Friday, May 30, 2008

Beauty News: EC Launches an On-Line Database of Cosmetic Ingredients

European Commission has recently launched an online database of cosmetic ingredients called CosIng (Cos(metic)Ing(redients)). It is based on several EC directives and includes information starting from as early as 1976.

The present day consumer does care about the ingredients list and the safety of those chemicals we apply on the skin. That is why, I believe, there is a need for an easy to use and understand, clear, informative and reliable search engine for cosmetic ingredients.

I checked out the new EC search trying to understand how convenient and informative it is for me as a usual consumer.

You can search by the name of the ingredient or by its official number. The search result provides a lot of reference numbers like CAS #, EINECS/ELINCS # which do not tell me anything. In addition, it explains functions of the ingredient which IS useful. You also get information about chemical composition of the ingredient you entered.
However, it does not give a clear assessment of the ingredient's safety. If the ingredient was mentioned in one of the EC directives, it will give a reference code(“Restriction/Annex-Part-Ref #”). So you have to open the PDF file of the directive and search for this information. Hmm… Yes, it is complicated and time consuming but, on the other hand, you do know that this information is for sure reliable…

I compared CosIng it to some other databases available online which are really few! – provides a hazard score of a particular ingredient, information about any safety concern, usage. According to, their database is based on “50 databases and sources from government agencies, industry panels, academic institutions, or other credible bodies”. They also provide detailed explanation on how they make their evaluations. - FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) does not have a search engine for ingredients but provides some general guidelines. You can read several articles on which ingredients are prohibited or are controversial.

Here are a couple other databases I came across - Scorecard provides information about toxic chemicals. This site has a more general search engine - not specifically about cosmetics ingredients. – Site by The US Personal Care Products Council that also has a search engine for cosmetics ingredients but registration is required to use it.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Beauty Talk: Tips on How to Minimize Expression Lines

My sister, who will turn 18 in a month, was visiting me last weekend. Knowing about my passion for skin care, she inquired pointing to her forehead, : “I already have wrinkles. What should I do?” I explained that those are not yet wrinkles but light expression lines but if she continues to express all the array of emotions with her forehead, wrinkles will follow soon. “But how can I be expressive otherwise?” she asked. “I can’t just have a frozen face”.

The fact is that we wrinkle foreheads, squint eyes, furrow eyebrows and crinkle noses a lot out of a habit, we don’t even notice or realize it. Very often we don't feel that our facial muscles are tightened. Remember the feeling before and after a massage session? Before a massage you don’t even realize that your muscles are so stressed. However, after the session your body feels so much more relaxed and just a tone lighter. The same with the facial muscles – we often tighten them habitually and just get used to it.

It is not necessary to completely stop expressing your emotions and wear a “mask” for a face. However, if you invest some time and effort, you will slow down the process of expression lines formation.

What you need to do is
- learn to relax your facial muscles
- don’t wrinkle your forehead or raise brows for every reason either you are thinking hard or are just telling an interesting story
- learn to make up for less forehead wrinkling by expression of you eyes, tilt of your head or hands gesticulations
- don’t squint your eyes, wear sunglasses or, if you do it for the reason of a bad sight, get lenses

Here are a couple exercises and tips I came across that will help you get started.

1.Place a mirror on your work desk so that from the corner of your eye you can see your reflection. You will look into the mirror from time to time and notice if you start wrinkling your forehead or frowning etc. Just relax the muscles. Soon you will start noticing the difference between tightened muscles and the relaxed ones.
2.When at home, wear a thin silk ribbon on your forehead. When you raise eyebrows you will feel it move.
3.Do the following exercise daily: Stand in front of the mirror and relax your facial muscles, concentrate on relaxing your forehead and eyebrow muscles, just let your eyebrows be heavy and all of your facial muscles to just “fall down”. Keep relaxing until you see almost no expression lines anymore. You can help yourself by tapping lightly on your forehead and along the eyebrows. It also helps to prepare for the exercise by doing a light massage when applying your moisturizer.
Do this exercise for at least 1 minute. Later, when you are better at relaxing your muscles, you can bring it down to 30 sec. I would recommend for the beginners to do it minimum 2 times a day in the afternoons and evenings.

I started to be more careful about my facial expressions some time ago and have been doing the 3rd exercise regularly. I do feel it when I frown or wrinkle my forehead so I just try to relax as much as I can. It has been very helpful up till now. I’m turning 29 soon – no lines yet in sight. I do get forehead lines by the evening and on stressful days but after the abovementioned evening exercise and a night’s sleep, I wake up with a smooth forehead ready to face another stressful day. :-)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Beauty Fact: Smoking Can Be Worse For your Skin than Sunbathing

Did you know that one puff of a cigarette subjects your body to more free radicals than a UV-dose needed for a suntan?

Most of us know smoking is bad for your health on the whole and for your skin as well. Inhaling tobacco smoke results in restricted blood vessels and, subsequently, reduced amount of blood flow to the skin. As a result your skin is deprived of the vital oxygen and nutrients and soon smokers develop this grey or yellowish complexion.

Another fact related to the nasty habit may make some smokers finally quit. According to German Vogue (Apr 2008), one puff of a cigarette creates over 100 times more free radicals than a UV dose enough to get a suntan. In an interview to Vogue, Professor Dr.Leonhard Zastow, Senior VP of Coty in Monte Carlo, explained that smoking also brings down body’s ability to protect itself against sun damage. Another striking fact is that only 8 hours after your last cigarette oxygen flow in the body comes to normal and only 48 hours later nicotine is completely out of your system. You will have to wait for two more weeks to get back a healthy skin color!

