centered around the wonderful smell of frankincense. Maybe in my creative journey I'll happen upon some other scents that remind me of that sacred place. [sigh]
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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Timeless Treasure: Shiseido

Shiseido Company, Limited is a 137 year old timeless treasure founded in Tokyo by Yushin Fukuhara (a former pharmacist). The original objective of this family owned company was to be Japan's first western-style pharmacy. The company began to dabble in cosmetics during the transition of the japanese feminine appearance; while some women still wore the ancient makeup (white faces and stylized eyebrows) many were making the transition to the look of western women (the way we wear makeup as Americans).

Shiseido expanded the scope of its business by offering franchise opportunities outside of the normal reach of the company. Its early success was due largely to customer loyalty which was encouraged by high quality products and personalized service. Similar to the way the Tokyo store was tailored to a specific market, the franchises were also. The franchise stores also began to offer mail-order services. The company had such a solid foundation that it was not rocked by World Wars or Depression.

Overtime, of course, the company image became dated. The loyal customers grew old and the new youthful generation of consumers were not wowed by the Shiseido brand. The response was to diversify the brand and its stores. While some stores carried cosmetics, other stores carried youth fashions, home goods, or fitness aids. The company also introduced a line tailored to the needs of its older customers. Diversification has proven to be the key to this company's staying power because it can target several markets simultaneously.

This multi-faceted company has been global for decades and continues to hold a top spot among international cosmetic companies. I'm sure this company will survive for centuries to come.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Um, What?! Panthenol

I've often seen panthenol in the ingredients of shampoos, conditioners and moisturizing facial products. Panthenol can be classified as a humectant, emollient and moisturizer. A humectant draws water to a surface (for our purposes hair and skin) thus increasing hydration. An emollient makes skin soft and supple and generally results in a soothing sensation.

Panthenol easily binds to the hair follicle and seals the surface which increases shine (Remember the post about shine and scatter?). This is the ingredient that Pantene capitalizes on... I've seen it in every one of their products that I've tried (thats almost all of them! I love Pantene). In hair treatments it is used in a concentration of 0.1-1%. The skin can absorb panthenol rather easily and effectively. It can be used to treat sunburn, minor burns and certain skin conditions. I found it in my moisturizing toner (I swear by toner!).

I guess after all that I should tell you guys exactly what it is. Panthenol is the alcohol analog of pantothenic acid (also known as vitamin B5!). In lay-man's terms, a piece of the B5 chemistry has been replaced with an alcohol. So they're kind of like cousins. Panthenol has passed the CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review) for safety in concentrations up to 25%. I haven't read any negative press about this ingredient, but if I find any, rest assured I'll report it.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Techie Tuesday: Gone Wrong!

Ok... my idea for today has gone horribly wrong! Well, I take that back. Just the result of my research is not what I expected. I heard [read] about a method of relaxing [or texturizing] hair that is chemical free. Of course that peaked my interest. So my first thought was "How does that work?!"

What I found is that it is chemical free [not according to my standards]... but I think it is more appropriately classified as no-lye. The company [Phyto] claims the active ingredients in their Phytorelaxer are derived from egg and soya. How so? Those ingredients are waaaaay at the bottom of the list! I guess that doesn't really matter... I did however find guanidine carbonate in the ingredients list. Guanidine carbonate is derived from mushroom salts. It is listed in other no-lye relaxer treatments, but I have never seen it stand alone. It is usually accompanied by some sort of hydroxide (calcium hydroxide for example). Knowing this, I am skeptical about how this relaxer can be effective without the aid of some other base...

In defense of the product [this was not meant to be a product review... see horribly wrong!] it has received rave reviews by those who use it. It has a reputation of being much gentler and more nourishing than the more widely known relaxers. This may be due to all the extra steps included in the kit, but who really cares... it works right?!
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Monday, February 23, 2009

Maintenance Monday: 21 Days

"Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical"
--Sophia Loren

I agree with Sophia.... except I must admit oftentimes looking good on the outside helps me feel better inside. That pretty much explains why I am so passionate about personal care products. I know I've talked alot about perfecting that inner beauty. I think it is a task that is never quite complete. You can always do more to make yourself a better person; that is beautiful in itself. A big part of being successful in life is having goals... why not start from within?

