Silicone Mythbusting (with Video)

Silicone Mythbusting Video

This post is sponsored by Grant Industries. Silicones are one of the Big Bad ingredients in skincare, make-up and haircare. They’ve been demonised by natural brands, and there are more warnings about them than you can count. So I was delighted when Grant Industries (ingredient manufacturer, maker of Granactive Retinoid, physical sunscreens and of course, silicones) asked me to do a …

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Foundation Clumping Science, and How to Fix It (with Video)

Foundation Compatibility (with Video)

You might’ve had the experience where you apply your foundation over primer/moisturiser/sunscreen etc., and then a little while later your foundation’s gone clumpy. This is foundation incompatilibility. What’s happening, and what can you do to avoid it? Let’s talk about the science behind foundation! [Note: I would recommend watching the video in addition to reading the post, if you’re usually …

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How to Use Comedogenicity Ratings (with Video)

rabbit-ear-test-comedogenicity

You’ve probably seen a comedogenicity chart like these ones (and the one further down the page) before, rating different ingredients on their ability to cause pimples.

Supposedly you check the ingredients list of your product against the comedogenicity list. If it has highly comedogenic ingredients, it will cause pimples, if it doesn’t, then it won’t. It’s simple, systematic and foolproof, right? Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple…

This post goes into the science behind these comedogenicity ratings, and how exactly you should use them. It also comes in video form!

Click here for the video, scroll down for the rest of the blog post…

What does comedogenicity mean?

Comedogenicity is the tendency of an ingredient or product to clog pores. Ingredients are ranked on a scale:

  • 0 – completely non-comedogenic
  • 1 – Slightly comedogenic
  • 2-3 – Moderately comedogenic
  • 4-5 – Severely comedogenic

The numbers in comedogenicity scales come from studies performed by academics, published in peer reviewed journals – this usually means they’re somewhat reliable and valid. However, like with many other skincare claims “supported by the literature”, problems emerge when you dig deeper!

What’s wrong with the comedogenicity scale?

The problem is that the studies that produced the comedogenicity ratings don’t reflect real-world usage, for a number of reasons:

Tests aren’t done in real-world conditions

In an ideal world, we’d test every single product on every single person’s face, and develop a definitive comedogenicity rating list based on that. But this would be impossible – it would cost too much, there are too many products, and getting a lot of people to only use the one product and not change their daily routine for weeks or months at a time would be a mammoth task.

Instead, what’s used in most scientific studies is a model – a situation that mimics the real world, but is simpler to carry out and control. Think crash test dummies, dyed samples of hair, pouring blue liquid onto sanitary pads, patch testing potential allergens on your arm, testing bikes on a race track.

Most of the time these models work pretty well, but sometimes they don’t reflect the real world situation, so their results can’t be applied to everyday life (they have low external validity). In the case of comedogenicity ratings, the models don’t fare so well.

The most common rabbit ear test is flawed

The most common test for comedogenicity is the rabbit ear test, pioneered in cosmetics testing by two famous dermatologists, Albert Kligman and James Fulton, in the 1970s. This involves applying a substance to the inner ear of a rabbit, and waiting a few weeks to see if any clogged pores formed. Because rabbit ears are more sensitive than human skin, they reacted to comedogenic products faster, which was more convenient.

rabbit-ear-test-comedogenicity

Unfortunately, this also meant that there were lots of false positives, where ingredients that are non-comedogenic in humans would be found to be comedogenic in the hypersensitive rabbit model. Additionally, in the original tests, the scientists didn’t realise that there are naturally enlarged pores in rabbit ears. Some results counted these as acne, leading to even more false positives.

Related post: Purging vs Breakouts: When to Ditch Your Skincare

The most famous false positive is petroleum jelly (petrolatum or Vaseline), which was corrected in the late 1980s, but this was debated until the mid-1990s – that’s why the myth that Vaseline and oily products cause pimples is still so pervasive. This wasn’t the first time the rabbit ear tests were questioned – conflicting results were commonplace, and comedogenicity lists frequently disagreed with each other (and still do).

Related post: Is Mineral Oil Dangerous?

More recently in 2007, dermatologists Mirshahpanah and Maibach went so far as to say:

“[the rabbit ear] model is unable to accurately depict the acnegenic potential of chemical compounds, and is therefore only valuable for distinguishing absolute negatives.” – Mirshahpanah and Maibach, 2007

Tests on human subjects are also flawed

If rabbit ears don’t reflect what happens on human skin, then the obvious solution is to test on humans, right? Yes…but there are problems there too!

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Skincare Favourites 2018 (Empties Video)

Skincare Favourites Video

Videos are coming thick and fast as I try to get rid of all the old ones with my old background! This time I review my favourite skincare products from 2018 that I liked enough to finish using, along with one foundation. Click here to watch the video. If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here. …

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Foundation Reviews: The Ordinary, Lancôme, Thin Lizzy

Foundation Reviews: The Ordinary, Lancôme, Thin Lizzy

Here are some reviews of foundations I’ve tried from The Ordinary, Lancome and Thin Lizzy. I actually tried them a while ago but never got around to posting about them until now! For reference, my skin is NC20 and combination oily/normal. The Ordinary Colours: Coverage and Serum Coverage and Serum are The Ordinary’s foray into make-up, and like the rest of …

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Revlon ColorStay Creme Eye Shadow and Exactify Liquid Liner Review

Revlon ColorStay Creme Eye Shadow and Exactify Liquid Liner Review

I don’t usually associate Revlon with eye make-up products, but I recently tried out their new ColorStay Creme Eyeshadows and the Exactify Liquid Liners and I was super impressed! Here’s my review and some swatches of the products…

Revlon ColorStay Creme Eye Shadow and Exactify Liquid Liner Review

Revlon ColorStay Creme Eyeshadow Review

Revlon ColorStay Creme Eye Shadow and Exactify Liquid Liner Review

Revlon’s ColorStay Creme Eyeshadows ($14.95 AUD for 5.2 g) are little glass cream pots reminiscent of Maybelline’s Color Tattoos that I reviewed before.

