Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving!

You don’t have to wait for the actual day to express your gratitude! I thank you for all the current and future friendship and business. Love to cook you some turkeys for this thanksgiving festival but my passion is in beauty. So, if you want me to cook up some “beauty”, let me know! Stay thankful every day!


Nine Types of Wrinkles May Indicate Health Issues

I came across this interesting Health & Medicine column in Chinese newspaper on nine (9) types of wrinkles that may indicate health issues. Being a cosmetic professional, we often offer solutions to problems and anti-aging is our most important weapon. Now, understanding how different health issues may cause different types of wrinkles, this opens up a new horizon in looking at wrinkles differently.  Apparently wrinkles are no longer just skin deep!

1) Horizontal wrinkles across forehead– stress related, can lead to depression…..Perhaps we can design a stress relief forehead patch to help!

2) Wrinkles on nose bridge– indicates using too much brain power so may have headache often……Perhaps we can create an aromatherapy, nerve relaxing serum to relieve the headache and erase the line.

3) Wrinkles on the cheeks– may be blood vessel related- If the right face is more prominent, watch out for liver issues. If the wrinkle appeared to be diagonal shape, it may be hypertension related…….Perhaps we can use actives that may strengthen the blood vessel or prevent broken capillaries- who said we can’t use dark circle treatment for all over the face?

4) Wrinkles on sides of nose– signifies heart issue or spinal issues, in addition to drinking red wine, daily use of anti-oxidant in products and proper exercise may help.

5) Wrinkles between eyebrows- the 11’s- Indicates under high pressure, in addition to eating 5-10 sweet almonds to calm down nerves and/or shooting botox, massage with wrinkle fighting retinol or peptides may help.

6) Wrinkles around the eyes– they are emotion-related.  If there are wrinkles on upper eyelids, it may indicate heart issues. If there are crows feet, it may indicate the weakening of hearing. In addition to control emotions, perhaps applying eye cream with sunscreen (if you are not sensitive) and wearing sunglasses during the day can help.

7) Wrinkles below the eyes– This indicates issues related to detoxifying capability- watch out for kidney related issues.  If there are bags or wrinkles under the eye, make sure to increase daily intake of alkaline food and drink plenty of water. There are also plenty of skin care products addressing just this section of eyes.

8) Vertical lines on upper lips– hormone related wrinkles often caused by decrease of estrogen. Eat more soy/vegetables and apply products capable of boosting your skin’s own collagen and elastin levels.

9) Horizontal lines on lips- Indicate stomach/liver/spleen issues. Eat more chestnuts will help to nourish these internal organs. Externally, use lip exfoliator and lip balm frequently to offer protection.

The original article was posted on New Jersey Weekly, Chinese Edition on October 3, 2013. This author translated the finding and offered potential opportunities for cosmetic products!

Novel Cosmetic Technologies for 2013 and Beyond

All cosmetic product developers and marketers constantly ask: What’ new? The interesting thing is when a new technology is presented, marketers often scratch their head- it’s cool, but how do I position it, how do I sell it?  Then, it is the product developers job to help linking the consumer use benefits to the product so the new technology indeed adds value to the daily beauty routine, not just a novelty.  It is no different than using your smart phone to text, email, face-booking, tweeting and taking photos/videos besides its primary intended use- to call!

Below is a list of some new technologies available and if you are interested to find out the details to use these for your brand, let’s talk!

1) DreamHair Powder Technology: This is a novel hair powder with natural colorants from clay. It does not absorb moisture overtime and will not bleed. It attaches to hair, not to the skin so there’s no mess. The material is made in USA with seven different shades. It gives very natural hair coverage for bald spots. It also adds a natural fill to your eye brows in addition to lengthening and volumizing your lashes.

2) Raspberry Ketone Glucoside: This ingredient has received buzzes in the world of dieting thanks to Dr. Oz. In beauty, this material actually is 3 x better than Arbutin and also works as an anti-inflammatory and moisturization agent. For brands focusing in skin whiting, this is a new kid on the block! Best yet, it is China approved!

3) Powder to Cream Technology:  This is a patented delivery technology where you can incorporate any actives you like for claims. It is a powder but upon application, it turns into a cream. It is superb in skin, color, hair, fragrance application. The most awesome prototype I have seen is actually a lip powder where it’s like the Jello Powder which turns buttery upon application.

4) Clear Stick Technology: Yes, there are clear sticks on the market but there are not too many clear systems that can withstand heat/sweating issues. This clear stick can also be used for inner core two phase system to deliver dual skin benefits or in color, can be used for ombre look in lip/face application.