Decide today on 3 to 5 things that you think would contribute to the growth of your personality, intellect and self esteem. I read in If It Is To Be, It's Up To Me by Thomas B. Smith that it takes 21 days to break bad habits and establish new ones. [My parents taught this principle to me first but I wanted to give you a solid reference.] So let today be the start of your 21 days. Concentrate on the things you decided you want to work on and do your very best. Don't slip up!!! If you get off track you have to start the 21 days all over. Think of it like a game and give yourself a positive incentive... when you succeed [notice I said WHEN, positive thinking goes a long way] reward yourself with a new pair of shoes or a trip to Coldstone Creamery (yummmm!)... anything to say to yourself "Well done honey!"

I'm 100% sure you will find this to be a productive excercise. I'd love to hear the success stories! Mark your calendars and begin your 21 day journey.
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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Techie Tuesday on Saturday: Parabens... Why Care?

I think I can keep this short and sweet. In recent years there has been a big fuss made about parabens in cosmetic applications. So what's it all about? Parabens are preservatives used to protect your personal care products from the growth of harmful microorganisms. Most personal care products have water as one of the main ingredients. Any product that contains water can grow some really nasty stuff so preservatives are a must. Sidebar-- while I'm an advocate and producer of natural personal care products, I firmly believe in the use of some sort of preservative system. I do not think it is safe to sell natural products without preservatives because the average consumer does not consider expiration dates.-- The most commonly used parabens are: methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. They are usually used together to minimize the amount of preservatives necessary to achieve the same end result.

Parabens have been confirmed to be safe by both the FDA and the Cosmetic Ingredients Review expert panel in the concentrations used (0.01-0.3%). The problem is parabens have been found in the breast tissue of breast cancer patients. So the premise is; because parabens are in breast cancer tissue, parabens must cause breast cancer.... not necessarily true. In the studies conducted, normal breast tissue was not tested for the presence of parabens. So who knows, they may exist naturally! Parabens also exhibit estrogen like behavior. Estrogen activity has been linked to the occurance of breast cancer. However, parabens have much lower estrogen levels than what is naturally found in the human body.

Armed with this info, its now up to you to decide if you believe the hype. As a scientist, research carries a whole lot of weight to me. Personally, I am not alarmed by the 'possibility' of parabens causing breast cancer... but just in case, you won't find those preservatives in my line of products.
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Fresh Idea Friday: PINK

One of the many objectives of my company is to make charitable contributions to organizations that work to improve the overall health and well being of women. One of the charities I chose to support is the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. In honor of this cause, I will create a series in my line dedicated to breast cancer awareness.

The inspiration for the PINK scent stems from the very popular pink ribbon. The pink ribbon represents more than a fight for breast health to me. I see it as a symbol of a woman's shining glory during times of adversity, femininity and strength, perseverance and love. Fighting the disease that attacks the very essence of a woman, her most feminine attribute, is quite a glamorous task. I say that because a glam woman is a strong woman. She doesn't lose herself in her sufferings and everything she experiences makes her a better woman. And to top all of that off, some women even leave the ordeal with a brand new pair of perky, pretty boobies! (I think we all wish for that at some point or another).

The rhinestone pink ribbon represents the glam breast cancer survivor. The feisty, jazzy little thing that loves to play in makeup and wear expensive perfume. That gorgeous woman who didn't let breast cancer take her down wears this ribbon as a badge of honor. And those who lost a loved one to the disease wear it as a reminder of that pretty lady who will forever be a resident in their hearts...

I joined the fight because I believe there is hope for healing. One day, breast cancer patients will no longer have to weigh the odds... survival will be an absolute. I'll toast to that!
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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Timeless Treasure: AMBI

Now owned by Johnson & Johnson, this 43 year old cosmetic line has passed the test of time. AMBI skincare products are made specifically for (multi-cultural) women of color. The products are designed to eliminate dark imperfections, even skin-tone and improve the overall health of pigmented skin. The main products-- fade creams and beauty bars-- were staples in the African American household for decades.