Related post: Maybelline Color Tattoo Leather swatches and comparison

I have super oily eyelids, so it’s almost impossible for a cream eyeshadow to stay uncreased on them after about an hour of wear – Maybelline’s Color Tattoos creased after a while, even after setting with translucent powder. But surprisingly, Revlon’s ColorStay Creme Eyeshadows have managed it! These last a whole day on my eyelids without budging once they’re dried, and they don’t even need powder. They also come off very easily with a two-phase eye make-up remover.

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DIY Mattifying Face Powder: Just a bag of corn starch

DIY Mattifying Face Powder: Just a bag of corn starch

The latest high-impact addition to my make-up stash has been a $2 sack of corn starch. No, I haven’t turned into a “if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your face” woo-meister… here’s the lowdown.

DIY Mattifying Face Powder: Just a bag of corn starch

Why Am I Putting Corn Starch on My Face?

I am an oily beast. My skin is generally hydrated and non-irritated, so it’s not my skin overproducing oil – it’s just naturally oily.

This means I tend not to wear moisturiser during the day, and even them my make-up will generally slide around and bunch up during the day. There are a few things I’ve found really handy for dealing with it, and one of the most effective things has been using a starch-based face powder.

DIY Mattifying Face Powder: Just a bag of corn starch

I’ve tried a lot of different translucent powders to try to soak up oil, but the one that have worked best for me so far have been Williamspro Zero Powder, Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder and Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder. Their top 3 ingredients:

  • Williamspro Zero Powder: Certified Organic Arrowroot Powder, Australian Green Clay, Australian White Clay
  • Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder: Zea mays (Corn) Starch, Oryza sativa (Rice) Starch, Silica
  • Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder (now slightly reformulated and called Matte Mineral Setting Powder): Silica, Corn Starch Modified, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer

So you can see – the top ingredients all include some form of starch.

There’s also been a trend of people using talcum powder on their face, so I unearthed this from Amazon:

Johnson’s Pure Cornstarch Baby Powder With Aloe Vera & Vitamin E

Ingredients: Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Tricalcium Phosphate, Aloe Barbadensis, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Fragrance

Note: no preservative. So why not try corn starch from the grocery aisle?

Issues with Corn Starch as Face Powder and Solutions

These are the most common objections to using food-grade corn starch as face powder that I’ve come across:

Corn starch can grow bacteria/fungus while in the container

This is probably the most common one: corn starch is food, and can breed fungus and bacteria while in the container. If you put that on your face, it can give you breakouts.

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Semi-Permanent Eyeliner Tattooing: My Experience and Review

Semi-Permanent Eyeliner Tattooing: My Experience and Review

I recently had semi-permanent eyeliner tattooed onto my eyes. I’d already done botox in my masseters, IPL on my broken capillaries and microblading my brows, so this just seemed like the next step in my painful human guinea pig adventures!

I was a little nervous for a couple of reasons:

  • Tattooing your eyelids is REALLY FREAKING CLOSE to your eyeballs, and would be much harder to ignore than for microblading my brows, where I just lay back and tried to zen out.
  • Doing my brows from scratch takes me a good 15 minutes, and I could never get them as good as Leona’s microbladed brows (which I am still loving). But eyeliner only takes me 20 seconds and I’m quite particular about how it’s done, so the payoff wouldn’t be that great.
  • I’ve seen permanent eyeliner tattoos fade into blue-green tones which look really unflattering. Semi-permanent eyeliner is implanted more shallowly, so this shouldn’t be a problem… but still.

But curiosity got the better of me, so I volunteered for it anyway. What’s the worst that could happen? I could surely hide it with more eyeliner for the next 2-4 years until it faded!

The Semi-Permanent Eyeliner Tattooing Process

Rita Porreca, the director of Sydney Permanent Make-Up Centre in Five Dock, was my semi-permanent make-up artist. She’s been doing permanent make-up since the 1980s, so I knew I was in experienced hands.

Semi-Permanent Eyeliner Tattooing: My Experience and Review

After filling in the release and medical history forms, she took some “before” photos of my eyes, then applied some gel eyeliner on me so we could work out what I wanted.

Semi-permanent eyeliner is quite sharply defined while I usually go for a smudged pencil line, but we came up with a thicker line than most people opt for, which I was quite happy with. Since I like my eyes to look bigger, I opted for just the upper lid line, though many people like to tightline their bottom lid as well.

Next, Rita told me about the two instruments that she uses for permanent eyeliner: a cosmetic pen which was a bit slower but also a bit quieter, and a tattoo gun that was about twice as fast but louder and shakier. We opted for the quick option.

She then applied the numbing cream on my eyes and left me to lie back and contemplate my poor life choices while it sank in.

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