New Master’s Degree For Fashion & Beauty Entrepreneurs & Intrapreneuers


The Rutgers Business School Master of Science In Business of Fashion is  new program bridging the gap between creative passion and business acumen. I am honored to be teaching the special topics classes by bringing industry elites to help shaping our next generations of leaders.

If you are interested to sharing your industry experience, I’d love to talk to you for Spring 2017 (limited space), Fall 2017 and Spring 2018.

If you are interested in enrolling this master’s degree program, please reach out admissions directly at Rutgers Business School. Deadline for Spring 2017 is Jan 2, 2017.

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Making Of Lipsticks In Japan


Yes, I have made lipsticks. No, I have never made lipsticks the way I did in Japan or have analyzed lipsticks the way I did in Japan.

In USA, making lipsticks in most of the cases are simply blending of waxes, pigments, melt, pour into mold, chill, case it, heat gun over. done. What I did in Japan is something else.

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Japanese tend to be very meticulous in everything they do. The product I was making is a new wax-free clear lipstick which I weighted out everything and melt. But before I poured into the mold- the Japanese chemist actually “warmed up” the mold first to prevent “temperature difference” during pouring which can results in uneven stick structure and cause some pigment droplets to kick out. In theory, this makes perfect sense; however, it is not that practical in actual production for scale up.

Prior to pouring the pigmented mixture to the mold, the mixture was put under vacuum suction for two minutes to ensure there was no aeration during mixing. This step is also attention to detail which I have never done it in USA. Usually when the temperature is high enough, air bubbles do not usually get trapped in the mixture. With this vacuum step, it is a double insurance.

Moreover, the mold was cleaned and applied a drop each of ester to ensure easier release of the lipstick bullet when the product is harden. Oddly enough, no chilling table was used to hasten the cooling process for the same reason- ensure product uniformity. In USA, our fast food culture, we would send off the mold to chill quickly so we can go to the next steps.

Once the product is set, the bullets are inserted into the lipstick case waiting to be flamed. Prior to this step, some lipstick bullets are cut off the top layer with a fishnet string if it goes into a supported slim line case. In USA, we do not use open fire in the lab. The most we do is using a heating gun to lightly warm up the surface to ensure the product looks shiny and smooth without nicks or scratched. In Japan, they actually used alcohol lamp for flaming and you have to do it very quickly to avoid fingers being burned.

The lipsticks are then checked for bending strength (to make sure it will not break when you apply with force on your lips), friction (to ensure the product will go on your lips smoothly), and hardness (to ensure it will not melt in disaster under high temperature especially if you left in the car). In USA, we do these tests more from sensory points of view but in Japan, they have an instrument for every analysis!

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I made four batches of lipsticks- two with the new clear stick technology and two with the traditional lipstick. What kind of lipsticks do you prefer?

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There are difference in making products in USA and in Asia. Neither one is better than the other. We ought to appreciate the thoroughness of other culture and also always think how we can translate what we learn in scale up environment and ensure quality.

Ginger

 

The Small Yet Mighty Tool To Complete Your Beauty Look


When I was a teenager, my mom would never go out with me If I do not wear a lipstick. She thought a colored lip means a healthy look and to her dismay, I tended to use really dark colors to look cool but it made me look older.

When I go out with my 11-year-old son now, he would always ask me to put on eyeliners. As he thought the eyes are everything. The bolder the eyeliners, the bigger the eyes appeared.

Sure, the lips and eyes are major when people look at you but don’t forget, you need some blush to complete the LOOK!