When Johnson & Johnson bought the brand in 2004, they began the 2 year quest to update the product image and improve the product formula. The key to success was to conduct an extensive survey of the target market so that the re-formulated products addressed specific issues. Based on this study, AMBI emerged with three successful products. To further increase the recognition and success of the brand, Johnson & Johnson reshelved the AMBI products so that they are now situated among the general skin care products as opposed to ethnic products.

I think the biggest contributor to the AMBI brand success is their dedication to educating the consumer and being a 'skin care advisor'. AMBI travels to various multi-cultural family oriented events with a crew of aestheticians to give one on one skin care consultations. Let's give a hand to a company that is hands on!
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Techie Tuesday Postponed

I was in the streets yesterday trying to take care of some necessary business so I totally missed posting on Techie Tuesday. My plan is to get it done this weekend so that you still get your weekly dose of cosmetic science.

I am glad to report that the company name is now officially registered and website building will begin shortly. The company is set to launch April 1, 2009 and I am beyond excited about it! I'm hoping to be able to throw a really nice launch party. I'm working out the particulars as we speak.

Thank you for all the love and support I have received in the process of making my dreams reality.
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Um, What?! Wednesday: PPG Stearyl Ether

Polypropylene glycol stearyl ether is mainly found in 'moisturizing' personal care products. It is written as PPG-11 or PPG-15 stearyl ether in the ingredients lists. This ingredient is made by the reaction between propylene oxide and stearyl alcohol. Stearyl alcohols come from animal fats and oils (vegans beware!). The 11 or 15 designation is based on the 'units' of propylene glycol produced in the reaction.

PPG-11/15 stearyl ethers are known lubricants meant to give the skin a moisturized look and feel. They are also classified as skin conditioning agents and emollients. The chemicals have been deemed safe at the concentrations typical of most cosmetic applications they are found in. Even concentrated, these chemicals did not irritate the eyes. A related chemical, PPG butyl ether was found to be slightly irritating to the eyes and skin. It is absorbed very slowly-if at all- into the digestive tract where it is easily metabolized and eliminated as waste in the urine.

As time progresses and my knowledge increases, I'm becoming more compelled to make the switch to all natural personal care products. I currently use over the counter products, all of which contain the ingredients I've reviewed thus far. I have not experienced any known irritation to the products I use daily and I am satisfied (most of the time) with the results--- I have very tempermental skin! I just can't help but wonder what long term effects my drug of choice may be having on my well-being. Think about it for yourself.
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Maintenance Monday: Its All About Attitude!

We've all heard this before... attitude is everything. But what does that really mean? Take an inventory of events and circumstances in your life. What was your attitude before and after those occurred? Chances are when something positive happens a positive attitude was present before and after. The same applies to negative situations. I have found that when I look for the positive in undesirable circumstances, I get positive outcomes. A lot of times it is easier said than done. It may take me quite awhile to see what good can come from unfortunate events. But, no matter what, I'm always actively looking for a way to turn the situation around.

Because of my positive outlook (attitude), I have reached monumental heights in my life. I have achieved so many of my goals and learned from every experience, good or bad. I have written all of this in hopes of being an inspiration to other women. Looking beautiful is great... and it makes an impact on how you feel. But to feel even better about yourself you have to indulge in positive things. Making the commitment to use every moment in your life for the betterment of yourself will go a long way in making your dreams come true. Decide what you want out of life and start taking steps toward those goals. There will always be bumps in the road, but embrace them and make the most of their outcome. When you feel good about yourself, it irradiates from the inside out. How beautiful is that?!
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Small World

Happy Valentine's Day! Enough with the mushy stuff...

I recently subscribed to a blog by Seth Godin. I still haven't figured out exactly what the overall purpose of his blog is, but he has some interesting ideas and advice. This morning I revisited a post where he proposes the idea of making the world smaller so you can conquer it. The premise is that the world is so profound that taking it over can be an overwhelming thought and an even more impossible task; instead concentrate on one segment of it and take that by storm.

