Cleansers Bridget Black ™

Beauty Myths Uncovered

Beauty Myth 1

Day CremeThou shalt seek only natural products
Are bridget blacktm products "natural"? 

Wow...you guys LOVE this question. It's almost the first thing I am asked.

There exists an abundance of information and products on the market that claim to be "natural" by containing only "natural" ingredients. Whilst some natural ingredients have benefits for the skin, others often cause problems by acting as irritants. Using the word "natural" in skin care marketing is purely a ploy to lead the consumer to believe that because the ingredients are derived from Mother Earth, they are less problematic or somewhat better for the skin.

There currently exists no credible scientific evidence to substantiate the effectiveness of natural ingredients as opposed to synthetic. "Natural" doesn't necessarily equate to "good".

Aside from that, the word "natural" is unregulated, which means companies can manipulate it to mean almost anything they want!

Synthetic ingredients have been developed by scientists by isolating ingredients from plant material and chemically altering them to provide added benefits for the skin, that would be not be possible by using the plant in its natural form. It is blatantly untrue that natural or plant derived ingredients are better for the skin that their synthetic counterparts.

What is important is that the safety of each ingredient is assessed thoroughly by a credible source. Check out http://www.ewg.org/ and you can see where I refer when I am unsure about the safety of any ingredient.

Take cocobetaine. Cocobetaine (or cocamidopropyl betaine) is a mild detergent used in cleansers, scrubs and shower gels. It is a mild foaming agent and I prefer to use it because it has great flash foaming properties and is very mild in comparison to other surfactants available. Having read lots and lots of labels, I have come across a few companies that list cocobetaine as being derived from coconut. This in part is true, cocobetaine is derived from coconut oil, but what it endures during this conversion would startle you!

bridget blacktm  products are a blend of safe synthetics that have known and well documented benefits to the skin and natural ingredients in their purest forms.

Beauty Myth 2

Night CremeThou shalt look for preservative-free products

Another popular one....

Preservatives are cosmetic ingredients designed to protect the product against microbial contamination for the lifetime of the product.

Preservatives are "safe" ingredients as their efficiency and safety has been thoroughly tested. The most important thing when formulating cosmetics is that a balance is achieved between minimising microbial contamination and avoiding skin allergies due to preservatives. Overuse of preservatives can cause allergic reactions.

Some companies claim that their products are "preservative free" whilst others claim to use only plant-based preservatives. In truth, preservative free and plant-based preservatives cause more problems for skin as opposed to their synthetic counterparts, because of their inadequate anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Contamination of products from microbes is far more serious than using small quantities of synthetic preservatives.

I use a number of different preservatives when formulating bridget blacktm products. My favourite one is called Optiphen plusTM, which is a mixture of phenoxyethanol, sorbic acid and caprylyl glycol. It is globally approved for safety. I also love vitamin E as a preservative and as an ingredient. Vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate) is generally used for formulations consisting mainly of oil and prevents the oil from going rancid.

In 2005, a new method of labeling cosmetics "use by date" was established in Europe. Look for the open jar on bridget blacktm  products!!!

Beauty Myth 3

Thou shalt cleanse, tone and moisturize

OK, we all know about the three step system...but does it work for ALL skin types?

I don't believe it does.

The skin is basically a matrix, consisting of two layers - the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is the outermost layer and is about 0.1mm thick for the most part of the body, but can be a much as 1mm thick on the feet. The majority of cells found in the epidermis are called keratinocytes and contain the protein called keratin (you may have heard of this in hair care commercials!). Keratin is a relatively resistant protein, thus making the skin water resistant.

New keratinocytes are constantly being produced in the epidermis and as new ones to rise to the surface, older ones are "shed". Keratinocytes start off square at the bottom of the epidermis and eventually flatten out towards the surface, where they are able to overlap. It's the overlapping that causes the protective barrier on the skins surface.

The dermis is about four times as thick as the epidermis and contains sweat glands, hair follicles and blood vessels. The epidermis contains proteins called collagen and elastin. Unfortunately for us, collagen and elastin break down as we get older. I guess this is why the cosmetics industry exists in the first place!

Skin typing is difficult because we don't all fit in to the oily, dry or normal skin types as professed by some. What is normal anyway? It is difficult to prescribe individual regimes for people that have been told time and time again that they fit  into one of those categories. They just don't believe me when I tell them their skin is dry and not oily.

How do you tell if your skin is oily or dry? Wash your face with soap or a cleanser that foams. Apply no product and observe your skin after a few hours. Is it smooth? Shiny? Cracked? Feel tight? Flaky? If your skin feels smooth or there are signs of oil flow, then chances are you skin is oily. The extent of the oiliness will depend on the amount of oil and where it appears. If it is rough and/or flaky then you are probably battling dry skin. If your nose is oily and your cheeks are dry, then it goes without saying that you have a combination of both.

That's the easy part. Other factors to consider are conditions such as rosacea, dermatitis, eczema, acne, spider veins, wrinkles, congestion, allergies, sensitive skin...the list goes on.

The best way to determine your skin type is to have a proper diagnosis that may involve a questionnaire and the use of some sort of diagnostic tool. I often use a Woods lamp, a special UV lamp that highlights dry, oily dehydrated or damaged skin.

UPDATE: The company that launched the "Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise" message has relaunched the message with "Cleanse, Exfoliate, Moisturise". Funny, that!