Here are my seven pointers on blush:

  • If you only use a lipstick, your skin tone may look shallow. If you do have some foundation on, you can still look wiped out. Some blushes can add that healthy glow to the look.
  • Although as a cosmetic chemist, I never want people to use blushes as an eye shadow because some pigments may not be good for sensitive eyes. However, a dab of a pink eye shadow on the middle of eyelids give you instant “cuteness”. I particularly favor Clarins  Eye,Cheek & Lip Cream Blush.
  • Some ethnic group looks gorgeous with deep red color blush. However, unless you have a darker skin tone, stick with a pink color blush to look natural.
  • Match your lipstick with blush? Sure, if you have a warm tone lipstick on, you can use a coral tone of blush. If you have a cool tone lipstick with blue in there, stick with a pink blush so the colors do not crash.
  • To have a natural look, pink is always the best bet because the idea of using a blush is to imitate the natural skin flush for that baby-like natural redness. It’s never brown or violet or copper.
  • Cream blushes tend to stay on better than powder blushes and create less streaking issues.
  • How you apply blush also matters. Usually you would smile and apply blushes on the “apple” of the cheek. If you do it with round stroke, you can look more youthful.  If you do a slant motion, it can be more of a contour to emphasize on your cheek bone.

So, when you are putting on your “eyes”, “lips”, do not forget the small yet almighty tool- BLUSH to complete your look.

Until next time,

Ginger

 

my blush

Advice To Cosmetic Brand Owners :-)


Yes, I am a cosmetic chemist but I am also a makeup artist and a skin care expert. I do, still to this date dabbling around the cosmetic retail counters to keeping pulse with the consumer trends in the industry. Here are my observations and advice (more to the owners of the brand). If you do want to start your own brand, avoid these mistakes as well :-).

  • Do not print your product name on a holographic background:  It is bad enough to read the small print for the product names, let along the holographic or high shine silver or gold background as it is making it worse for any beauty advisors to find the stock among the hundreds of shades.
  • Do not use hot-stamping on your product name especially if it is going to be placed on the bottom of the products: How many times do customers nicely bring a bottle of foundation or compact powder for replenish and the writing on the product name is GONE. The beauty advisors will have to rematch the shade.
  • Do not just give a shade name without a number to it. There can be a million shade called rose but chances are the customers do not remember if it is silky rose or soft rose or romantic rose. Assign a number to it. It’s even more importantly that when you talk to the press, you show both the product name and number! Case in point- a well known brand just launched a beautiful lipstick shade Vision. However, when the customer go to buy the product, all the lipsticks go by designated number on the top of lipstick package instead of shade names!
  • Do not use white caps in packaging if all possible. Yes, white denotes purity. However, some of the white caps get dirty easily even with cleaning. How many times have you seen a dirty white cap on top of a cleanser, lotion or even a sunscreen? They are dirty because chances are the beauty advisor’s hands are full of the makeup residue and got transferred to the caps. The same will apply to foundation bottles.
  • Do not change packaging for the sake of restage. Cosmetic companies continue to improve packaging either for better cost or better efficiency or because a new marketing head was hired and wanted to make some changes. There are customers who only recognize the packaging when they buy. When you change the packaging, they assume the juice inside is different and they will not buy it. People are creatures of habits. If you are upgrading, upgrade everything!
  • Do not run several promotions during the same period of time. It is the internet age, people do buy more on line. However, to keep your brand ambassadors- the front line to your customers, you need to be sensitive to keeping them. How many times when your favorite beauty advisor called to tell you about the Gift with Purchase promotion, and on the same time period, you are offering 20-30% discount when they buy directly on line from you? Retail is going down the hills but do not forget your beauty advisors are your brand ambassadors! You take good care of them, they take great care of your customers! On-line shopping is good when people know what they want. It’s the OLD business, OLD products you are getting. Your one-on- one beauty advisor spreads the latest new innovation and the TOUCH to your customers to generate the NEW business for you. Do not ever forget that!

Retail is detail. All the points mentioned seemed to be no big deals at a glance. However, these can certainly be the points for improvement. The more your beauty advisors appreciate you, the better your NEW business will be.

To your success!

Ginger,Beauty Industry Consultant

 

New Year + Valentine’s Day Beauty From Head To Toe


There are two special days that you want to be pampered and ready from head to toe- namely New Year + Valentine’s day. Since today is the first day of lunar new year, you can try this head to toe beauty guide for a radiant new you and also ready for a romantic Valentine’s day ahead! In case you don’t know, I am a cosmetic chemist + skin care expert + makeup artist. Beauty is in my blood.