This post came at such a good time for me. In developing my company I have big dreams and ideas. I often have sleepless nights because I can't seem to turn my brain off. While I still plan to make my company a world treasure, I think its important that I take baby [Hughey] steps to get to my ultimate goal. For now, I am dedicated to offering my products nationally via the website (coming soon) and providing my service locally. By establishing my brand in the local market, I am sure to attract attention nationally and eventually on the international level. Of course I know I have to be active and pro-active in reaching my goals, but by cutting one slice of the pie at a time, my goals are more easily measurable and attainable.

I hope you take this as food for thought in your own endeavors. Don't be overwhelmed by your dreams, embrace them and make them happen!

Spread the love today!!!
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Fresh Idea Friday: It Just Spoke To Me!

I was thumbing through my January issue of Styleline (Metro Detroit) and I came across this chair. It just spoke to me! I have a tendency to be drawn to odd pieces. Something about this chair is classic and conservative yet funky and fresh. As you already know, I draw inspiration from all sorts of different sources. This is the flavor of the day.

The bright colors offer a grand contrast against the sterile white background... and the print is a combination of tropical jungle and paisley?! Whatever it is I love it. So what scent did it inspire? Maybe a floral base with citrus and berry top notes... it will definitely be something fun, feminine and flirty but sophisticated enough for the professional glam woman!

The scent inspired by this crazy looking chair will be included in the signature series of my company. Look for it!

Oh, by the way.... if you love this chair like I do, you can find it at Pottery Barn (Brooks Slipcover Chair in Bettina) for a cool $629-829.
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Timeless Treasures Thursday: Coty, Inc

Coty was never a household name for me until I began my hunt for the perfect cosmetic company to work for. Now that I am developing my own company, I wanted to know what led to the success of Coty, Inc. Coty, Inc was founded in 1904 (wow! talk about timeless treasure!) by a Corsican by the name of Francois Spoturno-- the name a spin off from his mother's maiden name Coti. A company of humble beginnings, Spoturno built his first makeshift laboratory in his flat. After just four years of marketing his first fragrance, he was profitable enough to open a factory. With the new factory also came a new face powder. Coty, Inc catered to the most wealthy patrons, but also offered smaller sizes of his products at prices a young Parisian girl could afford.

Coty, Inc continued to introduce new products, and was the first to manufacture a series of products in the same scent (great idea, its still widely used). The company proved to be ahead of rhe pack not only in product development but in the containers and packaging it used as well. Over the years the company has changed hands several times due to death and retirement, but it is still a fierce competitor in the industry. Coty, Inc is now a subsidiary of Joh. A. Benckiser GmbH. Notable brands include: Lady Stetson, Rimmel and Calgon.

To read more on the history of Coty, Inc follow the link in my References section.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Um, What?! Wednesday: The Laureth/Lauryl Sulfates

If you're obsessed with reading the ingredients lists on the back of your personal care products like I am, then you've definitely come across the Laureth/Lauryl Sulfates. Sodium/Ammonium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfates (I know it looks tricky, bear with me) are surfactants. They are commonly found in shampoo, body wash, shower gel and soap usually at the top of the ingredients list. The purpose of a surfactant is to remove oil and dirt from the skin and hair.

These ingredients are known skin/eye irritants when used in concentrations of 2% or higher. Most of the products we use have a concentration of atleast 20%. The lauryl sulfates have been proven to make significant changes to the epidermal layer of the skin and also damage the hair follicle. On the bright side, none of these ingredients have been known to cause cancer, but the verdict is still out. Ultimately, these chemicals have been deemed safe for cosmetic use.

So that's the science, tried and true... but I must say, I've never experienced any irritation from the products I use and my hair is quite healthy. When the weather breaks (spring where are you?) I'm going to make the switch to all natural hair care developed by yours truly. Look for a series related to that topic... :-)
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Techie Tuesday: Creating Shine

What woman doesn't want skin that glows or hair that shines? Exactly. The geniuses in cosmetic science are constantly working to provide products that give your face that dewy, youthful glow or "hair so healthy, it shines". Fortunately, cosmetic scientists are highly educated in the fields of chemistry, biology and physics. We know what your skin and hair needs, the particulars about how light is reflected and exactly what ingredients will produce the end effect. Here's the science in a nutshell...