5) Natural Shine Technology: In science, refractive index is a measure of shine. Recent advances and discoveries actually found natural ingredients have higher refractive index higher than silicone. This opens up a new dimension for hair and body care for the glow that’s natural and healthy.

6) Steam Cream Technology: This is an emulsifiers free emulsion made with a shot of steam and proprietary process to make it stable so the active ingredients are intact in the system without any potential degradation. Just like there are baked color cosmetics, the Steam Skin care products are coming to play.

7) Texture Mapping: All marketers know product “texture” is the key to grab consumers attention. How the product look and feel dictate on whether you will get the consumers “addicted” to use daily, sometimes twice daily. In the past, cosmetic chemists try to reverse engineer a benchmark by using the same set of ingredient lists but with the new advances in sensory science, it is now possible to achieve similar texture with a different technology for some differentiation.  This also allows some creativity for chemists to perhaps enhance the already best-selling product texture.

Working in beauty is full of excitement because there are so many cool things to play. Often times marketers are troubled by “finding the hole” on the calendar when they find a new technology. The truth is for risk-takers, the first to market ones are often the ones who succeed as people remember that you are the pioneer in technological advances.

Ginger King is a cosmetic chemist and a consultant in product development and marketing. Ginger has developed over 1000+ products during her close to 20 years of industry experience. For further information, you can contact her at ginger@gracekingdombeauty.com 

Six Beauty Trends Observed From The Eye Of The Cosmetic Chemist- ME!

Hello beauties! There were a couple beauty shows I attended in June (HBA/Spa/IBS) and here is what’s happening in the world of beauty:

– Powder trend- Sprayable powders and powder in puff are innovative ways to deliver powder for hair, sun or make up applications. There are also powder to cream technologies to release fresh product on contacts.

– Acne relief- as it’s gets hot in summer, product developers are thinking about what’s next in acne. There are technologies in Asia that delivers Salicylic acid in clear gel form without irritation via a special delivery system.

– Oil trend continues but people are moving toward oil esters for a less greasy feel and move away from the word- oil so you get the benefits of an oil without the worry of clogging the pores.

– Nail trend- OPI put out a Minnie Mouse kit and a neon mini kit. Simply cute! The rise of thermal chromic colors (color changing via changes in temperature) and neon trend is hot as well.

– Novel product form- the cutest invention was spotted that a sugar scrub in a candy wrapper once applied with water, the result was simply amazing- super duper moisturizing that lasts and lasts.

– Skin trend- the focus is still on brightening. Everyone jumped on brightening due to the Asia craze as you know there’s an Asian saying- one white skin can covers nine skin flaws. White is beautiful. To be politically correct and globally acceptable, this has translated to “Brighter” “Glowing” skin.

If you are interested to learn more or wish me to develop any of the above for your brand, let me know as I can :-).

Happy Summer!

How to Evaluate Hair Products

Besides reading ingredient listing, besides buying the actual products or getting samples prior to purchase, how do you know your hair products will work? Here are some simple tips anyone can do to see if the hair care products hold their merit.

1) For shampoos– besides the fragrance (yes, most of consumers purchase shampoos based on the fragrance as it’s a total experience and that’s what made Clairol Herbal Essence a huge hit), I usually check to see if I can “hear” any squeeky sound during shower. If it’s squeeky, it will cause dryness and frizziness. Unless the product is for super oily hair, and I mean hair not just scalp, It usually requires some good conditioning afterwards. Some people also value the “foam” as it’s also part of the experience. With the buzz of “sulfate-free”, most of the shampoo now are less foaming. The good news is the “foam” does not dictate how clean your hair will be, once again, shampoos are experiential for the senses. Fragrance and Foam don’t matter but will help you to use more. Thus lather, rinse, REPEAT.

2) For Conditioners– A licensed hair dresser used to say you can use detergent to wash your hair but you must have an awesome conditioner! A good conditioner should feel like a butter and when rinsing, you can feel the moisturization all the way to your toes seriously! A good conditioner also will not weigh down the hair but adds in moisture and perfect for both wet and dry combing. If the conditioners feel great during wet comb, they usually have great detangling quaterium  ingredients in there. If it feels great during dry comb, that’s the power of fatty alcohol and silicones.

3) For Styling Products– Since I have jet black hair, the first thing I do is rub the products vigorously between my fingers- if it flakes, it will flake on my hair and looking like dandruff. That’s an automatic reject. For people with straight hair, they are  the best model to check for shine as they reflect most of the light. Shiny hair symbolizes healthy hair. If you don’t have straight hair to check for shine, get two glass plates and put the styling products in between and see if it dries up clear film or hazy. Of course, the more clear it is, the shinier it will be on your hair. For style retention, I used to use a mannequin head propped on a motor and let it spin for 30 minutes continuously.  If the sytle does not bust, it’s a pretty good helmet hold. I also immersed the mannequin heads in water for 60 minutes to check how well the style will hold up after swimming. In the laboratory settings, hair chemists usually will also run humidity test for curl retention to check for holding power. You can also do a “stick” test on a strand of hair, apply the styler and bend it after it dries, it tells you pretty much if it’s flexible hold (brush able/bendable), or a long lasting hold (not brushable but bendable for style memory).