My suggestions:
1) Hair– Use a hair mask (Neutrogena Triple Moisture) to keep hair ultra soft for your and his hands to run through. This is by far the most softening hair mask in mass market.
2) Brows– Groom it with Maybelline Brow drama for a natural yet intensified look. It’s so natural!
3) Eyes– Less on eyeshadow. Big on cat eyes with liquid eyeliner (Maybelline Stileto liquid). I love this liquid eyeliner. It stays put yet removable with a wet Q-tip for any mistakes.
4) lips– smooth with lipscrub and apply lip gloss (Clinique sweet pots). They are fun, functional and inexpensive!
5) Face– Multi-tasking mask for S.M.A.R.T. results (Grand Central Beauty Skin Perfecting Mask). Hands down the best mask! You do not need to buy 5 different masks to get 5 desired results!
6 )Neck– Clarins Firming Neck Cream. Addictive soft texture. You need to love the texture to use daily right?
7) Hands– Clarins Hand Cream. Non-greasy. Moisturizes hands and cuticles.
8) Body– Use fragrance layering of shower gel + perfume lotion + eau de parfum + powder. Prada Candy make you extra sweet. If you have dry skin, fragrance does not last on you. Always LAYER it.
9) Nails– Chanel Vamp is back in style.  Sheswai Winesnob shade is also awesome!

Happy Year of Fire Monkey!  Happy Valentine’s Day ahead!

xo, Ginger

 

 

My First E-Book On Amazon Kindle!


Happy New Year! If you are thinking about creating your cosmetic line, now is the time!

This book is for you! Pre-order now! Official release on Feb. 8, 2016 Chinese New Year. Thank you for your pre-order in advance :-)!!

Find it on Amazon Kindle store today!!!

Mybook

Your Beauty Questions ANSWERED!


As a cosmetic chemist, a skin expert and a makeup artist, I have  been asked many questions by consumers and editors. Below is the Q&A for the commonly asked questions and my professional opinion.

  • Is red-lipstick the best hack for under eye dark circles? Heck NO! Red lipsticks contains certain dyes that can be irritating on the eye area. The pigments are regulated by FDA. Unless it’s an all-over color stick (tested to be safe around eye), do not use a red lipstick as a concealer. Your better option is to use a powder or cream blush. Additionally, lipstick usually contains high level of wax. You do not want to clog the pores on the thinnest area of your face- the under eyes.
  • Should I stick with one brand or can I mix brands? In general, it is preferred to stick with one brand because when companies do testing, they often will do testing with the companion products to make sure there is no adverse reaction or pilling on the skin. Exceptions are products which you do not use every day, such as facial polisher or mask, you can use whatever brands that please you.  For hair products- in general, fragrance is key in hair care. You want to keep the consistency of scents. Additionally, almost all hair companies conduct their performance claims based on the use of their shampoo AND conditioner so they can entice you to buy more.
  • Do I really need to use a hair conditioner? If you are on a budget, please splurge on the hair conditioner and skimpy on the shampoo unless you are using a cleansing conditioner. The number one function of shampoo is to clean. As long as you are using a good conditioner, it is okay to use any value-priced shampoo for your hair.
  • Why should I use a day and a night cream?  The day cream is designed to protect your skin. The night cream is formulated to nourish and repair you skin. The functions are very different. It is best to use a separate cream. If you absolutely has to pick one, get the day cream as it should have the SPF protection, granted you do not have much “damages” to repair.
  • Is department store brands better than drug store brands? A lot of times, you are not only paying for the product, you are paying for the packaging too. While every cosmetic brands have different practice, I found mass market color cosmetics work just as well as department stores. However, when it comes to skin care, I prefer brands with clinically proven claims and not just stories of green marketing.
  • Should I be buying only natural products? Everything is a chemical, including water as you can spell out H2O. The question is really- is what I am buying SAFE?  When companies boasts of its naturalness, it does not equate to better or more effective. As long as Repeated Insult Patch Testing (RIPT) has been done and the toxicology profile has been reviewed, you can feel safe to use it. Nature does not equate better but only a piece of mind, in YOUR own mind.

If you have any beauty questions, please feel free to comment.

Ginger