In order to create shine, the surface in question must be great at reflecting light. So in the lab, cosmetics are made with ingredients that have a large flat surface area (for optimal light reflection) that will rest on the skin or coat the cuticle layer of the hair. There are some simple things you can do at home to help out. Product build up, dirty skin and clogged pores cause scatter--- light bouncing off a surface all willy nilly--- which results in the appearance of dull skin and hair.

To improve the appearance of your skin, exfoliate once a week. Include it in your Sunday ritual so that you start the week looking gorgeous darling!!!! For your face, follow up with a toner and moisturizer suitable for your skin type. For your body, use your usual lotion, cream, or body butter.... in the winter months you may want to mix in a little light oil.

Now for the hair... shampoo and deep condition your hair once a week. This is imperative for healthy hair. Dirty hair and scraggly ends are sure to cause scatter. Use cool water for your final rinse. This will help smooth the cuticle layer and encourage natural oil production from the scalp. Use a blow dryer or a flat iron as a final step to smoothing the cuticle layer. You may or may not see instant results, but over time your hair will be light, fluffy and shiny.

Here's to the glam life!

To read more about the technical side of scatter and shine follow the link to Cosmetiscope.
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Monday, February 9, 2009

Maintenance Monday: Create Rituals

Happy Monday!!!! This morning I began reading a wonderful book [Living a Beautiful Life by Alexandra Stoddard] that is ultimately a guide to living a fulfilling life. The book focuses on making small changes in your day to day life that makes necessary tasks enjoyable. The first chapter of the book discusses creating rituals for things that you do anyway ie bathing, sleeping, eating etc.

Let's take baby steps... most of us already have a bathing ritual. We take showers or bubble baths with our favorite body wash, then slather on the best lotion for our skin right? But is the bathroom esthetically pleasing? Are our towels super big and plush? Do we have spa quality robes and slippers to put on when we get out?

My suggestion: add a little beauty to your bathing ritual. Pick a color scheme that makes you feel good when you're in the room. Add a beautiful painting or a vase. Scented candles make a big difference in the way you feel about your environment. Try some aromatherapy candles which are designed to induce specific feelings. Basically, turn your bathroom into your at home spa. A little pampering goes a long way to improving the way you feel about yourself. Take a little time for you.

Decide on a ritual today and let the beauty begin! Have a wonderful week.
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Saturday, February 7, 2009


I'm beyond excited!!!! My plans for my cosmetic company are finally coming together... I've been a stay at home mom for a few months now so I've had more time to focus and get it together. Its almost time for me to purchase a hot new pair of "I'm about my business" pumps!!! Any suggestions?

I still cannot release the name of the company or any of the particulars, but rest assured that will be coming soon. I plan to launch with a giveaway worth about $500. It will be a big deal! So make sure you check in daily.

Ok, so I'm in the process of making final decisions about product offerings, pricing and location. I should have a whole lot more to tell you all by next Saturday. In the meantime, I'll continue to post daily. Here's the weekly rundown:

Maintenance Monday--- What better way to start your week than with a little encouragement and a few strokes to your ego. Every Monday, expect a post that will push you to give yourself a little TLC and to encourage you to indulge in your vanity (every woman has atleast a little, its ok!)

Techie Tuesday--- This will be about about the latest in Cosmetic Science... you gotta know what to expect from your favorite brands right?

Um, What?! Wednesday--- Spotlight on one long and hard to pronounce ingredient in your personal care products... You'll get the good, the bad and the ugly!

Timeless Treasures Thursday--- A weekly moment in history discussing the evolution of big time cosmetic companies... wouldn't you like to know how it all started? I would!

Fresh Idea Friday--- Find out about my current inspiration and what direction it may lead me... pretty interesting I'd say, but you be the judge!

Weekends are a free for all. Got an idea? Send me an email!

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Friday, February 6, 2009

In Black and White

My inspiration for my cosmetic line comes from just about everything; jewelry, fashion, furniture, nature, colors--- you get the picture. Today I'm focused on a timeless fashion staple... black and white. I've had a thing for this color scheme for about 7 years now... I'm so fortunate that it never goes out of style! At any rate, I'm in search of some interesting perfume and/or apothecary bottles and I thought "how classy would a black and white bottle be?!" So armed with inspiration from two very fashionable dresses, I began my hunt for some haute fragrance bottles. TaDaaaaa!!!!