You can have a lot of fun evaluating hair products from hearing the squeek to feeling the buttery moisture between your toes and looking for shine on straight hair or glass plates. Evaluating hair products engages our senses. Next time, try out my tips and see if you have a different appreciation of your hair products. Share with us what are your favorite hair products too and your own evaluation tips!

Non-Invasive Cosmetic Procedures vs Cosmetic Products

When I read Asian magazines, besides skin brightening and moisture replenish, the most focused products are for V shape faces lead by Clarins products.

V shape face is the symbol of youth just as a bright skin complexion is the symbol of wealth. Facial Contouring is very popular in Asians as we tend to have a more flat face as opposed to a 3D face. I recently had a free cosmetic laser Refirm treatment to contour my jowl lines. Honestly, after the treatment, I have not seen a difference. I was told it takes about 3 treatments to see results. This makes me APPRECIATE cosmetic products MUCH MORE. Why? As most of the cosmetic products on market now focuses on INSTANT and LONG TERM RESULTS, who has the time and money for 3 treatments to see results if any? The treatments are typically $600-1000 each, I could have bought at least 10 jars of cosmetic products to use daily!

Most of the formulations for the V shape face are not that different than a cellulite cream. Many contains Caffeine to speed up lipolysis. Of course, there are ingredients out there 8 times stronger than Caffeine for lipolysis as well as increase microcirculation to flush out the fat.  Most of the cosmetic products requires massaging for 3-5 minutes if it involves slimming. So, my take is unless you have serious issues with your skin firmness, I opt for using skin care products than other non-invasive treatments. There are still risks associated with Laser burns and bruises.  You are in absolutely good hands with your very own skin care products if you choose brands with clinically tested products.

Start a new year with a new face. You don’t have to spend tons of money but choosing skin care products wisely can get you there! A personal tip- after you apply your favorite products, put a steamy hot towel over for a few minutes- it will increase microcirculation and see product efficacy faster. Happy 2013!

Beauty & Water- How “rich” is your skin?

Everyone knows the importance of drinking 8 glasses of water a day to keep healthy. Do you know the word ‘water’ is on at least 85% of cosmetic claims? Claims like to boost hydration, to lock in the moisture content, to increase 24 hour moisturization and to prevent trans-epidermal water loss are commonly seen. “WATER” is clearly an important element when it comes to beauty.

In Asia, across all beauty magazines, you will keep seeing the word “water” all over on cosmetic ads. In Taiwanese, when you compliment a pretty girl, you said “Sui” that means “water”. It’s the same “Sui” as in Feng Sui” which is Wind & Water. The word “water” in Cantonese, also means “Money” so if you have good “water”, you have “good money”; Provide water to your skin is to keep your skin RICH. Isn’t it wonderful? Additionally, this year, Japan government approved their claim #56 which they can now say on product labels “increase skin hydration to improve fine lines”. Thus, there is an important “water” status across Asia.

Current cosmetic advances can boost skin hydration (water content) and also skin moisturization (water and oil). To do smart skin care, you can look for ingredients that will increase the water level of skin as well as “keeping the water in”. Ingredients like watermelon can boost NMF (normal moistuization factor) in the skin or some algaes can provide “moisture with memory” which means if you use the product for a week and then go on travelling, your skin still remembers the water content level and keep it hydrated.  Some moisturization ingredients can even help to boost the level of ceramides/collagen/hyaluronic acid synthesis in skin so you are not only getting the hydration but also moisturization. Furthermore, ingredient claims such as boost hydration up to 6000% is  also achievable.

Keeping your skin hydrated is the number one prevention for fine lines. Look for products that contains glycerin (natural humectant), watermelon (boost NMF), algae (natural moisturizer), fruit extracts (promote natural skin exfoliation to make your moisturizers work better), sea minerals (important element in skin moisturization), sugar molecules (draw moisture from air) and other biopolymers that have the ability to seal in the actives such as xanthan gum and carrageenan.

You do not have to be rich to keep your skin rich. Just make sure your skin is well hydrated, especially at night because your skin gets dehydrated the most at night. Therefore, nourish or perish, put on your water-rich moisturizer before you go to bed religiously. Let your naturally “rich” skin bring you good luck day after day! Drink your 8 glasses of water AND apply moisture-rich products!