If a smoker is reading this post and has not yet decided to quit, let me rub it in. According to some studies quoted by, statistically smokers develops premature signs of aging much sooner than a non-smoker and even in 20 year old smokers “facial wrinkling, while not yet visible, can be seen under a microscope.

Wow! I am glad I am not a smoker!

Read more about skin damaging factors you shoud try to avoid.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Beauty and Makeup: ArtDeco Eyeshadow Eye Designer # 50

I think I found the best (for now) eyeshadow tone to create Leona Lewis “Bleeding Love” look! It is Long-Lasting Eyeshadow powder by ArtDeco # 50 in the Eye Designer line (photo above: on the left #50 on the right #49). To use this shadow you have to buy a special applicator as well– see the photo.
ArtDeco, founded in 1985, is a Germany company that manufactures skin care and makeup products.
ArtDeco is available in more than 50 countries in Europe as well as in Brazil, South and Middle America and some other lands.

#50 - I love the color! Hard to describe it though – it is something like dark earth color with green/brown tones. It also has tiny gold sparkles. Ladies who have green eyes (and Leona does) will be amazed by how this shadow brings out the green color of your eyes without actually looking green…

Love the applicator. On one end it is rounded - which is good for blending (or blending in another color), on the other end is pointed for more accurate targeted application. You can use the pointed end to apply shadow close to eyelashes and in the inner corner. Found this applicator very convenient for doing both a dramatic eye and a more reserved eye makeup.

Smooth and silky. Easy to apply and correct mistakes. However you won’t get VERY intensive color. For a more dramatic look I use eyeliner pencil under the shadow and a liquid eyeliner over it. I also noticed that if you apply a lot of ArtDeco shadow to achieve maximum intensity, it becomes hard to blend in another shade. The shadow kind of gets wiped away by the next tone I am trying to blend in. And you do need to blend in case you want to create a smoky eye. (Sorry, but the color looks a bit different in the photo)

Lasting Time and Smudginess:
It does last. I should say it will easily last the whole night out or a day in the office but with some touch ups, the color will fade a bit but eyes will still look made up. It stays in place but it leaves an imprint on the upper lead.

Bottom Line:
I really like the color, how it makes my eyes stand out and how it brings out the green of my eyes. Even though this eye shadow has some room for improvement (e.g.: I wish it had better blending properties), I already bought another refill #50 and another applicator with a golden shadow.

Applicator approximately 20$
Refill approximately 10$

PS: ArtDeco has a perfect Eyeliner Soft Kajal Liner 86 to match Eye Designer Eyeshadow # 50. It is very soft and easy to apply - like it a lot!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Beauty Review: Sisley Cosmetics Roundup and Free Samples

This is a roundup of my reviews on Sisley products.

I tried and reviewed six products by Sisley:
-All Day All Year
-Sisleya Radiance Anti-Aging Concentrate
-Sisleya Eye and Lip Contour Cream
-Buff and Wash Gel
-Sisley's Energizing and Foaming Exfoliant
-Confort Extreme Body Cream for Very Dry Areas
-Gentle Eye and Lip Makeup Remover

My favorites are exfoliating products for body and face and the Sisleya Radiance Anti-Aging Concentrate.

Mostly I was impressed with the quality and effectiveness of Sisley cosmetics. I also liked the natural herbal smell and the texture. I’ve read several articles about Sisley which developed my respect for this luxury cosmetics brand. The two articles I came across recently were from Russian Glamour and from German Vogue Beauty Edition (winter 2007). In addition to the information I already knew, I found out a couple more interesting facts. As I have mentioned in my first post on Sisley, it is a family run business owned by the d’Ornanos. What I like is that the d’Ornanos are very passionate about their work and their cosmetic/perfume creations. Hubert d’Ornano, a descendant from a long line of French aristocrats (according to Vogue he is related to Napoleon’s cousin), started Sisley brand after working with his brother and father in Orlane – another wonderful cosmetics brand that the d’Ornanos co-founded together with Jean D'Albret. Hubert’s wife Isabelle d’Ornano is Polish and is the Vice-President of Sisley. According to Vogue, she personally tests Sisley’s products through all the stages of their development and her bathroom shelves are filled with samples of products that are just in the process of creation. She is also 100% faithful to Sisley’s products and does not use any other brands. Well, according to Vogue 99% as she cannot resist Touche Blush by YSL. Otherwise she lays hands on competitors’ products only when she wants to check out their presentation and packaging or how consistent the product description in various languages is. Hubert’s and Isabelle’s son Philippe and daughter Christine work together with their parents at Sisley to keep up Sisley’s success and bring new projects to life.

And finally, I have some precious samples of Sisley’s products to give away! They include Moisturizer with Cucumber (4ml) for all skin types, Buff and Wash Gel (5 ml) with botanical extracts, Phyto Teint Eclat, fluid foundation, oil-free – long lasting (2ml). If you want to try your luck, just leave a relevant comment on any post of my blog and send me an email to beautyhealthinfo at marked Sisley samples in the subject line. Let me know under what nickname and where you left the comment. As soon as I have 10 relevant comments, I will randomly select the winner and send the samples.

Update (August 17, 2008): I did select the winner an the samples are mailed to Tracy! See her comment here

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