I think the best way to compliment such a straight forward look is to soften it with feminine makeup (no lipstick, just gloss or stain) and a light fragrance-- something floral or citrus. Let's face it, when wearing the most contrasting color scheme you're commanding enough attention!!!
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lady Lauder

In my quest to launch my cosmetic company, I thought it necessary to learn how the most successful companies came to be. So... every friday we will explore the big names in beauty. I chose to start with Estee Lauder because it is timeless, well noted and one of the first names that comes to mind in fine cosmetics and fragrances. The woman behind this company was such a power house! And let me be the first to tell you I'm all about the ambitious woman!

The inception of this company stemmed from a cream made by the uncle of Josephine Esther Mentzer (Estee Lauder). In 1944 Lady Lauder began pushing her product line in New York salons and small scale department stores and soon enough she landed counter space in Saks Fifth Ave. She personally traveled the country training her staff in the proper way to relate to customers and sell the products; teaching them her philosophy. Estee Lauder was the first company to offer free samples as a marketing strategy; one that I think is ingenious and truly necessary. Over the years, Mrs. Lauder's desire to beautify women and drive to succeed led to the inclusion of perfumery and a host of other cosmetic companies under the Estee Lauder umbrella [Clinique, Prescriptives, Origins to name a few]. Estee Lauder truly left a legacy for her family, aspiring cosmetic scientists and entrepreneurs worldwide.

There are so many parallels between Lady Lauder and myself that after reading her story I am even more inspired, excited and encouraged to keep moving closer to my dreams.

Follow the link in my References list to learn more about Estee Lauder, the lady and the legend.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Um, What?! Wednesday

This is the very first Um, What?! Wednesday! Every Wednesday I'm going to break down one ingredient commonly found in personal care products; giving you the good, the bad and the ugly. Today its all about EDTA, my absolute favorite chemical (don't ask me why, I'm a nerd!). Here are the facts:

EDTA and its salts-- anything listed that has EDTA somewhere in the name-- is found in just about all skin care treatments including lotions, creams, body wash, soap, shampoos and conditioners. Its official chemical name is (insert deep breath here) ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid. Its defining quality is the ability to bind metal ions. Popular applications in your personal care products are preservative and foaming/lather agent. As a preservative it prevents deterioration of the product, protects the fragrance, and prevents rancidity (common in products whose ingredients include water). It combines with metals such as calcium, magnesium and iron to achieve foam or lather. EDTA also keeps metals from being deposited on your hair, skin and scalp (cleanliness is of utmost importance right?).

Not only is this chemical known for getting the job done, its also been deemed safe by the FDA for food and cosmetic applications. That's right, its safe enough to eat!!!! In reference to cosmetic and personal care applications, it is not a skin irritant or sensitizer, nor is it a carcinogen (won't cause cancer). It results in very little skin penetration, so if found in your blood stream, its only in trace amounts.

I absolutely love this chemical!!!! See you next Wednesday!
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Eating Pretty

If a poll was taken of all my friends and family, it would reveal that I like to eat just as much as I like to 'get pretty'. Why not make it a package deal? I've found that certain staples in my diet actually work wonders for my skin. Here's why:

First and most important... I stay away from fast food. Of course I grab a burger every once in awhile, but home cooking has greater appeal to my appetite. Besides its more economical to cook, the money I save on food can be used to buy clothes and shoes. ;-) Whole foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries) are rich in vitamins and minerals, many of which your body does not produce on its own.

Vitamin A prevents dry, flaky skin and helps maintain epithelial tissue (covers organs/organisms- your skin). Cantaloupe, Papaya and other citrus fruits contain Vitamin A. Pro-vitamin A (beta-carotene) protects your skin from sun damage and prevents wrinkling and age spots. Its like sunscreen from the inside out! Dark skin on fruits and vegetables is an indication of the presence of beta-carotene.

