Surfactants Are Everywhere, aka Stop Being Terrified of Chemicals

Surfactants Are Everywhere, aka Stop Being Terrified of Chemicals

This post was originally published on the now sadly defunct awesome website The Toast in 2014. A reader suggested that I repost it on Lab Muffin… which I thought I did, but apparently that was all a fever dream. Here it is! There’s soap in your mayonnaise! As a scientist with a degree in chemistry, the surge in chemophobia over …

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Ranking Reddit’s Top Skincare Products

top reddit skincare products

I tried to put Reddit’s most discussed skincare products on /r/skincareaddiction into a (highly subjective) tier list. I thought this would be a fun, quick chatty video but it turned into a bit of a rabbit hole! (That seems to happen a lot…) The video is here, keep scrolling for a brief summary of the products… The usual disclaimer: my …

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Fact-check: What is micellar water and how does it work? An Update

micellar-water-face

Over the past two years, my post on the chemistry of micellar water with dodgy photographed scrawlings has become one of the most popular, so I thought it was high time to update it with nicer drawings and finetune the explanation of the science. This also comes in video form – check it out here! There are tons of micellar …

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High School Science Investigations Involving Cosmetics

laboratory equipment

Over the years I’ve gotten a lot of questions from students and teachers about investigations and demonstrations related to cosmetics that could be done in class or for independent research projects, with limited equipment access. Here are some chemistry-heavy suggestions that might be helpful. Saponification, soaps, detergents Different oils used for saponification have different fatty acid profiles – how does …

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My Top (Mostly Cheap or Free) Haircare Hacks

Haircare hacks thumbnail

I’m pretty lazy with my haircare and I’m bad at sticking to routines. But I also bleached my hair so I could play with pretty colours, which dramatically increased the effort involved to keep my hair looking decent. So in the last few years I’ve been trying out a lot of haircare hacks – these are the ones that’ve changed …

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Do I Need a Special Cleanser to Remove Sunscreen?

Do I Need a Special Cleanser to Remove Sunscreen?

Here’s a myth I’ve been seeing around skincare communities: that you have to use a special cleanser to remove water-resistant sunscreen. For example: “Keep in mind that most of these sunscreen actives are also oil-soluble (only dissolves in oil, not water), which gives sunscreens their water-proof and sweat-proof properties. Therefore, in order to completely remove sunscreen, you have to use …

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Oily Skin Skincare and Makeup Tips

oily skin makeup skincare tips

My skin is oily / combo and I complain about it quite a lot, so I often get asked for my best tips for controlling the inevitable flood of oil. I also sweat easily which apparently means I’m fit, but this adds to the oil and I end up a bigger mess. I’ve spent a long time trying to get …

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The Science of Hair Products: Shampoo and Conditioner

Sulfates, fatty alcohols, silicones, preservatives… what are they doing in your shampoo and conditioner, and do you need to avoid them? Today’s post is a deep dive into some of the key ingredients in haircare products. The video version is here if you prefer that format! Note: This post is based on a video sponsored by The Ordinary, but this …

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