The same foods that have a high content of Vitamin A usually have a good amount of Vitamin C as well. Vitamin C is not just good for your immune system; it works wonders for your skin too! It is an anti-oxidant that improves skin cell turnover (younger cells=younger skin) and the formation of collagen. Collagen is responsible for skin elasticity and firmness which results in a more youthful appearance. Similarly, Vitamin E reduces the production of collagenase (anti-collagen) which causes skin sagging and wrinkles. Nuts and leafy green vegetables are a good source of Vitamin E. Add some fish and whole grains to your diet to aid in normal oil production thanks to the Vitamin B they contain. And for you notorious tea sippers; switch to green tea which speeds up the skin cycle and reverses aging.

So my suggested pretty eating plan is-- have a fruit salad for breakfast (use fruit that is in season) Organic is good too I guess... I'm not an organic fanatic. For a snack, pop some nuts and have a cup of green tea. Have a green salad for lunch. And finally have fish for dinner a couple times a week--- try salmon, trout and tuna... but be careful too much fish can lead to mercury poisoning.

While I love playing in my makeup on occasion, natural beauty is very important to me... so here's to eating pretty!!! Tell me how it works for you.
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Monday, February 2, 2009

Feathers, Fragrance and Fashionistas!

From the runway to the streets, feathers are a hot item for fashionistas worldwide! Fashion forecasters predict this trend is going to carry on well into the spring/summer season. The look is neutral and romantic; more for the elegant and classy... not quite for the bold and the flashy. I would however love to see how someone more adventurous with their style would incorporate a smashing feather piece.

This trend caught my eye and got my wheels turning to create a fragrance from matched inspiration. I imagine a rich and smooth scent with a sweet vanilla and nutty vetiver base, blended with soft woody undertones and a touch of creamy coconut.

Its all just melting together wonderfully in my mind... now to make it work in The Glam Laboratory!
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Sunday, February 1, 2009

What "Green" Really Means...

I stumbled upon an article in an issue of Cosmetiscope-- a journal for cosmetic scientists-- detailing what 'green' means in the cosmetic industry. What I once thought to be no more than an eco-fad has quickly become quite important to a great majority internationally. Here's what I learned...

In order to be considered green the cosmetic manufacturer must make an effort to prevent waste. Generally chemical waste is detrimental to the environment so you can see why this would be important. A few other requirements are linked to preventing or reducing waste, so I'll discuss them now. Any substance that is used for the sole purpose of making a reaction work has to be renewable. It cannot be 'used up' in the process and it cannot be inactive when the process is complete. Similarly, green processes minimize the creation of side products that cannot be used in other applications. In addition, green processes make use of what I would call personal assistants which speed up the reaction and minimize the amount of starting material needed.

Next on the chopping block-- unnecessary chemicals. All the ingredients tossed into the mixing bowl have to be needed for effective application of the product. In other words, all those 15-35 letter ingredients that fascinate me so much (nerdy I know!) have to be in there for a darn good reason! Additionally, a fantastically green product serves its purpose and then calls it quits leaving no chemical scars on our blessed environment. And just for good measure, a real-time pollution prevention tool should be in place. Toxicity and risk of chemical disaster-- like explosions, fires, gas leaks (no big deal, right?) are kept to a minimum.

And with all the talk about energy conservation locally and on capital hill, its no mystery why the cosmetic industry would strive to be particular about the energy use in their chemical processes.

Stay tuned to see how well your cosmetic company of choice is doing with the transition!
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The Unfading Beauty

In the spirit of promoting female self esteem, I thought it would be appropriate to debut The Glam Laboratory with a poem that captures the very essence of beauty.

by Thomas Carew

He that loves a rosy cheek,
Or a coral lip admires,
Or from star-like eyes doth seek
Fuel to maintain his fires:
As Old Time makes these decay,
So his flames must fade away.

But a smooth and steadfast mind,
Gentle thoughts and calm desires,
Hearts with equal love combined,
Kindle never-dying fires,
Where these are not, I despise
Lovely cheeks or lips or eyes.

There is more to beauty than meets the eye Sure we love getting all dolled up with our skin care rituals, perfect hair products and the most feminine nail color we can find; but whats underneath all that? Its important that we glam up the inside as well as the outside. So... pick up a book, take a class, champion a cause-- all while being the most glamorous you can be. For physical beauty inevitably fades, but authentic beauty is forever.
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